Review: Synology DS1010+

Our score: 5/5
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September 17, 2010 2:52 PM
43 want this Me too!
 
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Published: September 14, 2010 11:00 PM
By Vincent Lheur
Translated by: Catherine Barraclough
Today we're testing the Synology DS1010+, a five-bay network attached storage server that's packed with plenty of extra functions. It could prove a serious competitor for the Data Robotics Drobo FS and Lime Technology unRAID systems we've also tested recently.

Design & Hardware

The DS1010+ comes in a pretty imposing cardboard box, with 32 x 34 x 38 cm of packaging protecting an NAS that's actually quite compact, especially considering it has five bays that can house either 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch HDDs. It's just a shame that the bays are made from plastic and that the drives have to be screw-mounted in place. The Drobo FS is better-designed in this respect, but can only house 3.5-inch drives, as an adapter is required to fit it with 2.5-inch models. The DS1010+ can be used with both sizes of drive with no adapter required, but you will have to fiddle around with screws in order to fix them in place. In fact, this is probably the only real downside in its design, as we otherwise found this NAS to be a real gem (see below).
 
There's a good selection of connections at the rear, with four USB ports, two Gigabit Ethernet ports (for bandwidth aggregation) and an eSATA port. The eSATA port can be hooked up to a DX510 module to add five more bays to the five already inside the DS1010+. That means you can up the storage space to 20 TB! This, however, will work out to be quite pricey, as the DX510 module is almost as expensive as a whole new NAS. You may also have spotted a Sub-D 15 (VGA) port in the picture above, but this isn't operational.

The power transformer block is built directly into the casing, so a simple power cable is all that's needed to hook the DS1010+ up to the mains. Plus, there'll be no bulky transformer block hanging around on your desk or on the floor.

Two 8 cm fans help keep the hard drives cool. Fan speeds can also be set to adjust automatically in relation to the internal temperature, with both 2.5-inch HDD and 3.5-inch HDD modes to choose from for greater cooling efficiency. The 3.5-inch mode is slightly noisier but not too much to be a serious problem.
 

Set-up

There's no way round using the Synology Assistant software to install this NAS, at least for initial set-up. It's this software that detects the NAS in the network, and which sets it up for initial use. The drives are then formatted and loaded with the operating system. From then on, no software or specific application is required for general admin or for day-to-day use of the system. In fact, all the administrator needs is a web browser.

Installing drives when you first set up the system can take several hours. However, once the system's up and running and the drives start to get full, adding extra HDDs doesn't slow the system down. In fact, previously installed drives remain operational while the new drives are installed.

You can manage your storage space with classic set-ups like RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10 and JBOD, as well as the recently developed SHR (Synology Hybrid RAID), which basically makes any other version of RAID completely obsolete. Similarly to Lime Technology's unRAID or Data Robotics' Beyond RAID, the SHR system allows you to pool drives of various capacities, making it easier to replace drives several months or years down the line, or as and when your storage needs grow. What's more, with the SHR system, almost the entire drive capacity is available for use, whereas classic RAID set-ups align drive capacities with the smallest HDD in the system.

Performances

The DS1010+ performances are simply out of this world. All the NAS we've tested to date have shown performances that can vary greatly from one test to another (read speeds, write speeds, average-sized files, large files etc.). Here though, performances are quite simply excellent in each and every field. Speeds rarely drop under 60 MBps and are generally around 70 to 80 MBps.
 
Performances measured in SHR with two 150 GB WD VelociRaptor hard drives..

It goes without saying that a Gigabit connection is indispensable to get the very best out of this NAS, and in such conditions, working with this NAS feels almost like working with a PC's internal HDD.

Handling & Functions

The good news doesn't stop there either. We tested the DS1010+ with the newest version of its internal software, DSM 3.0, and we can honestly say it's dramatically different to version 2.3. The user interface is now based on a system of windows and icons, and looks a bit like a regular OS. It's also entirely customisable so you can keep the links you find most useful and do away with the rest.
A file browser system is used to copy or move files and folders quickly and easily. You can even move items between two shared folders and, most impressively, it's almost instantaneous. Other NAS don't seem able to manage this function quite so well, as they associate different shared folders with specific virtual readers, making them impossible to move. You therefore have to copy and paste then delete the file or folder, which takes much longer, and can take hours when moving several hundred GB. Here, a similar operation takes just a few seconds. Plus, this function has been very well integrated into the DSM 3.0 interface.
Other new features in DSM 3.0 include multitasking in the online management interface, the availability of iPhone and Android applications, Surveillance Station 5, IPv6 support and much, much more.
 

At the time of writing, DSM 3.0 is still only available in a beta version, but it's already perfectly functional and we didn't notice any bugs in it at all. It's already available on the Synology website, but you do have to register on the site before you can download it.

Otherwise, you'll find all the functions that were already present in version 2.3 of DSM, including a multimedia server, photo server, audio server, video surveillance, FTP server, Bit Torrent client with programmable operation times, recycle bin, programmable on/off times, print sever, TimeMachine server for Mac etc. Take a look at our test of the Synology DS209 for more information on version 2.3.
 
5/5 Synology DS1010+ DigitalVersus 2010-09-15 00:00:00

Pros

  • Excellent performances that almost saturate the Gigabit interface
  • Synology Hybrid Raid makes adding/removing capacity easy
  • Very good admin interface
  • Plenty of integrated functions with more available to download
  • Built-in power transformer

Cons

  • This kind of NAS should really have screw-free drive mounting and metal bays

Conclusion

The DS1010+ is almost perfect. Although it sells for the same price as the Drobo FS, it offers better performances and a greater range of functions.

OUR SCORE 5/5
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