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NAS Reviews

Performance

Firmware version DSM 6.1.1-15101 was loaded onto the DS1517+ and performance tests were run using the Revision 5 NAS test process. All tests were run using Western Digital Red 1 TB (WD10EFRX) (x4 SNB supplied).

Synology shipped the NAS with three 8 TB Seagate IronWolf NAS drives (ST8000VN0022). For consistency with other tested NASes, we removed those drives and replaced them with our standard four Western Digital Red 1 TB (WD10EFRX) drives. However, as the Synology DSM 6.1 data sheet indicates, the DSM Storage Manager now supports Seagate's IronWolf Health Management.

Other testing notes:

  • We ran the 10 GbE Performance tests using our standard 10Gtek x520DAI card with the Intel 3.9.58.9101 driver.
  • The default BTRFS filesystem was used for all volume builds. EXT 4 is also supported.
  • Backup has been removed from the base OS. Hyper Backup was installed from the Synology Package Center and used for the network (rsync) and attached backup tests. The Local Data Copy and Remote Data Copy options were used, not the "Local shared folder & External Storage" and "Remote rsync Server". Testing showed using the latter options drastically reduced backup speed.

As we've pointed out in many reviews, NAS performance is often limited not by the ability of the NAS to handle a heavy load, but rather the limit of Gigabit Ethernet and a single client. Both of the quad-core NASes used in this comparison are able to easily saturate a single Gigabit Ethernet client connection with File Copy Read and Write tests results between 109 and 110 MB/s. If you want to break the 1-gigabit barrier, you need to use multiple clients, enable link aggregation on the NAS ports and connect through a switch that also supports link aggregation. Or you need to move to 10 GbE. Although 10 GbE will cost more for both NAS and client, this method supports higher throughput with a single client with no link aggregation required. So we'll focus our performance review on 10 GbE performance.

Performance - 10 GbE

To get a feel for how the eight 10 GbE products in our charts performed, I created a chart for 10 GbE RAID 5 File Copy Write and 10 GbE RAID 5 File Copy read. For RAID 5 File Copy Write, the DS1517+ was second behind the Thecus N7770-10G. It was 37.8 MB/s slower than the Thecus, but was 81.4 MB/s faster than the number six TS-563-8G. As we've seen in other 10 GbE reviews, for RAID 5 File Copy Read, the QNAP TS-563-8G outperformed all other NASes by a significant amount.

10 GbE RAID 5 File Copy Write and File Copy Read comaprisons

10 GbE RAID 5 File Copy Write and File Copy Read comparisons

The benchmark summary composite chart below shows only 10 GbE test results run using a single 10 GbE client. If you want to see the complete results including the Gigabit Ethernet tests, you can click here for the DS1517+ or here for TS-563-8G results.

Looking at the chart, you can see that for File Copy Write performance, the Synology DS1517+ outperformed the TS-563-8G for RAID 5 and RAID 10. But for File Copy Read, the TS563-8X has the highest throughput we've seen and outperformed the DS1517+ for all RAID levels tested. In general, the both NASes turned in similar scores on the NASPT tests with the Synology having a slight edge for write-related tests, and the QNAP having an edge for read-related tests.

10 GbE Benchmark Summary Comparison

Benchmark Summary Comparison - 10 GbE

Starting with the previous review of the QNAP TS-431X, the NAS Ranker has a new RAID5 10 GbE class. Prior to that review, the NAS Ranker did not take into account 10 GbE performance. The NAS Ranker now takes 10 GbE performance into consideration when calculating NAS Ranks.

Since there are only eight NASes that have been tested with 10 GbE, I decided to leave the results sorted by Rank. The NAS Ranker shows that the Synology DS1517+ has grabbed our #1 ranking knocking the previous #1 ranked NETGEAR RN626X down to #2.

Ranker Performance comparison - 10 GbE

Ranker Performance comparison - 10 GbE

Turning to the Ranker Performance Summary, you'll find that there's lots of data in the composite chart below. Looking first at the Gigabit Ethernet results near the top of the chart, the Synology DS1517+ outperformed the TS-583-8G in every category.

For the 10 GbE category rankings, the Synology DS1517+ had category wins for the10 GbE Write and Mixed Read Write categories. The QNAP TS-563-8G, not surprisingly, won the Read category as well as the Video Catetgory. The two NASes tied in the 10 GbE iSCSI category.

Ranker Performance Comparison - 10 GbE

Ranker Performance Comparison - 10 GbE

Closing Thoughts

When deciding which of these products best meets your needs, factors other than performance or price may come into play. As we saw with the 10 GbE Ranker performance summary, each had category performance wins, but none of the wins were by a significant amount. Each win or loss was separated by just one ranking.

For those looking for massive amounts of storage, the TS-563 offers more expansion options and capacity. The TS-563 is compatible with the UX-500P five-bay expansion cabinet or the UX-800P eight-bay expansion cabinet. The TS-563 can support up to two of either bringing the total number of supported bays to 21 or 168TB of raw capacity. The QNAP expansion bays use USB 3.0 to connect. The Synology DS1517+ supports two DX517 five-bay expansion cabinets for a total of 15 bays or 120TB 150 TB of raw capacity with 10 TB drives. The DS1517+ connects to the DX517 expansion cabinets using eSATA.

Both NASes offer expansion via a PCIe slot. The slot on the QNAP NAS is limited to a single or dual port 10 GbE card, and only QNAP's card is compatible with the NAS. Synology has an expanded list of compatible 10 GbE cards as well as a dual M.2 SSD card that supports SSD read-only or read-write caching. Though beyond the scope of our testing, Synology claims that depending on the type of work being done, SSD caching can boost service performance by 2.7X.

Other features buried inside the QNAP QTS or the Synology DSM operating systems might also be the deciding factors that influence your purchase decision such as support for virtualization, ease and management of disk groups and RAID groups and centralized management. For me, the snapshot capability found in the BTRFS file system on the DS1517+ would be a deciding factor in my decision. Based on performance, and especially the strong performance on Gigabit tests, it's easy to see how the DS1517+ is the new #1 Ranked 10 GbE-capable NAS.

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