The capabilities of machines doing network-attached storage (NAS) duties have expanded a great deal over time. Synology's DiskStation DS1517 and DiskStation DS1817 promise to deliver "private cloud" functionality to small and medium-sized businesses. Experienced model number decoders have probably already guessed that the DS1517 can hold up to five disks and the DS1817 can pack eight drives. Both models can be expanded by adding up to two of Synology's DX517 five-disk expansion units. A DS1817 and a pair of expansion boxes can hold a staggering 180 TB total.
As for hardware, both models are built around 1.7 GHz quad-core Annapurna Labs Alpine AL-314 32-bit SoCs. Annapurna may not be the most familiar name in the ARM SoC market, but parent company Amazon has considerable brand awareness in online retail, cloud services, and boutique brick-and-mortar grocery. The DS1517 comes with 2 GB of DDR3L memory soldered to the motherboard. The larger model has 4 GB of memory, but can be expanded to 8 GB by filling the second SODIMM slot.
Both boxes can be filled with the buyers' choice of 2.5" or 3.5" drives, all of which can be hot-swapped. A pair of USB 3.0 jacks and two eSATA connectors provide connectivity for external storage. The DS1517 has four Gigabit Ethernet ports, while the the DS1817 has two Gigabit jacks and two 10 GbE ports. All ports on both models support link aggregation and fail-over with ports operating at the same speed. The DS1517 is capable of sequential read speeds of up to 449 MB/s and DS1817 promises speeds up to 1577 MB/s, though reaching those speeds would require link aggregation.
Both new DiskStation models ship with Synology's CloudStation suite, a package that includes software tools for advanced file sharing, data synchronization, and backup. The included Synology Office suite is a package of private cloud collaboration tools similar to Google Docs. The boxes also support security features like Windows ACLs, two-step verification, and encryption. Two DS1817 units can be linked together to create a Synology High Availability cluster, allowing for continued operation if one device fails.
Synology backs the DiskStation DS1517 and DiskStation DS1817 with a three-year warranty. The company did not provide pricing or availability info, though we'd expect high-powered gear like this to carry a price premium.