I absolutely love reviewing NAS drives – especially the ones that come with its own ecosystem of apps that make your lives easier. Synology is one such company that has done a lot to perfect its app ecosystem for its NAS drives and I am amazed with what they have managed to achieve in terms of pure usability and brilliant user interface.
Yet another excellent NAS to come out of their stables is the DiskStation DS918+, which has been designed with SMBs in mind. The DiskStation DS918+ is an improved 4-bay NAS that comes packed with an updated CPU and additional SSD expansion compared to its predecessors.
The unit also comes with Synology’s excellent software package which means that advanced functionality is made easily accessible via web browser configuration. In terms of pure looks, it follows the design cues of the DS916+. However, there indeed are a few more changes in terms of design.
The DS918+ adopts the more functional form of the DS1517+, with its exposed trays and key locks. The NAS does, however, keep the LED indicators of its predecessor, along with a lone USB 3.0 port on the front. In terms of the specs, the DS918+ runs on an Intel Celeron J3455 Quad Core processor running at 1.5GHz and can Turbo up to 2.3GHz.
The rear of the unit is dominated by two 120mm cooling fans. You also get two RJ-45 1GbE ports, a USB 3.0 port and an eSATA port for expansion. The DS918+ also comes with the M.2 NVMe SSD capability that can increase performance with caching and storage tiering to accelerate storage performance. Inside the box, you get everything you need to get started.
It includes a power adapter (rated at 100W), a pair of Ethernet cables, fixing screws for 2.5-inch drives, two drive bay keys, a quick install guide and a leaflet with an offer of a month’s free trial of Synology’s C2 Backup service. C2 is a cloud backup service designed specifically for Synology NAS devices which uses military grade AES-256 and RSA-2048 encryption to protect your data during transmission and while its being stored on the cloud.
In order to set up the NAS, we used four 4TB Western Digital Red NAS drives for optimum performance. We were able to breeze through the installation and setup, thanks to the DS918+’s tool-less design. After about 30 minutes, we were all good to go.
Creation of the storage volume and all related checks took a while though. I just let it run in the background while I setup and installed the rest of the packages such as the Video Station, Download Station and Cloud Station, Photo Station, and so on. We used DiskStation Manager (DSM) 6.1 for this review.
We were also able to activate Collaboration Suite (Drive, Office, MailPlus, Chat and Calendar) for this review. These tools are specifically designed to meet the on-premises collaboration demands from businesses.
Since the DS918+ has been made with businesses on mind, it comes with bucketload of apps and software specifically designed for businesses. These apps are powered by Synology’s DSM 6.1. The NAS comes with Windows AD and LDAP support that allows for easy integration with existing business directory services, without needing to recreate user accounts.
You also get Windows ACL support that provides fine-grained access control and efficient privilege settings. Internet file access, meanwhile, is simplified by the encrypted FTP server and Synology File Station, a web-based file explorer. HTTPS, firewall, and IP auto-block support ensure file sharing over the Internet is protected with a high level of security.
You can also set Application Privileges controls for accessing applications and packages based on each individual account, user group, or IP address. MailPlus is an app that allows your business to set up a secure, reliable, and private mail server while giving your employees a modern mail client for receiving and sending messages. In addition, I really loved the Collaboration Suite that comes with Synology Office, Calendar, and Chat.
When it comes to performance, the DS918+ does the job pretty well. It boasts of some new capabilities, such as support for real-time dual channel 4K hardware transcoding, critical for streaming videos, and a dedicated hardware encryption engine. The DS918+ supports RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, and 10 (1+0), but, by default, it comes with Synology Hybrid RAID or SHR.
We used a folder that included some zipped files, Word documents, text files, Excel sheet, movies, music, images and so on to test the data transfer speeds. Transferring a single 100GB folder to and from the NAS gave us read speeds of 119 MB/s and write speeds of 116 MB/s. This kind of performance is quite good.
Synology’s product range includes dozens of NAS solutions for every need and budget. If you are looking for a dependable NAS for your home office and SMB, the DS918+ is one of the better options out there. It comes with a top notch hardware, excellent UI, and outstanding app ecosystem. The Synology DiskStation DS918+ thus walks away with the Review Central Editors’ Choice award.
Price: $524 (AED 1925 approx.)