Synology DS414j: An Ideal Backup NAS

by Ganesh T S on 7/10/2014 9:00 AM EST


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  • edzieba - Thursday, July 10, 2014 - link

    Why RAID10 rather than RAID6 (or RAIDZ2)? Surely the superior robustness is worth the minimal performance reduction? Reply
  • JimmaDaRustla - Thursday, July 10, 2014 - link

    RAID 6 has no space efficiency over RAID 1+0 in a 4 drive setup. It also has no write performance gains, especially when considering it needs to calculate the parity blocks. And read speed is theoretically slower since RAID 1+0 has two sets of data to work off of. And lastly, if a drive dies, RAID 1+0 has no performance decrease, but RAID 6 would take a hit because it would need to calculate blocks using the parity. Reply
  • JimmaDaRustla - Thursday, July 10, 2014 - link

    Edit: I'm amateur though, not sure if there is more to RAID 6, but in a 4 drive setup, I would go with RAID 1+0 Reply
  • bernstein - Thursday, July 10, 2014 - link

    RAID6 in a 4bay home nas is just asking for unnecessary trouble. However RAID6 can take the death of any two drives, whereas in RAID 1+0 if the wrong two drives fail your data is toast. But if you value your data enough to invest in a NAS with RAID1/5/6 you actually want RAIDZ2. Reply
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, July 10, 2014 - link

    4-bay NAS is such a pain in the ass! For years I've seen 4-bays across the board, but that's never been enough. Reply
  • DanNeely - Thursday, July 10, 2014 - link

    Because 2/4 bay units are enough for the vast majority of home users. Reply
  • Gunbuster - Thursday, July 10, 2014 - link

    Also no ARM chip is going to keep up with the overhead of more drive bays. You get a real server or SAN for that. Reply
  • Samus - Thursday, July 10, 2014 - link

    Not necessarily CPU limited. I have an Areca RAID controller with 8 SAS channels (and up to three arrays) on an XSCALE 800MHz CPU with good overall performance. It's running two arrays in a server (one array is three S3500 SSD's, another is five 900GB SAS drive.)

    I simulated a drive failure by pulling power from one of the 900GB SAS drives, wiping it, and reattaching it while in Server 2012 and it rebuilt the array (3.5TB, 2TB of data) in ~10 hours while maintaining high availability. A tax system running in Hyper-V and the 50GB exchange store resided on that array while being rebuilt.
  • M/2 - Thursday, July 10, 2014 - link

    I agree. I've never understood I would want to go thru the trouble of configuring NAS and then live slow throughput. Especially when I can connect a USB3 RAID to any cheap server (I've got a $600 Mac Mini) and get better performance. I get 104 MB/s on my external drive over the network vs. 240 MB/s locally. That's over gigabit ethernet, I get about 23-30 Mb/s on 5 Ghz Wifi-N. But, I'm just a home user, what do I know? Maybe when you get many users, there's an advantage, but look at how slow! Reply
  • DanNeely - Thursday, July 10, 2014 - link

    Feeding multiple computers is one of the primary reasons to use a NAS instead of just connecting more drives locally. Reply
  • imaheadcase - Thursday, July 10, 2014 - link

    How fast they are is not very important, most reading/write is on the NAS itself. You are always limited more by network speed than anything with these setups. However that is not a problem since most people are pulling from drives and will saturate at 1gig NIC anyways. Reply
  • bebimbap - Thursday, July 10, 2014 - link

    When viewing the small NAS market as a whole, it seems they are neither performance/cost effective compared to building your own system, or future proof, as expansion is very expensive or time consuming. The point of small NAS seems to be "I want a new working NAS NOW"

    If the case were that a small business owner or home owner who did not want to ever invest in tinkering with his network or computers would gladly invest in this kind of device. Especially ones who frequent the Apple/Dell store or another boutique to buy their latest best in class computer.
  • jabber - Saturday, July 12, 2014 - link

    Indeed I'll have bought my off the shelf NAS, configured it, set it up and making it earn its keep while you were still wondering which hard drives and RAID card to put in your PC box.

    Plus I'll never have to touch it again till I replace it.
  • uhuznaa - Thursday, July 10, 2014 - link

    I'm always surprised that these things don't offer more than just plain storage. If you have a networked Linux platform anyway, why not offer things like at least CalDAV/CardDAV for your own "private cloud" for contact and calendar syncing? Or SMTP/IMAP (with a configurable smarthost if you don't have a static IP address)? Add encryption and some key management features and you could use it to replace most of the "Cloud" with a secure solution sitting right in your living room. Reply
  • AJRobins - Thursday, July 10, 2014 - link

    Uh, many Synology products do, including the DS414j mentioned in this article. While lower-end products don't support these, products like the DS414j and above can use various addons such as wikis (mediawiki, docuwiki), CMS (drupal, joomla), databases (mariadb/mysql), mail servers, revision control (git, svn), languages (java, python, perl), various backup solutions (amazon glacier and other cloud services), and a number of other services. Reply
  • bernstein - Thursday, July 10, 2014 - link

    @Ganesh: I really don't understand why i as a home user should avoid a NAS without hotswap! i mean whats the hassle of shutting a nas down, exchanging disk & starting it again? what's the problem of those 5mins of downtime? not quite the same, but home user's neither need redundant PSUs, routers, laptops, internet connections, etc. Reply
  • DanNeely - Thursday, July 10, 2014 - link

    Even beyond the few minutes needed to swap the drive itself, to minimize the risk of a 2nd drive failure resulting in data loss, it's safest to do the raid rebuild with the server offline. At that point you're looking at several hours to several days of effective downtime. From that standpoint a few minutes to power the box off becomes a rounding error. Reply
  • samsp99 - Sunday, July 20, 2014 - link

    That's assuming that you have a drive spare that matches the ones already in the NAS. I would suspect for most home users a new drive will need to be ordered, so the extra time to power down the unit is minor in the grand scheme of things. Reply
  • asendra - Thursday, July 10, 2014 - link

    I think you should not only compare to similarly priced NAS but to other Synology devices like the step up DS414, at least to compare if the extra price is worth it or not.
    I'm actually looking to buy a 4 drive NAS, and I was almost decided to get the DS414, but maybe the performance difference is not enough to justify the +100$ it would cost me.
    Main thing that has made me reconsider is the lack of plex server support in al this Synologys...

    Other option I've considered is buying a HP Microserver G7, install XPenology, and save 200$, but I don't mind paying for simplicity and less headaches.
  • alanh - Thursday, July 10, 2014 - link

    Echoing ascenda's comment, it would also be nice to see a comparison with the previous generation Synology products. I've been using a DS413j for about 2 years now and it would be interesting to see how it compares. Reply
  • channel5 - Thursday, July 10, 2014 - link

    If you are thinking about the performance difference, then you should note that this DS414j doesn't support jumbo frame. This is not mentioned in any review I have seen and not in the Synology specs. When I cannot find the config for jumbo frame, I email support and got this answer "Due to the hardware limitation of the CPU in DS414j, jumbo frame is not supported in DS414j."
    On video file transfer to and from my old QNAP 219, I see a 30% to 40% increase in transfer speed when using jumbo frame. On this new 414j, it is just keeping up with my old QNAP. I am disappointed with it.
  • asendra - Thursday, July 10, 2014 - link

    Good to know! Thanks for the comment. Although I was already inclined to get the DS414 because some reviews I've read online, and because it supports link aggregation, which I would like to use when I upgrade my switch.

    If only they already had support for Plex Media Server (A big part of why I want a NAS), I would buy it right now, but because they don't, and It's twice the price, I still consider a HP G7 a viable option, it just Is way uglier, bigger, and less easy to get up and running...
  • peterfares - Friday, July 11, 2014 - link

    Just get the HP microserver. It doesn't take that much time to set up, is cheaper, and more powerful. I personally don't see why people would use these NAS units if they know how to DIY and get a much nicer system. Reply
  • Beany2013 - Saturday, July 12, 2014 - link

    Peterfares - because after a whole day at work of fixing servers, I just honestly cannot be arsed building and maintaining my own NAS.

    From my own experience with a Syno DS214+, I just fire it up, configure it on the network, and dump files on it - if I want to use NFS/iSCSI/load balancing on the network, I tick a box. No programs to add, no modules to configure in detail, etc - it just works.

    I don't mind paying the extra for that level of convenience. In the same way that most mechanics might have a project car, they also have a Ford Focus for actually getting them to the workshop in the morning, I like to have reliable gear at home that I don't need to mess with, that support all the stuff I tweek - so my NAS has an iSCSI LUN that holds an Asterisk PBX instance I'm experimenting with, etc...
  • jabber - Saturday, July 12, 2014 - link

    Yep I bought a high end QNAP for a business customer. I brought it in, set it up in around 15 minutes and handed the main guy the admin password. Thats all it took. Simple and effective.

    Less time and effort means more profit for me.
  • Beany2013 - Sunday, July 13, 2014 - link

    And that is exactly why I am trying to convince my employer to go mainline on Syno stuff (I'm sure the QNAP stuff is nice, too, but I'm used to Syno DSM so less learning curve for advanced features) but they seem to think that it's better to spend four hours setting up a Windows Server box to get the CAL/Licensing margin than it is to charge an installation fee that is basically all profit.

    That, and because it's Linux based it's be 'too hard for the other engineers to learn'.

    Face - meet palm. Repeat till fade!
  • jabber - Sunday, July 13, 2014 - link

    It is amazing the reality disconnect between IT enthusiasts and real world business requirements. I would NEVER hire a hard core IT enthusiast as my main IT procurer/evangelist. It would be financial suicide. I'd keep them tucked further down the food chain where they could do less damage and away from the ordering system.

    They do tend to get carried away. I posted up on a forum once that the average data storage requirements for most small businesses (payroll/accounts/customer database/docs etc.) was actually less than 30GB. If you are a plumbing firm/Florist/Therapy centre/Financial advisor/small industrial then your storage needs are actually pretty light. They just need file sharing and centralised backup. No need for $5000 worth of server. Just a decent off the shelf NAS will do.

    I've seen some small business folks advised to invest thousands in data storage. When they have asked me for a second opinion I recommended a 16GB flash drive. Really that's all they needed.

    Not everyone and every business is creating and pushing dozens of TB of data. They are not streaming, not using remote access, VPN tech or torrenting. Media companies are pretty thin on the ground. Most needs are tiny and simple.

    It's not about what you think the customer wants. It's about working out what the customer really needs.
  • Grandal - Sunday, July 13, 2014 - link

    +1, spoken like someone who runs a business and does not live in his parents' basement Reply
  • MTN Ranger - Friday, July 11, 2014 - link

    I have a DS413j and the package center has Plex Media Server as an option under multimedia downloads. Reply
  • asendra - Sunday, July 13, 2014 - link

    Yes, It's the new ones (DS214, DS214+, DS414) with the Armada XP CPU the ones not supported (yet, I hope). This one has a different CPU so I'm not sure if it has support. Reply
  • Andrew911tt - Thursday, July 10, 2014 - link

    I was dealing with the exact same thing and ended up building my own based on the Intel J1900

    total cost for me was $400
  • embeddedGPU - Thursday, July 10, 2014 - link

    I just want to mention that Mindspeed's CPE processor business has been acquired by Freescale and the Comcerto C2200 is now the Freescale LS1024A Reply
  • colinstu - Thursday, July 10, 2014 - link

    Absolutely love my DS412+! Reply
  • basroil - Thursday, July 10, 2014 - link

    That iSCSI performance is really lackluster considering the ratio to CIFS performance of other drives. But given that this one's an ARM system rather than Atom, perhaps the device is optimized for multiple users? Reply
  • peterfares - Friday, July 11, 2014 - link

    So many NAS reviews lately! Thorough as always! Reply
  • Andy Chow - Friday, July 11, 2014 - link

    Since you guys have 12 x OCZ Technology Vertex 4 64GB laying around, could you run a benchmark with SSD? In general all NAS should be benchmarked with SSD.

    A SSD would show the bottlenecks of the device itself.

    I really wonder if cheap devices like these could really become fast enough and scalable to replace commercial systems.
  • gorbag - Saturday, July 12, 2014 - link

    "A SSD would show the bottlenecks of the device itself." -- Andy Chow

    Sort of. One device might be better at using drives in parallel than another - a difference that would disappear with extremely fast drives. But if you intend to use the NAS with SSDs then of course SSD benchmarks would be more useful to you.
  • Conficio - Monday, July 14, 2014 - link

    "for example, DS414j and jx4-300d both don't support hot-swap" type "ix4-300d" ? Reply
  • brifin5 - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    You can use Long Path Tool as well. Reply
  • carage - Monday, August 04, 2014 - link

    I was inclined to buy a Synology NAS device recently, until I heard of thing called SynoLocker. I would think twice before there is an official solution to this problem. Reply
  • Dunkurs1987 - Monday, February 15, 2016 - link

    Yes its really just for file server,
    but there is not big price difference if want some multimedia with plus model or play:

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