Introduction and Testbed Setup

The emergence of the digital economy has brought to fore the importance of safeguarding electronic data. The 3-2-1 data backup strategy involves keeping three copies of all essential data, spread over at least two different devices with at least one of them being off-site or disaster-resistant in some way. It is almost impossible to keep copies of large frequently updated data sets current in an off-site data backup strategy. This is where companies like ioSafe come in with their lineup of fire- and waterproof storage devices. We have already reviewed the ioSafe SoloPRO (an external hard drive in a disaster-resistant housing) as well as the ioSafe N2 (a 2-bay Marvell-based NAS with similar disaster protection).

External hard drives are good enough for daily backups, but entirely unsuitable for large and frequently updated data. The latter scenario calls for a network attached storage unit which provides high availability over the local network. The SoloPRO's chassis and hard drive integration strategy made it impossible for end users to replace the hard disk while also retaining the disaster-resistance characteristics. A disaster-resistant RAID-1 NAS with hot-swap capability was needed and the ioSafe N2 / 214 was launched to address these issues. However, with growing data storage requirements amongst SMBs and enterprise users, ioSafe found a market need for disaster resistant NAS units that supported expansion capabilities in addition to large number of drive bays. The ioSafe 1513+ serves to fulfill those requirements.

ioSafe partnered with Synology for the N2 NAS (which was later rebranded as the ioSafe 214). The partnership continues for the ioSafe 1513+, a disaster-resistant version of the Synology 1513+. The main unit has five bays, but, up to two ioSafe N513X expansion chassis can be connected to make 15 bays available in total for the user. Obviously, the N513X chassis is also disaster-resistant. We got our initial look at the ioSafe 1513+ at CES earlier this year. As a recap, the specifications of the unit are provided in the table below.

ioSafe 1513+ Specifications
Processor Intel Atom D2701 (2C/4T @ 2.13 GHz)
Drive Bays

5x 3.5"/2.5" SATA 6 Gbps HDD / SSD (Hot-Swappable)
(Review unit populated with 5x Toshiba MG03ACA200 2 TB enterprise drives)

Network Links 4x 1 GbE
External I/O Peripherals 4x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0, 2x eSATA
Expansion Slots None
VGA / Display Out None
Full Specifications Link ioSafe 1513+ Specifications

$1600 (Diskless)
$3860 (as configured)

The ioSafe 1513+ review unit came in a 70 lb. package. Apart from the main unit (which has the PSU in-built), we had an Allen key and a magnetic holder for the same, a U.S power cord and a single 6 ft. network cable.

Interesting aspects to note are the hot-swappable fans, the rubber gasket around the waterproofing door for the drive chamber and the faceplate on the underside that allows for addition of a SO-DIMM module to augment the DRAM in the unit. The drive caddies also have holes for mounting 2.5" drives, a minor complaint that we had in the ioSafe N2 review. The fanless motherboard is mounted at the base of the unit in a separate compartment under the fire-/waterproof chamber for the drives.

Testbed Setup and Testing Methodology

The ioSafe 1513+ can take up to five drives. Users can opt for either JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 6 or RAID 10 configurations. We benchmarked the unit in RAID 5 with five Western Digital WD4000FYYZ RE drives as the test disks. Even though our review unit came with five Toshiba MG03ACA200 2 TB enterprise drives, we opted to benchmark with the WD Re drives to keep the numbers consistent when comparing against NAS units that have been evaluated before. The four ports of the ioSafe 1513+ were link aggregated in 802.3ad LACP to create a 4 Gbps link. The jumbo frames setting, however, was left at the default 1500 bytes. Our testbed configuration is outlined below.

AnandTech NAS Testbed Configuration
Motherboard Asus Z9PE-D8 WS Dual LGA2011 SSI-EEB
CPU 2 x Intel Xeon E5-2630L
Coolers 2 x Dynatron R17
Memory G.Skill RipjawsZ F3-12800CL10Q2-64GBZL (8x8GB) CAS 10-10-10-30
OS Drive OCZ Technology Vertex 4 128GB
Secondary Drive OCZ Technology Vertex 4 128GB
Tertiary Drive OCZ Z-Drive R4 CM88 (1.6TB PCIe SSD)
Other Drives 12 x OCZ Technology Vertex 4 64GB (Offline in the Host OS)
Network Cards 6 x Intel ESA I-340 Quad-GbE Port Network Adapter
Chassis SilverStoneTek Raven RV03
PSU SilverStoneTek Strider Plus Gold Evolution 850W
OS Windows Server 2008 R2
Network Switch Netgear ProSafe GSM7352S-200

Thank You!

We thank the following companies for helping us out with our NAS testbed:

Chassis Design and Hardware Platform
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  • jmke - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    ioSafe is the 3rd party backup copy;
    1st onsite, 2nd offsite, 3rd copy on the ioSafe.

    with almost everything digital, the ioSafe is the equivalent of a... safe :) a high quality classic "fire and waterproof" safe will set you back ~$500-600. Add in the cost of the DS513+ and you get where the price comes from...

    if you can backup offsite reliably! then surely do, ioSafe offers an alternative solution, never bad to have other options :)
  • robb.moore - Thursday, August 14, 2014 - link

    Thx jmke. With this particular system (especially setup on HA), it's viable for many SMB's that the 1513+ be used as primary and maybe glacier or another offsite service be used for maybe a smaller set of tier1, hyper critical files. It's possibly the best of all worlds for RPO/RTO, cost, etc. And if a backhoe takes out your internet connection, you haven't lost all DR capabilities.
    Robb Moore, CEO
    ioSafe Inc.
  • Gonemad - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    Add some layers of kevlar, a spring-mounted cage, and a internal UPS that calls for 5-minutes safe shutdown. Bulletproof, explosion resistant, power outage resistant. Or shove it in a safe for good measure. I bet there is a market for it. If you change the drives to flash ones, you get even better explosion resistancy.
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    Where are the grill/swimming pool tests?
  • romrunning - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    Ganesh, did you check to see if this "disaster-resistant" Synology make-over is also "resistant" to SynoLocker (i.e., patched against it)? Someone encrypting all of my files would certainly qualify as a disaster to me! ;)
  • ganeshts - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    Our review unit came with DSM 5.0 installed, so that is immune to the SynoLocker exploit.

    That said, the lesson from the SynoLocker episode for me was that we might be better off not exposing the unit to the Internet at all. We might end up losing a lot of nice features of DSM, but I think it is worth the peace of mind. In addition, security vulnerabilities exist everywhere. Today, Synology has been exploited - tomorrow, it might be some other NAS vendor.

    I also suspect that the use-case for ioSafe 1513+-like devices involves storing of sensitive data - no IT admin in his right mind would leave ports open from such devices for access from an external network. It would probably be through a VPN or something similar.
  • romrunning - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    Sadly, I know of some "admins" who do not have the same regard for security. To them, it is just about reacting to the latest request, like "I want to access my files from home and everywhere else". They open it up, and then leave the default basic authentication as-is.

    From experience, I would wager the percentage of those types of admins are a bit higher than you might expect of such a position.
  • gizmo23 - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    LACP: I thought we moved on to 802.1X about 5 years ago
  • bobbozzo - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    Something this big would quickly bake if you had it running in a sealed safe.
  • jay401 - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    Is it also EMP proof? :)

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