Synology DiskStation DS1019 + review

Synology DiskStation DS1019 Plus NVMe Synology DiskStation DS1019 overview

Network attached storage or NAS devices have evolved from simple data storage boxes to special purpose computers that come in many shapes and sizes. NAS devices offer various features and are available at different prices – from basic devices for home users (and even for single-bay devices) to multi-bay devices with specifications that can match those of some corporate servers.

The DiskStation DS1019 + is a five-bay NAS designed for "small offices and IT enthusiasts" according to Synology. A quick look at the technical data shows that it is by far the most powerful NAS that we have come across. The DS1019 + is powered by an Intel Celeron J3455 processor, a 64-bit desktop chip that was launched almost three years ago. The J3455 is a quad-core processor with a base clock speed of 1.5 GHz and a burst speed of 2.3 GHz, which is supported by 2 MB cache memory.

The DiskStation DS1019 + has 8 GB DDR3L-RAM, a big step forward compared to the 2 GB RAM that we have already tested for the DiskStation DS716 + II and the DiskStation DS218 +. This makes the DS1019 + ideal for virtualization needs, an aspect we'll discuss later in this review.

Each drawer in the DS1019 + has a capacity of 16 TB, which corresponds to a total physical capacity of 80 TB. If you need more storage space, you can connect a DX517 expansion unit to the DS1019 +, which offers you five additional bays and a total capacity of 160 TB.

The DS1019 + is similar to the DS716 + II, but is obviously larger due to the larger number of bays. The front is dominated by the drive bays, and various status indicators are on the right. There is a USB 3.0 port above the power switch for connecting external drives and peripheral devices.

On the back of the Synology DS1019 +, two large fans with two Gigabit Ethernet ports directly below dominate. Although we appreciate the redundancy, we would have preferred 10 GbE ports at this price. An additional USB 3.0 port, an eSATA port and a Kensington security slot are also on the back of the device.

Perhaps the most interesting hardware feature of the DS1019 + is the presence of two M.2 NVMe SSD slots on the bottom. You can insert an M.2 NVMe SSD into one or both of these slots and enable an SSD cache to improve I / O speed. Synology has released a white paper detailing how this technology works and what benefits you can expect. Although most M.2 NVMe SSDs should work, the company has also released a list of models it recommends to use.

Synology DiskStation DS1019 Plus NVMe Synology DiskStation DS1019 overviewSynology DiskStation DS1019 + has two M.2 NVMe SSD slots that can be used to set up a cache

Unfortunately, it seems that these NVMe SSDs can only be used as a cache and not as drives (which would effectively make the DS1019 + a seven-bay NAS). As SSDs get cheaper by the day, we hope this is a limitation Synology can fix with a future software update. Of course, you can still insert 2.5-inch SATA SSDs into any of the five compartments of the DS1019 + today, but it would be nice if you could use the faster M.2 NVMe slot in the future.

Apart from the hardware specifications, the special thing about Synology systems is the DSM (Disk Station Manager) software, which eliminates most of the complexity required to deal with a NAS. In the past, we talked extensively about the Package Center, which is a kind of app store for your NAS and makes adding functions as easy as pressing a few buttons.

We've also carefully reviewed Synology's range of media management apps that let you easily run your own photo or video servers. Switching to streaming services like Prime Video and Netflix means that we don't watch local media as often as we used to. In rare cases, DS Video from Synology is still our first port of call on both mobile devices, including the Apple TV.

The DS1019 + is able to transcode two channels of H.264 / H.265 4K video at the same time, which should satisfy even the most demanding user. As before, you can have dozens of video streams at the same time that are not transcoded when streaming, i.e. H. need to be converted to another format. If Video Station doesn't do it for you, installing the popular Plex streaming server is just a few clicks away, and you can even make your library accessible from anywhere in the world with little effort.

In the past, we also examined how Synology's MailPlus Server and Drive offer self-hosted alternatives to services like Microsoft, Google, and Dropbox, and their relative strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, in this review, we focused on some other aspects of the Synology suite of products that we haven't covered before.

Let's start with Active Backup, a comprehensive backup solution that lets you take control of backups in your company. With this package, you can back up Windows, Linux, and Mac computers on your network, as well as servers and other locations on your Synology NAS.

Backing up a Windows computer to your NAS, for example, is quite easy. All you have to do is install the Active Backup for Business client on your Windows computer and point it to your Synology NAS on the network. Each backup task is associated with a template that you can use to define the backup schedule and retention policy for old backups.

This template is on your NAS. That means you can implement policy changes such as increasing or decreasing retention periods and / or changing the backup frequency with a few clicks and apply them immediately to the entire company.

For our testing, we ran Active Backup for Business on some Windows clients, including a virtual machine that runs Windows on the Synology device. We also set up Active Backup to back up selected folders on a Mac by setting it up as a file server in the package. There are different types of backups – incremental, mirrored, or multi-version.

Synology Active Backup Options Synology DiskStation DS1019 ReviewBackup types (left) and retention options (right) are available in Synology's Active Backup for Business

We had all machines run their backups on different schedules and they ran without problems during our multi-week trial period. The best thing is that everything went automatically and without manual intervention. This is one of the most important parts of a successful backup strategy.

The Active Backup for Business package dashboard provides an excellent overview of the backup status of all devices configured to use Active Backup, including the time of the last backup to identify potential computer problems. You can review the Activities tab in the Active Backup for Business package to get a log of the various backup activities. You can even have the NAS unit email you regular reports summarizing backup activity for the period.

Synology Active Backup Dashboard Synology DiskStation DS1019 reviewThe Active Backup for Business dashboard offers an excellent overview of the current status of backups on the various devices of the company

Restoring data is also very easy. In Windows, for example, you need to open the Active Backup for Business app and click the Restore Portal button. This gives you a web-based view of your computer's directory structure, which you can use to restore files if necessary. Old files – and even old versions of existing files – will be available based on your backup task's retention policy.

Administrators can view all backups through the Active Backup for Business package on Synology NAS. This contains a nice user interface with which you can quickly switch from one computer (backup task) to another. Thanks to this, you can also view different backup snapshots in time using a timeline view below.

Active Backup for Business also makes it easier for you to restore data on physical media. You can also connect your VMware vSphere to your Synology NAS and simplify backup and restore of your virtual machines.

Similar to Active Backup for Business, there is a package called Active Backup for Office 365 that allows you to take offline backups of your Office 365 accounts for the Synology unit. This requires administrator access to the Office 365 account, as IT administrators in a company would normally do. So we can't test it personally, but the idea sounds good in theory.

The next step is a package called Hyper Backup, which you can use to back up the data on your Synology NAS. You can use it to schedule regular copying of data from one volume on the NAS to another, or to back up all (or selected) content on the NAS to the cloud or to an external volume. Client-side encryption and compressed backups are also supported.

Hyper Backup supports backing up to popular cloud services such as Amazon Drive, Google Drive, Dropbox, AWS S3, Microsoft Azure and others. You can also use rsync to copy data to other file servers. For our tests, we subscribed to a trial version of Synology's C2 cloud backup service.

We configured our NAS device to automatically back up to Synology C2 at 8:00 p.m. every day, and the process worked as expected throughout the test. Synology C2 plans start at $ 9.99 a year for 100 GB of storage and support daily backups. A 1 TB cloud storage plan with support for hourly backups and data deduplication, as well as client-side version control costs EUR 6.99 per month (or EUR 69.99 if billed annually).

We mentioned earlier that Active Backup for Business can back up your VMware vSphere virtual machines to your NAS. However, a powerful NAS like the DiskStation DS1019 + can go one step further and you can use the NAS yourself for your virtualization needs. You can install Windows, Linux or even run a virtual instance of Synology's own DSM on it.

Synology Virtual Machine Manager dashboard Synology DiskStation DS1019 ReviewDashboard from Synology Virtual Machine Manager

Thanks to the large storage capacity of the DiskStation DS1019 +, we were able to allocate 4 GB of RAM to this virtual machine and still have enough left over for everyday tasks. Setting up the virtual machine and installing Windows was as easy as a few clicks, and in no time we had a Windows machine that we could access on a network that was mostly full of Macs.

Virtual Machine Manager even offers a web-based interface that allows you to create a full desktop for your virtual machine in a browser window. However, you can of course also install a VNC server on your virtual machine and access any platform via a native VNC client.

Synology Virtual Machine Manager window Synology DiskStation DS1019 ReviewLook Ma, a Windows desktop in my Mac browser!

Virtual Machine Manager also offers a variety of advanced features such as cluster management, snapshot storage, remote replication and more. Some features may require you to purchase a Synology VMM Pro license. Clusters can be distributed across up to 7 Synology NAS units, so you can create a very powerful virtual machine with support for functions such as load balancing.

The DiskStation DS1019 + is available from Amazon in India and costs Rs. 71,330. The hard drives with which you use it of course incur additional costs. This makes it one of the more expensive offerings in Synology's portfolio, but it is undoubtedly one of the most versatile and powerful NAS products on the market.

When you use Synology's DSM software and the wide range of packages available, you have the hardware and software capabilities to get your internal Office 365 / G Suite up and running in a few clicks.

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