In the US, Synology sells the NAS with the hard disks bundled and also in a diskless version. The review unit had 2 Seagate 1 TB disks pre-installed. The disks also had the Disk Station Manager (DSM) installed, and so, it was almost pure plug and play.

The contents of the 2 x 1TB DS211+ box are as below:

  1. Synology DS-211+ chassis
  2. 2 x 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200rpm drives inside the chassis
  3. Cat 5E Ethernet cable
  4. 72 W external power supply
  5. CD with Synology Assistant and miscellaneous software / user guides
  6. Getting Started guide
  7. Screws for hard disk installation

The DS211+ chassis is aesthetically pleasing, and the drive slots are nicely covered up by the front panel (which is also quite easy to remove). Upon removing the front panel, we can see the two hard drive chassis. The chassis can be pulled out by pressing the button at the top.

The front panel has the status LEDs, a memory card slot, USB 2.0 host port and the power buttons. At the back of the chassis, we have a large, but quiet, fan. There are 2 USB 2.0 host ports, an eSATA host, GbE port and the power adapter input.

Setup was very straightforward. In our testbed, the unit was directly connected to the computer. The Synology Assistant on the supplied CD was installed on the testbed, and it promptly detected the attached unit. Alternatively, one could have just navigated to the IP of the NAS in a browser for the setup / administration process.

The volumes can be setup in any RAID configuration. Synology provides the SHR (Synology Hybrid Raid) option which provides 1-disk redundancy. It has some advantages over the classic RAID with 1-disk redundancy as outlined here. All our benchmarks were run with the volumes managed in SHR configuration.

DSM 3.0 is a pleasure to use, and it provides a multitude of management options as shown in the gallery above. There are also options to enable Telnet / SSH into the NAS for the more adventurous users. As is evident from the gallery, many features are targeted towards the home user. These include options to enable the NAS to act as a DLNA DMA and iTunes media server. DSM 3.0 also has apps for Bit Torrent and eMule download management. There is also a surveillance station app to use the NAS as a DVR for a set of IP cameras.

Introduction System Teardown
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  • mino - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    Power consumption aside, the value of an off-the-shelf NAS is in the software stack.

    Had any of us enthusiasts started to bill ourselves for the time spend setiing up a DYI box the price comparison would start looking VERY different ...
    Reply
  • bobbozzo - Tuesday, March 01, 2011 - link

    True, but it doesn't take that long to install FreeNAS or OpenFiler. Reply
  • KLC - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    I don't understand why these NAS boxes are so expensive. A year ago I bought an Acer home server that had an Atom cpu, 4 hot swappable drive bays, the WHS OS and one 1 tb drive for $350. Reply
  • Jambe - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    I'd love to see more NAS reviews like this, particularly in the $2-500, 2-drive arena where there are so many competing products! Reply
  • Hrel - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    I started looking into and either you have to pay obscene amounts of money or you have to suffer through 10MBPS max transfer speeds with glitchy software... based on newegg user feedback. I couldn't find a decent system with good reviews for 300 or less. I want 2 2TB hard drives in RAID 1; 300 is the most that's worth.

    Since no one is offering a system like that I'm just turning an old P4 system into a NAS using FreeNAS, a PCI RAID card and two 2TB WD Hard Drives, total cost... 220.
    Reply
  • caragon80 - Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - link

    I am considering buying a NAS Server for my home and I need your advice and some recommendations please. I prefer a NAS setup for several reasons, namely:

    1. I like the RAID concept. It affords the best data protection option in the event of hard drive failure.

    2.I need a lot of storage space since I will be making a lot of HD quality videos (I make short movies as a hobby).

    3.I need media server functionality in order to stream my music and video files to my TV and other devices throughout the house.

    4. I would like to have my own personal cloud setup, one that will allow me to access my data from anywhere in the world via a browser.

    5. I also need a reliable storage option that is capable of doing automated back-ups.

    I am sure there are other important functions that a NAS can be used for, but these are the ones that are most important to me. With this said, I would love to hear your thoughts on the following technical considerations:

    1. Will a 2-Bay setup suffice or should I consider 4-bays so I can have a RAID5 setup instead?

    2. What is the difference between a RAID1 and a RAID5?

    3. In a 2-Bay setup I was thinking of buying two 2TB drives for a total of 4TB in RAID0 or 2TB in RAID1. What do you think about this setup?

    4. What processor speed should I be considering for the NAS? 800hz? 1Ghz? 1.6Ghz dual core?

    5. How about system memory? I noticed the NAS Servers in the market can vary greatly in this regard. Some have as little as 128MB and go up to 1GB. How much do I really need?

    6. What brands should I be considering? From what I have read Synology and QNAP make the best NAS Servers and have the best user friendly software. What brands do you recommend and what models within those brands do you think would be most appropriate for my home given what I have stated above?

    Any feedback and/or recommendations you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
    Reply
  • Blimundus - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    Home use NAS reviews always make me *want* to add a NAS to my own setup. I have never really felt the *need* for a NAS. Although I have several computers, only the main Ubuntu desktop is used on a daily basis, and there is automatic backup to an external harddisk.

    In other words, if I would buy a NAS, I would not care much for capacity or performance, I just want to play with the possibilities it offers. That is why I am thinking of getting an entry level system: the single bay DS111. (There does not seem to be a DS112 model?)

    I can see that a dual bay system would have certain advantages (capacity, redundancy). Those advantages are not very important to me.

    I am hesitant about buying a single bay system for another reason: upgrade flexibility. If I ever replace the hard disk, or if I move to another system, will I have difficulties doing so if I have a single bay system? Or will I be able to do this by moving the data (temporarily) to another external hard disk, or even by linking up the old (single bay) NAS with the new (single or multi bay) NAS?
    Reply
  • flight553 - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    Since Sept 2011 when NAS manufacturers started switching to the updated version of AppleTalk, and how this has annecdotally affected people running OSX10.7 Lion or higher, AFP protocol seems to be faster than SMB now. For me, a share through AFP was twice as fast as the same one via SMB. Reply

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