Why I am moving to a Synology DS1512+

October 17, 2012 at 7:21 pm Leave a comment

I’ve had a ReadyNAS NV+ and currently use a ReadyNAS Pro Pioneer.  The NV+ was a great NAS in its day.  The Pro still is a pretty great NAS.

Right after they came out, I bought a Drobo-FS for one reason.  The ability to mix and match commodity drives.  The big thing it had going for it was the fact that you didn’t need to have Enterprise (READ:EXPENSIVE) drives.  And, you could mix them, a big No-No in the RAID world.

Even my venerable ReadyNAS Pro needed all drives to be identical.  This made for very good performance, but made for costly upgrades.  In my case, I planned for upgrading…  I started with three 750 GB RE3 drives in my Pro, but soon needed more space.  I could have bought 3 more 750 GB space, adding about 2 TB to my array, giving me about 3.5 TB total RAID capacity.  The problem with this approach is when you are upgrading drives (the only way to upgrade once you have reached the maximum number of drives in the Pro), you have to upgrade ALL of the drives in the array.  Thinking ahead, I bought three 2 TB drives  (4 TB of RAID capacity).  The idea was that if I wanted more room, I could just add another drive.  But when that time came, I’m thinking about the same issues that I had when I went from 750 GB drives to 2 TB drives, wondering if I shouldn’t just buy 3 new 3 TB drives instead to preserve some upgrade room.

So, I didn’t keep the Drobo-FS for very long.  The performance was similar to my old NV+, but after using the Pro as my main NAS, waiting on the Drobo-FS seemed almost painful.

Anyhow, I have been mulling over a capacity upgrade for some time, when I recently read about the good performance numbers of the DS1512+.  Looking closer, I found that their SHR (Synology Hybrid Raid) supports mixed drive types, just like the Drobo-FS, but the DS1512+ performance is even faster than the Pro.  I was intrigued.

After using the demo website, I found that the GUI interface is light years ahead of the Netgear product line.  The packages system is what I would have liked to see happened with Netgears “Add-ons”.   Netgear recently put out a press release touting their line of products for video surveillance.  I think they may have gotten the idea from Synology, as they have a very well developed package just for that.

I honestly think that Netgear bought Infrant while they were “on top”, and then Netgear played it safe with the ReadyNAS product, keeping things practically identical from the software perspective, while working on adding to the hardware line-up.  While their product line has expanded, the software has not changed very much, on the surface at least.  Since the ReadyNAS uses software RAID just like the Synology, I would think it should be capable of the same tricks.  Perhaps some future version will, if Netgear has deemed it a valuable feature and invested the time to develop the software to handle those situations.

The Synology supports Link Aggregation and AD integration, two features that weren’t on my Pro Pioneer, which was around 50% more expensive than this Synology.  I believe there is now a “hack” available that lets you enable Link Aggregation on the ReadyNAS.

The DS-1512+ has one great feature the ReadyNAS doesn’t – expansion units…  Plug a cable from a DS-1512+ into up to two of their expansion units and suddenly you could have a 15 drive array.    Not that I think I’ll ever need that level of expansion, but if I do, it’s there.

According to what I’ve read online, these are very solid units (in terms of recovery).  With the mixed media ability (even mix between 2.5 inch and 3.5 inch drives!), this Synology unit should take care of my data for the next 4-5 years with no problem…

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NAS move almost complete Time Machine on a Synology NAS

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