For most consumers, a single external hard
drive hooked up to their computer might be enough for secondary storage – or maybe hooked
up to their router as a pseudo-NAS. But when has “enough” ever really been enough? After amassing a collection of 5 different
external WD MyBook & MyCloud drives hooked up to my network switch, I’ve decided to
start looking at more advanced and capable solutions. So today, we’re talking a look
at the Synology DiskStation DS216 NAS server. [PRE-ROLL]
[INTRO] The DiskStation DS216 is a NAS – or Network
Attached Storage – server. It takes the traditional concept of an external hard drive with an
ethernet port to access on multiple computers and adds in so many features.
This device can serve as network storage, a print server, email and internal service
directory backups, automatic backups for your computers, a web cache, as well as a means
of getting your USB external hard drives on the network. All bundled up in a sleek and
quiet, yet quite powerful package running their kickass custom DiskStation Manager OS.
Yes, a full-fledged OS right on the NAS. We’ll get to that later! Let’s chill my geeking out for a moment
and take a physical tour of the DS216, which isn’t the easiest name to say. Let’s call
it BossDisk or something… no? Okay. [PHYSICAL TOUR] Here we have a black box that’s roughly
the size of two of my WD MyBook Live drives. Matte black covers the entire box aside from
the front panel, which is a glossy black. I’m never a fan of glossy plastic, but this
isn’t the worst implementation of it. On both sides of the device we have the Synology
logo, which also acts as a slotted vent for the internals. The bottom features the specs
and FCC sticker, a couple more vents and 4 small, but effective rubber feet.
The back of the device features a 92mm exhaust fan, 2 USB 3.0 ports for adding external hard
drives or transferring files on or off of USB drives quickly, a gigabit ethernet port,
a kensington lock, and the DC power input. The DS216 is capable of wireless connectivity
with a dongle, but by default it simply connects via gigabit LAN – which will get you the best
performance anyway. The front is where we get to the fun stuff!
We have 4 LEDs – a general status light, LAN connectivity, and Disk 1 and Disk 2 status
LEDs. The brightness of these can be adjusted via their Operating System. Below that we
have the template for what could be a SD card slot – which might be on other models, along
with a USB 2.0 port. Then we have power and reset buttons with LEDs for those as well.
Then we get to that glossy panel I was talking about. It fits in-between the hard drive mounts
via some rubber grips, so a simple pull will remove it, exposing the two hard drive sleds.
The sleds are indicated by dots for 1 and 2. They come out with the convenient handle
by just pushing in the tab at the top. This is a completely tool-less process – which
is awesome. The drive sleds are even tool-less, featuring removable side rails on the sleds.
Once you pull those off, the drive comes right out of the sled. This makes drive-swapping
super easy and fairly quick. Both 3.5” Sata 2 and Sata 3 hard drives
are supported, as well as 2.5” SSDs and Hard drives. Internally they get formatted
as the EXT4 file system and can be configured using a variety of RAID types – JBOD, RAID
0 and RAID 1, and Synology’s hybrid RAID, which allows you to expand the volume via
adding another drive into the system. This is more applicable to models with more than
2 drive sleds, but it’s still a very neat system.
My loaner unit came with 2 2TB drives, but you’ll need to provide your own, of course. [SPECS] What about internal specs?
This magical little box is rocking a 32-bit dual core 1.3ghz Marvell Armada 385 processor
and 512MB of DDR3 memory. It’s not a beast gaming rig, but more than enough to handle
the data transfer functionalities that it’s here to serve.
Again, this model features 2 drive bays and can hold up to 16TB – by a max of 2 8TB drives.
Though some RAID types might not allow that. External drives are supported when formatted
as EXT4 or EXT3, FAT, NTFS, or HFS+ – but HFS+ is only supported at a max size of 2TB
and in read-only mode. Still a nice set of compatibilities.
It weighs just under 3 pounds and has a 60W power supply. And it is running their DiskStation Manager
Operating System, which is a pretty awesome browser-based OS, with a super clean Ubuntu
or OSX-y feel to it. [OPERATING SYSTEM] Let’s take a look at that OS, shall we?
It acts just like a normal desktop operating system would – with an app launcher, system
tray, and window management, all within your web browser. When first hooking it up, you
should be able to just go to find.synology.com to create an account and get set up with the
software. From there, you can configure… everything!
You can set up cloud services to sync with or back up shares on the drives, manage users
and file shares, get instructions for setting up your file shares as network locations on
your computers, and even set up a malware service to continually run on the drive and
make sure nothing you drop in the shares is malicious. The OS also lets you configure your server
to act as a DLNA media streaming service to stream some media – such as photos – to your
media player. Keep in mind, though – this is meant as a
normal file server, NOT a media streaming server, so it’s not going to run Plex or
Kodi or anything like that. That’s not what this is for. It can do basic media streaming,
but no serious transcoding, just streaming the original formats. It can support up to 16 IP cams and up to
5 connections for a personal VPN, as well! It’s really some impressive stuff. [PERFORMANCE] Using the NAS for day-to-day storage was pretty
straightforward. Once you set everything up in the software and mounted your network shares,
simply copy files over. It has a low-power mode that it activates after certain lengths
of inactivity, but I never experienced any issues with it not wanting to wake up once
I wanted to move files to it or anything like that.
It has some pre-set shares for things like music, movies, etc. but you can also just
set up your own folder structures and shares for virtually as many users as you want. Well,
not unlimited, the user account limit is 2048, with 128 maximum concurrent file transfers
– but hey, that’s enough for most of us. I hooked the DS216 up to my normal Linksys
gigabit switch via a CAT6 cable, and was getting my usual, expected speeds for file transfers
to my computers, which averaged roughly between 115 and 150 megabytes per second using Teracopy.
(Yes, I DO mean megaBYTES and not megaBITs.) While there are probably ways to get it to
go faster, this was plenty fine for me and what I’m used to having between computers.
If you get their higher-end 4-drive model, it features 4 ethernet ports and a load-balancing
capability so it can actually utilize the 4 LAN connections and get slightly better
speeds – very cool. There’s a ton of features that I honestly
am not ever going to have time to fully mess with. These include downloadable software
packages for their OS to extend its functionality with iTunes music delivery, email and support
ticket systems, proxy servers, WordPress hosting, and even Android apps for managing some of
the file streaming and surveillance capabilities. [CONCLUSION] This was a rather long video, as this is a
very complicated, but badass little box. At this point, it’s hard to look at my normal
NAS drives and see them as very useful at all. If mass storage drives weren’t still
out of my price point, I’d love to pick up their 4-drive NAS server, load it up with
as many Terabytes as possible and ditch these individual NAS drives in a heartbeat. As always, product links to this bad boy will
be in the description below. Thanks for watching my review of the Synology DiskStation DS216,
a really awesome NAS server. Leave a like if you enjoyed it, make sure
to subscribe, and check my channel for other awesome videos like my recent microphone reviews
or Ear Bud challenge! Until next time, my name has been Adam or
EposVox, and I’ll catch you later!