February 15, 2010, 7:40 PM — I continue to be very impressed with Synology's small business storage products, and the new DS1010+ is no exception. In fact, it elevates my opinion even more. This feature-packed, speedy, and remarkably affordable five-bay storage array supports just about every file sharing protocol available, can scale up to 20TB of raw storage, can be expanded on the fly, and has a great GUI. It can be purchased for $1,750 with 5TB of raw storage, and it can push 100MBps streaming writes and 110MBps streaming reads. Sure, it's not an enterprise-class device, but look at the price. What's not to love?
I've used several of Synology's small storage arrays over the past few years, namely the CS409 and the DS509+, and they have shouldered their load in the lab for long periods of time without a whimper. The Web-based GUI is better than just about every enterprise-level storage management app, and offers a staggering array of services. Not only that, but since Synology's OS is built on an open platform, there's a whole community gathered around adding even more functionality to that already beefy list. If Synology doesn't already support something, chances are that it can with an application of some elbow grease.
However, throughput wasn't the strong suit of these devices. They use Linux software RAID, and previous incarnations of the small-business-focused arrays had a somewhat anemic CPU, rendering the boxes quite usable for general-purpose storage, but with roughly 35MBps writes, not really applicable to heavier tasks. All that changed with the DS1010+.
The DS509+, forerunner to the DS1010+, ran with a 1GHz ARM CPU and 1GB RAM. The DS1010+ runs a dual-core 1.66GHz Intel Atom CPU with up to 3GB of user-upgradable RAM, which changes the game completely. Whereas the DS509+ could push 35MBps streaming writes, the DS1010+ hits over 100MBps over NFS from the same host. That's impressive all by itself, but to get that kind of performance on a five-spindle array that costs less than $1,000 (without disk) is amazing. In fact, a pre-packaged 5TB DS1010+ runs only $1,750. When configured in a normal RAID5, that's 3.6TB of fast, usable space for very little money, and the array maxes out at a whopping 20TB with the expansion unit.