Synology Diskstation DS219j Review


NAS. Not As Simple? Not A Server? Nearly A Switch? No..NAS stands for “Network Attached Storage” and it’s actually a really good way of sharing disks over a network.

I’d heard about the NAS for years but until now never actually used one. When the largest external drive I had started to fail I thought I’d look into something better, and I’m really glad I did. The Synology Diskstation is one such device, and the one I purchased contained two 8TB (!) drives for 16TB of total storage, although in the default (RAID 1) configuration, the two disks are mirrored, so you get 8TB of usable storage.

Setup

Setting up the Synology Diskstation was a breeze. Plug in the power supply, plug in the supplied ethernet cable and press the on switch – all the configuration is done via a browser and with a few simple clicks and the creation of an admin account the NAS configures itself ready for use. The Diskstation automatically sets up SMB (that’s Windows Server Message Block) and AFP (Apple Filing Protocol) so you can mount your disk from a Mac, PC or Linux easily.

Configuration

The default configuration does what you need it to do (ie share your disks on the network) well, however with a few tweaks you can enable your DiskStation to do a host of other tasks, since the NAS has it’s own OS and installable applications it’s effectively a full blown server and can be configured to run as;

  • An FTP server
  • A Webserver (it can run both Apache & tomcat)
  • A CARDDAV server
  • A CALDAV server
  • A DNS Server
  • A backup server
  • A Mail Server
  • A RADIUS server
  • A Chat Server
  • A VPN server
  • A WebDav server

That’s just some of the options – there’s a handy ‘package centre’ in the Web-based GUI that lets you install and configure a whole host of different options and it’s easy to use.

I set mine up to synchronise to two cloud based services I use , Dropbox and OneDrive using the built in ‘CloudSync’ app. This was simple to setup and worked flawlessly first time. This is a really useful feature and one I wish I had years ago.

Performance

I was able to copy 1.25 TB (ie 1.25 Million Megabytes) of data onto the DiskStation in around 7 hours – that’s a very respectable 50 Mb/s (Megabytes per second). Your mileage may vary. Overall I was impressed by how fast files could be transferred, not quite as fast as a local disk but amply fast enough for most uses, and easily fast enough for Time Machine backups (one of the things I need mine for).

Conclusion

The Synology DiskStation provides a simple to use and flexible storage solution that’s both cost effective and easy to set up. It offers a lot more than standard disk storage and for only slightly more money. If you need shared storage this is a great option.


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