Synology DiskStation DS1515+ Review

Once upon a time, I used to have a lot of spare time g33king around building low powered networked attached storage (NAS) servers. My favourite combo was FreeNAS running on the HP Microserver. These days I prefer the plug’n’play approach that many of the mainstream NAS manufacturers provide. Up till now, I’ve had the opportunity to explore the various great products from QNAP but as any good reviewer knows, diversity is the key in being able to provide unbiased reviews.

Enter the DiskStation DS1515+, Synology’s 5-disk, quad-core answer to a high performing and low powered NAS for small/medium businesses. The DS1515+ has four gigabit LAN ports capable of link aggregation and can scale up to support 15 drives through the use of eSATA expansion enclosures. With support for the latest 6TB HDDs, that’s a lot of storage for even the heaviest of data users out there.

DS1515+ Front

Synology DS1515+

Specifications

CPUIntel Atom Quad Core 2.4GHz
DRAMDDR3 2 GB (Expandable up to 6 GB)
Hard Disk Drive3.5” or 2.5” SATA(II) X 5 (6TB HDDs supported)
LAN PortGigabit X 4
External PortsUSB 3.0 ports X 4, eSATA X 2
Dimensions (HxWxD)157 x 248 x 233 mm
Networking ProtocolsCIFS, AFP, NFS, FTP, WebDAV, CalDAV, iSCSI, Telnet, SSH, SNMP, VPN (PPTP, OpenVPN™, L2TP)
File SystemInternal: EXT4
External: EXT4, EXT3, FAT, NTFS, HFS+
Directory ServiceWindows AD Integration: Domain Users login via Samba (CIFS)/AFP/FTP/File Station, LDAP Integration
VirtualizationVMware vSphere 5, Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix Ready
Supported ClientsWindows XP onward, Mac OS X 10.5 onward, Ubuntu 9.04 onward

Unboxing

The DS1515+ packaging includes:

  • DS1515+ Unit
  • Power lead
  • 2 x LAN cables (RJ45)
  • Accessory Pack
DS1515+ Box

DS1515+ Box

Inside DS1515+ Box

Inside DS1515+ Box

What's in the box

What’s in the box

The front feels professional and elegant with the subtle black curves in the design. There is easy access to the five hot swappable drives through the tool-less drive trays in the front. Each tray can be individually locked for additional security.

DS1515+ Front

DS1515+ Front

DS1515+ Removing Caddy

DS1515+ Removing Caddy

The rear of the unit features 4 x Gigabit NICs, 4 x USB 3 and 2 x eSATA ports. The airflow is aided through the use of 80mm x 80mm fans.

DS1515+ Rear

DS1515+ Rear

Soft feet are used under the unit, presumably to also aid with the noise levels. I did however, find that those feet were a little too soft and managed to tear it as I moved the unit on the table. There was also a console socket next to one of the rear feet.

Soft Feet

Soft Feet

Console Socket

Console Socket

Feet Too Soft

Feet Too Soft

What you would expect to see on the inside of the unit. The memory slot is easily accessible for DIY upgrades. I’m not upgrading the RAM as part of this review but if the system board is anything like the other new NAS units, you’ll need low voltage DDR3 modules in order for them to be recognised.

DS1515+ PSU

DS1515+ PSU

DS1515+ Memory Slot

DS1515+ Memory Slot

Hard Drive Installation

One of the features that will no doubt be a time saver for busy support staff is the use of caddy trays that do not require screws or any tools to install 3.5″ HDDs. 2.5″ HDDs are still fastened to the tray with screws.

Caddy

Caddy

To install a 3.5″ drive, remove the side fastening panels:

Drive Locks Removed

Drive Locks Removed

Insert the drive:

HDD Inserted

HDD Inserted

Finally, insert the fastening panels back in place to secure the drive:

Drive Locks InstalledDrive Locks Installed

Drive Locks InstalledDrive Locks Installed

Configuration

Configuring the DS1515+ was a fairly straight forward task. The prompts guide you step by step in getting the DiskStation software installed.

Installing DiskStation Manager (DSM)

Installing DiskStation Manager (DSM)

DSM Install Progress

DSM Install Progress

Login Screen

Login Screen

Recommended Packages to Install

Recommended Packages to Install

DSM Installed and Ready

DSM Installed and Ready

Features

Quad LAN Ports

The four high speed LAN ports have been included with intensive usage in mind:

  • Redundancy – ability to configure 2×2 bonded links instead of just 2×1 resulting in a redundant link should one pair fail
  • Speed – the DS1515+ supports link aggregation (subject to switch compatibility) which boosts the available bandwidth
  • Flexibility – each of the LAN ports can be assigned to a different subnet

Expansion Unit

The DS1515+ can scale up to 15 drives through the use of the DX513 expansion unit which provides as range of benefits:

  • Cost effective method of expanding storage capacity
  • Seamless growth in capacity without the need for formatting the new drives
  • Able to reach up to 90TB of raw storage capacity

Remote Folder Mounting

The ability to mount shares from an external server and have it appear as a local folder is a great feature to include and something I wish more manufacturers would provide. To test this feature, I mounted a folder on my FreeNAS server.

Remote Folder Mounting

Remote Folder Mounting

Viewing Remote Folder via Finder

Viewing Remote Folder via Finder

Cloud Syncing

Now you can keep your NAS in sync with some of the popular cloud storage providers. A great feature when you are always consuming your data on the go. Whilst this app is provided by Synology, it’s not one of the default ones installed. You will need to manually install this via the software catalog.

Installing CloudSync

Installing CloudSync

Cloud Options

Cloud Options

OneDrive Syncing In Progress

OneDrive Syncing In Progress

Video Steaming

Using the Video Station or Media Server you can share media files over the network making it a great way to share large collections of videos to multiple devices.

VideoStation

VideoStation

Support for Mobile Apps

Recognising that businesses use a range of smartphones, Synology has made a range of mobile applications available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.

Final Thoughts

NAS builders are spoilt with choice from Intel when it comes to selecting the appropriate platform to build on. As we saw with the TS-653 Pro, QNAP went down the Intel Bay Trail-D path as they chose to differentiate through virtualization capabilities. Synology, on the other hand, have focused their energy on Intel’s Rangely platform which is stated to offer better benefits around multiple client performance, encryption and power.

The DS1515+ has a solid build and elegant design. A front USB would have been handy given that in most cases, installation of the NAS would be set and forget. Trying to access the USB port if you use them regularly would be a bit of a pain in this situation. Similarly, I prefer my NAS to be maxed out on RAM options. It’s great to see this can be done by the end user but with the price of RAM so low, not reason why this couldn’t be done as a stock option?

The Synology DSM is an established and capable product that takes full advantage of all the new hardware features. The latest version of DSM coupled with the mobile apps makes it one of the easiest platforms to install, support and use. It’s media sharing capabilities are a must for anyone with a large media collection to share across multiple devices.

Using the Rangely SoC and having a competitive price has clearly helped position the DS1515+ as a leading device in its category. It was straightforward to install and setup and required limited to nil attention once provisioned.

 

2 thoughts on “Synology DiskStation DS1515+ Review”

  1. Hi. I’m new to the home NAS and have a question or two.
    I have the 1515+ and want to know best setup. Do I just create a single volume with raid 5 for with all my available storage or should I create separate volumes?
    Also, if I have a single volume, can I make specific folders available to people or would I need to make to entire volume available.

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