Synology’s DiskStation DS718+ and DS1618+

Synology’s DiskStation DS718+ is a powerful two-drive network attached storage (NAS) device that can be used in a variety of ways thanks to a generous catalogue of Synology-branded and third-party apps.

It doesn’t come with any hard drives, but it does include a quad-core CPU and Synology’s user-friendly DiskStation Manager (DSM) operating system, and can be pressed in to service as a total backup solution, an email and media server, a personal cloud server, and more.

A premium product designed specifically for small businesses, offering high-performance, scalability up to 30 drives and a solid 5 year warranty. The new DS1618+ borrows the same chassis, but comes with slightly different hardware. It sports a quad-core Intel Atom Denverton C3538 CPU (clocked at 2.1 Ghz), 4 GB of DDR4 RAM (upgradable to 32 GB), 6x 3.5″ or 2.5″ drive slots, 4x 1GbE network ports, 3x USB 3.0 ports, 2x expansion ports and 1x PCIe 3.0 slot.

The newer Denverton C3538 CPU has a lower clock speed (2.1 Ghz vs 2.4 Ghz), but has much larger L2 cache and can support faster DDR4 memory, whereas the previous generation Rangeley C2538 is limited to DDR3. In addition, the C3538 CPU architecture allows up to 32 GB of RAM, while the C2538 is capped to 16 GB maximum..

The Ability to expand RAM is important for those who want to run more apps. Speaking of apps, that’s the beauty of Synology NAS devices. We are not just talking about a dumb storage device, but a pretty robust server that can host a number of web server and client applications for backup, file hosting, scripting and much more. You can even host your own WordPress site and use the NAS as your home iTunes and movie server.

With a total of 6 bays to be able to accommodate both 3.5″ and 2.5″ size drives, the Synology DS1618+ can support up to 72 TB of storage natively (6x 12 TB drives) and it is scalable up to 16 drives (using 2x DX517 expansion units), with a potential to host up to 192 TB of total storage. And if newer, higher capacity drives become available, you will be able to keep the storage array and swap out the drives for even more storage. Just like all other popular NAS storage solutions, you can utilize pretty much any kind of RAID for storage: from Synology’s proprietary “Hybrid RAID” all the way to RAID 10. The device will also allow expanding your storage with additional or larger drives with Hybrid RAID and other RAID protocols like RAID 5 and 6, so it is a pretty flexible system.

the Synology DS1618+ comes with a single PCIe 3.0 slot to be able to accommodate either a 10GbE network card, or a dual slot M.2 adapter card. Personally, after running the DS1817+ in 10GbE network, I wouldn’t even consider a NAS without this capability. While the idea of using an M.2 adapter card sounds very appealing (especially considering that Synology’s new M2D18 adapter card finally supports ultra-fast M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD drives), limiting all that speed potential to standard Gigabit network is pretty much defeating the purpose of such a nice NAS in the first place. Even if you can aggregate and utilize all four Gigabit ports, your biggest bottleneck is still going to be the network. As I reveal below, even a single 10GbE port is not fast enough to be able to handle the maximum read speed potential of the unit! If you are scared of the costs of running a 10GbE network, consider running a CAT-6 crossover cable from your computer into the Synology’s 10GbE card to get the highest throughput, then hook up one or more of the 1GbE network ports into your network for everything else. This way, you only need to buy one 10GbE card for the Synology NAS and one 10GbE card for your computer, without needing to invest in a 10GbE switch.

Synology’s DiskStation Manager (DSM) web-based operating system is wonderful. Each month the company delivers some sort of update or improvement to make it better and more stable. This means that unlike with your camera today, you won’t be stuck with an outdated firmware a few years from now. Once Synology makes a newer version of the DSM, you can install it any time on your NAS device and you can even completely automate the process.

The Synology DSM supports many different types of file systems and many network protocols are available to provide the best security and compatibility between different operating systems

And that’s the whole point of owning a Synology NAS device – you can put everything you have on the network and centralize your data for shared access between devices. In contrast, a direct-attached storage (DAS) device does not have such capabilities and would require a connected computer to be able to share its data with other devices.

There are plenty of great apps to use, which you can download from the Synology Package Center. Plenty of options to choose from!

Size-wise, the DS1618+ is of the same height as the DS1817+, but a bit narrower due to having two less drive slots – it measures 282mm in width compared to 343mm on the DS1817+. It weighs a total of 5.05 kg without hard drives and has two 92mm fans on the back of the unit for cooling and quiet operation. Just like other plus-series NAS arrays, the DS1618+ comes with a 3 year manufacturer-backed hardware warranty.