The Internet is full of unboxing video’s and people telling you how wonderful some product is, when in fact they have only opened it up or used it for 5 minutes… and sometimes that instant gratification of receiving a new toy to play with vanishes rather quickly, and you move on to something else to brag about having.
I did an unboxing video of the Synology DS212 NAS unit on the 3rd February 2012, and initially the look and feel of it impressed me, and in turn, I created another video of the device having its x2 3TB hard Drive array broken live, and that too impressed me.
But, time has went on, the device has been running 24/7 and it has been getting used for a wide variety of tasks, so I think I can now come back with an honest opinion on this product and say that it’s so good, I am seriously thinking of buying the DS412+ model that offers me double the capacity that I have at the moment!
So, you may be asking yourself, why is it so good? To put it simply, the reason the Synology DS212 is so good is down to the features that are contained in DSM (the unit’s operating system) that just offer so much, and they all work for me perfectly in a way that really does put many of the older NAS products to shame that I have used in the past.
As it stands, I have a DS212 with two 3TB drives configured as a mirrored array, so have 3TB of storage available that is mirrored to a second drive, so that the chances of losing data is minimised.
I have configured the DS212 with the following features:
AUDIO STATION – Play and organise stored music and radio
ITUNES SERVER – Play multimedia content to ipad/iphone and Apple TV.
MEDIA SERVER – Stream audio/video/images to PS3 and other DLNA/UPnP devices.
DOWNLOAD STATION – Torrent/P2P download manager.
ANTIVIRUS – Checks any downloads or data that are put on the NAS box.
FILESTATION – Lets me organise and move files around.
Using the ITunes Server, I can now store all of my music on the DS212 and have that music stream out to my Apple TV, new IPad and IPhone 4S, and keep specific songs on the devices themselves for when I am out on the road. As well as that, I can also store my movies on the unit as well as do the same! Massive storage with instant access, it really is something you need to try out to understand just how great this is to use.
Using the Media server is similar to the ITunes server but I can stream all my content to my PS3 with ease, and this handles formats that the ITunes side may have issues with at times. The PS3 just finds the NAS box and you click what you want to listen to or view.
The Download Station is a fantastic P2P download application that really is very neat to use. I set up a folder that is monitored on the device, and just save or copy any torrent files into that folder and the software auto detects it and downloads it all for you, so you focus on obtaining while the software handles the receiving!
Since there may be some nasty files out there that you might copy across to the unit, the supplied Antivirus runs and protects your data for you with free updates done automatically.
And then we come to File Station. This allows you to quickly get around all of your folders and copy and delete files in an instant. Simple to use, and really does make things a breeze to keep things organised.
Of course, writing about these features is not quite the same as seeing them, but you can actually test all of the software out yourself on a real system by visiting their LIVE DEMO.
Now, you might be thinking… I have a PC/Mac and can do all of this as well… but then you are missing the point about this device. This small unit draws a lot less power than any PC, and is easier to manage and maintain. Also, all of the applications are in the device and work, perfectly right away. No need to go searching for software and worrying about how to share things out… it’s all in the box…
And… if you have a number of people in your home/office you can set up users and groups with passwords to restrict what can and cannot be accessed on the device. It also hooks into Windows domains with ease, and mine integrated into my Small Business Server 2008 system with no issues at all.
So, my original feelings still stand and are more solid than ever on this product, it really is something you should consider if you are on the market for a storage solution that actually does a lot more!