For the purpose of NAS reviews, we have setup a dedicated testbed with the configuration as below. The NAS is directly connected to the testbed (using as many Cat 5E cables as there are ports on the NAS) without a switch or router inbetween. This is done in order to minimize the number of external factors which might influence the performance of the system.

NAS Benchmarking Testbed Setup
Processor Intel i5-680 CPU - 3.60GHz, 4MB Cache
Motherboard Asus P7H55D-M EVO
OS Hard Drive Seagate Barracuda XT 2 TB
Secondary Drive Kingston SSDNow 128GB
Memory G.SKILL ECO Series 2GB (1 x 2GB) SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) F3-10666CL7D-4GBECO CAS 7-7-7-21
PCI-E Slot Quad-Port GbE Intel ESA-I340
Optical Drives ASUS 8X Blu-ray Drive Model BC-08B1ST
Case Antec VERIS Fusion Remote Max
Power Supply Antec TruePower New TP-550 550W
Operating System Windows 7 Ultimate x64 / Ubuntu 10.04

In addition to the Realtek GbE NIC on-board the Asus P7H55D-M EVO, four more GbE ports are enabled on the system, thanks to the Intel ESA-I340 quad port GbE ethernet server adapter . With a PCI-E x4 connector, the card was plugged into the PCI-E x16 slot on the Asus motherboard.

Since the Synology DS211+ has only 1 GbE port, there was no need to team the four ports in the ESA-I340.

Intel NASPT is used to benchmark the NAS device. In order to ensure that the hard disk transfer rate is not a bottleneck, NASPT is run from the secondary drive in the testbed (the Kingston SSD). With average read and write speeds of 178.8 MB/s and 167.8 MB/s, it is unlikely that a single GbE link NAS can be limited in performance due to the test system. However, a link aggregated NAS could be affected. Fortunately, as we will see in the next few sections, this wasn't the case for the 5big storage server.

All file copy tests were also performed using the SSD. The file copy test consists of transferring a 10.7 GB Blu-Ray folder structure between the NAS and the testbed using the robocopy command in mirror mode (on Windows) and the rsync -av command (on Linux).

There are three important sharing protocols we investigated in the course of our evaluation of the DS211+. In the next few sections, you will find NASPT and/or robocopy/rsync benchmarking results for Samba, NFS and iSCSI sharing protocols. Each section also has a small description of how the shares were set up on the NAS. The NASPT benchmarks were run in Batch mode thrice, giving us 15 distinct data points. The average of these 15 values is recorded in the graphs presented in the following sections. The robocopy and rsync benchmarks were run thrice, and the average transfer rate of the three iterations is presented alongside the NASPT benchmarks.

System Teardown SMB Performance


View All Comments

  • ganeshts - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    Yes, the NAS has encryption facilities. There is hardware acceleration for encryption, courtesy of the Marvell processor.

    When you create a shared folder, there are two options:

    1. Hide the shared folder in 'My Network Places' in Windows

    2. Encrypt the shared folder (provide encryption key)
  • Penti - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    Well running over iSCSI you could simply use truecrypt for the drive. With the key/secret being in the computer accessing it (or on a USB-key on the user) rather then the NAS-box. It would make it moot steeling the NAS for accessing the data at least.

    Bitlocker don't support encrypting network drives or shares though. But it's far easier to steel data if it's just on a bitlocker (default) encrypted drive in a laptop that's just tied to TPM.

    Any encryption fully implemented in the NAS would be unsafe any way. The built in feature into this NAS is just an AES-encrypted volume/folder where you have to enter the key/password, which should provide some protection. Probably based on ecryptfs any how. is the feature.
  • Conficio - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    I'd like to know what is the IPv6 support on this?

    Also what are all the USB ports for? Can it work as a printer server too?
  • oynaz - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    I have a much older model, from 2006 I believe. The USB ports on that allows external storage (I use a Samsung 1Gb HDD), and printers - yes, it can act as a print server.

    I would be very surprised if the 2011 model did not offer the same features, and more.
  • jmelgaard - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    Printer Server9
    Max Printer #: 2
    Printing Protocols: LPR, CIFS, AppleTalk

    Guess that's a yes. Also for UPS', Speakers (Um... o.O) and ofc. USB storage devices.
  • mino - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    What good is a review of a NAS with CUSTOM softwares without even mentioning this stack's behavior?

    Thumb down AT, this is another PCWORLD-class review.
  • ganeshts - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    Thank you for the constructive criticism.

    We will keep this in mind for future NAS reviews using units from QNAP, Thecus etc.

    DSM will also be probably covered in detail in the next Synology review.
  • 7Enigma - Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - link

    Wow, you have better composure then I do. :) I agree it would be important to include this in future reviews but the OP could have used a bit more tact. Reply
  • ganeshts - Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - link


    Can you let me know what sort of evaluation of software stack you want?

    I have already mentioned in the article that DSM is built on a a standard Linux kernel. User visible applications are as shown in the UI pics (Photo Manager / iTunes Media Server / DLNA etc.).

    Our aim is to deliver what the reader wants, but it would be great if you could be a little bit more specific.

  • Nehemoth - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    Maybe someday (I hope sooner than later) we will be able to get a decent 4Bay NAS for less than 200US.

    I would love to have a NAS, I have already 3 Hard Drives (4TB) almost full of media files, so a NAS its a must for me, sadly I can not afford it right now.

    I have the knowledge to build one, sadly is that in my country is very difficult if not impossible to get smart computer parts Like a decent case, everything that arrive here is like the worst things from China or even worst what they're think are the best.

    Anyway for now I'll continue dreaming about it.

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