Synology DiskStation DS715 2-Bay Value NAS Review

Introduction


It has been a while since I had the pleasure to review a Synology NAS which makes it even more of a pleasure to take the brand new Synology DiskStation DS715 2-bay NAS for a spin. And while it does look ordinary on the first glance, I can tell you it isn’t.

The DS715 is an expandable NAS server, equipped with a powerful quad-core processor with hardware encryption engine and the ability to expand up to 7 drives thanks to the optional expansion unit. You can’t just expand it with extra bays, you can also connect it with Synology’s High Availability (SHA) technology that combines active and passive servers into one cluster.

The DS715 looks to be a perfect balance between performance, features, and value – so let us take a closer look at it.

The Synology DS715 is built around the Annapurna Labs Alpine AL-314 quad-core processor with 1.4GHz. We’ve previously seen a great performance from just this chip in the DS1515 NAS. The CPU has both hardware encryption engine and floating point unit.

The DS715 comes with 2GB DDR3 memory and the drive bays support hot swapping as it has to be. The unit is rated for 16TB raw capacity on its own, but that limitation only exists based on the drives currently available. Nothing should block you from using 10TB or bigger drives ones they become available.

If that still isn’t enough for you, then you’ll just expand the NAS with the DX513 five-bay expansion unit. It gives additional storage on the fly while being supported as if they were internal drives. You can easily expand your overall raw capacity to 56TB with 8TB drives.

The two Gigabit Ethernet ports ensure the connectivity to your network. You can set seven modes of failover and link aggregation depending on your switching setup and need for redundancy and increased throughput. 802.3ad dynamic setup is just one of the available, but probably the most important of the modes.

The addition of an eSATA port is something I love to see and it is my personal preferred method of connecting external storage. It is also the method of connecting the aforementioned DX513 expansion unit. The two USB 3.0 ports allows you to connect other storage drives, printers, or cameras.

The drive trays are tool and screwless, at least for 3.5-inch drives. If you wish to use the NAS with 2.5-inch drives, then you’ll need the included screws to mount them. Otherwise you just pull off the sides on the tray, place the hard disk inside and put them back. All done. Slide the trays back into your NAS and get started. Plug and Play.

Synology’s operating system is called DiskStationa Manager (DSM) and it is now in version 5.2. It is a really robust system that is easy to use and one that brings plenty of features. It also has built-in NVR server, capable of hosting up to 30 IP cameras (900 FPS @ 720p). Two camera licenses are included and more will have to be purchased separately.

Windows AD, LDAP, and Domain Trust allow for seamless account integration with the rest of your equipment and also feature user home folders and Windows ACL. It doesn’t really matter how you want to connect it, you can.

The DS715 also comes with support for Synology Central Management System (CMS). CMS offers both flexibility and convenience for administrators, allowing them to manage all systems from a single point.

File sharing works with all major system, may it be Linux, Windows, or Mac OS. Included protocols are FTP, SMB2, AFP, NFS and WebDAV among others.

The Cloud Station allows for easy backup from all your system to the DS715 NAS and it also supports Rsync, backup to external drives, other NAS devices, or public cloud offerings.

A minor thing, but one that I love, is that Synology included two RJ45 LAN cables with this unit. An LAN cable doesn’t cost much and it is really annoying to get a unit as cool as this and then have to head out again to get an LAN cable so you can setup your link aggregation. Not so here, everything you need to get started, except the hard drives, is included.

Synology Released Three New NAS Units

 

Synology has just released not one and not two new NAS, they went for a while three while at it. The first new unit is a refresh of an older model and the DS215+ replaces the DS214+ with a new and improved dual-core processor and hardware encryption for up to 80% faster reading and 50% faster writing operations. The DS215+ comes with two Gigabit ethernet LAN ports and 1GB RAM.

The DS715 on the other hand is a brand new unit, and what a unit it is. It is packed in the same beautiful packaging as the DS215+ but has another interior design. The DS715 is equipped with a quad-core CPU with hardware encryption and comes with 2GB RAM. Two gigabit ethernet ports connect the unit to your network and you can expand it with the DX513 unit for up to 7 drives.

The DS715 also supports Synology High Availability (SHA) which ensures a seamless transition between clustered servers in the event of a server failure.

Both the DS215+ and DS715 are backed by a two-year limited warranty and are available now for an MSRP of £252 and £306 respectively. We will have a review of both these units ready for you very shortly, so check back for more. You won’t be disappointed.

The third new unit is designed for enterprises and it is a beauty. The RC1801xs+ together with the RXD1215sas expansion unit provide a great base for your company’s storage needs.

“For today’s businesses, maintaining server uptime is the key to ensuring maximum productivity and minimised costs. The high-availability cluster design of RC18015xs+ and RXD1215sas is the ideal storage solution for enterprises seeking nonstop business continuity, scalability, and comprehensive data protection tools,” said Michael Wang, Product Manager at Synology Inc.

The high availability cluster design combines two computing servers and multiple storage units into a single high-availability cluster. You can scale the unit up to 180 drives and a maximum raw storage capacity beyond 1PB with superior performance. With over 2.270MB/s throughput, 355K IOPS, 8GB ECC RAM (upgradeable), PCIe slot for a 10GbE card and more, you get an impressive system.

Synology RC18015xs+ and RXD1215sas are now shipping globally. While they are separate units, they aren’t intended to work alone but as a high-availability cluster. Two RC18015xs+ and at least one RXD1215sas expansion unit are required to operate normally.

The RC18015xs+ comes with an MSRP of £2802 and the RXD1215sas with £2400, so it won’t be a cheap setup – but it is one that will be worth it.

Synology Displays New NAS Units at Computex

Computex 2015 – We’ve seen the new Router from Synology already, but it wouldn’t be an NAS manufacturer if they didn’t bring those devices along too.

On display is the DS216se, a budget friendly NAS server perfect for home and personal use. The two-bay NAS unit allows for easy drive mirroring, network sharing and it is also DLNA certified for streaming to your TV, consoles and set-top boxes.

Moving up the scale a bit and we get to the DS215+, an NAS unit designed for Small and Medium Businesses. It delivers great performance up to 209MB/s reading and 139MB/s writing thanks to the dual-core CPU and dual-LAN ports with link aggregation and failover support.

You also get USB 3.0 and eSATA ports along to connect extra external storage including the Synology DX513 expansion unit.

The DiskSTation DS715 is a completely new unit and doesn’t succeed any previous units. It is built around a powerful quad-core 1.4GHz CPU that offers hardware encryption engine.

The DS715 SMB NAS comes with 2GB RAM and can deliver a great performance with up to 205.5MB/s reading and 77.62MB/s writing.

The dual LAN ports support failover and link aggregation as they’re supposed to and you can expand the unit with 5 more drives using Synology’s DX513 expansion unit.

Enterprise users are also covered well by Synology’s lineup, especially with their rack units. The RC18015xs+ for example brings a quad-core processor, up to 32GB RAM as well as advanced snapshot technology for flexible point-in-time data backup and recovery.

The RXD1215sas is a high-redundancy expansion unit offering dual high-speed 6Gb/s SAS modules and allows for stacking with up to 15 units for a total of 180 drives.