Synology RackStation RS2211+ review
Good value, strong performance and the best expansion potential in its class, made all the better by its InfiniBand connection
Of all the SMB NAS appliance vendors, only Synology has taken a serious stance on storage expansion. Its latest RackStation RS2211+ pushes this to the next level. Where the DS1511+ used eSATA ports for expansion units, the RS2211+ can be connected to a 12-bay RX1211 expansion shelf via a high-performance InfiniBand link.
The main unit has ten hot-swap drive bays, so this dynamic duo allows capacity to be pushed to an impressive 66TB. Alternatively, if you want full power redundancy, Synology offers RS2211RP+ and RX1211RP+ combos, which both have dual hotplug supplies.
The RS2211+ is a well-built 2U rack chassis, with the 10th drive bay located under a system status panel on the right. We were impressed with its internal layout; the custom motherboard has everything neatly embedded on it.
The three quad-port SATA interfaces are cabled directly to the hard disk backplane, and the InfiniBand expansion port is hard-wired at the back. The appliance has a 1.8GHz dual-core Atom processor, and a spare SODIMM socket allows the standard 1GB of DDR2 memory to be increased to 3GB.
Installation follows the same path as other Synology appliances: an Assistant utility finds the appliance on the network and loads the DiskStation Manager (DSM) software. Array setup comes next; for testing we loaded up four 1TB Western Digital SATA drives and created a RAID5 array.
This latest version of DSM has some useful new features. Disk Groups support multiple volumes within a single RAID array, and you also have Synology’s hybrid RAID – similar to a key feature of Drobo’s B800i, letting you mix drives of different sizes and manufacturers.
The RS2211+ delivered superb results in our real-world performance tests. Using a Dell PowerEdge R515 rack server running Windows Server 2008 R2 64-bit, we saw drag-and-drop copies of a 2.52GB video clip over Gigabit Ethernet return read and write rates of 103MB/sec and 92MB/sec.
FTP speeds were even better, with FileZilla reporting speeds of 107MB/sec and 105MB/sec for the same file. It handled our 17.4GB collection of 10,500 files well, copying them to the appliance at an average of 58MB/sec.