IT Pro Verdict
No M.2 SSD slots
Stepping in at the entry point of Synology's general-purpose rack NAS family, the Synology RackStation RS422+ offers SMBs an affordable storage solution that will slot into the smallest of spaces. Measuring only 290mm deep, this 4-bay 1U high chassis will fit comfortably in a wall box or a standard 2-post rack cabinet.
Costing £558 ($693) for a diskless unit, the RS422+ is good value but businesses looking for a NAS with lots of upgrade options should look away now, as these are in short supply. A redeeming feature is the new 2.2GHz AMD Ryzen R1600 CPU, but the base 2GB of DDR4 ECC memory is embedded on the motherboard and there are no spare SODIMM slots for upgrading this.
There's a clue in the model name about storage capacity: the '4' indicates the maximum number of drives supported. Unlike the higher-end RS822+, this appliance doesn't offer any eSATA ports so you can't add Synology's RX418 external 4-bay disk shelves – and it doesn't have any internal M.2 SSD slots, either.
On the plus side, the RS422+ offers a pair of gigabit network ports and a proprietary PCI-E slot at the rear for Synology's E10G22-T1-Mini card. Costing £119, this presents a 10GbE RJ45 port that also supports 5GbE, 2.5GbE and gigabit speeds – a first for Synology, which has traditionally eschewed multi-gigabit ports.
We fitted the 10GbE card for performance testing and added four 16TB Seagate IronWolf Pro hard disks configured from the DSM Storage Manager app as an SHR (Synology Hybrid RAID) array. With a NAS share mapped over 10GbE to a Dell T640 Windows server, we recorded Iometer sequential read and write speeds of 9.2Gbits/sec and 6.2Gbits/sec.
Real-world numbers are good, too, with 25GB file copies between the server and appliance averaging read and write speeds of 4.2Gbits/sec and 4Gbits/sec. Copying the 25GB file to an encrypted folder averaged 3Gbits/sec, while backing up a 22.4GB folder with 10,500 small files we saw 1.8Gbits/sec.
Along with good performance, the RS422+ offers a superb range of storage features courtesy of Synology's slick DSM 7.1 software. It will make a great data protection and central backup candidate, as Synology's Snapshot Replication app provides on-demand and scheduled snapshots of Btrfs volumes, and for extra data security can replicate them to remote Synology appliances.
The Hyper Backup app manages local, remote, Rsync, cloud plus iSCSI LUN backup tasks and brings essential off-site storage into play, with support for Synology's C2 Backup cloud service and a wide range of popular third-party providers. Private backup clouds are possible too, as the Drive Server app provides synchronization services for collaboration and file sharing with desktops and mobiles that have the Drive agent installed.
The star of the show is the free Active Backup for Business (ABB) app, which provides data protection facilities for servers and workstations along with agentless backup services for VMware and Hyper-V virtualization hosts with application-consistent backups of virtual machines (VMs). You can secure data on other Synology appliances by installing the ABB agent on them and DSM also offers free Active Backup apps for protecting Google Workspace and Microsoft 365.
The only app you can't run on the RS422+ is Synology's Virtual Machine Manager, as it isn't available for this appliance. The dual-core CPU and modest 2GB of memory makes it impractical anyway, though, as there wouldn't be enough free hardware resources to assign to VMs.
The Surveillance Station 9 app can turn the RS422+ into a professional video monitoring and recording vault. It comes with two free IP camera licenses and offers an incredible range of camera monitoring, recording, and motion-detection features.
Despite the restricted upgrade potential, the RS422+ offers small businesses a discreet NAS solution at a fair price. Performance over 10GbE is respectable and the DSM software has all the tools you need to turn it into a great central backup or video surveillance vault.
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. He started his career working on mainframe computers including ICL and Unisys within the pharmaceutical, services and corporate financial sectors and managed one of the largest Unisys mainframe installations in the world. Since moving into journalism in 1994, Dave has produced many thousands of in-depth business networking product reviews from his lab which have been reproduced globally. Writing for IT Pro and its sister title, PC Pro, he covers all areas of business IT including servers, storage, network security, data protection, cloud, infrastructure and services.