Synology's DS1512+ combines network storage with the ability to serve numerous functions for a small business including email server and web server. This model boosts performance over Synology's earlier models, while the disks are easier to upgrade without opening the chassis.
Scalable storage, supports server applications, dual network ports, flexible configuration
Number of configuration options may confuse, higher cost than earlier Synology range
£634 (drives not included)
5-bay NAS appliance
Up to 5 3.5in or 2.5in Sata drives
2.13GHz Intel Atom processor with 1GB memory (expandable to 3GB)
Supports Raid 0-6, Raid 10, Synology Hybrid Raid
Dual gigabit Ethernet ports, link aggregation support
4 X USB 2.0 and 2 x USB 3.0 ports for external storage, printers
2 x eSata ports for DX510 expansion unit
Synology DiskStation Manager platform, features installable applications
Synology's DiskStation DS1512+ is a network-attached storage (NAS) appliance designed to provide shared storage for a small business or workgroup, but can do much more if users require extra capabilities, such as built-in mail server and web server functions, and the ability to serve as an iSCSI target in larger networks.
Available since March, the DS1512+ is part of Synology's 2012 upgrade of its storage line-up, and provides capabilities that are a step up from older kit such as the DS411 previously tested by V3, especially since the firm has now released version 4.0 of DiskStation Manager, the operating system that underpins all of Synology's NAS devices.
The DS1512+ is a relatively compact unit, about the size of a kitchen toaster, which can be fitted with up to five serial ATA hard drives. It boasts two gigabit Ethernet ports, allowing for link aggregation and failover at the network level, and can also be expanded with USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports allowing for external storage devices to be connected.
Users who find their storage requirements growing can scale up to 15 drives using Synology DX510 expansion units that connect via one of the two eSata ports the DS1512+ also provides. With 4TB drives, this allows for a maximum 20TB of internal storage, or 60TB with DX510 expansion units.
We found the DS1512+ straightforward to get up and running, although most small business customers are likely to need a reseller to install and configure it for them if they lack the internal IT expertise to handle this, especially when it comes to some of the optional features that call for the unit to be accessible from outside a firewall.
The web-based console for managing user access and features of the appliance is also about as easy as Synology could have made it, but the sheer number of options will possibly easily overwhelm beginners or non-techy users.
Potential buyers should also note that the DS1512+ does not include drives as standard, with Synology leaving this to its distributor and reseller partners. However, for the purposes of our review, the firm supplied us with a pair of 3.5in drives.