Synology DiskStation DS923+ review: A versatile network storage solution

A good-value small business desktop NAS with a wealth of data backup features and plenty of power for the price

The Synology DiskStation on the ITPro background
(Image: © Future)

IT Pro Verdict


  • +

    Value for money

  • +

    Expandable memory


    It's been a long wait, but the successor to Synology's ageing DS920+ four-bay desktop NAS is finally here. Targeting the same home office and small business sectors, the DS923+ is Synology's first 2023 model and offers a good storage package at an affordable price.

    It bears many physical similarities to its predecessor, with the main changes being in the processing department. Intel gets the elbow in favour of a dual-core 2.6GHz AMD Ryzen R1600, and memory also sees big improvements: the base 4GB of DDR4 can be expanded to 32GB, four times that of the DS920+.

    A peek at the rear reveals a pair of gigabit ports, and 10-gigabit (10GbE) is now possible as the small bay alongside accepts Synology's optional E10G22-T1-Mini card, which also supports multi-gigabit speeds. Two USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports are present and the single eSATA port can be used to connect Synology's five-bay DX517 expansion unit – hence the "9" in its model name. 

    Flip it over and you'll find a pair of M.2 NVMe SSD slots underneath. These can be used as a performance-enhancing cache, and the DS923+ is also the first to allow them to be used as a standard storage pool, although this is only permitted for Synology's own-brand SNV3400 and SNV3410 NVMe SSDs.

    The Synology DiskStation on the ITPro background

    (Image credit: Future)

    For testing, we installed four 14TB Western Digital Red Plus hard disks, allowed the web browser's quick-start routine to load the latest DSM 7.1 software and used the Storage Manager app to create a 38TB RAID5 array. We also fitted the 10GbE expansion card, which was accepted without any problems.

    Performance is good, with a NAS share mapped over 10GbE to a Dell T640 Windows server returning Iometer sequential read and write speeds of 9.2Gbits/sec and 8.3Gbits/sec. Real-world speeds are equally impressive, with 25GB file copies between the server and appliance averaging read and write speeds of 4.4Gbits/sec and 4.3Gbits/sec.

    Backing up a 22.4GB folder with 10,500 small files mustered a creditable 2.1Gbits/sec, while copying our 25GB test file to an encrypted folder averaged 3.3Gbits/sec with CPU usage stepping up to only 44%. IP SAN performance is also impressive: a 500GB iSCSI target mapped to the server delivered fast sequential read and write speeds of 9.2Gbits/sec and 7.3Gbits/sec. 

    Synology's DSM software scores highly for data protection features, with the Snapshot Replication app managing on-demand and scheduled snapshots for NAS shares and thin-provisioned iSCSI LUNs. Businesses with appliances distributed to remote offices will approve of the Snapshot Replication feature, which can secure data to a central Synology appliance at head office as often as every five minutes.

    The Synology DiskStation dashboard

    (Image credit: Future)

    Synology's Active Backup Suite adds a lot of value, and comprises three very useful apps. Active Backup for Business (ABB) protects remote Synology appliances, servers and workstations plus VMware and Hyper-V hosts, while the other two apps protect Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 cloud accounts.

    The Hyper Backup app manages local, remote, Rsync, cloud and iSCSI LUN backups, and you can monitor it from the Active Insights cloud console once you've purchased a premium plan, which also alerts you to unusual login activity. The free version supports three appliances and provides system, network and storage performance data, with a one-month data retention period.

    The appliance is great for lightweight video-recording duties, with Synology's Surveillance Station 9 app providing an incredible range of features. It includes two free IP camera licences, offers a wealth of monitoring, recording and motion-detection features, and can upload recordings to Synology's C2 cloud service for extra data protection and sharing with other users.

    There's a lot to like about the DS923+. It offers a powerful hardware specification with a surprisingly large amount of expansion potential. Home workers and small offices that want a versatile network storage solution will find it an affordable option, and the 10GbE card is worth the extra spend since it unleashes a big performance boost.

    Dave Mitchell

    Dave is an IT consultant and freelance journalist specialising in hands-on reviews of computer networking products covering all market sectors from small businesses to enterprises. Founder of Binary Testing Ltd – the UK’s premier independent network testing laboratory - Dave has over 45 years of experience in the IT industry.

    Dave has produced many thousands of in-depth business networking product reviews from his lab which have been reproduced globally. Writing for ITPro and its sister title, PC Pro, he covers all areas of business IT infrastructure, including servers, storage, network security, data protection, cloud, infrastructure and services.