back to article Bring Your Own Disks: The Synology DS214 network storage box

The Bring-Your-Own-Disks home server market might not be mainstream but it's pretty lively place, with giants like Cisco mixing with obscure Taiwanese box-shifters. And although these quiet, sub-£400 servers make a useful bit of small office kit, the abundance of media awash in family homes and shared digs give them another role …

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  1. Mr Anonymous

    "Home NAS has flourished after Microsoft decided to kneecap its very useful Home Server product, an option which gave new life to an old PC or laptop." Crap.

    The NAS market was mature before MS failed with one of their embrace, extent & extinguish moves. The biggest failure being they couldn't get their storages services to work properly, a key feature for a storage device.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      RE: Failure to work properly?

      I don't understand this comment, the fact that most MS products fail to work properly has never been a real deterrent to their success. I'd argue that the Home Server actually had a better up-time than most of their client software operating systems - admittedly the file corruption issue was a little annoying at times though.

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Who said the torrent client is for pirated films?

    It's for downloading the latest Linux distros, of course.

  3. Bassey

    What have I missed?

    With the exception of the IP Camera function I can't see what this setup does that a D-Link DNS-320 does - except costing five times more. And £175 for 2 X 2TB drives? Seriously? Amazon sells the WD Green edition for about £60 a pop. Given that the main bottleneck will always be bandwidth a Green drive is surely a better bet than a "High Performance" model anyway?

    I'm certainly not a network person so could easily have missed the point but, as best as I can tell, a DNS-320 plus 2 X 2TB drives sets you back about £160 and does the job perfectly well. I've got this exact setup at home backing up and feeding media to about 6 machines. And I've recently persuaded 2 others to go with the same thing (both, thankfully, perfectly happy).

    1. xenny

      Re: What have I missed?

      Synology offer an awful lot of addons, such as a VPN server, which at a quick glance, doesn't appear to be available for the D-Link.

      Look at http://www.anandtech.com/show/6157/western-digital-red-review-are-nasoptimized-hdds-worth-the-premium/2 in the Power Management section WRT the suitability of WD Greens for this kind of application.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What have I missed?

      The d-link is slow - but good if you don't care about speed. I have, using to mirror the disks to backup some data. don't care about speed hence I went for this. If you do care about speed, avoid the d-link as it is very slow.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What have I missed?

      Having used Synology boxes before, things like TV capture, USB3 support, VPN, on the fly transcoding for dumb DLNA clients come in quite handy at times. I haven't yet linked in the Radius server to my home wifi, but it is tempting...

    4. Alan 6

      Re: What have I missed?

      Not all hard drives are the ideal for all jobs.

      The WD Green drives are good in office PCs that do sporadic read / writes and are only active 8-10 hours a day, but a NAS will be running 24/7, especially if you have a torrent client running download err Linux distros for instance, for this you need a drive that's rated for 24/7 use, such as the WD Red drives, these also have a cache that is better tuned for large writing jobs like back-ups.

      I used to deal with customers running large IP camera systems, with hundreds of cameras writing to multiple servers, and one customer baulked at the £200 we charged for server grade hard drives, so he bought some cheapo SATA drives from Ebuyer, and very quickly regretted it, the first of these drives he used to replace a failed drive in his 15 drive enclosure lasted less than a week

      1. Bassey

        Re: What have I missed?

        I think you are all (reviewer included) making the usual IT mistake of assuming what you do is the norm. This is marketed as a home NAS. 99% of home NAS devices are used for a couple of hours in the evenings and then a bit more at the weekend. They most certainly don't require 24/7 rated discs. The opposite in fact. Low energy is far more important.

        Most home users don't know what a VPN is, there are probably about 3 of you using IP Cameras. Torrent client, yes, maybe, but not huge numbers or volumes. They are used for backups and for streaming Video and music to some form of client (Apple TV, Samsung telly, XBox, ipad etc). They need iTunes server compatibility, maybe DLNA (though as it hardly ever works it's farm from essential) and a very simple, hand holding interface that takes an average user through setting up average use-cases.

        1. Shugyosha
          Happy

          Re: What have I missed?

          With respect, I think you're missing the point as to why WD Greens are unsuitable. It's precisely because they're low energy. I suggest you do the research yourself, and there's plenty of info on WD's website, but basically many NAS devices don't allow a disk much time to recover from an error before dropping it from a RAID and possibly rebuilding the RAID. Reds are built with this in mind. Greens are not and because of their power saving, they are frequently switching off, possibly with a little delay before starting up again. So if you're using the wrong disks, your NAS may be regularly rebuilding the RAID completely unneccessarily.

          You might be fine with that. Yes it's only for home use, not business critical, but having started with a cheap Lacie 1TB single disk NAS that died on me with no backups (it was mainly storing MP3s ripped from CDs I own) it's still incredibly infuriating when something goes wrong. Personally I prefer to pay the extra few bucks and get the right tool for the job, so I've just recently got myself a D-Link DNS-320L with 2 x 4TB Seagate NAS rated drives (comparable to WD Reds), after doing my research.

          1. Chz

            Re: What have I missed?

            I've downvoted you for parroting what WD, Seagate, et.al keep telling us.

            I've no doubt there are places where the Reds are more suitable than the Greens. But a home NAS isn't really one of them. Remember that the Green disks were out for several years before the Reds came along and millions of them are spinning along happily in home NAS boxes without issue. My NAS (QNap Ts-219) has never had an issue coping with sleeping disks. For one, mirrored disks will sleep at the exact same time so there's no threat of a RAID rebuild. For two, any decent NAS supports some form of journaling (even if it degrades performance slightly) that would cause a rebuild to take all of 2 minutes.

          2. phil dude
            Linux

            Re: What have I missed?

            yes green have a *nasty* habit of turning off, and being slow to turn back on!

            Get RAID drives for RAID setup..!!

            I got this HP Micro server box with 4x2TB WD RE4-GP using RAID6/1 in it. A lovely piece of kit and relatively cheap when you are buying 4 drives, especially since it takes normal ECC memory.

            P.

        2. Compact101

          Re: What have I missed?

          All good, perfectly describing me.

          And your recommendation is????

          :)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What have I missed?

        Totally agree with you. When you have company's like Buffalo using WD Green drives in their "NAS" boxes with dire performance and reliability, you know that it does not make sense to use them!

        I have been using later generation Seagate Barracuda's in the boxes I have been putting together recently, and very happy with the reliability of them compared to the older ones. Performance is much better as well compared to the older drives.

        Might have to grab one of these Synology boxes and have a play.

    5. John Tserkezis

      Re: What have I missed?

      "...IP Camera function..."

      As far as I'm aware, the CCTV camera free software is good for one camera - more and you need to pay. You'll need to read up on it, as there is some discussion that as a camera suite option, there are better choices out there. Sure this one lives on existing hardware - but that's something you need to evaluate if it's critical to your needs.

      "...WD Green edition..."

      Not suitable at all for an always-on home/office environment. It auto-parks the heads periodically, which makes sense on a desktop, but in a NAS environment it'll kill the drive fairly quickly. The WD Red is a better option - it's basically a Green with modified firmware to not park the heads so it doesn't self destruct as quickly. Yes, you're paying a premium for an option that USED TO BE FREE, but they have to make their money somehow. The WD Enterprise series are even better suited, have a better MTBF, and faster, but the cost is probably not justifed for this lower end NAS.

      "...DNS-320..."

      This suggestion is cheaper, (I have one as well), and most certainly justified with cheap drives as it only gets used intermittantly so I can travel with bulk data. However, it only works with up to 3Tb drives, the DNS-320L can deal with 4Tb drives, and you're heavily limited on "applications" if that's important to you. The newer Synology DS214 in this article can also deal with 4Tb drives. Do your homework and see if your small NAS can deal with 4Tb drives, as it would not be worthwhile going for a "cheap" sellout early revision if you need to upgrade later.

  4. KTF

    Too much compared to buying an HP microserver, a couple of HDD and putting whatever OS you want on it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The Microserver option

      I did that myself only last month, but whilst it easily wins in terms of flexibility and potential, it most definitely loses out in the "all up and running in a couple of hours" dept.

      Horses for courses.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: The Microserver option

        Thanks AC, I've been wondering why those HP Microservers have been sold with a £100 cashback offer for what seems like years.

    2. John Tserkezis

      "Too much compared to buying an HP microserver, a couple of HDD and putting whatever OS you want on it."

      Cost isn't the only or best consideration.

      Pre-build NAS boxes are neat, small, relatively frugal on power consumption, *REALLY* easy to deal with trying to work out which drive failed out of your eight (did you number those drives? Oops), and best of all, even if you're so hung over you start looking for sharp things to poke in your eyes, you can still set it up and have it functional very quickly after unboxing.

  5. Paul 181

    Low power PC

    Isn't a low power PC a better option

    I have a mac mini with 2 x 1TB USB drives attached and it's a lot more powerful than a dedicated NAS

    Power consumption is fairly low as well but not as low as this NAS

    I concede it costs more , £500 for the mac and £100 for the drives but you get a lot more performance for your cash

    1. Phil W

      Re: Low power PC

      I concur though not with the mac mini part.

      A mini itx integrated motherboard and cpu like an amd e-350 based solution plus case and disks would cost less and perform better with a similar power profile to the NAS device.

      Install Windows, a proper Linux distro or a prebuilt Linux based NAS OS and you'll have a lovely home server.

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Re: Low power PC

        It depends a bit on what you need. With the "everything in a box" approach you buy the box, two disks and a short while later you have a NAS with options (looked at the DLink - cheaper but not having the features I need). Even people who are not that versed in IT will get this to work, and I'm all for anything that promotes people making backups.

        OTOH, if your needs are more complex, there is indeed tech enough to make that happen but that's for a different, tech-savvy audience. A friend of mine built a setup which is NAS + VM server - that is simply a different proposition (but so cool that I'll probably go that way too, provided I can keep the noise down).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Low power PC

          Sometimes there is more than just being "tech savvy" when you make certain decisions on tech.

          Frankly, my life has become personally too valuable to spend time on tech. I have things I must do and things I'd rather do, versus spending the time on shopping / building / installing / configuring a home server. My priority in life is to live, not to spend time on debugging a silly home device - as a society, we have donated WAY too much time to these creations of ours.

          Sure, I could have built a [new] home server. But I said to myself "Time to prioritize my time", and more importantly for me right now, my space, so I bought a NAS. Haven't looked back.

          1. JEDIDIAH
            Devil

            Re: Low power PC

            > Frankly, my life has become personally too valuable to spend time on tech.

            You are trying far too hard to perpetuate a false dichotomy that's bogus anyways.

            If you even know what a NAS is to begin with, the "time" issue really is irrelevant. In general, my devices don't require a lot of babysitting. What little upfront setup is done and forgotten about very quickly.

            If that's all you got then Synology products are a total waste of money.

            More open solutions are cheaper, more flexible, and don't require more special proprietary hardware if something goes wrong. Being cheaper also helps enable better redundancy in case something goes wrong. That redundancy moots many of the more relevant bells and whistles of this kind of "turnkey" device.

            Plus the performance of this thing is just crap. Nevermind all the other stuff.

    2. GitMeMyShootinIrons

      Re: Low power PC

      You won't get RAID protection (except software based), your power consumption will be noticeably higher, but it'll be more powerful. However, just how powerful you actually need depends on what you're going to do with it.

      I have a DS213 and it quite happily runs a DLNA server, ebook library, backup target for Apple time machine and file sharing. Sure, a Mac mini might do the same, but it's a bit overkill for my taste.

  6. TrixyB

    Looks like Qnap interface

    Those screen shots look very, very similar to my Qnap TS-469 Pro v4 firmware

    The interface the same down to the icons!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Looks like Qnap interface

      Yes, very similar, except that Synology didn't copy QNAP.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nice review

    Thank you.

    But no cloud integration??

  8. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Interesting but...

    IMHO it is of limited attraction but at least it is a TWO drive unit. How many 'NAS' solutions are there with just a single drive or worse still a dual drive units where the default is a Raid-0 when you have two drives.

    I have a Synology CS407. Works well but the CPU is rather underpowered for my liking. The saver is that as it is a 4 drive unit I can setup a RAID-5 solution. Just as well as in the past year three different 1Tb drives (from two different makers) have bitten the dust. 2 from Samsung and 1 from WD.

    any chance of doing a test/review of 4 drive units? Some of us have a lot of 'stuff' to squirrel away.

    1. DF118

      Re: Interesting but...

      any chance of doing a test/review of 4 drive units? Some of us have a lot of 'stuff' to squirrel away.

      +1

      Much as it's tempting just to jump for a Drobo, my wallet is cringing at the prospect.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        DF118

        a Drobo would be a mistake google will explain.

        Check out the QNAP TS470 awesome bit of kit.

        Or the TS 469 for slightly lower spec and lower price...

        the 41* and 42* series are more basic but still do the job.

        If you want a reg round up see here (Out of date and only the basic Qnap boxes).

        1. Paw Bokenfohr

          Re: DF118

          My vote goes to the (Netgear) ReadyNAS range. I've got an old NV+ still going strong as my main file store, and a little (again, old) Duo running as a Time Machine target and little else. They've both caused me no problems.

          They're not the fastest at rebuilding the RAID when a drive dies (or you want to increase the size) and they're not the fastest read/write, but for me, a home NAS raison d'etre is "no problems" for your storage needs.

          And the newer ReadyNAS units will be much faster - at the time I got these ones, they were some of the fastest.

          1. msage

            Re: DF118

            ReadyNAS Pro 4 user here. A great device.

            Good for running VM's (VMWare over NFS or iSCSI (it's a certified device) or Hyper-v over iSCSI). Supports CIFS out the box too. Has a reasonable range of plugins... but... Netgear have abandoned the old ReadyNAS range and users and managed to kill of the community. Yes it works and works well now, will my next NAS be a ReadyNAS... dunno!

  9. Matt_payne666

    Nice, but I just can't get excited with 2 bay enclosures when an AMD based micro server with 4 drive bays and a PCI-e slot is less then £100 with its cashback....

    1. GitMeMyShootinIrons

      And you'll need the cash back to compensate for the higher power consumption.

  10. AMB-York Silver badge

    I always like the idea of these

    until I work out what I'm paying for - empty box, mobo, processor, power supply and a network card. Plus a cut-down OS.

    I'm sure I could do it just as cheaply with an old Windows PC with some extra hard drives without worrying about the esoteric format the HDDs use.

    Even more sure there's some open source build of something out there that does it dead cheap too.

    1. David Evans

      Re: I always like the idea of these

      I thought long and hard about using my old Shuttle as a NAS instead of buying one, but in the end I went down the Synology route, and to be honest I'm glad I did. Its reliable, super-quiet, and idiot-proof, and unlike a lot of others, the Apps are actually worth having; much as I like XBMC, the VideoStation App is quicker and easier to use on the TV (controlled by my phone, it makes my Samsung's otherwise near useless dlna setup usable so I don't need a separate STB like an RPi or Apple TV). I think a couple of years ago I'd have been less likely to recommend a Synology, but with the release of 4.3 its now a mature, polished product.

  11. SuperTim

    Home server/NAS

    If this had been available while I was building my home server, I may have considered it. It costs about the same as my server did (sans disks), but uses less juice and is quieter. Stuff like this is getting cheaper and more usable quicker than I care to think about.

    I don't recall MS ever making their home server OS available to individuals, just to systems builders, so not sure about the whole "old PC retask", unless you are taking about the Beta version. I use win 7 on my server so can use it with all the online content options, it also has esata, USB 3, gigabit ethernet AND Wireless N connectivity (should I suddenly cut through my cables) , and a blu-ray writer in there to allow both BD playback and archive of the more vital files. For the money it is good and I like my solution, but it was build out of a lack of other affordable solutions at the time. I would have considered a NAS like this one though.

    1. Anthony 13

      Re: Home server/NAS

      WHS has always been (still is) available as an OEM license, which an individual (system re-purposer) can use .... as the OEM you have to support yourself though. I suspect most people inclined to build their own server are more likely to run Linux.

      The one advantage WHS does (did) have is the built-in backup and bare metal restore for Windows clients. It seems crazy, but I haven't seen anything really equivalent on a NAS device or Linux platform - unless anyone else has?

      The other advantage it has for me - the machine makes a great PVR and HTPC (Media Portal) client. NAS and Linux do offer options in this area though.

  12. dajames Silver badge
    WTF?

    Drive sizes?

    The review suggests that the maximum drive size these units can take is 2TB, but falls short of actually saying so. I imagine the truth is that the 2TB limit is real because the firmware can only handle drives formatted with an old-style partition table, rather than the newer GPT format.

    Now that it's relatively easy to buy drives as large as 4TB (and the cost per byte is lower than with 2TB drives from the same maker) there is a need for NAS hardware that can use them. It's a shame that Synology haven't provided that in this new device.

    ... and before you say "Why would you need 4TB in a home NAS?" it's because home users are likely to fill their NASes with music and video files, and so probably fill them up faster than most businesses.

    1. xenny

      Re: Drive sizes?

      http://www.synology.com/en-global/support/hd/model/DS214

      lists up to 4TB.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Drive sizes?

      When you read page 2 you'll find this sentence.

      To test this I set up a RAID 1 array with two WD Red 3TB disks, ...

    3. Chris 244
      FAIL

      Re: Drive sizes?

      "To test this I set up a RAID 1 array with two WD Red 3TB disks"

      1. John Tserkezis

        Re: Drive sizes?

        "To test this I set up a RAID 1 array with two WD Red 3TB disks"

        Why the fail? It's probably the drives the reviewer had on had to test. Besides, you don't NEED 4Tb drives to test what's in the specification list anyway, nor to test for performace.

  13. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Great bits of kit.

    I have a DS109j with a 1TB disk in it and it has happily being serving up movies, music, photos - centralised file storage and music to all of my network clients, PS3 and TV for the last couple of years without issue.

    The underlying Linux O/S is completely accessible also so it's highly tuneable. I also like that new version of DSM are always fully backwards compatible with an ever growing menu of add ons and tools.

    The remote access apps work great also.

    1. El Presidente

      Re: Great bits of kit +1

      Powerful, zero faff, solution with a tiny footprint and extremely low running costs.

      1. BeerTokens

        Re: Great bits of kit +1

        Yeah my DS-106j is stuck on DSM 2.1 :( but it was made 5-6 years ago. My IT kit is getting very long in the tooth!

        Was going to write the only thing holding me back to upgrading to a DS214+ was the lack of linux client for the cloud station but just been back to their site and they now have one -

        (2013/08/27)

        Change Log

        Linux Cloud Station client is now available and has been verified on Ubuntu and Fedora.

        Yeah! Now where's my christmas letter to santa I need to add something.

  14. rwbthatisme
    Happy

    Great little box

    Well I bought one after a major snafu with mavericks & western digital raid and have to say more than pleased with it all. I would say setup & install is very easy, though you would need a bit of technical knowledge so its not really for PC Globe customers. Backups for Time Machine are reliable & general file transfer is very quick. As for cloud service, it acts as your own cloud so I can access files anywhere which is very handy, 10 / 10

  15. Justin Stringfellow

    don't skimp

    I've had a synology ds413j for a while and while fundamentally it's a great piece of kit, I would strongly advise anybody buying one of their NAS boxes to avoid the 128MB models, and those with slower CPUs. The web interface is too slow to be usable. For those of you using squeezeboxes, the server software is great, but won't fit properly into such a small amount of RAM either.

  16. John Sanders
    Linux

    I use...

    An Atom MiniITX board (£80 3 years ago) With a generic server chassis (£40) plus two 1TB disks in Raid1 and 2Gb RAM, the board has a single PCI slot with an Asterisk card. It runs Debian Linux x86 and does whatever any of those cheap NAS units do plus much, much more.

    Advantages:

    If one piece breaks I can go to the nearest shop and buy a replacement, or I can take parts from the PC at home.

    The OS gets updated when I need to, not when the vendor thinks it should be/can update it.

    I can run windows/linux virtual machines/containers (not that I do, but I can if I need to)

    Lots of room for expansion, if I need more slots or hard drives, I just buy a Mini-ATX board, plug the disks and chances are it just boots and continues doing its thing.

    Disadvantages:

    Not as energy efficient.

    Requires proper IT person to set up.

    1. Steven Raith

      Re: I use...

      I agree with everything you say.

      However, at home, I just can't be arsed dicking about with the setup these days, so I think I might have to have a look at this for hosting my porn. I mean, disk images.

      *cough*

      Steven R

    2. Steve Crook

      Re: I use...

      I've been running a DS411j for a few years and Synology issue regular updates to their software. They don't appear to be a company that has problems with long term memory when it comes to supporting their product.

      1. John Tserkezis

        Re: I use...

        "I've been running a DS411j for a few years and Synology issue regular updates to their software. They don't appear to be a company that has problems with long term memory when it comes to supporting their product."

        Apparently you've never heard of QNAP. Lots of upgrades, lots of new features, none of the old bugs fixed.

  17. Alan Sharkey

    I've got the 412+ - 4 x 3Tb disks and an intel processor. It handles everything I throw at it.

    It runs file services, streams videos to my TV, streams music & photos around the house, runs 8 web sites, handles my two printers, provides automatic backups and allows me to access my files via it's own "cloud" from the outside world.

    It does have some idiosyncrasies. It won't stream lots of files to Panasonic TVs (Samsung is OK). It forgets my printer when it's switched off. It only has 2 USB 3 ports (both used for external backup drives). But it's small price to pay for what it can do.

    Total cost from Amazon was about £800. I'm sure a PC running Windows Server 2012 would be a similar price to do much the same - but I'm happy with the small footprint and very quiet operation.

    Alan

  18. patters

    Shameless plug

    I maintain a few popular packages for Synology NAS. Serviio is a better media server than the standard included one, and CrashPlan works nicely for online backup. Take a look here: packages.pcloadletter.co.uk

    1. Alan Sharkey

      Re: Shameless plug

      Have you tried installing Serviio? An absolute pain and to be avoided at all costs (IMHO)

      Alan

      1. Don Dumb

        Re: Shameless plug - Why the downvotes?

        Downvoting a comment that gave nothing more than the author's relevant experience and opinion. Don't downvote just because you don't like an opinion.

        For what it's worth I found Serviio to be unhelpful when trying to run a server from my computer. Although that could be more a problem with Samsung's useless approach to DLNA on their TVs

  19. Trigun

    DS412+

    I used to have a DS108j, moved to a DS212+ and now run a DS412+ with 4xSeagate Baracuda 3TB hard drives using SHR (Synology Hybird RAID) - gives a total of 8.11TB storage, is fast, has 1 disc redundancy and can cope with the RAID being upgraded to larger hard drives (4TB in the future possibly). I don't regret spending the money on the NAS as it can do so much, utilising relatively low power, and is incredibly easy to set up.

    My only criticism (as others have already said) is that the lower end Synology NAS' (notably the J version in each series) are a little too weak for the job. I'd suggest buying either a non-J Synology or, if you don't have the money for that, then build an atom-like system instead.

    Other than that I have nothing but good things to say about Synology's products thus far.

  20. Tik

    My answer for a good free NAS

    was mini ITX case silent case, one mini iTX silent motherboard, low power CPU, 8 Gb RAM, 2 x2Tb HDD, one memory stick + freeNAS 9.1; needs a little bit of reading but nothing to be scared of.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My answer for a good free NAS

      Somehow the people forwarding the build-it-yourself NAS fail to remember: it is not "free" if you had to purchase the hardware (you did, at some time, even if it is old kit you are simply reusing). The only "free" part is the downloaded, open-source NAS OS but even that certainly isn't "free" if you add all the time and energy you will spend in hardware assembly, hardware configuration, hardware testing, OS installation, OS package downloads / upgrades and finally system installation.

      NAS? Assembled and configured, right out of the box. Let us not forget the warranty: you have a problem? It's someone else's problem within that warranty period, thank you very much. And, (my chosen) NAS is so damn pretty that I have it in plain sight in the middle of living space, which would be considered rather tight if I had to find a hidden location for an ugly, loud lump of tech. I also won't mention the Android / iPhone app that can access, and share to others via private URLs, the NAS files any place on the planet...ooops, I just mentioned it. :P

  21. jœl
    Thumb Up

    software is also open source

    You can get it here: http://sourceforge.net/projects/dsgpl/ for various ARM and x86_64 archs...have not yet set up a virtual machine to try things (on the todo list - raspberry pi?)

    I own a 211j box. Not very powerful, but energy efficient and quiet with low rpm seagate disks 2TB (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Seagate-ST2000DL003-Barracuda-3-5-inch-5900RPM/dp/B004C0WVP6/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1386092562&sr=8-4&keywords=ST2000DL003-9VT166) in a raid1 conf.

    The reason is that I host my mail server and need the box up at all times. Although it has a spam killer, I use the various aliases I create for different sites requiring registration to cut the problem from its root if they pest me with unwanted mails.

    DLNA server for mkvs (no problems at all) to my WD Live box to the TV, streaming my mp3 collection to my iphone/work pc, and Time machine for my backups is what I use most, although I use quite a lot of features - like backing the box up to Amazon's Irish Glacier server.

    What makes me a satisfied buyer of it is the little amount of time I spend maintaining everything I use. That is why I would recomend it to anybody who does not have the time or the inclination to set up a custom box for similar functionality

    The various packages available for it (http://www.synology.com/en-global/dsm/app_packages) work quite well, plus there are other non official repos too.

    Must say though, that I have found more uses for it than the box I bought can handle, so my next buy would be a more powerful version of it.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Regret buying one

    I had a 4 bay synology NAS.

    Set up what was supposed to be a redundant RAID array to backup my files, films, Itunes etc.

    Then it destroyed the lot. One day it stopped working, all of the drives were corrupted. Bought some new ones and it destroyed those too.

    A horrible waste of money.

    Hope my new WD mycloud is a bit more reliable, although it lacks some of the functionality.

    1. alex 39

      Re: Regret buying one

      Congratulations, you just learned that RAID does not equal backup

      1. John Tserkezis

        Re: Regret buying one

        "Congratulations, you just learned that RAID does not equal backup"

        Nor power stability. Lose power at just the right (wrong) moment, and no amount of RAID is going to save you.

        1. Neill Mitchell

          Re: Regret buying one

          "Nor power stability. Lose power at just the right (wrong) moment, and no amount of RAID is going to save you."

          LOL, so very true. The very next thing I bought after my DS212+ was an APC 650CS UPS. It has saved me at least 3 times now. It also communicates with the 412 via USB, so the NAS shuts down automatically if the power is off long enough for the UPS battery to get low.

          If you are going to do home NAS, you might as well do it properly. The APC cost just £70. Worth every penny.

  23. Chris Ashworth

    The iTunes server is functionally useless since Apple's Home Sharing appeared btw. Very good unit otherwise.

  24. Metrognome

    A few questions

    Guys I could use your expert help.

    I finally moved to a place that is well kitted out to make the most of a NAS box (FTTH coupled with 24 LAN sockets scattered across all rooms and a cisco switch just under the electrical panel/cabinet).

    While I have various leftovers enough to make a screaming server if I got round to it; sadly I just can't devote the time anymore.

    I was drawn to any 4-bay box and the three main usage scenarios are: 1) Torrent client & library, 2) DLNA playback to a smartTV and 3) using their app to access the box directly on my tab/phones when travelling so I don't have to load media beforehand (I travel a LOT and internationally, unfortunately).The playback is only about transporting the data; the TV should be capable of handling the playback of the media. As for the streaming via the app, essentially I only want the box to dumbly stream the data. My tabs/phones are more than capable of playing anything back with no help.

    I read you guys talking about the underpowered option of the -j models. But then you get the normal numbers and the "+" versions. Only the + ones come with Atoms and the normals come with Marvells. The -j are hobbled on the CPU and RAM front. Given that a 412+/414+ bare cost as much as a 413j with 4x2TB WD Reds I want your opinion on a possible choice. I'm not sure I need to aim for "+" given the cost.

    Apologies for the long post but sometimes (despite much evidence to the contrary) these fora are populated with some very sharp, smart and helpful people so I thought I'd ask.

  25. Infernoz Bronze badge

    Hmmm...

    The comment about a NAS box offering VPN is stupid; that is best in a gateway router; my Draytek VDSL2 one can do this easily, with IP6 support.

    There are several thing wrong with device:

    1. The unit cost is over priced for the meager disk and RAID support, as are most Branded off-the-shelf NAS.

    2. A SOHO NAS should use WD Reds if you want the NAS to be reliable.

    3. The best data redundancy you can get is RAID 1; which wastes lots of disk space and some speed.

    4. Larger drives, say 3TB and 4TB may not be supported.

    A FreeNAS box can be /much/ better value with a proper RAID model, and you can make more plugins Apps using a PC-BSD 9.* dist; OK this requires DIY, but that is half the fun.

  26. sorry, what?
    Pint

    Hot swap, yay!

    I have a 2 disk Buffalo NAS enclosure and was VERY disappointed to discover it didn't support hot swap. But then I don't know if that's even an option on RAID 1. I'd love a system that allows me to just pull a drive out to keep "off site" as a backup, plugging a new drive in (blank) to replace it and have that automatically rebuilt without stopping the NAS from being used.

    If this box supports such an idea I think that is the prime "+1" for it...

    Regardless, RAID anything (but 0) is a life saver.

  27. Nick Pettefar

    QNAP User

    I have a couple of QNAP TS212 boxes and they are OK.

    One box I use as an iSCSI JBOD for my Sun T2000, I created a ZFS mirror.

    The other one is in standard use but one of the 2TB (Green) drives has failed. There is a USB socket on the back and I have connected a USB mirror device (Icy Box, 2x3TB disks) as I wanted to do a full backup in order to convert the QNAP to 2x3TB disks. Unfortunately there is no facility in the fancy software for that! I ssh'd in remotely and uses rsync instead. I think that the NAS software should support an easy way of upgrading the disks. There is a backup application but it is limited to specified folders, a certain number of folders (five I think) and they must already exist on the target. Ridiculous! I think QNAP technical support were embarassed when they told me this.

    Does anyone know if Synology are any better?

    Also, can you connect the Synology as a USB drive directly to one computer as well as a network drive to others?

    1. ACZ

      Re: QNAP User

      Erm... simplest thing is to backup to an external drive via USB, pull out the old drives, insert new (larger) ones, and restore from backup. Then use RAID expansion (below).

      However, an alternative solution is to pull out a drive from your RAID, plug a new (larger) one in, and let it repair the RAID array by creating the missing disk image on the new drive. Repeat for the other drives in the array. This can be *very* slow. Then use RAID expansion (below).

      Whichever option you've gone for, you now have new drives with RAID images using only part of the drive capacity, and you can then do RAID expansion. Just go into the Storage Manager web app and expand the RAID (basically, creates an additional RAID volume on the available space on the drives, and attaches it to the existing RAID volume). Just requires a few mouse clicks.

      IMHO, the best thing to do is just buy the largest drives possible when you first get the box, and go for the first option (backup to external drive via USB and restore to new drives from backup) when you eventually bite the bullet and decide you need more space.

  28. katjap
    Trollface

    O'RLY?

    You should never use a NAS! Think about it....

    NAS.............NSA

    Coincidence?

  29. ben kendim

    Do you want your drives to call the mothership...

    If it needs internet access to update iitself, what else is it sending back home?

    Any NAS I own has to be functional inside a nonrouting IP block. That is why I went with the old WD Mybook Live drives.

    My hard drives are not allowed to call their mothership...

    mce

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