Miscellaneous Aspects and Concluding Remarks

It is expected that most users would configure the ioSafe 1513+ in RAID-5 for optimal balance of redundancy and capacity (reflected in ioSafe's decision to ship the units pre-configured with SHR 1-disk fault tolerance). Hence, we performed all our expansion / rebuild testing as well as power consumption evaluation with the unit configured in RAID-5. The disks used for benchmarking (Western Digital WD4000FYYZ) were also used in this section. The table below presents the average power consumption of the unit as well as time taken for various RAID-related activities.

ioSafe 1513+ RAID Expansion and Rebuild / Power Consumption
Activity Duration (HH:MM:SS) Avg. Power (W)
Single Disk Init - 37.9 W
JBOD to RAID-1 Migration 11:40:48 49.59 W
RAID-1 (2D) to RAID-5 (3D) Migration 38:34:47 59.46 W
RAID-5 (3D) to RAID-5 (4D) Expansion 31:33:19 69.95 W
RAID-5 (4D) to RAID-5 (5D) Expansion 33:46:59 81.31 W
RAID-5 (5D) Rebuild 22:57:12 78.89 W

One of the issues that we would like Synology to address is the RAID expansion / migration / rebuild durations. Though we don't have the full corresponding data from similar (read, 5-bay) competing units, the expansion durations with QNAP NAS units and rebuilds with the Seagate NAS units are much shorter compared to the ones in the table above.

Coming to the business end of the review, there are two different aspects of the ioSafe 1513+ to comment upon. The first relates to the software platform from Synology. DSM 5.0 is arguably one of the most full featured COTS NAS operating systems around. Its popularity is even reflected in the fact that specific viruses have been created for the platform (though it is also an indication of the security weaknesses that Synology has been actively patching in the recent past). The mobile apps and NAS packages extend the functionality of the appliance to provide a comprehensive private cloud experience. SMB features such as virtualization certifications / iSCSI support further enhance the appeal of the ioSafe 1513+ for enterprise users. All the plus points of the Synology 1513+ (including the performance, capacity expansion, high availability, hot-swappable fans etc.) translate as-is to the ioSafe 1513+.

The second is obviously related to the chassis design that makes the ioSafe 1513+ one of the most unique products that we have evaluated. ioSafe continues to impress us by scaling the disaster-proofing techniques to handle more and more complicated scenarios every year. The ioSafe 1513+ is an awesome piece of engineering aimed at solving the very relevant issue of protecting data from disasters. Fire protection is rated for 30 minutes at 1550°F (ASTM E-119) and the unit's drives are kept safe even in 10 ft. deep water for 3 days. ioSafe provides the option to purchase a Data Recovery Service (DRS) scheme along with the unit. The DRS period can be extended at a simple rate of $2.99/TB/month. The only points that consumers might complain about are the limited 'qualified hard disks' list, fan noise and the cost of the units. From our evaluation, we believe that the unit is best operated in an air-conditioned server room where fan noise should not be an issue. Some of the qualified hard disks are suitable for usage only at ambient temperatures lower than 30°C, but neither that nor the cost are likely to be factors for SMBs and SMEs that constitute the target market of the ioSafe 1513+.

DSM 5.0: Evaluating iSCSI Performance


View All Comments

  • ganeshts - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    I hope we don't have readers chiming in about how they can build a better DIY NAS than the one presented here :) Reply
  • hodakaracer96 - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    I for one, was hoping for fire and water testing :) Reply
  • Samus - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    Some good "tests" on youtube:
  • ddriver - Thursday, August 14, 2014 - link

    I wouldn't bet money on this product surviving an actual fire. Insulation seems too thin Reply
  • ganeshts - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    I hope you are kidding :) ioSafe's products have been proven to work - they have many real world success stories. Quite sure they can't have big-name customers if they don't prove that they can really protect the drives as per the disaster specifications quoted. Just for reference, a picture of one of the 1513+ units subject to both fire and water damage is in our CES coverage: http://www.anandtech.com/show/7684/synology-dsm-50... Reply
  • ddriver - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    Well, looking at the youtube videos of fire test I am not really impressed. Surely, it will probably survive a mild and short fire with not much material to burn, but being in a serious blaze and buried in blowing embers it will not last long. A regular NAS unit put in a small concrete cellar with no flammable materials in it has better chances of surviving.

    And this probably has to do with how they test their products, which I can logically assume is safe controlled fires carefully estimated to not exceed the theoretical damage the unit can handle. But how many houses did they torch to test their products in real life disaster situations? My guess is zero :)
  • ddriver - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    I mean, it will most likely survive a plastic trash can full of paper catching fire and burning out next to it, but will it survive an actual blaze disaster? I highly doubt it.

    In other words, I don't doubt the product will survive what they claim it can survive, I doubt that the disaster specifications they quote reflect real world fire disasters well enough. They will probably suffice for "fire accidents" but not really in "fire disasters".
  • ganeshts - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    Does this convince you?


    As for real-life situations, they are claiming protection for the following fire situation: 1550°F, 30 minutes per ASTM E-119

    I remember reading a post about some statistics regarding how fast fire services respond to hourhold fires, and ioSafe's protection circumstances fall within that. Anyways, this product is targeted at SMBs / SMEs who have buildings as per fire marshal codes. Any blaze in such a situation is probably going to be controlled well by building sprinklers.
  • ddriver - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    It is the 1550 F number that bothers me. That's below 850 C, and even wood and plastic burns at almost 2000 C using air as oxidizer. Most of the stuff that is flammable burns around 1950 C, so targeting the product at 850 C pretty much excludes direct fire damage. E.g. if you have a wooden cabin and if it burns to the ground, the data is very unlikely to recover.

    That is why I drew a line between "accident" and "disaster". This product will do in the case of fire accidents, but in the case of a fire disaster its specs are just not enough.

    So, it is a "fireproof" product for buildings with anti-fire sprinkler installations and with good accessibility for fire services. In short, it doesn't protect in the case of fire disasters, but in the case of fire accidents and the water used to put them out.
  • robb.moore - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    Hi ddriver-
    The average cellulose building fire temps are between 800-1000F for about 10-15 minutes. We've been in many fires and have a record or zero data loss for fire disasters in the real world. Most of the building damage is actually caused by firefighter hoses - not the actual fire. The absolute temperature (1500, 1700, 2000...) is not as important as the duration actually. Think of a pot of water boiling on the stove - as long as there's water in the pot, the pot doesn't melt because the endothermic action of the boiling water (212F) keeps the pot from melting. The flame temp could be anywhere between 800 and 3000+? and the water would still boil at 212F (assuming sea level pressures). You could use an aluminum pot (which melts at 1100) and still be ok. Once the water runs dry, then you'll ruin the pot. It's actually the same with all fire safes (and ioSafe). There's water chemically bound to the insulation that works to cool the inner chamber and keeps it at survival temps. Our fire test standards is hotter and longer than typical building fires and the systems we sell typically can go double the standard just to be conservative.

    The fire protection technology is not new. We use the same proven techniques that have been around for 100 years. What unique about ioSafe is how we combine fire/water protection with active computers – managing the heat produced during normal operation while protecting against extreme heat possible during a disaster.

    As Ganesh has said, we test both internally and externally (with the press watching and recording!) in both standard and (ahem) very non-standard ways at times - we've NEVER failed a demo. One of these days, I'm sure a gremlin's gonna pop up and we'll get recorded by the press as failing a disaster demo (because a HDD refuses to boot) but that's the risk we take. Our stuff's legit.

    And btw, a cellar is a great place for tornados and fires but not so good for water main breaks or river floods – we’ve seen it all :)

    Robb Moore, CEO
    ioSafe Inc.

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