Disclosure - This test unit was provided by Synology. It's an evaluation, with no promises or stipulations about what content I produce. No money, no Synology advertisements placed. "TinkerTry.com, LLC" may earn a modest commission from readers who use the shopping links below.
I've used NASs occasionally since 2006, including the Infrant ReadyNAS (which eventually got bought by Netgear), FreeNAS, and OpenFiler, as I mentioned way back in 2011 here. Admittedly, I wasn't impressed by the speeds, so I tended to use them only for backups, not VMs. When I had them running and working, that is. The roll-your-own approach tended to require a bit too much care, so instead I stuck with Windows Home Server for my drive-pooling, network shares, and backup.
From 2011 to 2015, I tended to also use caching RAID controllers inside my ESXi host, such as the popular and well supported LSI-9265-8i. I just noticed that I mentioned the LSI-92658i 531 times at TinkerTry, geez!
In 2015, I also attempted a somewhat zany approach to speeding up a very modest (and very affordable) Synology BC214se 2300 NAS that I had for a while, using software caching to accelerate IO, see:
- First look at Infinio Accelerator with SuperServer cluster shared Synology iSCSI datastore
Oct 22 2015
Finally, the approach I settled on these last 2 years is a single giant 3.5" spinny drive like the venerable HGST He10 10TB right inside my backup server/SuperServer Workstation, formatted as VMFS. This approach admittedly offers no redundancy other than the original VM OS, but it is simple, using something like NAKIVO Backup & Replication, Veeam Backup and Replication, or the like for automated daily backup of VMs that are running on M.2 NVMe SSDs.
For physical systems, the original OS was sometimes my duplicate copy, using Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows for daily backups. Only the most important VMs and system backups get copied to the cloud.
By the way, some of you may not have noticed that NAKIVO can be installed directly on many NAS models including Synology? This DS1618+ is one of the many compatible models listed at Synology here, awesome!
Having backup software installed directly on the NAS makes a lot of sense for small businesses who wish to separate their backup storage from their compute cluster, allowing for easier recovery from host/server disasters since the backup server is running on the NAS itself, not on a VM.
See also Synology Active Backup Suite, which I have not yet had a chance to test.
Let's now flash-forward to today's world with affordable M.2 "gumstick" NVMe drives that offer stellar performance as a caching device for VMware vSANs and NASs alike. That's right, right there on page 22 of the DS1618+ manual, Synology's higher-end DS1618+ NAS offers the M2D18 Dual M.2 SSD adapter card:
Dual M.2 SSD adapter card for extraordinary cache performance
Initial unboxing and configuration was a snap so far, but I haven't yet dug into all elements of the web-based GUI just yet. While I've used Synology before, it's been over 2 years, so in the one-take video below (with some segments mercifully sped-up) you'll see I'm a bit rusty navigating my way around as I begin to "TinkerTry" this NAS out.
My measurement of roughly 57 watts at idle (seen in the video below) is rather impressive for 6 drives over 10G, a great use case for that snappy Quad Core Intel Atom C3538 CPU. This makes it well-suited for 24x7 home office use.
You can see the specifications detailed at Synology here:
High-performance and 6-bay NAS ideal for tackling multi-tasking challenges
User-oriented server with high-speed computing
DS1618+ is a 6-bay NAS that provides storage scalability perfect for tech enthusiasts and small- to medium-sized businesses by effortlessly handling workloads. Further boost storage performance with the optional M.2 SSD cache or enhance network speeds by adding a 10 GbE NIC.
Notice you have to choose between M.2 caching or 10GbE. This is an unfortunate design limitation, given the single PCIe slot. This restriction negates some of the speed benefits for some use cases, an unfortunate dilemma.
While I still need to look into getting some M.2 drives suited for this NAS, I'll also need some more time to kick the tires. Meanwhile, I can safely say that I quite look forward to getting some VMs and/or VM backups on there, and giving iSCSI and/or NFS a try of course, as centralized shared datastores for my VMware vSphere 6.7 Update 1 cluster of systems. With the SuperServer Bundles equipped with 10G from the start, my network is rather unlikely to be the bottleneck, this is good!
B&H Photo & Video - Synology DiskStation DS1618+ 6-Bay NAS Enclosure
This stalwart NYC retailer/etailer is than a mile from where I'm writing this article! I'm in a hotel near Penn Station.
- Newegg - Synology 6 Bay NAS DiskStation - DS1618+ [Diskless]
- Superguide: SuperServer home virtualization lab storage tiers, platinum through bronze, how many efficient drives fit inside this tiny chassis?
Sep 25 2015
- Synology DS1618+ Review: The Right Blend of Price, Performance, and Features
Sep 05 2018 by Jim Tanous at PC Perspective
Synology's 2018 product lineup includes a new network-attached storage device that merges a prosumer price point with an enterprise-level (albeit entry-level enterprise) feature set. The Synology DS1618+ is a six-bay NAS sporting a quad-core Intel processor, up to 32GB of DDR4 memory, and, most importantly, a PCIe expansion slot.