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NAS Reviews

Features

Synology uses a common operating system for all its NASes. I did a full review when DSM 5.0 was released a little over a year ago. Synology has since upgraded DSM several times, and the version used for this test is 5.2-5592 Update 4.

A list of DSM 5.2's updated features can be found here. Unfortunately, the link that used to take you to a live demo of DSM now takes you to a page full of tutorials. While there are lots of tutorials that contain good information, there's nothing like a live demo that lets you play with some of the features and explore the UI.

Synology DSM 5.2 Landing page

Synology DSM 5.2 Landing page

Since there's no live demo to try out, I created a couple of screenshots on a Synology NAS currently running in my office. It has been upgraded to the same firmware as tested.

Synology DSM 5.2 Control Panel

Synology DSM 5.2 Control Panel

Performance

Firmware version 5.2-5592 Update 4 was loaded onto the DS2015xs and performance tests were run using the Revision 5 NAS test process. All tests were run using four SNB-supplied Western Digital Red 3 TB (WD30EFRX) drives.

I filtered the NAS charts for the latest testing method (black bars) and RAID5. The composite image below shows the benchmark results for File Copy Write Performance (left) and File Copy Read Performance (right). For many NASes, performance is limited not by the ability of the NAS to handle a heavy load, but rather the limit of Gigabit Ethernet and a single client.

Many of the test results for File Copy Read and Write were between 109 and 110 MB/s - about the maximum you can achieve with Gigabit Ethernet. For File Copy Write, the DS2015, at 109.7 MB/s was just a very small percentage behind the chart topping 110.1 MB/s. For File Copy Read, the DS2015xs performance was 106.2 MB/s compared to the fastest throughput of 110.1 MB/s. Keep in mind we treat results within 5% of each other as equal for ranking purposes. So there is really no significant difference among products with results in the 105 - 110 MB/s range.

File Copy Write and File Copy Read  benchmarks filtered for RAID5 and Revision 5 testing methodology

File Copy Write and File Copy Read benchmarks filtered for RAID5 and Revision 5 testing methodology

You can tell a lot more about performance by looking at the individual test results shown in each product's Benchmark Summary. For these comparisons, I've created two composite images that show the summaries for the Synology DS2015xs and the QNAP TVS-471-i3-4G. The first image shows the test results using a Gigabit Ethernet connection. The second chart shows test results using a 10GbE connection. We'll compare Gigabit Ethernet connected results first.

For File Copy Write and Read, both products had similar performance, except the QNAP had lower throughput for RAID 0 and RAID 10 File Copy Read tests. In general, the DS2015xs performed better on the NASPT HD Playback & record, NASPT 4x HD Playback and NASPT File Copy To NAS and NASPT File Copy From NAS tests for all RAID levels.

The TVS-471 tended to have better performance for NASPT directory copy to/from NAS, Office Productivity and Content Creation. The QNAP also outperformed the Synology for USB backup for all three file systems (FAT, NTFS and EXT3) as well as iSCSI read and write tests. The DS2015xs was significantly faster for Network Backup.

Benchmark Summaries for the DS2015xs and TVS-471-i3-4g using a Gigabit connection

Benchmark Summaries for the DS2015xs and TVS-471-i3-4g using a Gigabit connection

Removing the limitations of Gigabit Ethernet by using a 10 Gigabit Ethernet LAN connection, you can start to draw better conclusions about performance. The image below shows benchmark summaries for the Synology DS2015xs (left) and the QNAP TVS-471-i3-4G (right) using a 10GbE connection. In general, 10GbE results trends tended to follow Gigabit results.

For example, the QNAP tended to outperform the Synology for NASPT Directory copy to/from NAS tests as well as Content Creation. In some tests, however, the results were magnified by the faster connection. For example, the QNAP had about twice the iSCSI throughput as the Synology for both read and write tests.

Benchmark Summaries for the DS2015xs and TVS-471-i3-4g using a 10GbE connection

Benchmark Summaries for the DS2015xs and TVS-471-i3-4g using a 10GbE connection

Table 1 summarizes File Copy benchmarks for RAID 0, 5 and 10 with Gigabit and 10GbE connections so you can see the difference the 10 GbE connection makes.

Gigabit10 Gigabit% Faster
File Copy Write RAID 0109.7359.6228%
File Copy Write RAID 5108.1339.3214%
File Copy Write RAID 10109.3282.1158%
File Copy Read RAID 0106.2477.3349%
File Copy Read RAID 5108.1352.7226%
File Copy Read RAID 10108.5287.9165%
Table 1: Synology DS2015xs Performance comparison for Write and Read performance with Gigabit and 10 Gigabit connections. (MB/s)

We don't include 10GbE results in the NAS Rankings because not all products support it. And because we don't have many 10GbE products in the Charts, we don't have a separate Ranker for them. So to provide an idea of the DS2015xs' relative 10GbE performance, I updated the chart from the TVS-471 review that shows 10GbE File Copy Write and Read results for all RAID levels. We now have six products that have been tested with 10 GbE. Note we went back and got 10GbE results for the TVS-463 that were not in the review, by using the same QNAP 10GbE adapter used in the TVS-471.

NETGEAR's ReadyNAS 716 still tops the charts for RAID 0 and RAID 10 for both File Copy Write and File Copy Read performance. Note that for both RAID 0 and RAID 10, File Copy Read performance is significantly faster than the second fastest NAS. For RAID 0 File Copy Read performance, the DS2015xs grabbed second place with 477.3 MB/s. It also turned in the fastest File Copy Read performance for RAID 5. Surprisingly, the ReadyNAS 716 had the poorest performance for RAID 5 File Copy Write and Read.

10GbE File Copy Performance comparison

10GbE File Copy Performance comparison

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