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All-flash Synology FlashStation NAS welcomes 'little brother'

Midrange NAS provider Synology America Corp. is expanding its FlashStation all-flash storage platform.

Synology FlashStation FS2017, which became available April 27, is the “little brother” to the FS3017 NAS that launched in November 2016. Both 2U rack-mount models have a 24-bay chassis that accepts 2.5-inch SAS or SATA solid-state drives (SSDs). Two 24-drive expansion trays can be added.

The all-flash Synology devices offer identical storage capacity. A fully populated base unit provides 92 TB of raw storage with 24 3.84 TB SSDs. Expansion shelves scale raw capacity to 276.5 TB. Customers can opt to use HDDs instead.

“We introduced the FS3017 last year. This model is its little brother,” said Patrick Deschere, a marking manager at Synology America, which is part of Taipei-based Synology Inc.

The models differ in memory, processing power, throughput and price. Synology FlashStation FS3017 is rated to deliver more than 200,000 random write 4K IOPS. It is equipped with a pair of six-core Intel Xeon E5-2620 v3 processor chips and four preinstalled 16 GB DDR4 error-correction dual inline memory modules (DIMMS). Memory scales to 512 GB with the addition of 16 DIMM cards.

The FS2017 integrates an eight-core Intel Xeon D-1541 processor and a 16 GB DDR4 module. Four additional DIMM slots push memory to 128 GB. Synology rates the FS2017 to handle up to 90,000 random write IOPS.

Two eight-lane PCI Express (PCIe) expansion slots are available on the FS3017; the FS2017 provides one PCIe slot.

Bare-bones pricing starts at $9,999 for the FS3017. An unpopulated FS2017 lists for approximately $6,300. Customers can choose their preferred drive vendor from the compatibility list. When fully outfitted, Synology estimates storage costs between 58 cents and 63 cents per gigabyte.

Customers can combine two of the same Synology FlashStation devices to create an active-passive high-availability cluster. The two nodes share a heartbeat that allows the active server to update data to the passive server for continuous availability.

High-performance storage was the missing link

FlashStation is the latest addition to the Synology lineup, which includes DiskStation and RackStation products of varying capacities and use cases. It also sells Surveillance Station, a video monitoring system that runs atop Synology NAS. All the products run the Synology DiskStation Manager operating system.

“We had products for scalability and products for availability. One thing we were missing was high-performance storage,” Deschere said. “That was the impetus behind developing the Synology FlashStation series.”

Despite anticipation of an all-flash data center, NAS systems still rely on disk storage. Flash NAS mostly is confined to scale-out products by larger vendors, such as NetApp AFF and an all-flash addition to Dell EMC’s Isilon line.

Synology is not competing head to head with those types of products. The FlashStation NAS series is designed for big data analysis, database applications, media and entertainment, and storage virtualization.

Data protection is tackled with Synology RAID F1, an algorithm that designates one SSD in the system as the first to wear out. Synology does this by writing a higher number of parity bits to the assigned SSD in an effort to prevent all drives from failing simultaneously.

Snapshots are supported on all Synology NAS via the B-Tree file system (Btrfs) copy-on-write technology. On FlashStation, Synology Snapshot Replication software can be configured to schedule point-in-time snapshots every five minutes. It supports 1,000 snapshots per shared file folder and 65,000 system-wide backup copies.

Another application, Hyper Backup, delivers data deduplication and incremental backup at the block level.

Synology FlashStation is the vendor’s second business NAS release this year. In January, it launched RackStation RS18017xs+ that scales to 180 connected drives and RS4017xs+ that scales to 40 drives.

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