Synology RackStation RS2211+ review
Good value, strong performance and the best expansion potential in its class, made all the better by its InfiniBand connection
Review Date: 28 Jul 2011
Reviewed By: Dave Mitchell
Price when reviewed: £1,108 (£1,330 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
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.
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