Synology's DiskStation DS1513+ is a network-attached storage (NAS) appliance aimed at small-to-medium businesses (SMBs), designed to start off as a shared storage repository but scale with customer requirements to take on the role of mail server, VPN, web server, and other capabilities if required.
Available since May, the DS1513+ is the successor to Synology's DS1512+ model, which V3 reviewed last year. Like its predecessor, this is a five-bay unit about the size of a desktop safe, but features a number of hardware and software enhancements.
On the hardware side, the DS1513+ now features four gigabit Ethernet ports, offering greater flexibility and higher performance, while its controller is beefed up with 2GB of memory as standard. Meanwhile, the most current version of Synology's DiskStation Manager (DSM) operating system adds more high-end capabilities, including high availability support.
While the DS1513+ is indeed a flexible and highly capable device, the sheer number of configuration options and settings available run the risk of making it as complex to operate as enterprise-grade storage hardware. For this reason, many SMB customers may wish to purchase the DS1513+ via a reseller willing to do the installation for them, or consider a simpler network storage device.
For starters, Synology supplies the DS1513+ without drives fitted, which gives buyers the freedom to choose the exact disk capacity and speed they want, but adds another step (and cost) to the provisioning process. Users also have to install the DSM operating system as part of the setup, which can be no end of fun when the setup tool fails to locate the device on your LAN, as happened in our tests.
However, for SMBs with an Active Directory domain or those seeking scalability or support for advanced features like iSCSI, then the DS1513+ should prove a good choice.
In its physical design, the DS1513+ is very similar to its predecessor. It is quite a chunky box, but still small enough to sit on a desktop rather than slot into a data centre style rack.
At the front of the casing are five drive bays, each capable of holding one 3.5in or 2.5in drive in a slide-out tray. These simply click in and out of each bay, and each can be locked in position to prevent the disk being removed.
One neat touch with the DS1513+ is that Synology has redesigned the drive bays so that no screws are required to fit 3.5in drives. Instead, fastening panel strips simply snap onto the sides of the trays and hold the drive securely in position, making it even quicker and easier to add or remove drives for maintenance.
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