Synology DS213 + Desktop NAS

10/22/2012 1:43:42 AM

Synology takes and secures the high ground in dual – bay NAS boxes


Price: $433.5

Manufacturer: Synology

Website: www.synology.com

Required spec: Ethernet network, dual SATA hard drives up to 4TB

Description: Synology DS213 + Desktop NAS

Synology DS213 + Desktop NAS

Synology likes to cover all bases regarding NAS (Network Attached Storage) and, as such, it makes single- and dual-drive solutions, as per this DS213+. An evolution from the DS211 and DS212, the DS213 comes in a vanilla version and this ‘spinning rims’ DS213+ designation model. Previously the extra ‘+‘ got you additional RAM on board, but the DS213+ is distinct from its sibling by having both an extra eSATA port and a significantly more powerful CPU.

However, both get 512MB of DRAM, four USB ports split between USB 2.0 forward and USB 3.0 rearward, and an SD card slot on the front.

Impressive CPU power in the DS213+ comes from a dual-core Freescale P1 022 running at 1.067GHz. That might seem modest from a clock speed perspective, as the ordinary DS213 gets a single-core 2GHz Marvell CPU, but this processor design has tons of hardware maths acceleration designed to give DNLA apps the punch they need for dynamic stream processing.

However, what really sells NAS solutions is the integrated software or DSM (Synology DiskStation Manager), which is probably second to none in this type of technology. A web-based interface gives you access to just about any feature you could possibly need on a NAS box, and it’s fully extensible with user installable apps.

Often companies put these features in their operating systems and never actually support them subsequently, whereas Synology has 1 5 in-house developed apps to install and another 22 third- party ones. These include Python, MySQL, Joomla, Drupal, Magneto e-commerce, anti-virus, mail server, iTunes and even a VPN server. There are more of these apps coming all the time, highlighting the flexibility of the system that Synology has developed.

For those considering adding one of these to their business network, Windows ADS and LDAP integration means you don’t need to add users and groups implicitly, and there’s minimal administration. However, it will work equally well with Macs and Linux systems, if that’s your environment.

I tested the review system by placing a single Western Digital Caviar Black 750GB drive in it, and installing the operating system from my work PC using the Synology Assistant and DSM from disc. The system was accessible 12 minutes later, performed a 90-minute complete disk check, then updated itself to the latest DSM 4.1. It was ready for use well within two hours.

The new release of DSM is very nice, and includes a new Cloud Station service, which allows you to synchronise files across PC, Mac and mobile devices.

Even with a single drive, write speed was close to 80MB/ps and read performance was an impressive 105MB/s on a lGbit Ethernet network without jumbo frames configured. Obviously, multiple simultaneous users would reduce speed and dual drives should conversely improve the performance. However you slice it, though, the DS213+ is very rapid compared with many small NAS solutions, and it used less than a quarter of total CPU power to support the reading of data from a single client.

That hints at what is genuinely exciting about this product: the amount of processing power it has compared to most dual-drive NAS boxes. It enables this device to handle a much larger range of tasks, which might normally require a dedicated PC.

Critical CPU features exclusive to this design, like a hardware encryption engine and powerful floating point processing, make this a very flexible tool that can be pressed into service in numerous mission critical tasks.

Description: Synology DS213 + Desktop NAS

The dual drive facility allows for sufficient storage for home use while providing the option for mirroring the contents. Most home users probably don’t need these performance levels, but for a typical small business user, the DS213+ is a highly sensible strategic choice.

The only serious issue here is the price, which looks excessive when you consider that the basic DS213 model is US$81 less and I’ve seen an entry-level dual-bay NAS box for well under US$150. That said, if you run a small business and want a small yet powerful server solution that can easily be transported, then this is certainly the pinnacle of what’s available today.

It just might be worth holding fire for a short while until Synology launches its next-generation DS413 and DS413+ models, and the premium the four drive models cost over this. pedigree on offer are probably The DS213+ isn’t cheap, worth the money and but the performance and certainly your consideration.

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