Introduction and Testbed Setup

Synology started the roll-out of their SMB-targeted NAS units based on Intel's latest Atom platform (Rangeley) in September 2014. We have already looked at the 4-bay DS415+ in detail. Today, the 5-bay DS1515+ and 8-bay DS1815+ versions are being officially launched. As a recap, the Rangeley-based NAS units finally bring about hardware accelerated encryption capabilities to DSM in the desktop tower form factor. A host of other advantages pertaining to the storage subsystem are also provided by Rangeley / Avoton. The SoC being used in the DS1815+ (Intel Atom C2538) is the same as the one being used in the DS415+ and the amount of RAM is also the same (2 GB). The difference is in the number of expansion bays that can be attached to the main unit (2x 5-bay DX513 for the DS1815+ vs. 1x 5-bay DX513 for the DS415+, with some volume expansion restrictions on the latter). The RAM in the DS1815+ can be upgraded (one free slot that can accommodate an extra 4 GB of RAM). Unlike the 100W external adapter in the DS415+, we have an internal 250W PSU in the DS1815+.

The I/O ports on the DS1815+ are based on the DS1813+. Compared to the DS1812+ that we reviewed last year, the DS1813+ (and, by extension, the DS1815+ that we are looking at today) added two extra network ports. Eight drive bays and four GbE network links are backed up by an embedded Linux OS, the DSM, which brings a host of virtualization certifications. All in all, the new Atom platform in DS1815+ seems to present a compelling case over the previous 8-bay units from Synology based on the older Atoms. The specifications of the DS1815+ are provided in the table below.

Synology DS1815+ Specifications
Processor Intel Atom C2538 (4C/4T Silvermont x86 Cores @ 2.40 GHz)
RAM 2 GB DDR3 RAM (+ 4GB max. in 2nd slot)
Drive Bays 8x 3.5"/2.5" SATA II / III HDD / SSD (Hot-Swappable)
Network Links 4x 1 GbE
External I/O Peripherals 4x USB 3.0, 2x eSATA
Expansion Slots None
VGA / Display Out None
Full Specifications Link Synology DS1815+ Specifications
Price US $1050 (Amazon)

In the rest of the review, we will take a look at the Intel Rangeley platform and how the Synology DS1815+ takes advantage of it. This is followed by benchmark numbers for both single and multi-client scenarios across a number of different client platforms as well as access protocols. We have a separate section devoted to the performance of the DS1815+ with encrypted shared folders. Prior to all that, we will take a look at our testbed setup and testing methodology.

Testbed Setup and Testing Methodology

The Synology DS1815+ can take up to eight drives. Users can opt for either JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 6 or RAID 10 configurations. We expect typical usage to be with multiple volumes in a RAID-5 or RAID-6 disk group. However, to keep things consistent across different NAS units, we benchmarked a SHR volume with single disk redundancy (RAID-5). Eight Western Digital WD4000FYYZ RE drives were used as the test disks. Our testbed configuration is outlined below.

AnandTech NAS Testbed Configuration
Motherboard Asus Z9PE-D8 WS Dual LGA2011 SSI-EEB
CPU 2 x Intel Xeon E5-2630L
Coolers 2 x Dynatron R17
Memory G.Skill RipjawsZ F3-12800CL10Q2-64GBZL (8x8GB) CAS 10-10-10-30
OS Drive OCZ Technology Vertex 4 128GB
Secondary Drive OCZ Technology Vertex 4 128GB
Tertiary Drive OCZ Z-Drive R4 CM88 (1.6TB PCIe SSD)
Other Drives 12 x OCZ Technology Vertex 4 64GB (Offline in the Host OS)
Network Cards 6 x Intel ESA I-340 Quad-GbE Port Network Adapter
Chassis SilverStoneTek Raven RV03
PSU SilverStoneTek Strider Plus Gold Evolution 850W
OS Windows Server 2008 R2
Network Switch Netgear ProSafe GSM7352S-200

The above testbed runs 25 Windows 7 VMs simultaneously, each with a dedicated 1 Gbps network interface. This simulates a real-life workload of up to 25 clients for the NAS being evaluated. All the VMs connect to the network switch to which the NAS is also connected (with link aggregation, as applicable). The VMs generate the NAS traffic for performance evaluation.

Thank You!

We thank the following companies for helping us out with our NAS testbed:

Platform Analysis
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  • stevenrix - Thursday, November 20, 2014 - link

    I actually own the DS1812+. I was going to build my own NAS but I wanted a hardware solution for the RAID, because software RAID is just too slow. Then I could not find the right type of tower I wanted for the drives, that was another issue, then I was not able to expand the RAID on the fly if I wanted to add more drives or even build a dynamic partition, so I decided to go with that solution instead. I haven't got one single problem with my unit that just reached 1 year now.
    There are far better solution in NAS but their price is extremely expensive, starting at 50K like the Equal Logics. This solution is for SMB or people like me that don't want to spend time on assembling parts for a NAS. Also for a good NAS with good parts might cost more money: just the RAID card in hardware (PERC 6 or 7) is $300 and some NAS run with Xeons procs.
  • meyergru - Sunday, November 23, 2014 - link

    I have read the reviews about the Synology NAS devices with Avoton CPUs (DS1815+ and DS415+). Having bought one now myself, I wonder how far they have been tested.

    I got the impression from former Anandtech articles about the new Avoton CPUs, that NAS devices equipped with those should be able to encrypt data with virtually no performance impact. The reviews proved that point, so I bought one.

    However, Synology offers only eCryptFS, which does not work via NFS and exhibits the file names and directory structures in the clear - also, the maximum filename lengths are truncated to 143 characters. Thus, using it for general backup purposes is somewhat pointless.

    On a side note, it is a shame that the Synology kernel configuration does not even include the dm-crypt.ko and cryptoloop.ko modules and that there are no userspace cryptsetup or losetup executables. This limits the usefulness of the Synology Avoton line of products to almost zilch.

    Also, the GPL sources under are out of date. There is no 5.1 version, which would contain the neccessary tools for the new Avoton machines like the DS1815+ and the DS415+. Thus, there is no self-cure for the situation, either.

    This is the kind of improvement hints I have grown accustomed to in Anandtech reviews, but no word of it in the final words of these ones.
  • name99 - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - link

    "Bay Trail is proving very effective in tablets"
    Seriously? Proof ...
    Being used for such well known brands as Teclast and Onda and Voyo is not "proving very effective".

    Intel's goal for 2014 was 40 million tablets. I'm guessing, since we haven't heard much since that goal was set (but we have heard about the 2014 billion dollar losses in their mobile division, complementing the 2013 billion dollar losses) that they didn't QUITE make that...

    The Foxconn (oops, sorry, "Nokia") iPad mini clone MAY change that --- but that won't ship for another three months, and I expect Apple have a plan in the wings the moment they feel any pressure at the low-end to drop the A5 iPad mini, move the iPad mini 2 down to that price slot, and, if necessary, slide in an A8 based iPaid mini 4 at the high end...

    Meanwhile Lenovo was so impressed with Bay Trail that they dropped it from the Yoga for the (much more expensive) Broadwell-Y, not that that has done them any good...
  • yuanshec - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - link

    I recently search for a NAS and find this category is actually the most overpriced stuffs in the consumer market nowadays. There are not much hard technology needed to build one and the actual cost is not expensive. And I don't see much power saving compare to a dedicated computer with RAID, and this is not quiet at all. The only possible reason that this high price tag existed is there are not many players (yet) on the market.I would suggested waiting one more year and see what happens. Compared to this, even Macs or iPhone are not overpriced at all...
  • agodzilla - Friday, August 19, 2016 - link

    Synology DS1815+ only SATA / 1.5 Gbps speed will be news

    in the spec DS1815+ have sata2 * 8
    but slot 7 and slot 8 can't over the 1.5 Gbps (SATA1)
    even SSD still can't over the 1.5 Gbps (150MB/s)
    they not tell this problem before consumer buy it,is illegal in your country?

    if the consumer know slot 7 and slot 8 can't over the 1.5 Gbps,they maybe not buy this product
    this is our test video

    you can confirm by yourself ,if you have DS1815+

    and DS1813+ same problem ,is so many years

    this will be big news,make Synology say sorry and compensate

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