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NAS Reviews

Performance

It’s not often that you get the chance to say that the device you’re reviewing tops our performance charts.  Yet, that is the case with the DS508.  In both the 1000 Mbps RAID 5 large file read and large file write performance tests, the DS508 topped the performance charts with average performance of 40.2 MB/s and 40.1 MB/s respectively. 

Figures 16 and 17 show a throughput vs. file size comparison of the current top four RAID 5 performers with a gigabit LAN connection in our NAS Charts: the DS508, Iomega StorCenter Pro 200rL (rackmount) [reviewed], Thecus 1U4500 (rackmount) [reviewed] and Thecus N5200 [reviewed].

RAID 5 Write performance comparison - 1000 Mbps LAN connection

Figure 16: RAID 5 Write performance comparison - 1000 Mbps LAN connection

Actually, all of these products are similar in write performance, with the DS508 getting a boost in its average performance over these filesizes with its higher performance with the 32 and 64 MB files.

Figure 17 shows more of a spread in read performance, with the DS508 once again edging out the others at smaller file sizes.

RAID 5 Read performance comparison - 1000 Mbps LAN connection

Figure 17: RAID 5 Read performance comparison - 1000 Mbps LAN connection

Of course, you can run your own comparisons using the interactive NAS charts.

Closing Thoughts

One of the challenges of upgrading a product is not to break anything, and, of course, to add new features and improve performance.  Synology gets high marks on all points for its upgrade of the user interface to the new DSM 2.0 and transition to a Freescale MPC8543 CPU from the Marvell 5281 that powers Synology's previous top-of-the-line CS407.

The AJAX based UI is a much needed and well-executed upgrade.  And the fact that Synology is providing the UI upgrade for products dating back to 2006 shows that they support customers with legacy products. 

I, for one, was thrilled that my DS107+ now has the new UI and the Surveillance Station feature.  The Surveillance Station is a great new feature, and one that sets it apart from other NAS products. 

The main downside is that Synology is charging a premium price for the DS508's feature set and performance. This should come as no surprise, as it continues the model that the company has set with its other products.

For about the same amount of money, you could buy a 2TB 4-drive TeraStation from Buffalo or put together your own server, with drives and an open source distro. But the Buffalo's feature set pales by comparison with Synology's and you might not be up for the, uh, fun of rolling your own server and equipping it with an equivalent set of features.

Instead, Synology does it all for you and, when you think of it as an alternative to that Windows server you may have been thinking of upgrading or retiring, the price doesn't seem that bad.

Yes, the DS508 is the complete package.  It has all of the features you could want, with a slick, new, responsive interface and performance that tops the charts. Such a deal, no?

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