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on February 20, 2013
Ok, so I have an ever aging and ailing Windows Home Server. An original which while still going strong has begun to exhibit signs of time and age. My original WHS served as a storage center for all of the family's photos, docs, music, and movies that I used to stream to another HTPC running XBMC, 3 windows PC's, a few xbox 360s, and of course a smattering of phones and other smart devices. To say the least, the original WHS had its fair share of problems with networking, software integrations, router configurations and general head banging and teeth grinding. None of these were ever really intuitive or straightforward, and all had their fair share of frustration. And all of that was done at a time without kids. Which we all know, suck the living life out of us and vaporize time like an expanding black hole. So my next server would not, repeat NOT, mandate as much time.

Time for a replacement. So where did I start? First I decided that I would value my data over the speed of the machine, as much of it would be used on my home Gigabit network. So speed was not the first priority. Second, I wanted to attempt to ensure some semblance of data protection. After reviewing and reading about all of the RAID types out there I have come to a single understanding. Nothing is guaranteed, and everyone has a different subjective opinion about the actual security of your data across the different RAID types. So in the end, make a backup, of your backup. Third, it had to be accessible by all of my devices in my network and for me especially, be able to be viewed and accessible by my media devices (i.e. Xbox 360, Android phones, tablets, and other Windows computers.) Seems so easy right, three simple requests.

Now on to building. I started by building and testing all of the mainstream free, or low priced alternatives. I built and rebuilt, and rebuilt... a FreeNAS box, an NAS4Free box, an UnRaid box, an Ubuntu server box, a Windows 7 media server box with Raid, a dedicated XBMC with Raid storage, Open Media Vault, Server Elements, and a few others that were quickly burned to disk and then made into my ever expanding coaster set. All not easy to accomplish in the garage late at night. Either way I learned a lot.

1) None of these were any easier than my current server
2) All of them take a tremendous amount of time to install, diagnose, and set up
3) None are really designed as media servers. They can accomplish this, but only when using large amounts of Tylenol.
4) Did I mention Tylenol? Oh and use small disks when creating all of these RAID types.
5) Parity checks are another word for 24 hour breaks

I tested all of these mainly because I don't like to spend money I don't have to, and initially it sounded fun. It wasn't.
Then I spent days if not weeks comparing some of the mainstream commercial choices. These included QNAP, Synology, Buffalo, Iomega, ReadyNAS, Drobo, and others. I scoured the internet in search of reviews, comments, anything I could use to compare and determine which Server I should choose. In the end I finally based my choice on about 30 solid reviews of each device. And in the end I chose the Synology DS412+.

Wow, is all I have to say. After throwing in four 2TB hard drives, setting up the drives in Synology Hybrid Raid, (waiting 24 hours for parity checks, and extended SMART tests) I was finally ready to go. Let me say, night and day from anything else I tested and used. Most everything is intuitive, easy to access, and quick to implement. Windows, and Mac sharing is automatically setup and turned on, Linux would have to be enabled. User creation is fast, descriptive, and access is managed with nice easy to understand check boxes. My windows home computers instantly saw the new shares, and having created a user with the same name and password as my computer, could access the appropriate shares right away. All of the software packages were quickly installed and usable. Overall I love the administrative interface.

Installed and tested the music, file, photo, cloud, Plex media server, download center, synology media server, and surveillance station software. All installed, configured and worked correctly. I then downloaded and used the Android apps for each of these software packages, and confirmed those all work too. Not saying that all of the software packages are robust and great featured, but they do work.

After setting up the Plex media, and synology media server software, I can confirm that these work great!!! Not only does my Xbox see these no problem, but the Plex media server allows my users to connect and stream across the internet. Tested it out and had no problem streaming any of my music, or movies across other wifi, or 4G connections.

Some quirks included accessing the server from outside of the home network. By default the file sharing system is turned on, and users are given access to the appropriate shares, but unless you use the "Application Portal" from the control panel, and enable the ports to which you want to give access, you will not be able to access it from a WAN. This is true for all applications on the server. It only took me about 2 hours to figure that one out. I hope that helps someone.

Overall, I am having a wonderful and fun experience with my new Synology DS412+. I opted for the 412+ instead of the DS413 simply because of the reviews regarding the Plex media server, and so far I am not disappointed. I would absolutely recommend this product to a friend. I would say though. that if you don't need the media capabilites, I would feel confident in getting the less expensive DS413 as it is normally about $150 less. Hope this helps someone in their decision about a new NAS. Feel free to comment or ask questions and I will do my best to answer!!
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on June 4, 2012
After running a DS212j at home for a few weeks, I purchased one of these for work (small business) to replace an old server that was annoying to maintain when all it did anymore was serve files.

The DSM operating system is fantastic -- it's a windowed web-based interface that feels like a normal graphical operating system. Functionality is divided up into different settings screens in a Control Panel, and everything is easy to find and adjust. It's straightforward to add users, create shared folders and set specific permissions on them, setup backups, etc.

It's also possible to install apps that extend the functionality of the system. For example, Synology provides a 'Time Backup' app which works like BackupPC with an easier-to-use graphical interface. It basically saves "checkpoints" at configurable intervals, so you can roll back files if you accidentally changed them, like if you wiped out the contents of a document.

Some other reviewers mentioned having a problem with their DS412+ where the USB and eSATA ports don't line up with the slots on the enclosure. Mine didn't have this problem. Although it's mostly plastic, the enclosure looks nice and the fit and finish is pretty good.

I did have an issue when rsyncing to the device; I screwed up the permissions and had to manually log in and adjust them. No big deal -- if I didn't know how to do fix it I also wouldn't have known how to set up an rsync server in a configuration that let me mess it up. It's not something you'll do accidentally.

Unfortunately, Synology's most recently released NAS devices have been having some serious reliability problems. They issued a press release on April 13, 2012 regarding a large batch of NAS with defective hardware. According to Synology, that issue is not supposed to affect the DS412+ but ours shut down this morning after about a week of uptime, and it will not start up. By testing the motherboard according to Synology's directions, it seems that the motherboard is defective. Due to the widespread nature of these problems, I can't currently recommend any of the current-generation Synology devices. My DS212j at home has not had any problems yet, but it's one of the devices that Synology says is affected by the flash memory defect.

Hopefully Synology can get these issues worked out (I'm still waiting to hear back from support). If not, I'll be returning my DS412+ to Amazon and will look into similar devices from another manufacturer. I will keep this review updated.

UPDATE 6/6/2012: Synology responded to my initial e-mail to their "blue blink of death" support address by saying my unit isn't affected and I have to file a support ticket. Why couldn't they just file one for me based on my initial email? 1 day wasted. I filed a support ticket, and received a response 6 hours later explaining that the motherboard is likely bad and the unit will have to be RMA'd or returned to the reseller (in this case Amazon) for replacement. I double-checked Amazon's stock which indicated 2 to 4 weeks availability, so I immediately (within minutes) replied to Synology requesting their stock status and whether or not expedited shipping is available (I need a replacement by Friday). At this point I had already ordered a different (non-Synology) NAS for next-day delivery from Amazon, in case Synology didn't have stock or didn't reply.

I did not receive another reply from Synology until today (20 hours later) which did not confirm stock, just that they "will see what we can do", and that they needed my vendor invoice so they can verify purchase and warranty. Well, my other NAS is here now, so I won't be waiting another day to find out if they have stock. Unfortunately, my DS412+ will be on its way back to Amazon soon.

Things Synology could have done better:
* Faster support response -- one email a day is unacceptable especially for business customers.
* Better availability. The DS412+ is out of stock now at all the major vendors. If a replacement was available for overnight delivery I would have purchased one in advance and remained a Synology business customer. Instead, I ordered a competitor's device which I received the next day, and was able to get up and running before support could even respond.
* Better initial reliability. If this unit had failed 6 months down the road, I might still trust a replacement to keep my data safe.

I hope Synology can get these quality issues worked out in the near future. I still love my DS212j at home, which has been operating trouble-free for about a month now. However, I'm very disappointed to find that these NAS systems aren't reliable enough for business use, and that Synology doesn't provide business-quality support. Note that Synology advertises the DS412+ as being specifically designed for business use, so I think it's reasonable to expect that they should be prepared to deal with the specific needs of that market such as product support and reliability.

UPDATE 6/22/2012: A couple days after my last correspondence with Synology support, I was contacted by another support person, who requested for me to send the unit directly to them (at my expense) in exchange for a brand new DS412+ shipped overnight (their expense). At this point I already had the other brand's NAS set up, for which I really did not like the software; it didn't really have some of the features I needed and it would be a lot of work to implement them myself, so I decided to try out Synology again to see how things went. I'll post a review for that product later. I accepted Synology's offer, and received a new DS412+ from them as promised. The new unit is functioning fine so far (~9 days of test use), but I haven't put it into production use yet. Since it is working well so far, I intend to put it into production use next week and return the other NAS to Amazon.

Synology's backup/restore tool made it really easy to set up the new hardware. Since I still had a backup from the old one, I just plugged it into the new machine and used the restore tool. It restored my configuration settings and data. The other NAS I bought would have been a lot more work; it just backs up the data, and it was a PITA to configure!

UPDATE 2/12/2013: The replacement unit is still working great. I haven't even had to reboot it since last June. Since I've been happy with this for awhile, I'm going to up my rating to 4 stars.

UPDATE 12/19/2013: Year end update.... still running strong. I did have an unexpected shutdown in the wee hours of late October morning, despite having my DS412+ being plugged into an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). I came into the office later in the morning to find an e-mail from the NAS indicating that it "suffered from power failure and was shut down improperly". It started itself back up and apparently nobody even noticed it was down. This could have been a problem with my UPS. Besides that hiccup, uptime has been 100%. This will be my last update unless I have any further problems with the DS412+.
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on January 3, 2014
Initial review 1/3/2014 after receiving and starting up the system. I will update as I gain more experience with this.

This had the best reviews compared to Buffalo and other NAS devices I had researched. My previous decade 2000 experience of running RAID and running HD off of NetGear routers was less than satisfying. Synology main web site was very helpful for deciding which one to get. It appears that NAS hardware and software has come of age in terms of usefulness.

Installation of the hardware was very quick and simple. Plug in wires (2 LAN ports wired to my network switch, power plug), Put hard drives into docking trays and insert. All hardware set up in under 10 minutes (from unboxing to power on ... then again, I had already looked at the set up stuff before the DS412+ and hard drives arrived).

Powering it on: 1 minute to boot and have solid hard drive green and power lights with yellow status blinking because its a fresh install. Now comes the tricky discovery stuff (my background is software engineer until 1989, computer tinker every so often since then).

From the computer, I had to relearn my router in order to figure out how to reserve a fixed IP address for this thing. Will need a fixed IP if it's ever gonna be hooked up to the internet anyway, so why not get it set now.

Using Firefox, it easily found the main page when entering either [...] or [...]. WORD OF CAUTION: if you drop the . between find and synology and type [...] you will be redirected to a [...] website which may not be a valid site (do not click on the links, just close the page for safety). I think its just rotten that scam artists will create fake sites to redirect our typos. The most accurate way to get to the DSM page is to actually type in the ip address:5000/webman/index.cgi, especially if the NAS and router are not connected to the internet. Apparently find .synology .com goes through the internet to get back and find the DS412 on your network ... hmmm so much for privacy and security.

As I install any device, I keep an 8.5x11" spiral notebook log of everything I do so I can see what works and what fails (happens with computers, routers).

So the fun begins by going through the DS412+ DSM set up. I chose to update the DSM software to the latest and changed the name of my server. WARNING: when the name is changed, [...] and [...] will no longer find the NAS. The new access is [...]. (4/25/2015, just type the router assigned up address and add :5000/webman/index.cgi it is the only way to get to the DS412 everytime regardless of what name you choose and your router configuration) This was not intuitively obvious to me and even though I had previously looked at the DSM manual I didn't remember this so went through a little pain installing the Synology Assistant from CD and then finding the manuals on CD (just to make sure I had the ones that came with the DS412+ rather than relying on the web stuff). I used Synology Assistant to find the NAS until I eventually discovered the new address trick while reading through the manual on-line. If you know something about RAID, you can set it up to whatever you want, but if you don't, then using the Synology Hybrid seems to be a good choice. It will create Volume 1 for you after 10 minutes.

From the DSM user interface, to see your volume data, you have to click on the the icon with the diamond and 3 squares in the upper left corner then select Storage Manager. Why they don't just put this also in Control Panel which is more readily understandable on the DSM desktop, I don't know, but you'll find the apps in the diamond/3 square icon).

At this point, the DS412+ begins checking and scrubbing the hard drives (I have 2 3TB WD Red (seemed to be the most popular thing on Amazon and had less reported problems spinning up from hibernation than using Seagate NAS drives). Took almost 11 hours to complete the scrub of the 2 3 TB HD -- (note total storage space under RAID hybrid/mirror is 2.68 TB). It will be interesting to see what happens if I add another single 3 TB instead of 2 more 3 TB).

Quick start guide is ok, but this is by no means a system that can be set up by an inexperienced novice/beginner (contrary to some of the reviews I've read). One really has to tinker with all the little icons to see what happens as the amount of useful descriptive information provided is limited (this was actually reported in a CNET review).

Before one can start using this, one has to create the 1st share (directory/folder which can be private or shared). FileStation>Create New Shared Folder ... improperly named. It can truly be folder shared amongst multiple users, but you can just as well set privileges so that only a single user account can see it. So I create a big one for the family to share and create individual ones for individual user accounts (not realizing that in one of the other configuration options I can set this thing so each user has their own home folder). Ahhh you power users now understand my ignorance about setting up an NAS and you novices now see that there's a lot more power to this very nice device, but you'll have to tinker to figure out where it is.

Next create user accounts using Control Panel>Users and then tinker with Control Panel>Shared Folder to set access privileges.

Now the fun part of trying to get Windows 8 Network to see this thing from the File Explorer ... it appears as "Other Device" and can't be found when attempting to map network drive. Clicking on "Other Device" brings up the web interface instead of what I want which is just another W8 "disc drive icon". It appears to me that the Synology Assistant has to be installed in order to get a Tile to show up in the start screen ... clicking on this tile will bring up W8 File Explorer with the expected display of the network folders ... clicking on the desired one then prompts for the user and password.

Anyway, hopefully other novices and beginners get the picture. It takes a moderate amount of effort to get this thing up and running compared to the rosy "its easy" reviews found here and elsewhere. It is certainly better than what I've seen with other NAS and I'm still learning this one.

When it works, It works well. When it doesn't it confounds...

So far, things that have failed for me:

1. Bonding the two LAN ports for improved speed instead of fault tolerance.

2. DSLink app on iPod/iPhone/iPad

a. can't display images >5001x5001
b. pauses too often when trying to stream movies (maybe I need a new router, but doubt it)
c. crashes when trying to transfer movies from iphone/ipad to DS412 directory, does fine with photos

3. W8 File Explorer displays all shared folders on the NAS instead of hiding the ones that the user has no privileges for

4. W8 File Explorer doesn't always see the NAS or display the shared music, photos, and video folders on the NAS and I'm still trying to figure out its behavior. I guess some would say I should've just gone to Unbuntu/Linux or Mac OSX.

Things that are good

1. It has a lot of potential if I can figure out all the little component software and what they do and how to use them.

2. Lots of free apps to load onto the system to experiment with and learn about

3. iTunes server made it very simple for my other systems using iTunes to see my music library once I copied it from my main computer to the music shared folder,

Things that are other ...

1. Little independent iPhone/iPad/iPod apps to do photo, audio, and management -- would be nice if they had an option for a single app doing all of these things, but I can see where individual small apps are useful if one doesn't use all the features

2. There should be an easy set-up option for novices, but it would probably just annoy power users who like to do all the little tinkering things that have consumed my 10 hours getting things set up and learning how this thing works.

3. Still have to figure out how to get this thing to back up my Windows OS computers. My guess is if I switch to Mac, it'll be simpler.

Overall, I'm pleased I have a good NAS that's as good as it can get for a home user with expandability. Will update this as I learn more about how this thing works.

******************

1/4/2014 UPDATE

Ok I just discovered (a day after starting up) I need to use Synology Assistant to map folders on the NAS to drive letters that will appear under computer in Windows 8 File Explorer. Can't do it from Windows 8 by itself. I tried searching DSM help for how to map network drive to windows, but that didn't work. Would be nice if there was some sort of how to guide for getting things started.

I have Video Station installed with m4v from iTunes in the video folder and indexed, but can't play the video using DSvideo app on iPhone. Not entirely sure if this is a limitation of iTunes protection preventing me from playing the videos outside of iTunes.

iTunes server works fine in conjunction with DSaudio to get my music library accessible on iPods/iPhones/iPads.

When things work, they work fine. When they fail, it takes a lot of work to figure out what the problem is.

More tinkering ...

**************

1/5/2014

Making this thing accessible from the internet means having to register a domain name with synology (free) or some other domain name service (may cost money). You need to figure out the IP address provided to you by your internet service provider (can see it in your router if you know where to look). Using EZ-Internet does a lot of the set-up and helps you to register a domain name attached to your IP so the device can be found on the internet.

Issues I encountered:

1. I couldn't enter the domain name and connect to my DS412 from my intranet or from iPhone on WiFi -- had to turn off WiFi and use 3G in order to be able to use the domain name to find my DS412.

2. Other users outside of my local intranet could use the accounts I created to log into my DS412 and use File Station, but can't drag and drop from their computer onto FileStation to move files. They have to use the cumbersome upload and Action>download options. It may be easier with Java installed, but Java has its own security problems.

3. Setting up DNS Server, Mail Server, and Mail Station -- I followed directions as provided by DSM help, but it doesn't really tell me how to create the MX record. Mail Station doesn't see Mail Server so I can't have local intranet email. Mail Server uses 2/5 of available RAM. I haven't found an easy way to get my own mail server running.

4. PERL needs to be installed for Mail Server, but no PERL app shows up in the menu.

5. Photo Station is not intuitively obvious in terms of set up and figuring out how to create albums.

I'm now getting frustrated and about to downgrade this from 4 stars to 3 stars for its apps and all the work it takes to get this to do the stuff it has potential to offer. I think its a good local RAID device.

*******************

1/6/2014 Update

Music: I like full uncompressed audio files. WAV is probably the best for sound quality (1411 kbps) but has no header storage area for music info. If one wants to store album, artist etc.. data with the file then one is forced to go MP3 with max sample rate of 320 kbps but I can hear the quality difference between 320 and 1411 on a good head set. Well I put all my M4A apple lossless compression into the system default music directory and using DS audio I can access all my music using iPhone/iTouch/iPad which is great, but DLNA systems I have and systems like Xbox 360, PS3, and Windows 8 cannot play the M4A, so I'm forced to put only MP3 into music so I can use this box to media stream to multiple devices. I put all my M4A into a separate folder. Audiophiles beware about the limitations of your devices when deciding what to put into the music folder which nicely gets automatically indexed by artist, album, artist/album, genre etc...

Synology domain name service. One can register a hostname with them for free. Interesting thing is their site gives me a red dot indicating a DDNS problem, though the DSM Control Panel>DDNS indicates normal status after an "Update Now" which is successful. My users can still access my system from the internet in spite of this.

Cloud Station: you can link one folder on a computer to a user\home\Cloud Station sync directory. theoretically, you can link a different folder on the same computer to a different user\home\Cloud Station sync directory if you want to be able to synchronize another directory to another backup folder on the RAID. Problem is you have to unlink. Re-linking has to merge the directories and this may take some time. I would like to sync several different folders on my computer to several different folders on the RAID. Guess I'm hoping for too much in this day and age.

********

1/10/2014 Update

One of the most interesting phenomenon I've found with this is that computers behind the router cannot use the registered domain name to find the server using the internet. It must use the local intranet address (in my case 192.168.x.x) when trying to find the DS412+.

So to get the Mail Station to be able to contact the Mail Server you have to go to Mail Station > Settings > SMTP Server Settings and set SMTP server to the local intranet address (192.168.x.x or whatever fixed one you are using) and SMTP port 25. This gives me the ability to run local in-house e-mail amongst my users, but trying to send e-mail through the internet is yet another complexity, not explained in the synology help and tutorials.

If you want to run your own e-mail server through which you can send e-mail through the internet, you have to keep a couple things in mind:

1. There is a site that [...] basically has a policy block list which is used to identify IP addresses which are not recognized as valid for use with e-mail servers. All internet service providers (ISP) work with this site to keep us relatively safe from spam. To that effect ISPs will list their dynamic IP and probably even the static IP on this site which will prevent them from being used for e-mail servers.

2. In order to use the DS412+ as an internet e-mail server, it appears to me you have to have a registered domain name (register thru synology for free or rent one monthly thru dyndns.com or godaddy etc), a static IP (usually monthly rental from your ISP), request to unblock your static IP from spamhaus, and then have someone help you get the reverse DNS set-up so your mail server can be found. Using Port 25 may be problematic as it tends to get blocked by ISPs

3. It appears to me that you don't have to run your own DNS server to be able to use Mail Server and Mail Station (especially as a local behind your router intranet mail server)

I'm happy I have learned about this stuff. I'm frustrated that I had to tinker through stuff to figure out how it works as there are no clear easy how to guides for the non IT professional who learns about this stuff on the job through colleagues rather than reading it in a book.

4. Mail server uses just under half the RAM of your base DS412+ to do its stuff.

I've turned my mail server, mail station, and DNS off as the process of trying to establish and maintain my own email server is expensive and cumbersome for me. YMMV. Good luck.

********

1/11/2014 Update

Don't bother loading up Xcloud on the NAS or on your iDevice. In order to be able to use it, you have to pay a subscription fee (even if you're only using it on your LAN without internet access. Even if you try to use it, it only allows backup to one giant shared folder called iCloud which it automatically creates, then you have to mess with privileges to be able to access it from File Station or local computer. The free synology apps DSfile, DSaudio work better.

Installed the Asterisk server for voice server stuff, but I can't find DSM help on it, so I guess I'll just uninstall and do more web research to figure out what to do with it.

Okay so I'll give this

5 stars for design, RAID set-up, and ease user and shared folder set up, media server, itunes server, and audio station
3 stars for the various apps which are not well documented in their setup, use, and requirements -- better be an IT guy for this stuff.

I guess had I known in advance the limitations and problems of setting up my own mail server and the limitations of other apps like xcloud, I probably would have just saved myself some money and go with the DS413j. It is, unfortunately, hard to know this in advance reading reviews so the only way to really know is to spend the money and find out the hard way. Oh well.

********

1/17/2014

iTunes server seems buggy. iTunes running on Windows 8 PC and Mac Book cannot see the iTunes server until I go to DSM under an admin account, go to Main > iTunes Server and change the shared name which forces the iTunes server to disconnect all connections and reset the server. Then after a while the connection between iTunes and the NAS iTunes server is randomly dropped. This is a pain.

I was hoping I could keep all my music in an easily accessible format on the NAS, keep a very small SSD on my laptops and just stream, but this is not working as I had hoped. Disappointed.

Additionally, since it only uses the shared music folder, files are limited to 320 kbps bit rate instead of 1440 kbps bit rate so that DLNA devices and things like the Sony Playstation and Blue rays can play the music in MP3 (they can't handle M4A).

*********

1/19/2014

iTunes server now works and is easily found by iTunes on Mac and PC. All I did was completely power down the unit, then start it up. Go figure I should've thought about treating this thing like an Windows PC and completely powering down and restarting the system after installing software packages. I'm happier now that I can see my music 24/7 from any of my computers running iTunes.

Tried hooking up an ancient HP 2550 Color LaserJet to the USB ports and followed the tutorials. Printing via Air Print from iPhone/iPad/Mac only results in black and white images and text. Unable to print from Windows 8 after doing all sorts of attempted driver installs. The PC can see the printer on the network but just can't communicate with the printer to print. Just weird.

2/26/2014

Added to two 3 TB WD Red NAS drives and expanded my volume 1 following the tutorial instructions. Drives easy to install into the trays and hot plug them in in under 2 minutes. I'm running Synology Hybrid RAID. The expansion begins by shutting down running apps, getting things set up and restarting apps. The original volume is accessible during the expansion process, but it takes around 39.5 hours to complete the expansion before the additional space is accessible. So four 3TB hard drives (actual space 2.73 TB per drive) in SHR configuration yields 8.13 TB usable storage with 1 disc (2.79 TB) for data integrity.

Kudos to Synology for this aspect of RAID expansion

Epilogue:

Hopefully this review will help others to understand what this box can and can't do and demonstrate what skill level is truly required to fully utilize the features of this machine. NAS have come a long way over the years. Still needs work, but Synology has done a decent good job of advancing this technology.

********

4/25/2015

This is annoying ... the amazon review machine replaced the web addresses in this with [...] probably to protect everyone from malicious links. Guess that's a good idea on amazons part

My DS412 is still functioning well over a year later with all the latest DSM and package upgrades. Couple things to add:

1. Cloud Station -- I'm using this to automatically synchronize and backup my photographs from my main PC to the RAID. I have over 1TB of images in 250,000+ files and 1600+ folders. I have had occasions when I had to re-establish the link between the DS412 folder and the PC folder such that the thing has to recheck every single file. This takes more than 24 hours to complete this task. I've found interesting situations in which a directory is flagged with an X and it will not sync to the DS412. I tried deleting and restoring it from the PC and even from the DS412, but no luck. There are a lot of files and it may be overwhelming the database Cloud Station uses to track changes. I also frequently put the computer into hibernate ... this is probably not a good idea. Probably better to shut down the computer or just leave it on continuously so it maintains a continuous connection with the RAID. Cloud Station does just fine with fewer files. I just probably push it to the limits.

2. How to use the two LAN ports on the DS412 is just not well documented. To do link aggregation, one has to buy a special expensive router to do it ... well beyond the scope of a home NAS. I was struggling for a long time trying to get the DS412 to be simultaneously accessible by two different LANs configured using two separate routers. No clear documentation or notes on the web on how to do this. I basically had router 1 hooked to LAN port 1 and router 2 hooked to LAN port 2. Control Panel>Network>Network Interface shows both LAN connected to their respective router with an assigned IP address (it may be problematic to have both routers using the same base IP i.e. 192. 168. 1. but it may be wiser to have separate IP bases (i.e. 192. 168. 5. y for LAN1 router 1 and 192. 168. 10. x for LAN2 router 2), but it appears the real kicker is how the browsers go about trying to find the DS412. If the router is connected to the internet, then the find. synology. com trick may work because it actual goes to the synology website to run the assistant then comes back. If the router is not connected to the internet, then the find. synology. com process fails because it can't get to synology's web site; if I type the ds412 ip address :5000 / web man / index.cgi (put it in with no spaces, I added the spaces here because it appears amazon drop web links from the text for security) then the connection to DSM is established. Anything other than this results in a massive headache trying to get the web browser to find the DS412 DSM interface. Kinda weird because I was always able to just get to the DS412 without the trailing / after the 5000. Little quirks like this are what make this so painful to get working. So now I can actually access the DS412 from two completely separate networks but it isn't perfect. Cloud station on network 1 is working fine. cloud station on network 2 seems to be hung up an I have to keep clicking resume in synology client cloud station to try to keep it syncing. This is gonna take more time to figure out the issue.

I suspect the problem may be related to the fact that I forced the system to use https instead of standard http.

3. I've tried using it as a back up device and file sharing device for other family members in other parts of the country, but ultimately it is too complicated for my non-computer savvy family members to use. Much easier to just share photos with them over Facebook.

4. It appears to me that synology is now relying on the quick connect method through their servers to allow users to more easily get access to their DS RAIDS over the internet. This is what WD is doing to allow their users to get to their NAS from the internet. I viewed this a little less secure than actually going the DDNS route, but the headache of port forwarding is avoided by this. Previously, my family members could get to my DS412 using an free domain name established through synology, but I'm finding that they can't do that anymore because of a change in the router (I switched to a higher end router which apparently is not on the synology compatibility list due to it's relative new release). I was able to get the DS412 to run a test and configure the router and send the compatibility info to synology, but at present it is failing to port forward the windows file server ports. The only way my other family members can get on my DS412 is through the quick connect methodology now (for better or worse).

Needless to say, this device requires a lot of computer savvy to even attempt to make use of the features it provides. There are new video tutorials on the synology site, but I'm finding even Audio Station doesn't behave the same way I see on the tutorial (even though I've updated everything to the latest). DSM is ok, but its not the same as just being able to just map the DS412 as a network drive over the internet. Not sure if enabling the VPN server on this thing will make the job any easier.

Summary:

It's a good RAID. Just takes a lot of technical savvy to make the most of all the features one is paying for in this box. May advise is if you are a simple home user get a simpler less expensive RAID box. If you have specific needs and a lot of time to spend tinkering trying to figure things out, by the RAID box like this (current version I think is the DS415 (4 drive released '15)).
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on April 3, 2012
One Week In (update below)
Preface - I have coworkers who have Synology devices and had no problems at all. With their success I thought it would ramp up my learning curve.

I purchased my Synology 412+ from Synology via Amazon.
I received the device and initial setup was very easy but took a long time as I'm using 3 TB drives (new ST3000DM001 and approved for the device) and configuring the raid (SHR) and the volumes takes a lot of time.

After setting up the device, upgrading the "OS" (DSM 4.0), and configuring the device and base applications, I went to sleep. I was woken up by the device alarm reporting raid/volume had failed. I ran the SMART test from the device and received Normal responses from the drives. I rebuilt the Raid/volumes to have it fail again. I swapped drives with fresh new ones of the same model and have had the same issues. I have used every combination with no joy. I have also only created the SHR raid with no volumes only to have the RAID "degrade"
I contacted support via email (email and forum only)and have been trying the same thing I have tired over and over. Slow disjointed process but hopefully it will work.

I thought my main issues would be getting my ports set-up correctly for internet access and getting my family trained on how to use it.

tl;dr Unstable and not working so far

*Update 4/24/2012
I updated the firmware on the ST3000DM001 drives and it appears to have resolved my issue. I am requesting the manufacturer update their hardware compatibility list to add an annotation for firmware level on the ST3000DM001 hard drives.
Vendor was responsive but troubleshooting was delayed due nature of support structure (email)
Updated from 3 to 4 stars
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on June 16, 2012
I received my Synology two days ago - on first impressions, the 412+ is an excellent NAS solution. Those complaining about the plastic drive sleds and or the case - don't get it. Given the price/performance of the Synology and the applications that ship with the unit are top notch. The combination of fast CPU,RAM and Synology's DSM software clearly turn the Synolgy into a full fledged enterprise like NAS solution.

I should note I am upgrading from a couple of Drobos. I didn't realize how bad Drobo's performed until I booted the Synology. Drobo's are extremely slooow and the SW/firmware wt DROBO is just garbage compared to Synology. After two days I've migrated 4TB of data which is extremely fast. A Drobo would take almost a week to transfer a similar amount of data. Additionally the Synology is almost silent compared to slow and noisey Drobo product.

I would highly recommend spending the extra money and look to the Plus series due to the increased performance gains from the additional RAM and CPU. The small uplift in exchange for a life of superior performance is worth it.

I installed and configed the 412Plus using the stock firmware. I wanted to see how the unit performed out of the box without an update. I experienced ZERO problems. After I gen'ed the disks, I upgraded the firmware.
More updates after I complete my 10TB migration.

6/20 update

After migrating 8TB of data, I decided to move the unit to it's permanent location, powered down the unit and discovered what many have called the Blue Light of Death - a blinking light. I wasn't sure if this was an error or the unit was simply booting the disks. After a min or so of BLOD - I depressed the power button again, this time depressing the power switch for a few seconds - the units beeped - and quickly re-booted. I am wondering if this is the flashing blue led people are complaining about. In closing, I am so impressed with the Synology DS412+ I purchased another unit from Amazon. Synology is great Drobo is garbage.
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on January 3, 2014
Just received my DS412+ and I was very disappointed to find the unit is DOA. When I plugged in the power supply into my brand new Cyberpower UPS, the power supply initially showed me a green light. However, once I plugged the power supply into the NAS, the power supply began emitting a very faint beep and the green light turned off. I tested this on numerous outlets in the house, both with and without the UPS unit in between, to no avail. I'm not even going to take a chance with Synology support (since they have a reputation of being SUPER SLOW to respond) so back to Amazon this unit goes. I am seeking a replacement and will update my review once I receive it.

***** Update 1/6/14 *****

I received my replacement 412+ this morning and so far, thing seem to be ok. The replacement unit powered up as expected and is now in the process of testing my new drives via the built in S.M.A.R.T. functionality. I am a bit disappointed that the drive tests don't include a Write Zeros test. Such a test would make it possible for us to verify that our consumer drives are indeed 100% functional before adding them to a volume.

My rating will remain at one star until I've had time to vet the replacement unit. More updates will follow.

***** Update #2 1/6/14 *****

Drive tests complete. It took roughly 8-9 hours to complete an Extended S.M.A.R.T. test for each of the Seagate 4TB NAS Drives I installed in the 412+. The DSM software allows each drive to be tested concurrently which is convenient considering the amount of time these larger hard drives take to scan. After the scan, I manually configured a single volume on a RAID 5 array. I was surprised that it only took 20 minutes or so for the entire array to become usable. I immediately set up a Time Machine backup share per the instructions on Synology's website, as well as a custom, non-indexed video share and photo share folder.

The Time Machine backup process took about 1 hour from start to finish, during which it created an 85 GB time machine backup with an average throughout of 40 MB/s. Next, I copied 200 GBs of videos files from a MacMini into the custom video share while simultaneously copying 200 GBs of RAW format photos from a Windows 2008 Server server to the custom photo share. Throughput on the 412+ varied wildly, ranging from 40 MB/s to 120MB/s for a period of two hours. This is likely due to the fact that few, if any, of the files being copied to the 412+ were larger than 1 GB in size. CPU utilization hovered around 30 percent during this time. RAM utilization was negligible, no more than 15%.

Next tests will consist of copying larger video files to test sustained throughput. More updates to follow.

***** Update 1/8/14 *****

I spent more time testing the replacement 412+. This time, I performed large file copy tests to determine whether a consistent throughput could be obtained. Using 30GBs of data made up of several video files 3-8 GBs in size each, I tested throughput to the 412+ both via Ethernet and wireless connections. Ethernet transfers of these files averaged 60MBs via wired AFP and wired SMB connections. These results were obtained using an ASUS RT-N66U router, with both CAT 5E and CAT6 cables. During my tests, there was no discernible throughput difference between the CAT 5E and CAT 6 cables.

Wireless transfers (AFP connections via 802.11n) using the same data set suffered greatly, maxing out at 25MBs. Since large wireless transfers will seldom be necessary in my environment, this isn't particularly a deal breaker.

Once the file transfer tests were complete, I moved on to testing streaming performance from the 412+ to two Apple TV 3 units that I own. One ATV is connected wirelessly and other is wired (100 Mbit). I started by playing an 8GB movie file on the wireless ATV. This file took slightly longer to load, probably due to the file's enormous size, but not too long to be irritating. Once the movie began, no pauses or stutters were experienced. Pre-loading of the file did seem to be taking a long time but again, I attribute this to the size of the file.

After the first ten minutes of the film, I fired up a second movie on the second ATV. This movie file was much smaller, only 2.5 GBs, and it loaded quickly due to the wired connection. During this time, ATV #1 experienced no discernible skips or pauses. ATV #2 also performed perfectly. The upload speeds, as measured by the DiskStation Resource Monitor, ranged from 1 to 4 MBs while both movies were playing.

At this point, I added a wireless file transfer to the ATV test. Sending approximately 30 GBs of photos to the 412+ wireless via AFP really affected the movie stream to ATV #1. In fact, the film eventually stopped playing altogether and had to be manually restarted as the file stream had ceased to function. ATV #2 continued playing its movie normally. This is not necessarily indicative of a problem with the 412+ but something I felt was worth sharing since it was part of my stress test.

I also had some time to play around with some of the software features built in to the DSM software. Sadly, I really found no use for most of the apps they have. Apple's implementation of Home Sharing makes the iTunes Server app almost completely useless for devices other than PCs and MACs with iTunes installed. Time Backup might have had a purpose but I found it easier, and quicker, to simply configure Time Machine directly on my Macs instead. There are some third party repositories out there that have apps I am interested in, but I doubt I will use them since a) Synology Support has been known to throw in the towel on support issues as soon as they see third party software on the diskstation, and b) I already have these third party apps running on a MAC server so I'd ultimately be re-inventing the wheel.

One last note, and the main reason why I am still not altering my star rating. Upon rebooting the replacement 412+ for the first time, I believe I experienced what has become known as the Blinking Blue light Of Death. Basically, the DiskStation power light continuously blinks upon power up/reboot. Fortunately, my DiskStation came up after 3-4 minutes of this behavior, however, my research found that this could be indicative of a potential motherboard failure in the 412+.

Needless to say, I will be testing this unit even further so more updates will follow.
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on October 19, 2013
*** 2014 MAR 23 ***
1) If you run across the hibernation problem (Google Synology hibernation), you may find that even a brief power recycle does not resolve the problem. We had to remove power for a substantial interval to restore function.
2) Synology has pushed two firmware updates to address critical security vulnerabilities. If your NAS is exposed to the internet, it is important to update firmware. If it's at all avoidable, it is recommended you place your NAS behind a firewall.

*** 2013 OCT 11 (original review) ***
Our DLINK DNS323 has run out of space, and as the business is growing, we decided to support more users with better performance using the Synology DS412+ Network Attached Storage (NAS).

While a more knowledgeable user might not have had these challenges, we experienced a few surprises that took quite a little time to resolve.

The following is a walkthrough of our experience installing the DS412+ and getting it working. When it makes sense, we've quoted exact screen display so that one might quickly search and jump to the relevant portion in the event of trouble, and also it's sometimes helpful to have assurance that what you see in your install is what we saw in ours, which was ultimately successful.

We've chosen to xxx out the specific IP address, MAC address, and serial number which will be different for your installation.

After the DS412+ arrived, we:
Connected DS412+ to the network
Powered up DS412+

(Turns out this next step was not required if you use the Synology Assistant on the provided startup disk, as it automatically finds the DS412+ regardless of its IP address.)
Checked router DHCP tables and determined IP address to be xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx
For background, the way you do this varies with your router, but in general you'll enter your router's IP address in a browser, it'll launch a username/password page then serve up a web interface. In general, you'll be looking for the network/DHCP entry which should list all current DHCP leases in effect. If you can't tell which one is the new device you've plugged in, then unplug your new device's ethernet and then refresh the web page; the one that went away was the entry for the new device. Plug the new device back into the network and refresh the web page; the one that returned is the entry for the new device.

Installed Synology Assistant
-Result:
"DiskStation xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx DHCP Not Installed xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx D7LINxxxxx --"
"Total 1 Synology server(s) found"

Clicked on the DiskStation entry, it launched Chrome (my default browser) with url "[...]"
-Result:
"Oops! Google Chrome could not connect to xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx:5000"
Clicked on Connect, it launched Chrome with url "[...]"
-Result:
"Oops! Google Chrome could not connect to xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx:5000"

Guessed: Chrome compatibility issues? Try manually launching with IE10

Launched IE10 to url [...]/
-Result:
"No Hard Disk Found on DS412+"
"Connect Again"
"Please install hard disk(s) before reconnecting."

Good! IE10 connected properly to the web server when Chrome had not

Hot plugged 4 Western Digital WD40EFRX hard drives and hit the "Connect again" button.
-Result:
"Model Name: DS412+"
"IP Address: xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx"
"MAC Address: xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx"
"Serial Number: D7LINxxxxx"
"Version: 4.1-2668"
"Status: Not Installed"
"...."

I clicked the forward arrow and entered a new password for the NAS.
I clicked the forward arrow and was offered formatting choices.
Now, I know that I want to use a different, non-changing IP address in the future, and I don't know what setup will assume, so I decided to fix the IP address before going further into setup.

Up to now, I had used DHCP which automatically assigns a random IP address at each new power up, but in the future we want to always know how the specific IP address needed to reach the DS412+. I went back to the switch and upgraded the DS412+ MAC to a static IP, then shut down and restarted the DS412+. It immediately picked up the new static IP. This is the address it will always use in the future.

Used control panel to remove Synology Assistant. My motivation is, I always try to run a clean installation on my PC, with the fewest possible programs running. I don't want Synology Assistant always on my machine.

Typed IP address into IE10 to connect to DS412+ IP and it said:
"Connection failed. Please check your network settings."

To check my network settings, I successfully pinged the DS412+, so I know the IP address is good and it's listening and responding.
For background, a ping is a quick check at a relatively low level to verify if something is present on the network. It's not uncommon to be able to verify something is there with a ping but not to connect through at higher levels. If ping fails, you have a more fundamental connection problem you have to troubleshoot.
To ping from Windows, open start menu and type cmd. It opens a black text window. type "ping xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx" where all those xxx's and dots were the IP address. It will say either "reply from" (which means it is good) or else "Destination host unreachable" (which means you can't connect to the specified IP address).

Is it possible that Synology DS412+ cannot be set up using the web server alone, but one must install the Windows synology assistant? ...but if that's the case, how could a LINUX user set up the DS412+?

I'm clueless, so I'm going to restart both the PC and the DS412+ and see if some magic happens.

I type the IP address into my browser. Just for fun, I'll even try it in my default Chrome browser and see what happens.

OK, restarting both the PC and the Synology DS412+ enabled successful connection through the DS412+'s web server! I can't explain the earlier problems with Chrome or the inability to connect to the web browser after uninstalling Synology Assistant. In any case, I'm back into the Synology Web Assistant which is served up through a browser without any other software installed on my local machine.

It says:
"Web Assistant"
"Connect to My DiskStation"
"Welcome to your DiskStation"
"Please ensure you have backed up hard drives before installing."
"Model Name: DS412+"
"IP Address: xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx"
"MAC Address: xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx"
"Serial Number: D7LINxxxxx"
"Version: 4.1-2668"
"Status: Migratable"
"...."

I click on the right arrow, and it says:
"Download and install the latest DSM (recommended)"

I click on the right arrow, and it says:
"Enter DiskStation Info"
"Please set password and server name"
"Administrator account: xxxxx"
"Create password:"
"Confirm password:"
"Server name:"

I enter the desired info & click on the right arrow. It says:
"Your DiskStation will be ready in approximately 10 minutes. Please have a cup of tea..."
"Downloading"
"----52%____"
"!Failed to download the DSM installation file. Please check the network connection and try again. (46)"

I check the network connection two ways.
First, I successfully ping the DS412+
Second, I successfully open www.synologydot com

I hit the back arrow and again have to enter the same account, password, server name info then click the right arrow and get the same "Failed to download" message.

Well, I'm stumped again. This has not been as easy an installation as the DLINK DNS323 had been.

I'm assuming that the DS412+ is going directly to Synology to download the DSM installation file. It should be accessible through the firewall current settings, just as I can download files through the current firewall settings. There's no way I'm disabling the business firewall for a file download.

Searched Synology Knowledge base / installation section using keywords "Failed to download (46)". No results were found.
Searched Synology Knowledge base / installation section using keywords "Failed (46)". No results were found.
Searched Synology Knowledge base / installation section using keywords "Failed to download". No results were found.
Searched Synology Knowledge base / installation section using keywords "Installing DiskStation manager". No results were found.

Searched the web and located and called this Synology North America support phone number (+1 425 296 3177). After a fairly brief wait, the rep indicated I should go to the Synology dot com web site, hover over "Support", select "Download Center", select my product, and download the DSM onto the local PC, then in setup select the option to transfer DSM from the local PC rather than the Synology dot com web site. When you select the 3rd option, it has you browse the local PC hard drive for the appropriate file then continue normally. BTW I appreciated that the support appeared to know his stuff well and was very low key and to the point.

A note about the different DSM update download options on the DS412+ web interface. There was a list of 3 radio-button options with the first one (download from Synology) selected. The first one is written in normal text, but the second and third were "grayed" out. I had assumed that they were not selectable because that's a traditional representation for un-selectable options. It turns out they were selectable, and I had to click on the 3rd option to enable manual download from the web site onto the PC to ultimately be successful. Then it prompts you to browse your PC to the appropriate file location, and it transfers the file from your PC into the DS412+.

For 10 minutes, indicates "Completing installation" with a countdown in seconds.

After the update, the web page presented:
"Assigned system name"
"Username entry field"
"Password entry field"
"x Remember me"
"Synology DSM 4.3"

Generally I prefer to remember username/password in my head, not on my machine, because I feel it's more secure if there's one less place my username and password can be compromised.

I entered the information and hit enter. After a brief pause, IE10 indicated:
"xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx is not responding. Recover webpage"

Clicking "Recover webpage" button brought up the standard Synology DSM 4.3 web interface.
However, the "...not responding. Recover webpage" message kept appearing every 30 seconds or so.

Taking a page from my earlier book, I switched browsers again, this time back to Chrome.

Again the DSM came up and looked good, also presenting a pop-up window:
"Welcome to DSM Wizard!"
"This wizard will guide you through the necessary DSM settings."
(super cool groovy picture with magic wand here)
"Start"

I clicked "Start"

"You need to create a volume for your DiskStation to store data. Create now? (yes/no)"

I clicked "yes"
Lot of information provided to you now...
Sharing message: information about using shared drives
Access your files message: lots of options discussed, even mobile devices supported
Various services described

That was interesting info presented in Quick Start, which can be selected again by clicking on the top hat.

Another window indicates it's initializing volume 1. I wonder how it's doing that, since I don't recall telling it how I wanted the RAID to be set up? Maybe volume 1 is a standard that has to exist on any DS412+, and I'll get to configure RAID later?

When you open "Package Center" it says, "Before using Package Center you must read and accept Terms of Service." At this point we have no idea of the merits of it, so I ignore it and hit "Cancel."

I need to figure out configuration settings for the four new drives that have been put in the drive bays. There's something called "Control Panel." We'll see if that works.

Lotta icons there, seems confusing.

Instead, I load DSM help and search for RAID. It leads me to "Disk Group" which seems helpful.

It says, "Select Create" but when I go to "File Station" which I would think is where you would do the creation, the options don't match the help description. eg I expected to see "Quick" and "Custom" options, but that's not available.

Here's what I'm trying to do (from help):

"Single volume on RAID: It is created using all the space of selected hard disks. The volume is created directly on top of hard disks. It provides the best access performance."

Here's what the help says:
"Storage Manager: You can use Storage Manager to create and manage the space on your DiskStation by creating different types of storage, including volumes, Disk Groups, iSCSI LUNs, and iSCSI Targets."

Sounds good, but where is Storage Manager? There is no icon on the top-level screen for Storage Manager, and it doesn't seem to be a part of "File Station."

This has been ad-hoc, so I'll describe the interface here:

The web page presents a desktop with 5 icons and a system health window.

"File Station"
"Control Panel"
"Package Center"
"DSM Help"
"Quick Start"

File Station is an Explorer-like interface. I can create folders but haven't found RAID options or a Storage Manager within it.
Control Panel has a bunch of icons, but none match the DSM help names I'm looking for.
DSM help has been informative but not sufficiently specific to find the pieces it describes.
Package Center, well, one wonders: do I have to buy more packages for RAID functionality? I'm not going there yet.
Quick start was interesting but not specific enough to inform me.

Back to control panel, I selected "hardware" but it didn't even show the 4 hard drives installed. It instead offered a bunch of options about hardware configuration such as UPS integration, fan noise level, etc.

In control panel, "DSM Settings" also was not helpful, although I did use it to set all connections to HTTPS.

OK, weird. After setting all connections to HTTPS and using self-signed certificates, it did a web server restart and now the storage manager has come up on the web desktop.

Maybe it was just a matter of time while the system checked the installed hard drives? It does say, "Verifying hard disks in the background...
"

Whatever the case, (after more than half an hour of wasted time poking around looking for it) Storage Manager is up and functioning. I think we're in business.
The "Create" button is
grayed out and really isn't useable. The 4 drives are displayed. It says volume 1 is Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR) which I don't recall selecting and did not want.

I'll wait for it to finish the parity consistency check, then I'll remove volume 1 and try to create a RAID.

It says there is 10.82TB total storage, with 326.78MB in use. 326.78MB seems like a lot considering there's no data there yet. It's not about RAID overhead, because that came off the top before it computed total storage. Also, all accessible folders are completely empty.

Uh-oh. An hour or two has passed, and when I refreshed the web interface, the Storage Manager is no longer visible.

Now I notice that there's a group of squares in the upper left hand corner that, when clicked, brings up several icons including the Storage Manager. So it's just getting used to the web interface.

Contacted Synology tech support one more time to ask if there's any issues with interrupting the volume build, since it's not in the format I want, to remove and recreate it in RAID6? They said go ahead, sooner is better.

Have "Removed" the volume that somehow I started in the wrong format, and "Created" a new RAID 6 volume that can tolerate 2 drives failing and still recover the data. Storage capacity is about 7TB total from 16TB raw drive storage capacity. I've heard there's a performance penalty to RAID6; we'll just have to see if it's adequate. Since we have 1GE internally, it shouldn't be too terrible.

This has taken nearly half a day so far. The time burner was hunting around an unfamiliar space for the proper way forward. It could probably be done in an hour or so if you knew what you were doing.

In the next installment, I'll let you know how well it works to do backup onto the NAS. I haven't even mapped the network drive yet. That's for another day.

-------------------------

A day has passed and all parity and validity checks are complete.
Now it's time to see how to map a windows network drive.
DSM help says, in Synology "control panel", select "Win/Mac/NFS", check "Enable Windows file service" under the "Windows" tab. Here, I also updated the "Workgroup" to match my business network workgroup.
Selecting "Apply" restarts the DS412+, then windows shows the shared drive under my networks.

I start a simple backup by right-click dragging a folder onto the newly indicated shared folder at the PC, and it seems to be in business.

Unless we face more challenges, it appears that the Synology DS412+ NAS is now functional.
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on June 26, 2013
Good:
Decent construction
Easy bay access
Quiet fans
provided screws worked well

Bad:
Defective motherboard

After powering everything up and connecting it to the network, the blue power button blinked on forever. The Synology Assistant could not detect the server on the network, and after taking a closer look at the unit, realized the hard drives weren't even spinning up.

After looking on Synology's website, I found out that you could determine if your motherboard was defective by:
-power off the unit
-remove all the hard drives
-power the unit back up

Within a minute, the blue light should hold steady and a beep should sound. Neither one happened for me, and instead, the bright blue light continues to blink, giving my cats a seizure. Acccording to Synology, this blinking light indicates a defective motherboard and I need to contact them for a repair or exchange.

Will update again if I ever get one up and running....

EDIT 11/26/13

After finding out that this unit could not be returned to amazon due to restrictions, I contacted Synology to ask for a replacement. The rep ran me through a the above test and concluded that the NAS was indeed defective. I then sent the diskstation to them, the turnaround time was about a week.

Now, having set up a working Synology Diskstation with WD RED NAS 3TB hard drives, here are my final thoughts:

Pros:
Very versatile, with so many third party packages that I am still learning how to use. Basically, it has more features than I ever need.
Network backup, FTP, Movie streaming, and cloud backup all work like a charm.
Extremely fast local network transfer rate. Paired with an 802.11ac wireless router, I was able to transfer a 2.5GB movie in under 15 seconds! Note: local network, not external to internal.
Apps make using the disk station a breeze.
Quiet and reliable operation. Current continuous runtime: 130 days and counting.

Cons:
Setting up all the ports for all your desired features takes some time. The "router setup" utility never worked for me. I used a linksys and an apple extreme router and both needed some time to set up manually.
DS File does not support uploads from your mobile device, so its hard to get a document from your iPad to the disk station.
Diskstation sleeps when not in use, and it takes a couple seconds for it to come back online. Annoying when trying to grab a file quickly from another computer.
Dust and pet hair accumulate quickly inside the machine due to its great airflow.

So far I'm quite pleased with the system. I just wish setup wasn't so tedious and the machine didn't take so long to wake from sleep.
22 comments|17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 2, 2013
This is my second Synology NAS I purchased. The first one was a DS411j. The DS412+ on the other hand, was my second purchase and WAS happy with it..until it began to FAIL! After installing the latest DSM version (4.2-3202), I began having problems with the system partition. Then on a reboot, a BLUE LED blinking led light is shown. It was taking a long time to boot up so I went to bed. The next morning, I woke up only to find the BLUE LED blinking light continued and the DS412+ has not booted up. It took several emails to Synology support for someone to finally reply to my emails. At this point, it was going to 3 weeks without my DS412+ and my data. I have 4 open tickets: 185829, 187825, 188544 and 189475. Synology support need to do a better job in responding!

After several reboots, the web console now shows that "THERE ARE NO HARD DRIVES DETECTED", but clearly there is. I suspect that the RAID CONTROLLER may have failed. The only thing I can do is access the DS412+ via web interface only to show me "THERE ARE NOT HARD DRIVES DETECTED".

After several days and multiple emails to Synology support, they offered to send me a "REFURBISHED" replacement device (Why not brand new replacement?) and charges me extra to ship NEXT DAY AIR. SERIOUSLY! This goes to show that they do not care that it took 3 weeks for them to respond to my email and that I am over 3 weeks without my data. No phone support, only via email and they took a long time to reply.

I would recommend to use other products if you value your data. Having multiple drives do not guarantee your data will be safe. Like in my experience, BLUE LED LIGHT issue = your DS412+ will not boot up. Next, the RAID Controller has issues since it doesn't detect my drives at all.

This product is good when it is working, but has reliability problems. I think there is a problem with this particular models. I did have issues with my DS411j last year too. Ticket number for that is 106873. I purchased a second Synology because I believed in the product. I changed my mind. Seriously looking to replace this with a 5-bay device from QNAP or some other manufacturer when i get my data restored, unless Synology offers me to trade up this bad boy for a more reliable model.
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on April 14, 2014
Buying this was a result of the end of Windows XP support on April 8th 2014. We had been using an aging PC as our file and print server and it was time to change. I was shocked to find that our data files had grown to 0.6T on our 1T WD hard drives in a few years.

BTW, we have a tiny SOHO network, just my wife and I and the file and print server. I looked into NAS running Linux as a substitute for a PC running an OS and I am glad that I did.

I ordered a WD 2 bay NAS from Amazon. I then followed up and dug further. I found out the WD had no fans (super quiet like a rock) and several said it was a bit flimsy. I did some further digging and kept coming up with the Synology DS412+. The Synology has two fans and it is very quiet; I hardly know it is on. I'd rather keep the drives as cool as possible.

It was a bit frustrating because this NAS is on the expensive side, about $600 vs about $250. Even so, I ignored my thifty side this time and I cancelled the WD and, when Amazon confirmed that, I ordered this NAS from Synology through Amazon. I am glad that I did.

Some reviews ding this NAS because it has a lot of plastic. I find it well made and substantial. I am not enamored with the front panel but it does not keep me up at night. Perhaps I should coin the term "metalist", a kind of metal chauvinism?

I equipped this NAS with two WD 3T Red hard drives. I thought the 3T size was the sweet spot, 4T being more expensive proportionally. It took only a few minutes to initialize or format these big drives. Then I began to copy our files from our old server to the new NAS.

During this time, I did some more research. I discovered two things: 1) if I added a third drive (I am using Synology's version of Raid SHD [Synology Hybrid Drive]) then I would double the space I can use from 3T to 6T. This raid uses one drive for parity, so 3 X 3T = 9T minus one drive for parity, leaves 6T; and 2) Synology supports a hot spare drive.

I was planning to get a spare drive anyway because I read that a RAID array is vulnerable while one drive is out. It is best to have a spare on hand because if a second drive fails at the same time you can lose all your data. I was wondering how I would do this? I didn't want a spare drive sitting in its box and find out it had a defect when I needed it. It might be out of warranty then. The idea of a hot spare appealed to me. In this system, when a drive fails, the system automatically switches over to the hot spare to take up the load. You can then order another drive to replace the damaged one, but you should have some time. Amazon delivered both sets of drives super quickly. I live in the same state as one of Amazon's warehouse fulfillment centers.

So, I bought two more of the same drives. When I installed them and switched the unit back on, the disk manager knew they were there and I had the option to expand the RAID array. I chose just the third drive, and the unit went into expanding mode. I kept checking and it took about 36 hours before the little green disk activity lights went off and the task was done. That is a long time to rebuild the array with about 450GB of files in it. It had gone from 16% full to 8% full. I then went down to the hot spare tab and marked the forth drive as a hot spare. That took a very short time. Job done.

My plan now is to keep my old server with its 2 X 1T drives (they are in JBOD configuration, just two separate disks, no striping and no RAID). I used a program "Second Copy" to copy changed files from the main drive to the second, a backup drive. I plan to bite the bullet and change the OS from Win XP to Linus Mint 16 and forget about viruses for a while. I will put the new NAS in my wife's office at one end of the house and keep the old server here in my office at the other end of our house. Not as good as another style of media, but I know I will never keep up backing up on CD-ROM if I do so manually. I need an automatic solution so I will not forget.

I had been using JustCloud to store my files off site but Synology doesn't have an app for them. It does have an app for Amazon's Glacier cloud storage, so I switched over to Glacier. Now, I have a variation on 3-2-1, 3 copies of files, 2 media, and one off-site. My system will be really 2ish and not 2.

Speaking of apps, Synology has a load of them built in, far more than I will probably need. Very cool. Synology has a nice control panel. I manage the whole unit over Ethernet. No mouse, keyboard, or monitor need for the Synology unit itself.

I have an Android Google G-Box from Matrico (Midnight) fed by an Ethernet cable, so I will look into a media server or Plex to see if there is an improvement. I have all of our media on one shared folder and I just connect to that folder and play videos and MP3s. My wife and I do Qigong by standing in front of our TV and following along with Lee Holden at Lake Tahoe, Matthew Cohen in some nice rocky area, Doria-Ross and McPhee in Hawaii, and the elegant Garripolis wherever they are.

I am very impressed with the Synology unit. It is better than I imagined it would be. There are several good YouTube videos that review or go through topics for the Synology NAS that have been very helpful. Geekyranjit·is particularly good. Synology has good help, FAQ, and knowledge base.

I am pleased that I made the decision to go with this more expensive unit. I really have no experience with the others out there, so I can't say anything about them. I am pleased with this unit; it does what I want easily and elegantly.
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