The need for a place to put your digital stuff is always going to be. There really is just no getting around it. The question is, do you want to trust your files to the cloud, or do you want to keep them in your possession? For some the cloud looks like an attractive alternative. It is inexpensive and you can access you information from anywhere you have an internet connection. At least the cloud used to be an attractive alternative until the news about how poor security is at many of these places along with the news that when you put your files online you lose some of your ownership rights. So what do you do when a bigger or external drive will do the trick? Well simply put a Network Attached Storage device is perfect for this. Almost all of them come with multiple drives in some form of RAID to protect your data and, in many cases, can be accessed from anywhere you have an internet connection. Today we are taking a look at a NAS from Synology that is aimed straight at the home. This is the two bay DS214SE 2200. So let’s dive in and see if Synology can do for the home what they have done for small to medium businesses.
Storage is something that everyone needs. No matter if you are a single end user or a gigantic corporation you have to have a place to keep your data. This one little fact has never changed and probably never will. The difference is that home users are now higher on the scale when it comes to storage needs than many small and medium sized business. Home users are maintain more and more data in the form of movies, music pictures and even installation files while many small businesses are only storing simple documents and perhaps a few databases. It has changed the dynamic in the way storage products are marketed in many ways and this is not truly a completely good thing. While a normal consumer might store more information than a small business they do not have the same need to never be offline or unavailable. The typical home user also does not have the same number of connections to their data as a medium or even small business. There needs to be a class of NAS that can handle these requirements without pushing the price tag over the top. Synology has a very solid answer for these questions and more all bundled up inside the new DS1513+; this is a five-bay NAS that includes four 1Gbps LAN and a ton of other features. Let’s dive in and take a look shall we?
The Cloud is something that we have not been supportive of for a long time and for many reasons. You see the same companies that warn us, on almost a daily basis, how dangerous the internet is are now asking us to trust them with our data and personal information. At the same time the number of breaches happing to internet based companies is skyrocketing. It simply does not seem to make sense to put trust in these cloud services for them money they want when they (almost all of them) cannot keep them safe or secure from malicious individuals. However there is a growing “need” to stay connected and access our own data from anywhere, well there is a solution and it is one that lets you keep your data; The Private Cloud.
With the big push for everything in the cloud we have been focusing on ways to consumers and businesses to bring their data back into their own control. One of the least expensive methods for this is through the use of a NAS (Network Attached Storage) device. These are devices that have a minimum of two drive bays and allow for you to set up RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) Volume for performance and/or redundancy. Today in the Lab we have a five-bay NAS device from Thecus. This is an Atom based system with support for up to 15TB of RAW space and 3GB of memory. So let’s take a look at the Thecus N5550 and see what this $600 (empty) NAS has to offer as we dig deep into its design, build and features.
We have our third victim… um test subject in our continuing Network Attached Storage (NAS) device reviews. This time it is from a company with a fair recognizable name in the industry, NETGEAR. For many the name NETGEAR means low cost consumer networking products and maybe a lower reliability rating. We have to agree that some of that reputation was rightfully earned in the past, but they have since changed things around and are now making some fairly solid products for the consumer, SMBs and the enterprise. We have already covered their ProSafe WNDAP360 wireless access point and found it to be a well put together product. Now we are going to dive into their pro line of NAS products with the ReadNAS Pro 6. This is a 6 bay device that can support up to 12TB of RAW storage and has more than its share of features to boot. So let’s take a look at what you get with the ReadyNAS Pro 6 from NETGEAR.
Over the years the need for more storage has exploded. I have seen systems with 750GB drive packed with pictures, MP3s and movies not to mention actual work files. It has become borderline ridiculous. Still we need to have better access to more space to store our stuff. To help with this many companies have begun manufacturing network attached storage devices. These are multi-drive products that can be connected to a home or small business network and used as a central spot for file storage. We have covered a couple of them and have a few more to show you in the future. The problem with many of these is that to keep costs down they are often shipped without drives. Many think that they can just buy a bunch of drives of the same size and throw them in. That does not always work though; we have run into a few cases where the NAS device did not work with a single range of drives or need a certain firmware revision to work with the drives. It becomes a frustrating game of finding the right drives to work with your NAS and also to get the best performance out of it. To help with this Western Digital have come up with a line of disk drives that are designed specifically to work with NAS devices. These are their new WD Red Drives. The WD Red Drives will come in 1-3TB sizes and should fall into line between the WD Green and Black Drives in terms of performance and price. Western Digital has sent us three of their WD Red 2TB drives for us to try out in two of the NAS devices we have here, so let’s see how they do.
As the push for cloud based storage and services becomes greater we have been taking a look at the value of these from not only a monetary view, but also from a privacy and security view. To this end we have been tinkering around with a few Network Attached Storage Devices (NAS). One of our first is the Synology DiskStation DS1512+. We have already dissembled the DS1512+ in the first part of our coverage and now have pounded on it for a good length of time to see how it performs using a few synthetic tests as well as real-world usage. So let’s take a look at our results.
When I first got into the IT game the storage needs of even large companies could be maintained in less space than what typically fits on a CD-ROM. In fact all of the applications that we used in the shop fit onto 20 3.25-inch 720KB floppy disks! Now you would be hard pressed to store one or two Word documents on even one of those floppies. Fortunately as our storage requirements have grown so have the devices we keep all that data on. For most home users simply dropping in a 1 or 2 Terabyte hard drive will be enough, but for businesses, prosumers and enthusiasts might need a bit more. For this there are products that can be attached to a normal home or office network that offer extra storage (and many other functions) to meet these needs. Synology is a maker of NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices. The idea of the NAS is not new, nor is it a business only product. There have been multiple consumer level NAS devices. The one we have in from Synology is a little outside the normal home environment. This is the Disk Station 1512+ it is a 5-Bay, Dual-Lan, Network Storage device that has some great hardware and software features in store of anyone picking this product up. We will be taking a look at the hardware used inside, the build and some of the basic features in this part of our coverage. So let’s get started.
You can check out the performance half of this review here