Unboxing and Setup Impressions

The Synology DS1812+ package weighs in at 14 lbs (approx. 6.3 Kgs), with the diskless unit coming in at 11.5 lbs (5.1 Kgs). The unit has a built-in PSU and has a desktop form factor with dimensions of 6.2" x 13.4" x 9.2". Along with the main unit, the package consists of the following components:

  • Quick Install guide
  • Software / Utilities CD
  • AC power cable
  • Two Cat5 cables (3ft each)
  • Two keys for the hard drive bays
  • Screws for mounting the hard drives to the bays

The front face of the unit has 8 vertical bays arranged side-by-side with a power button above the center. Status and alert LEDs are to the left of the power button, while the two network status indicators are to the right. On the rear side, we have two 120mm fans taking up most of the space. To the right of the fans, we have four USB 2.0 ports, one eSATA port and the two RJ-45 GbE ports. To the left, we have one more eSATA port and two USB 3.0 ports along with the the power plug receptacle. We would have like some of the ports in the front side of the chassis for easier access. The SD card slots are unfortunately relegated to the entry-level versions only and noneis available on the DS1812+ (perfectly acceptable, given the target market).

On the software side, the Disk Station Manager (DSM 4.2) is a joy to use. A lot of flexibility is provided, along with a number of interesting features. The downside is that it might be overwhelming for some consumers. SSH access is available. This provides us an avenue to get information about the unit without a full-length teardown.

Synology provides support for Disk Groups (a collection of hard drives in the NAS). Each Disk Group can be configured in either SHR (Synology Hybrid RAID - an automatic RAID management feature providing for single or dual disk failure resiliency) or with a manual RAID level. The available RAID levels for manual configuration are dependent on the number of disks in the disk group. Multiple volumes can be created in a given disk group, but users are forced to use the same RAID level for all the volumes.

An overview of the various setup options and other available features in the firmware are provided in the gallery below.

Introduction Testbed Setup and Testing Methodology
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  • SirGCal - Monday, June 17, 2013 - link

    OK, while you're pulling your many TB down from whatever backup service over your internet connection, also killing your internet pipe, slowing it down for everyone in the process for likely weeks or months to get the pull unless your one of the few on fiber or FIOS, I'd rather not have to repopulate 24-28TB of data from backup in the first place. Good luck with that. While I do keep a backup, it's far better not to need it.
  • Jeff7181 - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    Who sad anything about "cloud" backup? Buy additional high capacity drives and only spin them to perform backups.
  • SirGCal - Sunday, June 16, 2013 - link


    We were finally able to get the Subsonic module loaded and working on it properly and it works fine for music... mostly. But it doesn't have the horsepower to transcode bluray content, even just one viewing, on the fly. I don't know if it's memory or CPU or both but even over the local network (which is disgustingly overkill) it just can't do it. Choppy, stutters, etc. where as mine is smooth and uses ~ 10% CPU or less. I wouldn't think it was that hard on the CPU but... We're still trying to get this to work as it is one of the requirements for him to keep/use this box.
  • name99 - Friday, June 14, 2013 - link

    Forgive me if this is a stupid question, but what's the reason for USB and eSATA ports on a box like this? I understand the basic point of a NAS (as a single box where I can dump a buncha drives and have the HW provide some level of RAID) but how do the USB/eSATA ports play into this?

    Is the idea that, after I have filled this thing up with 8 internal drives but I need still more space, I start adding drives via the external ports?
  • SirGCal - Friday, June 14, 2013 - link

    There are ways to extend the array, but honestly it becomes a point where the most reliable way becomes to buy or build another array. Doing it as a server in box, you can do 8/12/16/24 drive configurations... This stand alone is the first 8 box setup I've seen aside from rack servers which obviously are true rigs costing a LOT more.
  • name99 - Friday, June 14, 2013 - link

    You don't need to convince me. I've built my storage around 5-yr old Macs connected to a bunch of 5-yr old drives using Apple RAID and AFP. Maybe not the right solution for everyone, but meets my needs, and basically free.

    But that's not the point. My question remains. For the people who ARE the target for this sort of device, what's the point of the USB/eSATA parts. Our reviewer, for example, wanted USB ports in front of the box. Why? What would he do with them?
  • SirGCal - Friday, June 14, 2013 - link

    Sorry, According to their own site, you can use two of their own Synology DS513s to increase the capacity to 18 drives. However 18 drives even as RAID 6 becomes not so hot. 8-12 drives is about my limit. At 16 I make two RAID groups and then one volume for the virtual array cluster to use the data from. Then you have 4 parity drives but much better drive protection crossed the array instead of just 2 drives of parity. That's another discussion though. They sell bigger boxes though that I think actually do this type of configurations though. I'd have to research it though. But even their reported numbers don't show great performance. Still should be OK for most home use.

    If you want to plug in a single drive and just add it as a shared folder, I think it will do that. I can ask my friend to give it a go if he gets home and see if ya like.
  • name99 - Friday, June 14, 2013 - link

    I think I have a feeling now, from what both you and Ganesh have said.

    Seems a strangely limited market, to have an environment that wants so much storage, but no-one is willing to just use one of the machines around to plug a drive into and have it act as a file server. But, I guess, I'm not the target audience.
  • SirGCal - Saturday, June 15, 2013 - link

    Ya, that's the catch. For what it is, it's not bad. But the biggest problem in my eyes is that's all it is. It can't do the "other" things that a server could do such as run the other software packages that my servers do... Or at least we haven't figured out how to make it do so yet. We've been beating the pants off my friends rig trying to make it run something like Subsonic which is a media streaming service to stream your own media files to your self when your offsite. Music and videos... I love it and he was hoping to use it also but isn't getting his Synology box to run anything this complicated yet. In some ways I'm actually a bit surprised since it's just a java daemon. (in windows it's a service). I thought of all my software tools, this one might actually work. And there might be a way, we haven't tried hard yet. Or the other fear is the actual CPU won't be capable of trans-coding on the fly... at least videos. We're pretty sure the software will install, but the Atom's are pretty weak. We'll see.. Worst case I guess, we setup yet another server to feed off it for the streaming. Sort-of defeats the purpose but... If it can't do it...
  • Micke O - Monday, June 17, 2013 - link

    The drives in each DS513 must be it's own volume. No BIG volume with all the drives in the main unit and the expansion units is possible.

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