Synology has been in the Network Attached Storage arena for a little while now, and made the most impact when it introduced the CS406 4 bay NAS in the period between 2006-7. At that time it’s most staunch competitor was in the form of Infrant Technologies as was for many other NAS vendors who were vying for the same market share as the ReadyNAS product range from Infrant. Technically, the ReadyNAS was far more superior and competitors found it difficult to stack up against it. Synology with its CS406 and Thecus with its N5200PRO were the only manufacturers that posed any serious competition. Synology did well to steal some of the market share from Infrant and the CS406 was at the heart of this challenge.
The Synology DiskStation DS1010+ has its origins firmly rooted from a range of NAS devices that have matured over the years with a strong reputation for quality built and excellent features with trusted firmware. The DS1010+ is no exception to this rule. The new design and enhanced specification seems to be a resultant of Synology’s combination for best product design practices as well as listening to its user base for integrating additional features. The product seems to have undergone complete metamorphoses in all aspects, seemingly falling in-line with Synology’s strategy of offering an all-in-one NAS device for the small and medium-size business segmentation. The Synology will also make an excellent home and small office companion for all those users that work from a home office and require a device that will perform for their business as well as for home use. It’s not restrictive to the SMB segmentation from a features perspective but possibly prohibitive for home users by the pricing level set by Synology. If this does not cause any issues for home users, then the DS1010+ may well be a worthwhile investment.
A closer look at the DiskStation DS1010+
As one can find with all Synology products, the Disk Station DS1010+ is a unit that can be displayed in any home without looking obtrusive. The device is well designed with sleek and subtle curves, finished off in a jet black color exclusively make this a pleasurable unit to display in any home. The footprint of the DS10101+ is a mere 157mm X 248mm X 233mm and even with a low profile the unit can continue to maintain the 5 disk drive bays without the feeling of being huddled together and just thrown in as with other devices. This small footprint will allow business users location flexibility without undue problems. Weighing in at a just under 4.25kg (9.9lbs), it lends itself to being a portable possibility if this is a need, beware though, once the five drives are installed the overall weight of the unit does increase to about 7kg. This is still sustainable if portability is a requirement.
Editor's Note: click the photos below for larger images
The front fascia of the DiskStation 1010+ is esthetically pleasing and has a set of LED indicators providing STATUS, LAN1, LAN2 and Alert notifications along with the ON/OFF button and the 5 removable hot swap drive bays, which are perfectly aligned flushed with the front fascia, removing the unevenness now customary with NAS devices. We noted the distinct lack of any LCD/OLED display panel now a standard feature in NAS devices in this category. We were not able to challenge Synology for an explanation, but cannot provide enough justification as to why one would be needed, when all alerts can be send via email notifications and/or the unit can be managed via the DiskStation management software.
The Back of the device reveals a host of connectivity options that are more than adequate and are easily accessible. Leading the pack is the new eSATA port that allows access to a host of external storage devices as well as connectivity directly to a PC or MAC. The additional 4 x USB 2.0 ports allows a host of services to be provided including one of being able to read external storage devices for copying files to and fro to the devices as well as allowing connection of UPS units as well as connecting speakers for audio output. The USB port can also allow connectivity to a USB keyboard whilst interrogating the unit using the VGA port provided in console mode. This is a neat function that will allow developers to work with the Synology DiskStation DS1010+ in development mode. Two decent 80mm size fans provide sufficient airflow to keep the hard disk drive temperature in check as well as keeping the system temperature in tow.
DS1010+ Front Panel
The Synology DS1010+ can also be scaled to 10 drive bays currently providing a total 20TB expansion potential. This is done by using a Synology DX510 which will securely connect to the DS1010+ utilizing the eSATA port. This methodology does not make this a true stackable functionality as you can only do this with one unit and establish a 10 drive hot swap bays. The bandwidth will be limited to the eSATA specifications and seems a little superfluous. We are not sure why anyone would want a single volume that exceeds to 20TB, the maintenance of monitoring a single volume of that size and then hoping the 10 drives stay in functional is one onerous task! We are sure it is as easy to have two DS1010+ devices on the network and share data between them then to expand using the DX510.
DS1010+ Port Configurations
Editor's Note: click the photos below for larger images
The inside scoop
Removing the top cover is a matter of five screws and lifting the lid off, and that’s it, no issues with breaking warranty stickers and losing sleep over possible warranty infringements. Two steps and we are in. The inside reveals a decent PSU manufactured by Seasonic model SS-250Su and it’s a 250watt specification. Seasonic have been around for a long time and are well known for manufacturing PSU solutions for leading manufacturers.
The Synology DS1010+ is powered by the Intel Atom D510 1.66GHz Dual Core Processor, seemingly the same platform used by two other Synology competitors for launching its products namely the N4200 4-bay from Thecus Technology, and a host of models from QNAP ranging from the TS-459 4-bay, TS-659- 6 Bay to the TS-859 8-bay.
The Intel Atom Dual Core is designed to dramatically increase energy efficiency. It utilizes the Low Thermal Design Power (TDP) principle, Integrated Graphics and Memory Controller, which results in increased performance and system responsiveness, Enhanced Data Pre-fetcher and Enhanced Register Access Manager which allows the anticipation of data the processor is likely to need and stores the information within the processor’s L2 cache, which in turn results in improved performance since the processor wait time decreases not having to wait long for data, and finally the Intel Smart Cache, the cache and bus design for efficient data sharing, providing enhanced performance, responsiveness, and power savings.
The DS1010+ comes standard with 1GB DDRII 800 CLS SODIMM memory and can be expanded to 2GB or 3GB in total by using a ram upgrade module, and installing it in the single empty SO-DIMM slot. Interestingly the memory slot is on the outer portion of the motherboard to allow ease of upgrade.
The Motherboard is supported with a pair of Intel 82574L Gigabit Ethernet Controllers that provide support for IEEE 802.3ad Dynamic Link Aggregation (also known as load balancing, Ethernet bonding, NIC teaming etc.), for this to work dynamically you will require a switch with 802.3ad support. Additional feature of the controller is to provide support for Network Fault Tolerance, in cases of a LAN port failing the other LAN port can take over. You can do this manually if your switch does not support 802.3ad. The Ethernet controllers are Low power <710mW in GbE mode and <300mW in 10/100 mode. Support for Jumbo Frames is inclusive albeit we did not see a marked difference in our testing by turning it on and ensuring out switch and test machine all had Jumbo Frames enabled. No need to rush out and buy this unit based on Jumbo Frames support only, the unit is not slow and actually does not require the Jumbo Frames support to hit the highest note.
The unit is well supported from an airflow perspective with three fans one of which is a 60mm fan that seems to be predominantly for the system as strategy serving an extra cooling outlet drawing air away from the motherboard, CPU and HDD combination. Just behind the SATA connectors/backplane are two more 80mm that happily expel hot air from the system case. Upon boot up the fans run up and swiftly settle down to provide calm and near zero noise level.
The Synology DS1010+ handles its boot up loader with the use of a Lattice Complex programmable logic device (CLPD) ispMACH 4000V, it seems it also holds a portion of non-volatile code within and hands over operation to other devices that does not have this capability.
The Synology DS1010+ supports a total of 5 SATA II drives bay, we are duly informed 1 to bay 5 are supported by the Intel ICH9R controller, whilst the eSATA port is supported by a Silicon Image Si3232 single-chip controller. Both controllers are credible in their own rights. Synology has implemented Flexible RAID Management which sounds similar to the RAID adoption in the DROBO devices Beyond RAID. An automated process with manual override Flexible RAID predominantly allows differing drive capacities to be installed and builds RAID based on the overall capacity installed; this will allow mixing of drives sizes that was previously frowned upon. Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR) may turn out to be the companies jewel in its crown.
Often potential buyers ponder on the reliability of any given storage array, whilst this is fine, we do urge caution when comparing different NAS devices to take great care in assessing the reliability of the drives used for integration as any storage array is only as good the most reliable drives. This is more pertinent now than ever before, as the amount of traffic in our labs of differing drives to and fro with reliability discussion does send a shudder or two down our spines. Hard Disk Drives suffer from a bad bout of unreliability, beware! Thorough due diligence should be undertaken in connection to which disk drives to buy, cut out the hype and speak with people in the know.
The drive trays are manufactured using a form of plastic molding, and feel as though they may survive frequent usage. We would like to see a spare provided though as we are sure one more tray would do no harm.
Editor's Note: click the photos below for larger images
Setting up is not hard to do, out of the box and plugging in takes less than five minutes. We received a diskless unit as requested and installed our drives and were ready to format within 15 minutes, all the necessary screws were supplied, and the only awkwardness encountered was one of inserting screws on the side of the disk tray as opposed to the normal practice of under the drive bay. This may just be a matter of preference and not necessarily a technical observation.
Getting up and running is a relatively simple task, install the Synology assistant supplied on the CD, and invoking the program finds the device on your network and you are ready to begin. The installation seems to be wizard driven and has to go through a routine for initial setup, including installing the firmware that can be found in the CD as well as setting your server to DHCP or changing it to a static IP address if you have one, as well as changing the admin password, device name to eventually the type of RAID that you may want to set.
All this as a result of buying diskless, whilst this is not a big deal, you may avoid this by simply buying it with pre-installed drives and requesting RAID setup. Once RAID is selected the device continues to format and complete the overall process of setting up.
Our observation leads us to believe this process is a little ‘old’ school and needs updating, the onus of expecting a customer to install the firmware first time is a little naïve and not exactly user friendly, the setup is rather monotonous as well.
Once of the most overlooked areas is the software of the NAS device. At times, only because it’s too involved and potential buyers find it difficult to ascertain a starting point. As with drives being an integral aspect of reliability, software is an integral element of any NAS device. If the software is sub-standard then avoid the device like the plague. Software, simply put, is at the heart of any NAS device, maintaining and asserting hardware performs at optimum levels as well as being the glue that bonds it to the user.
Synology have clearly understood this and once the setup nonsense is over and done with, you are ready to work with Synology DiskStation Manager 2.2 which is an impressive piece of software that will let you do virtually anything, aside from making coffee.
Invoke the Disk Station Manager 2.2 Web Interface and logon via system administrator and enter the password ‘admin’.
The main management page offers access to differing applications supported by the Synology DS1010+, these include, Management (control and management panel for the DS1010+), File Station (accessing files remotely), Audio Station (downloading and streaming music), Surveillance Station (using the NAS as a CCTV device with all the footage being recorded to the NAS via IP cameras), Download Station (download service directly to the device), Web Station (building and hosting web-sites), Photo Station (host and share your photos both locally and remotely), and a few others that allow users to connect directly to resources that are made available by Synology for users.
We took a quick tour of the Management aspect of the DS1010+. The main DiskStation home page reveals the features that are included with the system, an impressive set of features that should allow any users sufficient freedom to execute individual needs.
We will only cover a handful of critical features that should be supported as a minimum requirement in any NAS deployment.
The main configuration page is fully controlled by the navigation on the left that allows selection of all the features and subsequent services offered by the Synology DS1010+.
One of the most useful applications within the suite is the Download Manager that allows you to turn the DS1010+ into a 24/7 BitTorrent, FTP or HTTP download center, downloading directly onto the device. No need to have your computer on either, it works flawlessly on its own once it’s setup.
Another application for the home is the Photo Station application, which once you have your photos downloaded will allow you to share publicly or privately in a secured environment via the internet. All you need to do is enable the feature in the admin console and it will create a folder on the DS1010+ ready to receive pictures.
The one feature which we wanted to discuss was the backup feature that seems to propel the DS1010+ to a higher level above standard NAS devices.
The Synology DS1010+ Disk Station offers a number of different ways to allow backing up data.
The options are local backup that allows data to be copied from the DS1010+ to an external hard drive which are accessible via the eSATA and/or USB ports, or to a specific shared folder. This allows for quick backups of any data located on the NAS to an external source. Whilst useful be aware many of the external USB drives have not shown to be very reliable so this should not be used as a critical backup copy.
The other options are based on Network Backups, often an overlooked feature that is reserved for the enterprise sector. Backing up to another Synology Disk Station for replication or just back up purposes is a great feature to have and allows duplication if needed.
So, what happens of you have a NAS device that is not a Synology but supports Rsync protocol? no problem according to Synology it will provide the same functionality for NAS to NAS backup. The Network backups support both local and remote backups and replication.
The software applications as well as a bevy of features provided for the Synology DS1010+ DiskStation deserves a special mention and Synology should be heaped with praise for the quality of the software that contains a bevy of features with easy to use and assimilate options that allow a complete set of tolls to enable both home and business users the ability to store, share and provide redundancy for any data that will be thrown at it. Synology has clearly understood what a user wants!
The Synology has been touted as an excellent performer. The platform used for the design of the Synology DS1010+ seems to confirm this assertion. All independent tests suggest the Intel Atom D510 Dual Core Processor platform is faster than its predecessor and will be an ideal home and SMB companion.
Whilst performance is important, it is only so, if all the tests carried out actually relate to what we use and store every day. We have designed our testing application to depict just that, with a combination of heavy video, audio and images to a plethora of office productivity applications and ending with backing up and restoring small, medium and large files in excess of 1000GB (1TB) in single sessions, the results of which are analyzed for an output that realistic.
Synology DS1010+ DiskStation with 4 x 500GB Enterprise drives
Firmware Revision: Version: DSM 2.2-1045; Build Date: 2010/02/08
RAID LEVEL TESTED: RAID 5
NETGEAR FSM726 10/100Mbps + 1000Mbps ProSafe Managed Switch
We use a Real-World testing utility as well as a realistic Drag & Drop procedure as depicted in everyday normal operations.
Our tests are carried out with a combination of reads and writes, we do not separate the two, and both are combined to produce an overall result that depicts the actual performance of the device tested.
This category is one of the most demanding from a file size perspective as the smallest size file is 2GB and the largest being 1000GB.
A combination of demanding Video, Audio and Images files are combined to make this the most challenging category of them all.
The Office category is mainly for business users who may compare the typically used business applications, consisting of a spreadsheets, databases, Word, PowerPoint, Visio, and email management. We have also combined Photoshop based images that are used to cut and paste within a document to make up a 30 page mailer as well as Visio templates used for presentation within a PowerPoint file that exceeds a 15GB file size.
Our Third category is a combination of files from the previous two categories to initiate copying, backing up, deleting all content and then restoring from a backup made within the RAID array.
|Synology DS1010+ Read/Write Comparative Performance|
|Copy, Backup and Restore||83.77|
Figure 2: Synology DS1010+ Read/Write Results
Figure 3: Overall Read/Write Test Performance
The Synology DS1010+ is a 5-bay device that is designed well and is an ideal home companion for any users that wants to store data, be it commercial data, to streaming movies, or from memorable photos to your favorite tracks, or ripping your DVD collection, the download feature is well stacked up and more than capable of fulfilling any user needs. The overall software quality is excellent as is the bevy of features included; Synology has done well in this category and captures our praise. In the area of performance the DS1010+ sneaks past the ReadyNAS NVX and falls just short of the ReadyNAS PRO by a whisker. The DS1010+ will appease small to medium business owners as the back features are plenty and most capable of storing and providing redundancy for any data requirement. The 3 year product warranty is a refreshing welcome, particularly as all the other Taiwanese compatriots can only muster up 1 and 2 year terms. Synology has obviously understood the value of a serious user that wants a solution with good quality and features that will suffice, ease of use, and a sensible warranty period. The Synology just missed our performance award by a fraction being slightly slower than the Thecus N5500.