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Synology DS2411+ (Compared to Thecus)
on August 8, 2012
I have 3 Thecus models (N5200, N5200 Pro and a N7700). I will compare the Synology DS2411+ to these. I use Network Appliance storage in my day job. First I purchased a Thecus N5200 for home use, then later the N5200 Pro and N7700 for some small workgroup level projects before the NetApp budget came through.
The Thecus hardware was innovative at the time (compared to say the Buffalo Terastation, had one of those too). It supported a few additional modules (IP Cam, DDNS, etc). Thecus root/shell access is disabled by default, but much easier to obtain than the Terastation. I've never had a Thecus hardware failure in 12 box years of use, but I lost a RAID5 array due to simultanous drive failures once. Performance is tolerable, not outstanding. While advertised as capable of iSCSI (for virtualization) only mapped LUNs are presentable, no virtualization of LUNs. iSCSI performance wasn't great on the 5200 series.
Thecus has absolutely lousy support, you'll have to rely on the web forums. The Thecus web GUI is sprinkled with awkwardly translated English. Once a Thecus RAID array is destabilized (as in drive failure) there's no software switch to turn off the buzzer. No physical switch either. Thanks Thecus, my ears are still ringing from the last drive failure.
Purchasing a DS2411+ for home use, what a difference! The Diskstation OS is like a virtual desktop in a web browser. You can log in from one PC and start a large file copy job, then go to another PC later and (with the same account) see the progress of that job. You can copy files to and from your local PC to the box (through a Java plugin), or from a drive mapped on the DS2411+ to another NAS box (without going through your PC). NAS to NAS directly ! There are 30+ optional software modules available as well.
Performance is outstanding, with 8 7200k RPM SATA2 disks (Seagate 2 and 3 TB) in Hybrid RAID (based on RAID6 with DP or double parity disks (2 spares)) I get sustained 80 MiB/second write speeds over the network. Supports link aggregation of the two network interfaces.
Setup was simple, after inserting 20 TB of raw disk storage, it formatted and created a SHR2 (RAID6 DP) partition in under two hours. My Thecus N7700 took two days to create a 7 TB raw disk volume!
I haven't had to call Synology support (yet). The DS2411+ does come with a 3 year warranty. No broken English found yet either.
Pros: cheaper ?
hardware is OK for consumer use.
Most of them have a LCD display.
Cons: software, OS and features are limited. Web admin GUI is primitive.
Few software releases or optional modules.
Obvious machine translation of the GUI into English.
Pros: Diskstation OS is amazing
Great number of optional modules
12 hard disk slots. Very few other 12 disk SOHO storage options.
High quality hardware.
Cons: Built-in modules (web server, wordpress) may be difficult to keep up to date with latest security patches*
Difficulty adding into ADS / Windows Active Directory domain. Failure doesn't leave detailed logs.
* OK, I have only installed two modules so far, the wordpress module requires mysql which is a little tricky to set up at first. Personally I wouldn't recommend running this device as an Internet or external server without fully understanding how to patch all software and applications, but I'm less concerned with running it on my LAN.
I don't have a DROBO, I considered one but at that time DROBO wasn't doing NAS much. The Synology has a similar expand on demand RAID feature (SHR) which I've not tested yet.
If you can afford a NetApp for home use (and the power bill to run it) then go for it. If you want a highly capable SOHO NAS then the DS2411+ is well worth it. My Thecus boxes will be on eBay soon. :-)