First Looks - Synology RS10613xs+ eAegis Review

 

Synology RS10613xs+ 10-bay Rack-Mount Enterprise NAS server

Synology has tended to always add that extra pizazz to their NAS specification allowing them to take the lead over its competitors. Synology is known for its superiority in the area of software and its firmware design, features and reliability is evidence of that. Synology has for many years rolled out great features and stable firmware; this has allowed them to stand the test of time. Until 2010 Synology NAS appliance offering was somewhat pale in comparison to their nearest rivals. Since that time the launch of the 5-bay, 8-bay and 10-bay models has seen Synology propelled upwards.

The RS10613xs+ is one model that is proof of its rise in status in the NAS for business sector, as well as being of the most innovative designs by supporting SSD cache. The 10-bay Synology NAS XS+ range are all available with SSD cache option, the support for this is provided by making an allowance for the extra two slots behind the LCD panel, flipped open reveals the two slots. Strangely none of the other manufacturers have yet to make an offer of this ilk. Synology has achieved relative success with the SSD cache feature, clearly depicted by the number of sales we have received as a result of our including the SSD option as configured, tested and shipped with the NAS units ready to use out of the box.

The RS10613xs+ is integral part of the new XS+ range of NAS appliances that Synology is aiming at the large scale business users that need to see enterprise level features at a much lower cost than its SAN counterparts enabling downsizing and the opportunity to maximize productivity with Synology’s High Availability (HA) feature by setting up clustering failover.

The RS10613xs+ is an ideal storage appliance strategically positioned to be between NAS and SAN deployments, with a pair of external 6Gb/sec SAS interfaces which support up to eight RX1213sas 12-bay disk shelves these allow for support for 96 bays plus the 10 bays installed in the RS10613xs+ making a grand total of 106 disk drives with a raw capacity of 424TB. There’s more as two of the 2.5in bays hidden behind the pop-out LCD display panel providing support for SSDs specifically for read caching.

The performance of the RS10613xs+ is highly boosted by the 3.3GHz ‘Ivy Bridge’ Xeon E3-1230V2 CPU paired with 8GB of DDR memory which is expandable to 32GB. Networking connectivity is impressive provided as standard are four embedded Gigabit ports, with the optional to install a PCI-e based 10GbE within the available slot. Synology provides a comprehensive compatibility guide for 10Gbe cards. We would advise to stick with Intel or Emulex. For the purpose of this review we popped in an IntelX520-DA2 – E10G42BTDA 10GbE adapter, which had no issues installing and being recognized.

Out of the Box

Double boxed with the inner box housing the unit with sturdy foam packaging. Considerable thought and effort has gone into the packaging to prevent transit damage. All the main accessories are packed in a separate box to avoid confusion and are ready to install hard disk drives with even the correct number of screws provided. This is accompanied by a quick guide and a CD that contains everything including a User’s guide. The only strange anomaly for us is the omission by Synology for including mounting rails by offering these as an optional extra. Somewhat short sightedness really. A 4 page user guide might have not gone a miss either! just like a quick starter guide allowing buyers to get up to speed quickly, with little fuss.

NOTE: Buying a system pre-populated with drives? Do not fret. eAegis provides all its customers with a comprehensive QA checklist detailing all the product serial numbers for asset and warranty management. In addition to the system being prepared with the customer preferred RAID all tested and ready to use out of the Box.

Usability and Esthetics

The Synology RS10613xs+ outer case is solid and well designed, the hot-swap hard disk trays are a simple affair no complication just a tug and pull allows easy removal. The outer design is as any rack mount can be clean well rounded edges and easy to slot with the optional rails provided. The noise level is what can be expected from a rack based storage appliance, albeit with drives loaded it’s not as loud as could have been, so somewhat of a plus point in that area. The unit seems more compact than normal 2U rack appliances that are back breaking, which is good. The airflow within the unit allows the drives to remain at a sensible temperature, and not overheat.

NOTE: We did struggle a little with a slightly open top cover that kept rattling when the drives were spinning, so we just tighten the screws at the back a little more and the problem seemed to disappear.

The Synology Disk Storage Manager (DSM 4.2) has a sleek user interface, and is easy to use once familiarized. Synology has long been a stalwart in its quest for evolving and improving its Disk Storage Manager, a trait and expertise borne from its historical background of being a software house before venturing into the world of Network Attached Storage.

The overall dimensions measures in at (H x W x D): 88 X 445 X 570 mm (3.12 x 17.22 x 23.42 in)

Connectivity Suite

Synology offers 4 Gigabit ports and a PCIe 2.0 x 8 which will accommodate a dual 10GbE card. Link aggregation configured over these 6 links and SSD’s in all the bays. Synology claims output of around 200K+ IOPS when tested with SSD cache installed and enabled. Rounding up the connectivity are 4 x USB 2.0 and 2 x SAS 2 expansion slots for expandability and/or SAS connectivity.

Notable XS+ Highlights

The Synology RS10613xs+ is part of the growing XS+ range of NAS appliances that Synology want to leverage for their entry into the enterprise sector. The XS+ clearly has a lot going for it, from a flexibility and expansion standpoint. Expanding beyond the first appliance to numerous expansion devices is made relatively simple and avoids time consuming maneveurs to save resource and cut out any hassle factors that are normally inherent with expansion methods. This enables users to access their data efficiently, quickly and transition data needs easily with its powerful and efficient Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM).

Virtualization

Synology is cognizant this is an area of importance and strives to provide the latest support for VMware vSphere® 5, Citrix, Microsoft Hyper-V, and other virtualization parties. The RS10613xs+ allows better flexibility for deploying and migrating VM’s, remitting higher storage performance and efficiency with the VMFS-5 file system. Smoother access and management efficiency with load balancing automation under Storage vMotion.

Synology High Availability (SHA)

The term high availability does create a few misconceptions, what is High Availability? High availability is a key component of business resiliency. It is widely documented that outages increase the total cost of IT ownership and cause potential damage to client relationships and loss of revenue. The Synology RS10613xs+ offers high availability by way of setting up an active/passive relationship between two XS+ rack stations. Should one go down the other "partner" takes over automatically. Coupled with redundant fans and redundant power supplies, the Synology goes a long way to ensure downtime is kept at its minimum.

Synology Hybrid RAID or Classic RAID

Synology DSM provides the option to deploy Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR) or Classic RAID. SHR has the distinct advantage of expansion on the fly for adding new drives by retaining the data within the RAID set. The one disadvantage of SHR is the restriction of only supporting a single volume, if you require multiple volumes then Classic RAID is the way forward. SHR also supports 1 or 2 disk redundancy.

Windows ACL/ADS Integration

Synology DiskStations offer support for access control lists (ACLs) for granular, NTFS-style permissions down to the file level. DiskStations can be joined to ADS domains, tested with up to 100,000 users and groups. The domain users and groups can be used to assign share level privileges, or even assigning ACLs. Users can use the same credential to access many DiskStations on the same network

5 Year Warranty Program with Fast Replacement Service

With the 5 year warranty program, not only will you receive the benefit of additional two year coverage of hardware protection on the XS+, members also can receive Field Replacement Units (FRUs, or replacement parts) to service their RackStation. Synology provides a priority phone number for all customers who have opted to purchase the extended 5 year warranty program; Synology cites its reason for doing so as, to provide replacement parts or units if called to action with a higher level of priority. All replacement parts or units will be shipped Next-Business day.

Test Environment

Synology RS10613XS+ (4x4TB Ultrastar Hitachi – Enterprise Class)

Firmware Version: DSM 4.2-3211

RAID set to Level 5 (RAID 5)

Dell 2950 Poweredge Server 2x2.66 DC 4M 3x146GB 96GB of DDR3 memory plus an Intel X520-DA2 – E10G42BTDA 10GbE adapter

Operating System: Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise

Performance

The Synology came with high expectations as a result of the performance claims made by Synology. All factors being equal we see no cause for these claims not to be substantiated. The Synology RS10613xs+ is designed not to disappoint, we do not except anything less. Synology has consistently returned excellent results over Gigabit, so in this instance we decided to go for the Intel X520-DA2 – E10G42BTDA 10GbE adapter.

Test Method

There are two tests that we used to measure performance on the Windows platform: Real-World testing utility that consist of workload traces gathered from typical digital home applications, traces of high definition video playback and recording, office productivity applications, video rendering/content creation as well as a broad range of different applications, using 1024 KB sequential block reads and writes on a 2 GB test file, as well as Drag & Drop of a 2 GB file over CIFS, Windows default network protocol. We established a direct copper connection to the appliance.

RWT-RAID 5

The Real World Test performances results are an average of twelve full test cycles. The Synology was connected directly via a Copper connection and the performance was impressive with a raw read speed of 694MB/sec for a mapped share. We also tested a 4GB video file using IOMETER which returned a combined average read and write speed of 247MB/sec.

RWT results for RS10613xs+

DRAG & DROP – RAID 5 - Write MB/s 309.4 – Read – 361.1

Drag and Drop is a methodology used by a majority of users to move data back and forth on their individual systems. Our instinct was to integrate tis method and form an integral part of our product testing process, thereby ensuring the results are more realistic as depicted in actual everyday events... Drag and Drop results for the Synology RS10613xs+ were most impressive. The Synology RS10613XS+ is clearly designed to perform with scalability and to provide an easy migration path to corporate SAN farms.

drag and drop results for RS10613xs+

Overall Conclusion

The RS10613XS+ has a lot going for it, the SSD caching option is a boon, install a couple of SSD’s and the boost in performance is evident, the 10Gbe option performed very well. Overall though, the ease of use, scalability, and performance ratios are well above its competitors and the Synology RS10613XS+ is going to be hard to beat. It offers more than a NAS should and just falls short of a SAN, but without the price penalty.

This review is courtesy of eAegis.com Product Testing and Evaluation Division. Please email reviews@eaegis.com for any comments you may wish to share with us. We welcome customer feedback. .

Overall Rating 97.5%