Synology DiskStation DS1513+ review

£630
Price when reviewed

Synology’s DiskStation DS1513+ is a compact NAS appliance that’s jam-packed with connectivity. It’s the first desktop model we’ve seen to offer four Gigabit ports, and it also crams in two USB 3, four USB 2 and two eSATA ports.

Synology DiskStation DS1513+ review

You can use the eSATA ports to add two of Synology’s DX513 five-bay expansion units. These push the total capacity to 60TB, and volume expansion makes it possible to expand existing RAID arrays onto any new disks.

Disk loading is totally tool-free: the hot-swap trays have plastic clips down each side that snap into the hard disk screw holes. We had no problems with the trays, and for testing we popped in three 3TB WD Red SATA drives.

First-time installation is easier than ever, since you no longer need to use the Finder utility: just point a browser at a URL and it will discover the new appliance and download and apply the latest firmware.

It will also create a Hybrid RAID array from all the available drives, which, unlike standard RAID, allows you to mix drives of different sizes and makes in the same RAID array.

Synology’s latest DSM 4.2 firmware adds even more features to the list, a key one being that you can now designate a hard disk as a global hot spare to be grabbed automatically if an array member fails.

Enabling the advanced features during iSCSI LUN creation brings snapshots into play for point-in-time, read-only copies. The snapshot manager provides a list of all available snapshots, and you can either restore the snapshots back to the original LUN or use them to clone a new one.

Synology DiskStation DS1513+

A task scheduler can be used to regularly run your own scripts, periodically empty the recycle bin for selected shares, control specific services or just make the appliance beep. It also manages the new disk storage reports, which provide a wealth of information about drive and quota usage, volumes, folders, files and owners.

Remote access security is even tougher, too, with the two-step authentication system now requiring users to enter a unique six-digit, one-time code as well as their password. You’ll need a third-party app; the DS1513+ supports a wide range, including Google Authenticator.

Performance via a Gigabit connection is top-notch. Iometer reported raw read and write rates of 113MB/sec for a network share, and using a Dell PowerEdge R515 server loaded with Windows Server 2012 we saw drag-and-drop copies of a 2.52GB video clip return fast read and write speeds of 105MB/sec.

FTP operations were equally nippy, with FileZilla reporting upload and download rates of 108MB/sec. General backup operations aren’t likely to be an issue, either, since our 22.4GB mix of 10,500 small files copied to a share at 72MB/sec.

To test maximum speed, we connected four Windows servers and gave them a dedicated Gigabit port and network share on the same RAID array.
Iometer recorded a cumulative raw read throughput of 430MB/sec, so Synology’s claim of 350MB/sec for a four-port aggregated link looks more than achievable.

Overall, we can’t find fault with the DS1513+. Performance is good across the board, and with a diskless model priced at £525, Synology has put together a great-value package. At this price, you won’t find a better-specified storage appliance – the DS1513+ is the top choice for small businesses.

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