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Synology RackStation RS812RP+ review

Kat Orphanides
30 Jun 2012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,400
inc VAT

It's expensive, but with fast transfer speeds and a massive range of features, this could be the only NAS your business ever needs

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Specifications

4 disk bays, N/A storage supplied, 2x 10/100/1000Mbit/s Ethernet ports

The Synology RackStation RS812RP+ is rack-mount NAS device, which means that – assuming you have a rack cabinet – you can save desk space and cut out cable spaghetti. The option to lock the NAS into a secure rack unit also means you can feel a little safer about your precious data than you would with a free-standing NAS enclosure.

Synology's range of rack-mount NAS units includes everything from basic two-bay enclosures to 22-disk monsters. The RS812RP+ is an intermediate model, with four hot-swappable SATA2 bays, each capable of taking a 3 1/2in or 2 1/2in hard disk of up to 4TB capacity, so you can stock the NAS with a maximum 16TB of storage. If you need to add more drives in the future, you can do so by connecting Synology's four-bay RX410 hard drive array (£447 inc VAT, £373 ex VAT) , but you'll need a spare space in your rack to house it - the array connects to the NAS over eSATA.

Synology RackStation RS812RP+

The RS812RP+ has a Dual Core 2.13GHz Atom D2700 processor and 1GB of DDR3 RAM, which can be expanded to 3GB. There are two power supply units, either of which can be easily replaced. Normally, both PSUs are in use, but either one of them can keep the NAS up and running if the other fails. The system also has redundant fans and an easily replaceable motherboard that won't affect the integrity or recoverability of your stored data if you ever have to change it. Two Gigabit Ethernet ports and support for Wi-Fi via a USB wireless dongle provide plenty of options for connecting the RackStation to your network. At the back of the NAS are an eSATA port and two USB2 ports for connecting external storage or printers that you wish to share across your network.

Synology RackStation RS812RP+

The popularity of Synology's NAS devices is partly due to their ease of configuration. The Synology Assistant setup tool is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. It locates the NAS on your network. Once found, all you have to do is tell the Assistant where your copy of Synology's DiskStation Manager operating system - available online or on the disc accompanying the RackStation - is located and it'll proceed with installing the operating system and configuring your NAS.

Synology Rackstation interface

Synology's DSM operating system is easily our favourite NAS interface

By default, the configuration software uses Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR) to optimise storage capacity when using disks of different sizes and to protect your data to the greatest possible extent. You can also manually configure the NAS to create a JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 + hot spare, RAID 6 or RAID 10 array. In our tests, the NAS achieved excellent transfer speeds between its SMB shared folder and PC, with an average score of 49.3MB/s in our large file transfer test and 15.5MB/s in our small file test, using two disks that were configured as a RAID 1 array via SHR. Speeds were even faster when we set up an iSCSI target with thin provisioning, averaging 62.2MB/s in our large file test and 28.4MB/s for small files.

The RackStation's processor power is put to good use by Synology's outstanding graphical user interface, which also allows you to install and run a massive range of optional add-on packages. Some will be familiar to users of Synology's consumer hardware, such as a range of streaming media servers and a web-based download application which you can set up to download files via BitTorrent, NZD, FTP and HTTP - this is particularly handy if you need to download large update files that you'll later want to distribute to all your users. There are also a range of DiskStation packages that are made with business in mind, from virus protection to allowing your NAS to act as a DHCP server instead of your router.

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