Disk Station Manager -
One of the biggest things that sets NAS devices apart from each other is the WebUI and connectivity tools that are used to configure, secure and also monitor the device. Synology has been perfecting their DiskStation software for some time now and have gotten things dialed in quite well. We have worked with multiple NAS devices and SANs (Storage Area Network) and out of them all Synology has one of the best WebUIs out. It is one of the more intuitive and fast webUIs we have tested.
Once you are logged in the layout of the DiskStation WebUI (DiskStation Manager 4.2) looks a lot like a desktop with a wallpaper background, icons, and even a taskbar at the top. Starting off at the taskbar let’s take a look at what you can do.
In the upper left-hand corner there is a small section of the taskbar that looks different. This is the “show desktop” button. Right next to it is the DSM “start” button. Clicking on this opens up a new window with that has some of your basic options for configuring your new DiskStation.
Now many of these options are already on the desktop as icons (just like in Windows or OSX). You can also drag these out onto the desktop for quick access. The start menu also has your shutdown and restart options here.
Moving over to the right you have options to eject any external devices, look at any events logout and configure the current user, and of course search through the DSM.
On the desktop (in addition to the icons is a widget that allows you to cycle between a few views. The default is system health but you have scheduled backups, resource monitor, current connections, file change log storage and recent logs. There are three sections in the widget and you can set each one to a different view so you are getting the most out of your time in the DSM. You can also minimize it if it is in your way.
Now that we have gone through the meat of the desktop let’s look at the individual pieces that make up the DiskStation.
In the File Station Window you can control the files that are on your DiskStation. You have different options to create shared folders on the volumes available on the DiskStation or folders inside the shared folders. You can also upload data with two options; skip or overwrite.
Creating shared folders is simple with easy to follow steps (including making the shares hidden or encrypted). You can choose the type of Access Control List you want to use (Windows or Local) and also if you want the folder indexed for fast searches.
Once the folder is created you can adjust the privileges including being able to disable directory browsing. Another option lets you setup Network File System privileges which enables the NFS protocol on the share (this is great for Linux and also many Virtual host operating systems).
The action menu is just that all of the actions you can perform on a specific file. You also have some nice options to mount remote files (meaning you can use the File Station to connect to other folders on a different NAS device and share them through the single interface) you can mount .iso image files and share them out as well. It is a very cool utility to have and one that makes any DiskStation more than a simple NAS.
Clicking the options button brings up the security and logging options for the file station. Here you can decided who can share links, mount folders and ISO and also enable the log that will let you see who was doing what to the files on the file station.
Control Panel -
In this window we find all of the tools and utilities that make the DS1513+ so flexible. Synology has broken the control panel down into chunks (it looks a lot like OSX to be honest) to make it easier to navigate around.
File System and Users -
At the top of the window are the file sharing and privileges options. Here you can setup Windows, OSX, NFS, FTP, WebDAV shares and permissions. The FTP options are very nice as they allow you to force connections to use SSL/TLS for security.
The user and groups options are self-explanatory so we will not get into them here; we have also already covered the options you have in the shared folder option. For Directory Service here are your options to connect to a Windows domain through active directory or the Lightweight directory access protocol. An extra bonus here is that the DS1513+ has the option to enable 2-step authentication using Google’s One Time Password authenticator. You set this up through your phone (iOS or Android) and use either the QRC or a key that you manually enter. Once this is setup then you will have an extra screen that you have to pass before you can access the back end of the DS1513+. It is a much appreciated extra layer of security to help keep malicious individuals at bay.
Network Services -
Moving down from there you have even more options, but these are for the network services. You can setup web services (yes it will become its own webserver). Here again you have some decent security options and can setup solid PHP security to protect your files and the DiskStation.
The QuickConnect option lets you publish certain services to Synology’s QuickConnectservice for quick access via the internet. As part of the setup you can also register a dynamic DNS domain name with Synology to make connecting back to your DiskStation that much easier. The DSM software also has a quick connect feature that allows you to easily setup paths to your data without the need to tinker in your router. Synology does recommend that you setup port forwarding for best performance, but you do not have to with this service. Now, this means that your DiskStation can become your own personal cloud for file access and more.
The router option allows you to control access to your DiskStation without needing to connect directly. Your particular router must be on the list to make the connection and to control the device. Our router was not listed as the list currently only includes residential products.
The firewall option gives you extra security for your DiskStation. For example you could create a rule blocking a subset of IP addresses inside your network or a single host. You can also block access to certain ports all in the name of making things more secure for your data. For the really paranoid (or for anyone using the cloud features) you have an auto ban feature that will automatically ban access to the DiskStation by IP after too many failed login attempts.
The next two options are for more advanced users and allow you direct terminal access to the DS1513+ via Telnet or SSH as well as setting up SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol).