Synology RS3413xs + enterprise storage review

Synology is strengthening its position in the Enterprise storage market. And if a year ago, RS series storage systems could be perceived as home NAS overgrown in a rack enclosure, today Synology is implementing new technologies and solutions in its products, which allows the company to rob giants such as IBM, HP and Dell. Today we're looking at RS3413xs +, a 10-drive NAS with SSD caching technology, 34 HDD scaling, 10G upgrade and a powerful 4-core processor that promises 400,000 IOPS (2,000 MB/s) read performance. .

Synology RS3413 + - storage system enterprise grade

I would like to say right away that at the time of writing this review, Synology also had a more powerful storage system in its lineup, RS10613xs + with support for SAS and SATA drives, scalable up to 106 drives. In practice, both of these machines are very similar, so if your enterprise needs 420 TB capacity, you can leave the channel and read on.

Advantages in choosing an HDD vendor

Applications Synology RS3413xs + is for companies looking for high performance and high availability of NAS. Most likely these are organizations using virtualization for servers and desktops. These are companies with a developed network infrastructure, without being tied to a specific vendor or manufacturer of server equipment. After all, such a feature of storage systems of A-class companies, as binding to their own hard drives, can actually mean that for a `` branded '' HDD from IBM or HP, you will overpay 2-3 times more than similar Seagate or Hitachi, and the cost of drives for EMC storage systems can run into thousands of dollars. Here you can also use SATA disks of desktop and enterprise class with SATA interface from any manufacturer.

Synology disk enclosures are used to expand storage capacity. One headunit can support up to two high performance expansion enclosures. Plus, Synology software allows you to expand your storage space with iSCSI targets, allowing you to use your existing hardware.

1Gbps and 10Gbps network interfaces

Among NAS manufacturers, Synology has ignored 10G networks for the longest time, and today, along with Thecus and Qnap, offer the optional installation of network controllers with two 10 Gbps ports in its NAS. Today such a controller is quite cheap, less than $ 700, a model with SFP + slots will allow you to connect over long distances via fiber, and today 10 different 2-port controllers from Intel and Emulex are already supported.

In addition, 4 1 Gbps network interfaces with the ability to aggregate channels - this is an opportunity to provide overall server performance at the 4 Gbps level without unnecessary costs for a 10G network.

Network slots and expansion ports Synology RS3413xs +

In total, it turns out that when a dual-port 10G card is installed, the Synology RS3413xs + server will have a total network interface speed of 24 Gbps. If only the processor and disk subsystem can withstand such a load.

SSD caching

Today in the IT industry we are witnessing a boom in solid-state drives, but so far their high cost and low reliability do not fully allow the transition from HDD to SSD. However, more and more SSDs are used to cache the most demanded data, and, first, this technology found application in RAID controllers, then in laptops and desktops, and only now in NAS-ah. To use SSD caching, you need to install a pair of SSDs in RS3413xs +, which are combined into RAID 0 and tied to one volume.

Since Synology uses files to organize iSCSI volumes, SSD caching will work for iSCSI files located on the cached volume.

The process works only for reading from the NAS and accelerates only the disk subsystem (which is natural), without affecting in any way the delays associated with the performance of the network interface or processor. For NAS models with 8GB of storage, Synology recommends using SSD cache with 512GB or less, and when expanding the memory up to 16GB, you can install SSD cache up to 1TB. In any case, it is best to rely on built-in performance monitoring and your own experience. it all depends on the use of your NAS. According to the manufacturer, using caching on SSDs gives a benefit of up to 48%.

SSD caching in Synology RS3413xs +

Structurally, we had to pay for SSD caching with two slots for 3.5-inch hard drives. Considering how often cheap SSDs break, it seems that hot-swapping will not be superfluous for them, although ... it would be wiser to leave space for the SSD somewhere inside the server, even on the motherboard itself.

Extensibility

Today, not every NAS manufacturer produces disk shelves to expand the volume of their devices, relying on the fact that the user will have enough capacity of installed 8-16 disks, and in extreme cases he will be able to buy similar NAS-s and cross them through, for example, the iSCSI protocol. This method is supported by Synology as well, but it is good for 2-4 disk drives, serving 5-10 users. When it comes to dozens of users and dozens of disks, the speeds are different, and the requirements for reliability are also different. Therefore, companies like IBM or Hewlett Packard use simple disk shelves to expand their storage capacity. “Simple” is too loud, usually a disk device with a built-in SAS/SATA expander, powerful cooling system and a power supply. By dividing storage systems into "head units" and "disk shelves", progress has reached the point that the head may not have any disks available to users at all.

Synology RS3413 + with expansion shelves

But we digress. Synology uses different interfaces for storage expansion shelves of different classes: SATA for desktop devices with 5-6 drives and Infiniband for drives with 12 drives or more. RS3413xs + we are considering can expand with two RX1211 (RP) shelves, each with 12 drives. This adds up to 34 disks, and you can calculate the amount of disk space that is supported by the storage system yourself.

An important advantage over other extension methods is that you can do this without interrupting the server. That is, you can add 12 disks at once to an existing partition without formatting it, so if you need to use one huge partition of 34 disks, you won't have any problems with that. Synology Disk Enclosures use a simple design, server-side cooling, and the RX1211RP is equipped with a fault-tolerant power supply.

Today, Synology offers the best options for scaling the number of drives among the low-cost NAS manufacturers. In the best traditions of A-class brands.

True server-side construction

Most low-cost rack-mounted NAS devices use desktop-grade hardware, such as non-ECC memory, a simple CPU fan-cooled cooler, a single power supply, etc. Synology prides itself on the RS3413xs + as a true server by nature. Let's start with the power supply - it uses a hot-swappable dual-module model that allows you to connect the server to two different UPSs and solve any power issues for yourself forever.

Design Synology RS3414xs +

The processor has a heatsink that is blown by system fans, so the failure of one of them is not a problem for the system.

Design Synology RS3414xs +

The fans themselves can be changed without the use of tools, with bare hands, like in the HP Proliant DL380 series. The fans themselves are powerful enough to keep up with cooling electronics and hard drives even if one of them fails.

Design Synology RS3414xs +

As mentioned, Synology RS3413xs + utilizes a server processor and ECC memory for maximum stability (two PC3-12800 CL11 ECC modules from Apacer). The system has 4 memory slots, 2 of which are free, and you can expand your existing 8GB memory up to 32GB. True, you can only feel the benefits of the upgrade if you use additional applications on the server, such as a media server, gallery, web server, etc. To be honest, we were unable to load even 2GB of memory on Synology NAS under test conditions, so 32GB is a huge reserve for the future.

Electronics NAS

True, desktop solutions are used as SATA and Ethernet controllers - a 4-channel SATA Host controller Marvell 88SX7042 in the amount of five pieces (three for internal hard drives and one for each expansion port) and a gigabit network NIC Intel WG82574L with PCI Express 1x interface in the amount of four pieces. In principle, we are already familiar with both solutions from NAS, which have visited our testlab earlier. These are stable controllers, however, without any server functions, such as the TCP Offload Engine, which would be very useful here.

Electronics NAS

What else haven't we said? About the built-in control panel with a segmented text LCD display. It is mounted on a movable hinge on the right side of the case and covers the 2 SSD bays. Thus, it is easier for the administrator to work with the NAS on site, and the valuable space in the 2U case has not been damaged. A similar installation of the LCD screen with buttons is used in its drives by ProWare, although the screen is turned not down, but to the right. On the front panel of DS3412xs +, Synology did not place either USB or SATA ports, although there is space near the LCD screen. This is already a tradition for Synology, although we do not support it.

Hard drive trays

It remains only to note the new design of the hard drive trays, which use both metal and plastic. As is customary now, these trays are compatible with 2.5 "and 3.5" drives and have a clear, easy to understand lock. When installed in a server, the disks do not warp, and it is practically impossible to disable the HDD. And there is more than enough space for stickers, for example, with disk numbers on them.

Hard drive trays

In general, what can you say about the RS3413xs + construction? With this product, Synology declares: "The games are over, and we have a real server here, no worse than IBM, Dell or HP", and the design meets these statements - it provides redundancy for power and cooling, a sufficient number of network interfaces and the ability to install a card expansion, as well as something new - SSD caching technology, which is good because it is software, and you yourself choose the amount of SSD drives to be installed.

Software features

In this review, we will only talk about some of the new functional features of the Synology RS3413xs +, as we have covered them in previous articles.

Video surveillance system

First of all, it is worth mentioning the updated video surveillance program for communicating with IP cameras. A significant part of storage systems of various classes are used to store video archives of surveillance, so Synology is constantly paying attention to finalizing its video server. Model RS3413xs + supports connection of up to 70 IP cameras (only one camera license is included in the kit, the rest are purchased additionally). The recording resolution is set by the Synology RS3413xs + itself and transferred to the camera, so you don't have to worry that so many IP cameras will overwhelm the network with their traffic. Just in case, Synology RS3413xs + can record up to 700fps in 720p or 2100fps in NTSC or PAL.

Video surveillance system

Syslog server is an extremely useful thing for centralized collection of messages from your devices, including the above IP cameras, servers, etc. Synology RS3413xs + allows you to collect logs from different devices in one simple interface with convenient search and sorting. Just imagine - the server can record up to 3,000 events per second. Why is this performance needed? Such performance will allow the service to survive in a distributed attack, for example, by simply brute force passwords for all available services, which, by the way, can be initiated from one laptop.

Blocking brute force attempts

True, the built-in auto-IP-blocking firewall built into the operating system of Synology will quickly overwhelm the search engine.

Synology RS3413xs + can quite seriously be considered as a Web server for a corporate website or various services. You can configure up to 30 hosts with PHP/MySQL support. From the command line, you can configure advanced database and web server options.

Built-in antivirus

Synology RS3413xs + has built-in antivirus with free signature updates. Scanning is quite slow, even when compared to using a desktop PC as a scanner, but these capabilities are more than enough for a scheduled scan on weekends. Considering that the operating system of Synology DSM itself is not susceptible to viruses, scanning can only be useful for protecting Windows clients. I would like to add that Synology RS3413xs + is certified for compatibility with VMware vSphere 5 and Citrix hypervisors, as well as with Windows Server 2008 and 2012.

Testing

Synology storage systems have long overstepped the speed of a gigabit network connection, and today it is difficult to say exactly what the test should be for a file server designed to simultaneously serve dozens of clients on multiple interfaces. Of course, performance here depends on many factors. We can provide you with data on write and read speed in single-user mode using our traditional tests.

Test - Read

Test - Read

Apart from the fact that the interface speed not only becomes a limitation, even when combining two interfaces to use iSCSI MCS, but also leads to a serious error, then we draw your attention to the excellent work with the command queue. The fast processor and large memory allow the storage system to deliver 4K QD32 sequential write speeds, although read speeds are also pleasing to the eye. In fact, this particular test should show that the Synology RS3413xs + is ready to work with a large number of simultaneous requests, and even with a command queue of 32, it is able to maintain a speed equal to that of a gigabit connection.

Conclusions

We can say a lot, but at the time of writing this review, there was no analogue of Synology RS3413xs + on the free market. It may exist somewhere, but does not have the same availability and support as Synology. The developer wanted to aim at the Enterprise sector, and to be honest, in the hardware RS3413xs + deserves to be compared with the products of the A-brands. Benefit, benefit and again benefit, and the more, the more disks you use.

Today RS3413xs + is support for all basic functions and protocols, compatibility with VMWare, Citrix and Windows Server. This is an operating system that has been worked out for years, for which a knowledge base has been developed, there are technical support forums, etc. This is a great solution for when the company uses a heterogeneous infrastructure and is not addicted to the equipment of one vendor.

So far, Synology does not offer instant on-site repair services, 3-hour out-of-service repairs and other advanced service packages, but most likely, this step is not far off.

Mikhail Degtyarev (aka LIKE OFF)
27/12.2012


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