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Synology RackStation RS3411xs review


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

Review Date: 1 Mar 2012

Reviewed By: Dave Mitchell

Price when reviewed: £1,651 (£1,981 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

5 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

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.

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User comments

Very Nice Indeed

Looks like this will be on my shopping list. I want a fast, reliable NAS for both image backups and data backups to disk - far cheaper than an ultrium 5 drive and tapes. So I will keep my ultrium 3 tape drive for storing backups off site and use this for my on-site backups. Previously been using external USB drives for local backups but gave up on those because of speed and reliability issues. Happy days.

By solvetech on 1 Mar 2012

Always been a fan of the Intel i3 chip

The Intel i3 chip is one of Intel's most underrated chips - its SO efficient! A great Folding@home chip. May consider a rackstation solution for my new Alzheimer's research computer.

By ashane on 4 Mar 2012

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