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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  • ganeshts - Friday, June 14, 2013 - link

    Yes, you can add the DX510 expansion chassis via the eSATA ports and get a total of (5 + 5) 10 more bays. That is why you have the 18 in the DS1812+ :)
  • Peroxyde - Friday, June 14, 2013 - link

    @name99 the USB/eSATA ports allow to make a backup of the NAS on external drives or may be dump content on your NAS. They are not to extend the capacity of your NAS.
  • name99 - Friday, June 14, 2013 - link

    OK. Thanks.
    Again to me seems a strange use case which can easily be duplicated just by uing one of the client machines, but I guess when you're selling something costing a $K you try to add in any random thing you can think of to make it appear worth the money.
  • don_k - Friday, June 14, 2013 - link

    Your NFS numbers seem way too low compared to the CIFS numbers. Might want to drop the 'tcp' from the options, is the most likely culprit. NFS defaults to udp, not sure why you're changing that.
  • ganeshts - Friday, June 14, 2013 - link

    I see a number of vociferous comments about how a ZFS build / building your own NAS will offer better performance and how Synology (or, for that matter, any other vendor's off-the-shelf NAS offering) is just too costly. Let me try to address the issue:

    1. Building your own NAS with a configuration tuned to what you require will obviously be more cost effective and efficient - no doubts about that. Synology and other such solutions are targeted towards SMB / SOHO users who don't have the expertise to build a NAS on their own, or feel that their time is better spent buying a off-the-shelf ready-to-use offering from a vendor. Maybe the IT admin of the SMB has better things to do than sitting down and building a PC and installing the appropriate OS etc. These off-the-shelf NAS units are just plug and play.

    2. Expandability: Units such as the DS1812+ offer the ability to extend the number of bays by providing support for extension units (DX510 has 5 bays and you can attach two of them to the unit). Plug them in and you have a total of 18-bays. Try adding that to your own build (first, you have to make sure the eSATA port you connect the new bays support port multipliers, then you have to spend a lot of time reconfiguring your host OS to recognize and add the new drives in the new bays to your existing array -- these are not impossible things, but just suck up a lot of time)

    3. Features : NAS vendors offer 'app stores' to extend the feature set. For example, I am currently trying out Surveillance Station on the DS1812+ right now. Ready-to-use minutes after installing it. On your PC, you have to set up something like iSpy and spend time making sure it is compatible with all your equipment. Synology becomes a one-stop-shop for such features.

    In summary, yes, if you are tech savvy and have a lot of time at your disposal, you are better off building your own NAS. There is plenty of open source software available to enable such systems (and to be fair, we are working towards evaluating a custom-built NAS for some time). We elect to do extended coverage of NAS units such as the DS1812+ and QNAP TS-EC1279U-RP because a large number of readers are IT admins / IT decision making people at many SMB / SOHO firms, and they are looking for off-the-shelf solutions. The off-the-shelf NAS market is pretty huge, and that is why you have a large number of vendors doing quite well with increasing revnue.. QNAP, Synology, Thecus, Netgear, Iomega / LenovoEMC, Asustor... The list is pretty big..
  • MadHelp - Friday, June 14, 2013 - link

    Thank you for bringing some sense to this one sided thread. Building your own NAS can be done at a lower cost and offer you great benefits. However you will be hard pressed to build something more refined then this unit especially in regards to size and ease of use.
  • bsd228 - Friday, June 14, 2013 - link

    The simplest form - an HP Microserver + Freenas is pretty easy to assemble. Allows for ECC memory and up to 16gb of it too for higher performance. Still is a tiny form factor, low power, low noise. If expandability is the driver, large PC cases and motherboards with PCIX cards will always win. If features matter, a linux install offers faster development and many more.

    I combine them all together - Microserver with 16gb, an SSD for caching, solaris (full install) with virtualbox, Ubuntu in a VM. It's still a lightweight processor (I'd prefer one of the ULV ivy or haswells), but it kills an Atom.

    Companies are flocking to this market because it offers nice margins...like the markup Puget might put on their beautiful systems.
  • MadHelp - Saturday, June 15, 2013 - link

    The Microserver is a great build your own NAS box but it does not stand up to the DS1812+. For one you can only hold 5 3.5" disk max, while the Synology can hold eight and they are all hot swappable. How about warranty/support anyone?

    My opinion is based on owning both types of systems. I just sold my 1511+ + DX510 and I own a OI + Nappit ZFS array. They both have pros and cons. You can almost look at it like a person who's looking to buy a Mac verses a computer nerd who builds all of his boxes. There is a reason why Apple is in business and it's similar to why the Synology, QNAP's and Netgear's are able to sell NAS's.
  • bsd228 - Saturday, June 15, 2013 - link

    Madhelp - the Microserver trivially takes 6 drives and has the PCIX slots to take more externally if you really wanted and needed the capacity. Or you could just buy two of them - with memory and a second NIC they're still only 400 each, compared to the $999 price of this unit bare. Either way, the DS1812+ can't stand up to the cpu, the features offered by zfs, the memory capacity, the overall feature set. And you can certainly get support for the software (not freenas, but WHS, or Nextenta or Solaris, others, and have the usual year warranty for the hardware.

    Synology and the others combine decent software, easy of use for a limited feature set, and barely good enough hardware into a package. IOW, one out of 3.
  • MadHelp - Sunday, June 16, 2013 - link

    6 hot swappable drives? I don't think so. WHS is discontinued and all of those other Solaris based products you listed cost thousands of dollars to buy and support. You might get more CPU and the ability to add more ram to a Microserver box but whats the result? For a storage box it's still going to be slower then a DS1812+ in regards to throughput. In fact while the reviewer dismiss the new DS1813+ it now can deliver 350MB/s reads and 200MB/s writes to the network. I've never see anything close to that from a Microserver, point being its in another class. You guys might complain about the cost but you get what you pay for.

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