The DS1517+ 5 Bay NAS is one of the newest NAS made by Synology. It is powered by a Quad Core 2.4 GHz Intel Atom C2538. It’s very scalable and you can easily upgrade its parts without the tremendous hassle that comes with it. The memory is expandable and can easily be upgraded since its slots are located under the NAS. If you attach the DS517 expansion units you can expand up to 150tb with 15 drives. By adding the PCI Express Expansion slot, you can add other hardware functionality to add to the DS1517+ like the amazingly fast 10GbE NIC to boost network speeds. You can also add a M.2 SSD adapter card to increase the overall performance of the NAS.
The 10Gbe is most likely going to be mainstream in the near future but if you want to quickly grab one of these solutions for yourselves the Synology DS1517+ provides it.
It’s a great NAS. With high expandability and attaching upgrades to it to keep up with the growing demand of the users, this NAS is future proof.
Synology DS1517+ Review – Whats in the Box?
Like most Synology products, the DS1517+ follows its predecessors in being packaged in a big brown box with a sticker at the right at the front of the box. The box itself is is minimal with only a handful of objects on it. If you want more information about the NAS, you should refer to this sticker as it holds most of the necessary information of the DS1517+ towards the bottom of the sticker with the model and sub model name towards the top.
At the back, you will see another sticker of a diagram of the NAS with more specific information about the product itself. These are mostly hardware specifications such as ports, fans, etc.
Inside the box we have a few things. We have two CAT6 Ethernet cables which is a good addition so you won’t need to buy extra. We also have an installation guide which is pretty straightforward and the power cable. We also have 24 screws for 2.5” hard drives and 2 hard drive tray keys.
Synology built the DS1517+ as pretty compact. It features high quality plastic for its enclosure combined with a black matte finish giving it a professional design.
The front of the NAS is where you can find all of the status lights at the top which is also where you’ll find the company’s Branding. These are the Status indicator and the Alert indicator. These display the status of the NAS as well as alert you with warnings relating to its temperature and fan. These are then followed by LEDs which are the power button and the LAN indicator. The LAN indicator shows the status of the network connection for the NAS. All of the 5 drive bays have their own drive lock and status indicator. Towards the bottom right which is pretty small, you will see the model number of the NAS imprinted in white text.
The power towards the middle left of the NAS and beside it are the two 80 mm fans. The two fans pretty much take most of the space at the back. If you hear a loud beeping sound, this means that one of the fans has malfunctioned. The eSATA is below these. Beside it are the four Gbe LAN Ports. Towards the bottom right, you will find a USB 3.0 Port. You can connect various USB devices here such as USB printers or even an external hard drive. There’s another eSATA expansion port after the three USB 3.0 ports.
I like what Synology did here. They put the memory modules at the bottom of the DS1517+ making the replacement or upgrading of the memory easier. However, you would still need screws to replace the RAM.
The drive trays are completely tool-less and are made of plastic like other NAS’ drive trays.
One of the main strengths of the DS1517+ NAS is it is built with expansion in mind. Its hardware is built to be expanded and has extra room for other additions. The memory comes in 2 gb or 8 gb but it is capable of being expanded up to 16 gb. The process of changing memory is also easy as they have put the memory at the bottom and you only have to unscrew the cover to change it.
It can support up to 15 drives if you attach the Synology DX517^2 Expansion Unit so as the demand for more storage increases you can easily expand to meet demands without having to buy another separate NAS. You can also use the PCIe M.2 SSD adapter card for dual M.2 SATA SSD slots for a faster and better performance without having to use the 3.5” drive bays.
With the ability to expand, having only one NAS in your network makes it easier to centralize everything in your network.
Height: 166 mm
Width: 250 mm
Depth: 243 mm
Weight: 4.46 kg
CPU: 64-bit Quad Core 2.4 GHz Intel Atom C2538
Memory: 4 / 8 DDR3
Total Memory Slots: 2 slots expandable up to 16 GB
Drive Bays: 5
Maximum Drive Bays with Expansion Unit: 15
Compatible Drive Type: 3.5” SATA III / SATA II HDD, 2.5” SATA III / SATA II HDD, 2.5” SATA III / SATA II SSD
LAN Port: 4 R4-45 1GbE
USB Port: 4 USB 3.0
eSATA Port: 2
System Fan: 80 mm x 80 mm x 2 pcs Power Supply Unit / Adapter: 200W
At the drive bays, you can press the lower part of the drive tray so you can pop out the handle. After the handle is out, you can pull the hard drive tray handle in the correct direction to remove it from the NAS. After you’ve pulled the drive tray, you can now load the hard drives onto it. Depending on the size of the drive you have, you would have to insert it in a certain way. Refer to the manual on how to insert 3.5” drives as well as 2.5” drives respectively. Once you’ve inserted the hard drives onto the drive tray, insert the drive tray back into the empty drive bay. Push it all the way in to make sure it will function properly. You can lock the drive tray by using the drive tray key and turning it clockwise to lock the handle and after which, remove the key. If you have more hard drives, just repeat the steps.
Installing a RAM module
As we’ve mentioned earlier, it is easier to replace or expand the memory of the DS1517+. First you need to make sure that there’s no power running on the NAS so shut it down. For safety and damage prevention purposes, we also advise you to disconnect all connected cables that are attached to the NAS.
The RAM again as we’ve mentioned earlier is at the bottom of the NAS. Using your tools, remove the 4 screws holding the cover in place. Take it off and you will then see a 2 gb module or 4 gb modules already installed depending on what you have bought.
Insert the new memory module in the respective slots carefully. Also please note that you should always install into the first slot and both RAM modules also need to be identical so keep that in mind.
Once you’re done replacing the RAM, put the cover back and screw it back. Reconnect the cables that you have disconnected earlier and you’re done.
Setting Up the Hardware
Connect the LAN cable to both your NAS and either to your switch, hub or router. Connect the AC adapter as well to the power slot and connect the other end to a power outlet. Press the power in front and it’s done.
Downloading the latest version of the DSM is easy because of Synology’s built-in tool which is the Web Assistant that helps you download and also install DSM into your system. First you would need to open a web browser that is connected in the same network as the DS1517+ then you would need to enter either of these addresses onto the browser. “find.synology.com” or “diskstation:5000”. This will automatically launch the Web Assistant in the web browser and will search for the DS1517+ in the local network. Once it finds it, you would see information about the NAS which are its model number, IP address, MAC address and it will also show that its status should be “Not Installed”. Above this information is a button called “Connect”. Click it.
This should initiate the setup process and once it starts the process, just follow the instructions of the installation wizard on your screen. This should be fairly easy to follow at this point.
Once you’ve done all that, you should be able to start using your DS1517+.
If you are planning to make your DS1517+ into a virtual machine, you can do so. And you can do as easily as Synology has built this NAS with virtualization in mind. The DS1517+ is ready for VMware, OpenStack, Citrix and Hyper-V. VM migration is also supported. You can migrate from one server to another without having to disrupt users.
DiskStation Manager (DSM)
The DS1517+ comes with its own operating system. To access the NAS, users will use this OS that is quite similar to Windows so it won’t be a hassle learning this. Also another thing to note is that DSM also has quite a simple GUI that shouldn’t confuse the user.
At the upper left of the home screen you will see a button that will take you back to the Main Menu. Here you can access a detailed Resource Monitor and use the Storage Manager utility. This will allow you to create new volumes, create disk groups, configure the NAS’ RAID settings, and also view various detailed disk-health statistics like estimated life span, operating temperature, bad sector count and the firmware version.
DSM has a number of features but we’ll only cover a few of them. We’ve covered DSM extensively in our past Synology NAS reviews if you are interested in learning most of its features in apps.
In any case, as we’ve said earlier, DSM has features that are one of the most important in managing your Synology NAS. Besides the dedicated System Health window that has a simplified resource monitor that shows CPU and RAM usage, the OS comes with preinstalled apps. The Package Center is like the Google Play store or the iTunes app store. The Package Center is where you can find DSM compatible apps. It has more than 70 Synology apps as well as third party apps. A few more are Plex and also iTunes server apps. The Web Station app is by Synology. This app lets you host websites. The Surveillance Station app is good for security purposes so you can manage your IP security cameras if you’re using your NAS to monitor your building or small office. DSM also has a mail server, bittorrent apps, cloud synchronization apps and a few others.
The Control Panel of the DSM is quite extensive and also offers various ways of managing your NAS. You can create folders and set privacy settings on them. You can create users, put them into groups and assign rights to them. Besides these things, of course you also have the native control panel settings such as configuring network settings, firewall settings and even enable push and email notifications if there are any errors on your system.
The Security Advisor
The NAS also comes with its own defense system for malware. The Security Advisor protects and scans the NAS from unwarranted malware. It also has an added feature that makes the users create strong passwords. It also ensures that all apps are updated.
To manage the folders you have created, you use the File Station. Here you can also manage files and view them. You can also share different file types, configure remote connections and also brows file-sharing activities.
You can also access the NAS outside of your local network if you use Synology’s QuickConnect. This is quite nice since you won’t need to use port forwarding or having to tweak firewall settings just to access the NAS.
Of course these are only a few features of the DSM. I’ve been impressed by this operating system when I reviewed other Synology NAS. Synology’s app store, the Package Center, pretty much covers everything and more. If you’re confused or need help with the DiskStation Manager, there’s Help feature that you can use. This not only helps you with the DSM operating system but also with all the installed apps on the OS.
The DS1517+ has fast file transfer speeds. The write speed is also pretty fast compared to other NAS brands but it’s slower than Synology’s own DS1515+. The DS1517+ has a write speed of 80 mbps while the DS1515+ is 5 mbps faster with 85 mbps. Not really a lot so it’s still pretty fast. Despite that, the DS1517+’s read speed is faster than the DS1515+. The DS1517+ rocks a read speed of 84 mbps while the DS1515+ has 82 mbps. Again, this does not have a lot of difference.
The 10GBe is a dream. A sustained read performance of over 400 mbps for 256k blocks is quite amazing. The write performance also increased from 95 mbps on 1-Gigabit connection to 130 mbps with the 10-Gigabite Ethernet module.
The prices of 10-Gigabit adapters has start coming down so most likely this type of solution with high-end NAS will be coming to the horizon.
The Synology DS1517+ 5 Bay NAS as it provides excellent service and offering a ton of features. The 2.4 GHz quad core Atom C2538 also ensures that the NAS can keep up with the user. The 10GBe network adapter is also amazingly fast. Transferring files that could take up to 30 secs to a minute can be done in less than 10 seconds. Granted the difference is not too much but you can really tell that there’s a difference. Also if you are transferring many files, these small time differences can really make a big difference. You will be able to safe more than a lot of time transferring files using a 10GbE network as opposed to a 1GbE one.
Of course, this won’t be the last of the 10GbE solutions out on the market. Many more will make its way through the market and the Synology DS1517+ has shown glimpse of it. The market will most likely offer more of these 10GBe NAS solutions and the price will come down eventually. However, if you want or need these fast network solutions for your home or office then the Synology DS1517+ is a great example of a 10GBe NAS. And this NAS will most likely be able to keep up with your demands.
And like most Synology NAS, the DSM also provides excellent support for the DS1517+ and compliments it well. It has numerous features that can provide solutions to whatever it is you need. It also has great overview on the system of the NAS and its drives. It also has protection from malware with the Security Advisor. There are ton more about the DSM that makes it shine in its own way but Synology also covered the basics and delivered its core functions at great ease with its simple user interface that looks a lot like Windows.
The read and write speed is above average. And even though it doesn’t run down the competition it still manages to be a little bit better than them. The DS1517+ performed well across the board. However it did got beat by its own Synology NAS in some areas so it does not make much of a difference.
The DS1517+ shows great promise. It’s one of the best NAS currently out in the market and it’s leading the pack but most likely other brands will also keep up.