Synology RackStation RS3411xs review

1 Mar 2012

Huge expansion potential, plenty of storage features and it’s a speed demon over Gigabit and 10-Gigabit networks

Price when reviewed: 
1,981(£1,981 inc VAT)
5

Synology’s new RS3411xs offers serious expansion potential, but that’s only the beginning of its strengths. It’s the only SMB NAS appliance we’ve seen with two high-speed InfiniBand links; it supports a single or dual-port 10GbE card; and it sports a powerful Core i3 CPU.

Starting with that expansion potential, adding a pair of RX1211 disk shelves enables you to take capacity up to an impressive 102TB. The RX3411xs is also one of the first NAS appliances we’ve seen to use server-grade ECC memory, and it supports up to 8GB.

On review here is the single-PSU model; Synology also offers a dual-redundant PSU version, but we can’t see how it justifies the £600 premium.

The motherboard has three embedded four-port SATA II interfaces cabled directly to the hot-swap hard disk backplane. The InfiniBand ports are also surface mounted, and the single PCI Express slot sits to the side.

Synology RackStation RS3411xs

For testing, we loaded four 2TB Seagate SATA II hard disks and used the well-designed DSM web interface to create a RAID5 array. We opted for a single volume, but the Disk Group feature supports multiple volumes within a single RAID array; plus, Synology’s hybrid RAID allows a mixture of drives of different sizes and makes. We also had an RX1211 disk shelf to hand, so we connected this to one of the InfiniBand ports and installed three 1TB SATA drives.

Synology’s appliances are generally among the fastest for Gigabit performance, so we moved straight to our 10GbE network and fitted an Emulex dual-port 10GBase-SR card. Thankfully, the RS3411xs has an x8 PCI Express slot, so it gave us none of the problems we encountered with the x4 slot on the Thecus N8900.

We used Dell PowerEdge R515 and Broadberry dual-Opteron 4100 rack servers running Windows Server 2008 R2, equipped with Emulex 10GbE dual-port adapters configured for Jumbo frames. With direct fibre connections to the appliance, Iometer returned a fast raw read speed of 660MB/sec for a mapped share on one server.

Details

Price ex VAT £1,651
Price inc VAT £1,981
Overall rating 5
Performance 5
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 5

Basic specifications

RAID capability yes
Wired adapter speed 10,000Mbits/sec

Services

FTP server? yes
UPnP media server? no

Connections

Ethernet ports 4
USB connection? yes

Security and administration

Admin support for users yes
Admin support for groups yes
Admin support for disk quotas yes
Email alerts yes

Software

Software supplied Synology Assistant, Data Replicator 3