148 of 156 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 2010
This thing is fast/scalable/reliable/configurable/expandable/bulletproof and worth ten times what it costs. For the money you get a full function NAS with two drive bays, Linux OS with plenty of really top shelf apps, support for raid arrays and JBOD, thru-the-internet accessability, dlna media server, audio and video apps, excellent disk management apps, solid group/user creation and mgmt, a web server app, ddns with 'no-ip' support and a host of other very useful file/data sharing utilities. Call Synology tech spt and you won't get a tier-1 zombie - rather you get a very knowledgeable competent tech who knows the product inside and out - very impressed! I've used most of the network apps and so far they work perfectly.
Cons: This is not a con but be advised: if you're populating the NAS with large drives (I populated my NAS with two, 2TB drives for a max capacity of 4TB), initial drive preperation will take 8-10 hours to complete - for each drive! I called Synology tech spt to find out if there might be a problem and they explained that the NAS drive prep utility goes thru an excruciatingly detailed surface scan at the outset thereby eliminating issues with bad sectors and other related problems once the drive is placed into operation. THere is a less time consuming drive prep offering but they recommended the full scan - and so do I. Find something else to do while the scan is running. Also; I bought my NAS to use primarily as a DLNA media streamer. It does that flawlessly - this thing is bulletproof, I have purposely tried to add and delete shares/folders/users/etc etc to try and confuse this box. It continues to operate flawlessly - I'm amazed and impressed! The Synology folks surely did their homework.
Other Thoughts: There is one anomaly I found with the DLNA function that I find rather annoying; Once the DLNA server is activated in the command interface, it creates three separate media folders (Audio and Video and Photo) and places them at the root level of Volume 1 (ie disk 1). The DLNA server will only look into these folders to find media to serve up. So, unless you Raid-0 your two drives and create one large volume, you will be stuck storing all your media files on only one drive - OR WILL YOU. There are several workarounds for this, and they work (although a little cumbersome). Once the three media folders have been placed on your vol 1, you can manually move one or more of them to vol2 and the op sys will work just as effectively with the folder on vol 2. You can also use a 'root' login to access the linux opsys and mount pointers to other shares you've created on vol2. Both techniques are explained on the Synology website. Maybe an update to DLNA file structure and searching is due Synology(hint hint).
Network streaming speed is more than ample. I have the NAS attached to a gig switch which is then attached (gig enet uplink) to a Linksys 3000 gateway. As a network bandwidth and NAS performance test I have run the following: one HD video stream to Samsung dlna enabled TV -and- one HD video stream to second TV using HP DLNA-enabled client -and- one audio stream to my Iphone (Wireless) -and- a second audio stream to my dlna-enabled V-Tech radio (also Wireless), all streams were running concurrently without any hesitation, skipping, pauses or any other anomalies. THis, plus all the other very useful functions make this box a real keeper!
37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2011
I bought this and 2 Samsung F4 2TB drives. I have never had a NAS but after another hard drive crashed and I "nearly" lost my family photos, I broke down and decided to spend the money on a NAS with a raid. I searched for weeks before settling on this after reading reviews etc. Actually this model had just came out but all the reviews for the previous Synology Diskstations were good and as this one is no different.
I don't know what I was expecting but the putting it together was easier than I thought. Just slide in the hard drives, set a few screws, plug it in, wait for the blue light to stop blinking (it takes a couple of minutes the first time as it sets itself up) and you're nearly done. Install some tiny software and log into the diskstation. Set up a volume (choosing if you want to raid or not) and then start making share directories. I read another review on here saying it took 8 hours but it had it done in less time than it took me to watch a TV show for my 2 2tb drives raided to make a 2 tb volume. It took me way longer to organize my own files than it did for the diskstation to create the volume. Now it took a few hours to move my 500 Gigs of data but that took me some time because I was moving files from several computers on my network.
This is really the future of super simple home networks. I replaced my main hard drive in one of the computers with a SSD which is amazing and from now on I save all my files on the Diskstation. I just made shortcuts on all my desktops.
And yeah I know this review might not be all that helpful because I barely scratched the surface of all the features this thing is capable of doing, but I'm a simple user :)
67 of 75 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2010
This device is replacing a Linksys NAS and seems to be doing fine.
The installation of drives is straightforward as is the configuration. It picked up an IP from DHCP and the Synology configuration program found it right away (I will likely change it to a static IP in the future to allow shares to be picked up on a reboot).
Speeds are fine. I've got mine hooked up to a Trendnet gig switch and it works great. I've got a variety of files stored on it, photos, video and miscellaneous stuff.
Why have I marked the star rating down? I tried copying some files. The copy failed leaving a directory out there. I then attempted to delete the directory and got messages the directory was not empty. I've tried every method to delete the directory, including logging in as root to the DS211j and trying to delete from the command line as root. No luck.
I placed a post on the Synology forum on Dec 15 and as of Dec 20, have received no response. Ok, so that is not the official support channel. I can accept that.
However, I also opened a support ticket on the 15th via their website and other than an acknowledgment that they received the ticket, I've seen no activity. I don't believe a 5 day wait with NO communication is acceptable.
While a nice product, I tend to think that you are on your own for support. I would be quite hesitant to purchase this system for business use knowing what I do now.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2011
After being impressed with a friend's 210j, I got this.
Things that either my friend or I had messed up originally:
1. He had some issues with his WD green drives, so I got the most recommended drives for this (Samsung f4 2tb drives). They just work.
2. I recommend NOT using the synology router config program or the synology dynDNS program--do the forwarding and dynDNS through your router. This gives you better control over where your programs and ports point.
3. You have to set up 3 standard folders: Video, Music, Photo. You have no choice on these--they have to have these names. Audiostation and audio-DLNA read from a folder named "Music"--likewise with photos for PhotoStation/photo-DLNA, and video for video-DLNA. Trust me. Just use this structure. The ways around it (though they exist) are not worthwhile.
4. I formatted my drives to EXT4 (the newest Linux standard) in case I needed to read them outside of the Synology unit. By default it uses a Synology-created format. Either are good choices, but I am a paranoid person when it comes to data redundancy.
5. Indexing/thumbnailing several hundred gigs of photos really did take the DiskStation 2 weeks of 100% CPU usage 24 hours a day. No big deal, it really did finish. If setting up another, I would have used the Synology Assistant "easy importer" for this--it uses your desktop CPU to do the indexing/thumbnailing as it transfers instead of having the less-powerful NAS do the data slugging.
Overall, the DS211 has been easy to configure and use. If you don't like tinkering or don't know what a network port is then a NAS might not be for you, even with this one being fairly easy among your choice of NASes. If you can set up a router with port forwarding then you are fine. That is the level of config that it needs.
Beyond this, there are a ton of possibilities with this if you don't mind minor hacking/configuring.
I can affirm that the bells and whistles are almost all taken care of. From sensible email notifications to login monitoring, it just works. Synology has a mature and robust system. The same system runs on all of its hardware, so you get a lot for a cheap home unit. If you want more configuration...well, you can SSH in and access the benefits of it being a Linux box. I have not yet had a compelling reason to go to that level, but there certainly are a lot of tutorials that will help you if you have advanced needs for it.
-I use the AudioStation streaming application on my Android phone--it is solid and really useful.
-The PhotoStation application only works if logged in as admin. It has a long-standing Synology-based configuration problem, as far as I can tell.
-I love the Synodroid Android app--I can add and view the occasional torrent on this, then unzip the files remotely to a location of my choice, then listen to the new content through AudioStation. In other words, you can actually do VPNing (of a sort) with this using an Android phone (Evo, for me).
-For protection's sake, you should consider a small UPS for it. Small is fine, it uses very little energy.)
Overall, this is a rock-solid and well-designed slick/mature product. Aftermarket/community support is excellent. I cannot imagine managing my home photos/music/backups without it.
UPDATE: I hooked up a computer via some new 1gb networking to do some major transfers due to a new OS install and I was amazed. It was as fast as a local drive--what a great backup option! Also, USBCopy seems pretty cool--I am considering getting my parents a Synology so they can easily copy from their camera memory to the cloud and I can help them configure/share/manage it from afar.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2011
I originally became interested in Network Attached Storage (NAS) as a solution to storing large amounts of research data outside of lab (because life just needs backups you know?). Long story short is that over time I have become extremely happy with the purchase and highly recommend this very user friendly company to those considering NAS. There are user friendly interfaces that help you set up almost any feature available on the NAS, but also custom options for any advanced user. To summarize the 2 strengths, 1: it works flawlessly for backup storage and retrieval, 2: It also works extremely well as a remotely accessible home server/ website host, and so therefore, who the heck needs iCloud and other cloud services when you have this thing? when you buy it you ARE buying a cloud.
A NAS is also a good storage solution since it can be accessed remotely via the internet by FTP or in the case of THIS product, by Synology's Filestation application. For the first few months, I was pretty satisfied by the ability to access files remotely (usually I use an FTP client from Mozilla, and am using Mac computers), and was also satisfied with the performance of 2x2Tb low speed Western Digital drives that are mirrored in an array in this diskstation. After some time, my girlfriend and I started becoming interested in doing more as we became familiar with options, and we are doing a ton with it.
This NAS is friendly to both MAC and PC (I use mac, my significant other PC), and also she has an iPhone which also is able to easily access features in this NAS. Supposedly supports andriod with apps as well, but I have not tried this.
We now use the Photostation to publish and share photos with friends and family, and they can download photos directly from our own server for free, no web hosting required.
We also use photostation to access a private folder called Recipes, where we have scanned jpegs or screenshots of recipes (because we hate planning, we use iphone to access recipes while we are at the grocery store to remember the ingredients). It is a niche use, but extremely useful.
Hosting our own personal website, and are planning to let family download future wedding photos for free via this diskstation. By using a dynamic DNS service, virtually anyone can access websites or photostation hosted on the NAS. After enabling WEBADV you can also send hyperlinks to friends via e-mail to files on the NAS (but probably need to give them a guest pass login to access files, and then change the password again later- haven't toyed with this much yet)
We use Audiostation to stream music to my girlfriends iPhone, and it even streams reliably with the lower speed drives in the diskstation. I can also stream music at work as well in any web browser by using Audiostation (currently use Chrome browser and it works well)
Finally, the mac we have that has time machine also can sync with a backup folder on the NAS once it is set up, and so far, I have been able to use this to backup my whole comp, with one gripe being that the backup takes a little bit long and I often turn off time machine since it slows down other features like gaming.
The NAS has slowly but surely become more and more useful for us, and we are even storing old documents as encrypted data on the server with a key as a way to reduce things like having file cabinets. As for security, we are pretty confident since we are using ver long, strong, unique passwords, and also have the disktation set to automatically block anyone who sends a bogus credential or password after 3 times. We also allowed ourselves to access files on the NAS, but it is possible to set the sub "shared folders" to be only read from the internet, and only deleted or written to by accessing the local network. Lastly, you can perform access of all the features I mentioned via HTTPS as well, and not just HTTP.
If I have one regret it would be that I bought to 5400RMP 2TB hard drives for this NAS. They are great for storage, but hypothetically, backups, reading, writing files, streaming, remote access for website & photostation would all work faster with 2x7200RMP hard drives. If you have a little extra cash, I would recommend using faster drives instead. Finally, if you don't use this product for backup, but simply as a home server, you may need significantly less storage space, and cheaper hard drives.
Either way I am extremely satisfied with the product, also it has been running strong for months, and hasn't needed to be reset because of errors either (although I have restarted several times), and I would highly recommend it to anyone as a pretty low cost extremely versatile and useful product.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on April 25, 2011
I bought this specific NAS after looking at some of the other "home" solutions and finding that their lack of good performance was really a big deal breaker. There were other RAID 0+1 NAS like the Iomega Home Media Network Hard Drive but they were either requiring their own drives or didn't have the same awesome functionality that Synology provided.
A couple of thoughts:
* This machine is completely web interface driven. There's no separate USB based management so if your router goes down, so does this product. Of course, that's what a NAS is about. The web interface is clean and really quite powerful.
* Built-in Apple support is awesome:
* Time machine backup capability is great.
* Ability to access your photos and music through the iPad, iPhone, and iTunes is neat.
* Mounting the drive and keeping it mounted on the Mac wasn't too hard after understanding the afs:// interface.
* So many features like FTP/Mail/Web/Picture/Video/Torrent/etc. servers that it's pretty much a complete server.
* Ability to attach another USB drive to it and move data to it is very convenient.
* Firmware and other software updates keep coming to make it a better NAS all the time. It's like the Apple Firmware updates where there's new functionality frequently.
* The software updates are pretty slow. Download the firmware onto your PC and then upload it.
* Picture management is poor. Upload it using the Synology assistant. I left my Macbook Pro i5 on for a week to upload the pictures after I gave up the on-board thumbnail creation on the small Atom processor on the NAS. It had been cranking for 2 weeks on 15GB worth of pictures and only made it partially through. Too bad the picture management software is really hard to automate.
* NAS based Time-Machine for the entire system requires a totally different volume. This would normally be great but when I created the initial partitions I created it as one volume. Not so useful.
In conclusion, I found the system great for the above-average consumer that doesn't mind getting their hands a bit into the disk management game. If you want to tweak and set up a really rock solid solution at home, this is the NAS to do it with. If you want just plug-and-play, I would probably look elsewhere - however, you would be losing out on some nicely invested time customizing the unit to your needs.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2011
I've used a lot of different network storage solutions for my home (still have my unslung NSLU2 just for sentimental reasons). My NAS setup (before the DiskStation) is a loud and power-hungry server chassis crammed with four to six hard drives and running FreeNAS 7. When it came time to bump up capacity another notch, I started looking for a solution other than reflexively stuffing another or a bigger drive into it.
I read lots of reviews for consumer-level NAS units from Western Digital, Drobo, Buffalo, D-Link, etc. I was actually headed into Amazon's checkout with a WD MyBook Live when one review steered my toward Synology products. A handful of features aggregated together to make me choose the DS211j: RAID, price, user-serviceability, Linux support, and reliability reports.
I purchased two 2TB drives, and set them up with RAID1 redundancy. I thought I'd be using it mostly for simple backups of workstations and servers and the various USB drives attached to them. Having monkeyed with the DiskStation for a week, I think I made a mistake in my purchase: not purchasing a second one. The DS has so many built-in features and capabilities that I'm seriously considering migrating services provided by other computers to it.
Mail: I run dovecot on my desktop for offline email storage and archiving. The DiskStation has this built-in.
Blog: I also run Wordpress on my desktop as a private journal. The DiskStation has Apache and MySQL built-in, so should be perfectly capable of running Wordpress.
Music: I'm using Ampache right now for web-based streaming, but the DS's Music Station is much more accessible and friendly. I'd miss being able to send music to MPD servers on remote computers, but there's probably no obstacle to putting Ampache on the DS if I truly needed that.
Surveillance: I have a Panasonic network camera. Its bundled recording software is Windows-specific, so I put up with having one decrepit Windows machine set up just for the camera. The DS made it instantly obsolete.
Remote access: I use SSH frequently for remote access to my home network. I expect that the DS config can be tweaked into accepting only private key login. I'm tempted to try out the Synology VPN Center package; it looks absurdly easy to set up.
General storage, uPNP, torrent downloads: The FreeNAS box that the DS is replacing was handling these tasks.
If I migrate those services to the DS, I'll have a neatly unified server that doesn't get backed up. If I leave everything where it is, I'll have a unified backup point being pushed to by a disjointed mishmash of PC's. In either case, I don't need RAID1: I'd get over a day's loss of availability if the server crashed (assuming backups exist), and I'd get over the anxiety of working for a day without a net if the backup crashed. I really should get a second DiskStation and split the two drives between them: one for services, one for automated backup of the first. Each would still have a vacant bay for the next round of expansion.
My experience with this bottom-tier unit has been so positive that I might make a case at work for purchasing a commercial-grade Synology unit to replace the abomination we currently use for backups.
There is something I don't like about the DS: rsync integration. I think Synology really goofed by excluding configuration for rsync targets from its control panel. rsync over SSH is available, but is brutally slow with the DS211j's puny processor.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2011
I needed a NAS to use as a media streamer/backup/web development server device. I spent hours on the web researching this and decided to go with the Synology DS211J. I installed two Seagate Barracuda 7200 1 TB 7200RPM SATA 3Gb/s 32MB Cache 3.5 Inch Internal Hard Drive ST31000528AS-Bare Drive in RAID 1. Yeah, I could have gone with some 2TB drives, but these are so inexpensive and it will take me a while to fill them up. By the time I do, the 2TB drives will be much less expensive.
Anyway, I installed the drives, plugged in the unit to my router with the supplied Ethernet cable, powered it up, inserted the installation disk into my networked (wired) laptop and did the quick install. I walked away for about 6 hours (the time it took for the DS211J to do a thorough disk check), came back and it was ready to go. Pretty much as simple as that. From this point, I set it up for my needs; enabled DLNA, dumped my movie and music files on it and I was streaming to my PS3 via a wireless G connection. Thus far 720P vids and my mp3s stream with zero issues. Knock on wood, but there was not one single hiccup in the whole process.
1) Read through the manual before touching it. Yeah, it's 200 pages, but at least skim through it.
2) Make sure to consult the Synology web site for compatible drives.
3) Even though many are listed as "compatible" don't bother with any "Green" drives. They have head parking issues that will lead to early disk failure.
4) Spend some time on the Synology User Forums. Lots of useful information.
5) Format your external backup HDDs in ext4. Yes, the DS211J supports NTFS, but it's slow.
Again, I couldn't be happier.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2011
I have worked in the computer industry for more than 20 years, and I've seen countless forays from countless companies producing "financially accessible" versions. Synology, is one of the very rare examples of a company which pulled it off. The device is solid, the management interface is complete; both simple and professional. Further, it is quiet and fast. I have never transferred data off a Windows OS-based machine at the rates I've encountered with this device. 8 thumbs up!
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2011
Before buying this device read what current synology customers are saying about it on the Synology forums. It is not good at all.
The DS211j worked great for me when I first got it. It did everything it they said it could do and everything I needed it to do. That was until they updated the software for it. The DS211j uses web app software called DSM to operate the device. After they updated the DSM to 3.2 the DS11j can no longer perform it's backup operation to a external USB drive that is connected to the DS211j. This product touts easy and reliable backup functionality which is very important to me and I'm sure to others as well. To try to fix the issue I have opened several support tickets with Synology as well as comb their support forums for a solution. I have found that many people have had this same problem and have had it for a long time. What really erked me was a reply made by one of the Synology agents on the forum... His comment was basically, "Well... it works for me!" Nice...
What really erks me more is that I had spent a lot of time uploading and organizing thousands of photos on the DS211j and was feeling pretty good about it until I tried to execute a backup and save all of my hard work.
I am now looking into other ways to backup the 800GB of data I have on this thing which is proving difficult thanks Synology's amateur regression testing from their QA department. It seems that trying to copy large amounts of data from the DS211j to any another location causes it to crash. They should rename their software to 'The Hotel California'. You can check in anytime you like but you can never leave!
They have made little effort to correct their broken backup functionality. Do no invest in this system if you hope to protect your data.
It has been months and they have still not addressed this major bug.
UPDATE: DS211j still a POS and synology refuses to offer support. looking for a new NAS/Backup solution
UPDATE: Synology released its DSM 4.0 update but it still cannot do a complete backup without failing. Since there is no difference with the DS211j vs DS212j other then RAM size I am positive this failure exists with the DS212j as well.