In the last few months since our network upgrade, I have had a steady stream of 10Gbe appliances come through. We have seen everything from the DS1517+ to start things off to the extremely powerful TVS-473 from QNAP and 626X Xeon-powered unit from NETGEAR. On the launch of the DS1517+, Synology also brought to market the 1817 series giving us both the DS1817+ which uses similar hardware on an eight-bay platform to the 1517+ and the DS1817 built on the latest platform from Annapurna Labs.
Instead of giving you essentially the same review twice with the DS1817+, I thought it would be a great idea to bring in the value-based DS1817 model to give a solid comparison to the DS1517+ in the workloads we run in testing. The DS1817 is still an eight bay DSM driven appliance but before we get too far let's dive into the specifications below.
We start at the Annapurna Labs AL-314, a 32-bit quad-core SoC operating at 1.7GHz. Synology paired it with 4GB of DDR3L, expandable to 8GB. Mentioned briefly, this is an eight-bay unit that is expandable all the way up to eighteen bays using two DX517 enclosures. The DS1817 is compatible with 2.5" and 3.5" SATA HDDs and SSD with a maximum internal capacity of 80TB, assuming 10TB drives. Volume limits start at 108TB with all drives being hot swap capable.
Connectivity includes USB 3.0 with two ports along with eSATA for expansion. On the side of Ethernet, we have two gigabit ports and two 10Gbe ports built in.
The MSRP of the Synology DS1817 in its diskless form comes in at $849.99 with a three-year warranty.
Packaging and a Closer Look
Packaging is quite standard for Synology appliances. We have a brown box with a sticker housing model info and a few details along the bottom.
The scope of delivery for this unit includes two Ethernet cables, the power cable, and drive screws. Also, we have keys for the drive trays and guide to get started.
Looking at the DS1817, we have a series of LEDs along the top with status and alert on the left side of the power button and LAN one through four on the right side.
On the backside, USB 3.0 is on the left side with one of the two eSATA ports. The four RJ45 ports are on the right with the top two 1Gbe and the bottom two 10Gbe.
The backplane for this model is setup for SAS and SATA.
Test System Setup and Management
Test System Setup
Tyler's NAS Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Maximus IX Hero (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: Intel Core i7 7700K (buy from Amazon) / (Read our Review)
- Memory: G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 (buy from Amazon)
- Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Hybrid (buy from Amazon)
- OS Storage: Intel 730 480GB SSD (buy from Amazon) / (Read our Review)
- Secondary Storage: MyDigitalSSD BP5 512GB SSD (buy from Amazon)
- Case: EVGA DG-86 (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA 750 P2 (buy from Amazon)
- Networking: ASUS PCE-AC88 AC3100 (buy from Amazon)
- Networking: ASUS ROG 10G Express
- I/O: ASUS Thunderbolt EX3 (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 (buy from Amazon)
Setup being with the screen above, you can reach this using the Finder app from Synology or by entering the device IP.
To begin setup, we first have to install DSM; this takes a few minutes.
Once setup is complete, you will be let off at the dashboard above. The menu to the right gives you a quick look at the activity of the NAS. CPU, memory, and LAN usage are charted, and uptime is recorded along with the volume status.
Similar to past Synology appliances, these icons in the system menu direct you to configure your appliances. File Station is quick access to your data while package center is where you will find most add-on application like download station or Plex. Storage manager houses volume, caching and iSCSI access.
Diving into the control panel, icons are laid out with file sharing the first category including services and users. Connectivity allows you to setup your network, wireless connectivity, and manage security.
Here we have a closer look at the storage menu. Volume and disk group allow you to configure your drives as you see fit while iSCSI gives you quick access to your storage. You can setup a Hot Spare limiting downtime if you have a drive failure. SSD cache, as you guessed, speeds up access to your most frequently used data.
Package Center includes some must have solutions from Synology.
The snapshot above was taken during testing, and it gives you an idea on how well DSM monitors its resources. As you can see, even a 500 MB/s load on this unit does push the CPU past 30% and memory 9%.
Benchmarks – Single Client Throughput
HD Video Play - 720p HD stream from Windows Media Player, 256kB reads
2HD Video Play - 2x playback
4HD Video Play - 4x playback
HD Video Record - 720p HD stream, 256kB writes
File Copy From NAS - 64kB read
File Copy To NAS - 64kB writes
Throwing the DS1817 on our charts in dark blue, I found this unit to perform a bit higher than the 1517+ and RN626X reaching 390 MB/s in playback and 575 MB/s in 4x playback. The record hit 357 MB/s with File Copy topping out at 367 MB/s to the NAS and 300 from the NAS.
RAID 5 still had a solid performance with multi playback workloads; this includes 572 MB/s for 2x and 377 MB/s for 4x. File copy reached 222 MB/s and 341 MB/s, respectively.
In our last run with RAID 6, performance hovered between 320 and 370 MB/s for file copy and 380 MB/s for record. Playback still showed the best at 450 MB/s through 612 MB/s.
Benchmarks – Sequential and Mixed Workloads
Our Sequential read/write workload is centered on 128K transfer sizes with a Queue Depth of 128
Sequential write was the lowest I have seen from a 10Gbe NAS to this point, but read performance rivaled top units. Numbers came in at 711 MB/s read and 471 MB/s write.
RAID 5 had the highest read performance of any 10Gbe appliance I have tested at 743 MB/s. Write performance was still low in comparison, reaching just 383 MB/s.
Last up we swapped the 1817 over to RAID 6. Here we reached 754 MB/s read and 336 MB/s write.
Database workload testing gave us near 11K IOPS for RAID 0, 7K for RAID 5 and 2K with RAID 6.
File Server reached just over 11K IOPS for RAID 0 with RAID 5 and 6 coming in at 9K and 3K, respectively.
RAID 0 topped out at 9K IOPS with RAID 5 reaching 5K and RAID 6 3K IOPS.
Web Server really levels things out across array types. In the case of the 1817, we see 11K IOPS across the board.
Workstation rounds things out for testing, here we get 9K IOPS for RAID 0 and 8K for RAID 5. RAID 6 ends at 5K IOPS.
The goal of this review was to compare the value-based DS1817 over the DS1517+. As far as build quality goes, I'd say both units are equally well-built. For the most part, chassis components are shared with an inner metal structure wrapped in ABS plastic. The drive trays are tool-less making drive installation simple and the locking mechanism used a key like your grandmother's freezer.
As far as performance goes, the DS1817 topped the DS1517+ in some use cases. The first being our single client workload which showed playback operations nearly doubling that of the 1517+. Record was neck and neck for both units each bringing in 350- 400 MB/s. File Copy went to the 1517+ with its much quicker write performance.
Over in sequential testing, the 1817 pulled in solid read performance reaching 711 MB/s while it writes performance could use some work topping out at 470 MB/s. RAID 5 showed solid read performance too at 743 MB/s, and to that point, it's the quickest NAS we have tested in sequential read.
Workloads were linear across all platforms in our charts, minus the QNAP unit which just excels at these tests. Looking at the 1817, it managed at least 10K IOPS through all workloads in RAID 0, while its RAID 5 and 6 counterparts held strong and topped the 1517+ on several occasions.
With all this testing out of the way, I'm quite impressed with the 1817. It's the cheapest unit we have tested to this point with a $849.99 MSRP but it comes equipped with 10Gbe from the factory, whereas units like the 1517+ and TVS-473 require an add-on card while being many times more expensive before you even purchase drives.
With that said, users or businesses that need pure data storage will surely enjoy the DS1817 as it's a unit you can pair with eight of your favorite drives and have years of hassle free storage at a good price.
The Bottom Line: Synology's DiskStation DS1817 might be the best NAS device on the market for users wanting all the high-end features on a budget-minded platform.
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