The Synology RackStation RS18016xs+ along with RX1216sas expansion units bring Petabyte scale to Synology users. We have been using Synology products for more than three years at STH. Since the initial installation of the Synology DS1812 we have seen the unit consistently get upgrades to new features such as SSD caching. Although that unit is getting a bit old, Synolgy DSM (now at 5.2) has received regular feature and security updates to our 8-bay NAS. With the Synology RackStation RS18016sx+ Synology is moving into a new frontier: bigger business data storage.
The Synology RS18016xs+ is a 2U rackmount appliance with 12x 3.5″ hot swap bays, a fairly standard disk storage configuration. From the spec sheet the unit is running a two generation old Ivy Bridge Intel Xeon E3-1230 V2 processor with 8GB of RAM. Being Ivy Bridge we expect up to 32GB as a practical RAM ceiling. For a 12 – 36 drive NAS this is more than ample compute. For petabyte scale, this is on the lower end. Then again, companies such as NetApp have been using low power processors in large arrays for years.
The rear of the chassis shows redundant power supplies, quad gigabit Ethernet and two SFF-8088 external SAS ports. The two expansion slots accept Synology specific 10GbE adapters.
Since there is a SAS infrastructure in place, Synology has expansion capabilities using up to 14x 12-bay disk shelves (RX1216sas). That gives the total system up to 180 (12 + 12*14) drive capacity. Using 8TB drives * 180 drives means one can create a storage array up to 1440TB, well into the petabyte range.
Overall, this is a very interesting push by Synology. Using ext4/ btrfs along with SAS and its management interface allows for some fairly high-end scaling of a NAS/ SAN product. Performance is still relatively low (3.9GB/s read, 1.8GB/s write and up to 348,000 IOPS) for a large system as one can easily achieve similar performance with much smaller architectures and NVMe/ PCIe SSDs. On the other hand, for a backup and archiving appliance, the Synology RackStation RS18016xs+ solution would likely do well assuming no deduplication is required.