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NAS Reviews

Features

The DS716+ uses the same operating system and has most of the same features as found on all other Synology NASes. Of course, some of the features are hardware dependent and may not be on every model. The current operating system is DSM 5.2.5644 update 2, the version used to test our review unit. When DSM 5.0 was released last year, I wrote a full review of its features.

A list of DSM 5.2's updated features can be found here and you can download the DSM 5.2 User's Guide. Unfortunately, the link that used to take you to a live demo of DSM now takes you to a page full of tutorials. Synology tells us the live demo will be back soon, perhaps when DSM 6.0 exits beta.

The image below is the DS716+' landing page. For illustration purposes, the on-screen widget showing CPU and LAN utilization has been enabled.

Synology DS716+ landing page

Synology DS716+ landing page

The image below is the Synology Storage Manager. What's really important about this image is the filesystem.

Synology DS716+ Storage Manager

Synology DS716+ Storage Manager

The DS716+ is the first Synology we've seen that defaults to the Btrfs filesystem. Most other NASes use the EXT4 filesystem. If you poke around Synology's site, you'll find this white paper detailing some of the features and benefits of Btrfs. While Btrfs has been included in Synology's description of the DSM 6.0 feature set, we were surprised to see it implemented in DSM 5.2 as the default filesystem. Here's Synology's bullet point summary of Btrfs.

Synology's brief description of Btrfs

Synology's brief description of Btrfs

This isn't my first encounter with Btrfs. That was in June 2013 when I reviewed NETGEAR's ReadyNAS OS6. The review included a hands-on section detailing my experience with Btrfs snapshots. While the snapshot feature is not part of this review, I'm assuming it works in a similar fashion on the DS716+.

Performance

DSM 5.2-5644 update 2 firmware was loaded onto the DS716+ and performance tests were run using the Revision 5 NAS test process. All tests were run using Western Digital Red 1 TB (WD10EFRX) drives (x2 SNB supplied). We are not including the Synology DS713+ as part of our performance comparisons because it was tested with the previous, Revision 4 NAS test process, and results would not be directly comparable.

The composite image below shows RAID 0 File Copy Write and File Copy Read performance for two drive NASes tested with the Revision 5 test process. For File Copy Write, the DS716+ turned in 107.6 MB/s which was slightly lower than the chart-topping 110.5 MB/s. For File Copy Read performance, the DS716+ was close to the top of the charts at 108.3 MB/s.

Note that quite a few NASes in both charts cluster between 109 and 110 MB/s. That's about the maximum throughput that you can achieve with single client Gigabit Ethernet testing. And, as Tim has noted in other reviews, performance within 5% of each other is ranked the same. What's important here is the DS716+ is in the top tier and within the 5% tolerance for both tests.

File Copy Write and File Copy Read performance for two drive NASes

File Copy Write and File Copy Read performance for two drive NASes

For this review, I've chosen to compare the DS716+ with two products from ASUSTOR. The AS5102T is priced slightly below the DS716+, and, as shown in the key component summary above, the AS6202T uses the same Braswell Intel Celeron 3150 quad core processor. As noted in the features section of this review, the DS716+ defaults to the Btrfs filesystem. The other two products use EXT4.

The benchmark summaries below show individual test results for each of the three selected products. For all three products, the RAID 0 File Copy Write and Read benchmarks were all within a couple of percentage points of each other and near the maximum throughput of a single Gigabit Ethernet client. However, for RAID 1, the Synology DS716+ File Copy Write (74.3 MB/s) and Read (92/3 MB/s) performance was significantly below the other two products, which each turned in scores well above 100 MB/s on both File Copy Write and Read tests.

While all three products also had similar scores for the NASPT File Copy to NAS and NASPT File Copy from NAS for RAID 0, the DS716+ again had significantly poorer performance than the other two products on both NASPT File Copy tests for RAID 1. The differences in RAID 1 File Copy performance, both for Windows File copy as well as NASPT File are so significant - especially for write operations, that I've highlighted the four tests in red.

The DS716+ lacks USB 2.0 ports, so USB Backup results were reported for only for USB 3.0 for all three supported file types. Both of the ASUSTOR NASes have USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports so results were reported for both interfaces. For USB 3.0 Backup, the DS716+ had the slowest throughput for all three supported file formats. Similarly, for eSATA backup, the DS716+ trailed both ASUSTOR NASes for all formats except for NTFS, where it tied with the AS6202T at 106.3 MB/s. At 52.5 MB/s, the DS716+ also trailed both of the other NASes for network backup. For iSCSI, the AS5102T outperformed both of the other NASes by a significant amount for both write and read operations.

Note: The iSCSI tests were run with the DS716+ configured for RAID1 using the default Btrfs file system.

Benchmark summary comparison

Benchmark summary comparison

Because of the unexpected variances in performance, we re-ran the benchmark tests using the EXT4 file format for both RAID 0 and RAID 1. The table below summarizes those results. The first column of data reflects the performance data that appears in the benchmark summary charts for the DS716+ using the default Btrfs file system. The second column shows the same test results using the EXT4 format. The third column shows the percent difference compared to the default Btrfs results.

  Btrfs (MB/s) EXT4 (MB/s) % Difference Encrypt Btrfs (MB/s) %Difference
File Copy Write Performance 107.6 106.0 -1.5%    
File Copy Read Performance 108.3 102.8 -5.1%    
RAID 1 File Copy Write Performance 74.3 93.7 26.0% 58.1 -21.8%
RAID 1 File Copy Read Performance 92.3 91.5 -0.8% 101.04 9.5%
[NASPT] File Copy To NAS 113.9 116.3 2.1%    
[NASPT] File Copy From NAS 102.5 106.5 3.9%    
[NASPT] Directory Copy To NAS 11.2 13.5 20.4%    
[NASPT] Directory Copy From NAS 12.5 17.2 37.8%    
[NASPT] Content Creation 9.1 12.3 34.7%    
[NASPT] Office Productivity 39.3 55.0 40.0%    
[NASPT] HD Playback & Record 103.1 111.7 8.3%    
[NASPT] 4x HD Playback 107.8 106.6 -1.1%    
[NASPT] RAID 1 File Copy To NAS 82.5 89.4 8.3% 41.29 -50.0%
[NASPT] RAID 1 File Copy From NAS 95.0 100.2 5.4% 98.76 3.9%
[NASPT] RAID 1 Directory Copy To NAS 16.4 17.2 4.9% 6.87 -58.0%
[NASPT] RAID 1 Directory Copy From NAS 17.4 17.5 0.4% 14.88 -14.4%
[NASPT] RAID 1 Content Creation 10.7 10.0 -5.8% 6.1 -42.8%
[NASPT] RAID 1 Office Productivity 48.9 48.4 -1.1% 42.73 -12.6%
[NASPT] RAID 1 HD Playback & Record 100.7 88.8 -11.8% 88.94 -11.7%
[NASPT] RAID 1 4x HD Playback 81.8 79.3 -3.1% 98.48 20.4%
Table 1: Benchmark comparisons between Btrfs and EXT4 file systems

For Windows File copy write and read operations, Btrfs performance was slightly better for RAID 0. Looking at the RAID 1 Windows file copy performance, for write operations, EXT4 was 26% faster than Btrfs. For RAID 1 file copy read, the filesystem didn't seem to have much of an impact as there was less than 1% difference between those results. But if you compare RAID 0 results to RAID 1 results there's a big difference between the two with RAID 1 being significantly slower than RAID 0 for either filesystem. You have similar results for the RAID 0 and RAID 1 NASPT File Copy To NAS and File Copy From NAS results. There's under a 10% difference between performance on those tests within the RAID type being tested, but lower performance for RAID 1 than RAID 0 on corresponding tests.

Interestingly, there were some tests in which the file system did seem to have a big impact. The largest differences were observed for NASPT Directory Copy to NAS (20.4%), NASPT Directory Copy from NAS (37.8%), NASPT Content Creation (34.7%) and NASPT Office Productivity (40%). Significantly smaller percent differences were observed for the corresponding tests for RAID 1.

We also ran tests using an encrypted folder on a Btrfs / RAID 1 volume. Those results, and the corresponding percent difference are show in columns four and five.

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