Synology DiskStation DS211 NAS device
The Synology DiskStation DS211 is a versatile two-disk NAS drive with powerful but approachable DSM 3.0 operating-system software.
- Powerful operating system
- Good overall performance
- Slightly lower than expected write speed
Neatly finished hardware and a very attractive and powerful software system make the Synology DiskStation DS211 an easy recommendation. It is well-suited to home users needing unobtrusive storage for media or backups, or small business applications.
Price$ 349.00 (AUD)
Synology makes a range of network-attached storage (NAS) products to suit a wide range of needs of home and business users. From the main DiskStation range, we have here the Synology DS211, a two-bay enclosure able to take 3.5in or 2.5in hard-disk drives. That’s not so unusual, but what perhaps separates Synology from many brands that market NAS drives is the company’s dedication to their line.
Synology only makes NAS hardware, and has really invested in the essential extra ingredient — the software operating system. With its latest DSM 3.0 software, Synology gives the user very powerful but highly accessible control over network storage.
As with several other drives in the portfolio, the Synology DS211 has three variants. There’s the DS211j — or junior — version that is aimed at home users; the standard DS211 version with no suffix; and the DS211+ ‘plus’ version, with a slightly higher spec again for more professional use. We tested the standard DS211.
The Synology DS211 unit is typically sold as an empty enclosure to which you add your own disk drives. Two screws fasten down one-half of the plastic outer case, which then slides apart to reveal the drive bays and logic board.
Power is courtesy of an external laptop-style charger. Fit and finish is to a very high standard, with a high-quality cooling fan fitted at the rear that remained essentially inaudible during our tests.
With one or two disks first secured inside, after powering up the unit you must next install the operating system. This is provided on a CD in the box, or you can download the latest version from the Synology site directly. The current version in February 2011 is DSM 3.0-1354, and weighs in at 136MB.
Before configuring the drive to your particular requirements, you must find it on your network. You can use the Synology Assistant program to finger the IP address it’s been assigned by your router’s DHCP server, or you can use Bonjour, the zeroconf service, on a Mac.
After logging on to the Synology DS211 NAS, you find an interface that closely resembles a complete desktop operating system. More particularly, somewhat like a Gnome Linux desktop with its cuddly desktop icons and translucent drop-down top menu.
All the setup controls and tweaks available are found in Control Panel, which Mac users will find quite familiar, as it’s based on Apple Mac OS X’s System Preferences interface.
Here you will find 29 different control areas split into four lines. This covers everything from DLNA/UPnP and iTunes media server to user and group administration. There’s even an option for a built-in firewall, and a Wi-Fi dongle can be configured to connect the unit wirelessly.
Security is taken seriously as warrants a sophisticated storage centre. There are assets such as Auto Block, which can enhance security by banning connections from IP addresses that have failed authentication too many times. And remote access Telnet and SSH services are off by default, a welcome sign.
The DiskStation Manager software’s Quick Start is a wizard that helps set up the Synology DS211 NAS. This walks you through setup from a clean slate; unlike many NAS units, the Synology DiskStation doesn’t even have default Public or Shared folder access enabled.
Performance of the Synology DS211 was very good, especially considering the modest environmental impact the unit makes. Inside is a Marvell ARM processor, clocked at 1.6GHz, and the cooler-running ARM architecture no doubt contributes to keeping heat and noise levels down.
We set up the Synology DS211 in the default Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR) arrangement — a variation on standard RAID systems that’s said to optimise capacity and redundancy using different sized disks. The classic RAID 0/1 are still available, while four-bay Synology NAS drives can additionaly use RAID 5/5+spare/6/10 configurations.
Two Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 disks of 2TB capacity were installed. These are high-performance 7200rpm disks well-suited to RAID array operation. In our real-world bench tests, the Synology DS211 was capable of sustained read speeds of 109MB/s — exceeding the rated spec of 104.37MB/s. Write performance of the Synology DS211 was a little below the listed 53.29MB/s in our tests, where we saw a maximum of 45MB/s. That’s still a useful result, almost twice the write performance of USB 2.0, for example. For faster write speeds, expect to pay more for a system with a more powerful processor.
Finished in gloss white plastic and with just enough LED indicators to be useful, the Synology DS211 would make a great audio or video server in a living-room setting, aided by its low noise footprint. In our example, even with two performance Hitachi 7200rpm disks fitted, the Synology DS211 was surprisingly domestically acceptable.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo A73 review: The budget smartphone that sets the bar for 2018
- 2 Oppo R11s review: The iClone you know and love, but not quite the one you deserve
- 3 Blackberry KEYone Black Edition review: What the original KEYone should have been
- 4 Zolo Liberty+ review: The true wireless earbuds you've been waiting for
- 5 Samsung Gear IconX 2018 review: The path of least resistance makes for an easy upgrade
Latest News Articles
- Intel launches 800P Optane SSD
- Samsung Advances SATA Line-up with 860 PRO and 860 EVO Solid State Drives
- Synology Introduces FlashStation FS1018 and DiskStation DS218
- CES 2018: Crucial launches next generation MX500 SSD
- QNAP Releases QTS 4.3.4. Beta for x86-Based NAS
PCW Evaluation Team
The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
- Hands On: Pitting the Apple HomePod against the Sonos One
- Everything You Can Do, I Can Do Better: Comparing The Google Home’s Assistant To Amazon Echo’s Alexa
- Samsung Galaxy S9+ review: A predictably-exellent flagship uplifted by a standout camera
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- FTDigital Business AnalystOther
- CCProgram Coordinator - TelcoVIC
- FTProject Manager - ERP implementationOther
- FTSecurity Operations Specialist (SIEM)Other
- CCSenior Internet Applications EngineerNSW
- TPBusiness AnalystQLD
- TPBusiness AnalystQLD
- CCStorage EngineerNSW
- FTSenior Java DeveloperQLD
- FTSenior PM - Data AnalyticsOther
- FTWeb Developer - HTML / CSS / SASSOther
- CCSenior Node.js DeveloperQLD
- TPBusiness AnalystQLD
- FTSoftware Engineer (C ++, Java)Other
- CCMid Level, Project Manager, Sydney CBD, 12 month contractNSW
- CCProject ManagerNSW
- TPProject Support OfficerQLD
- FTSenior Cisco Unified Communication Solution ArchitectQLD
- FTDesktop Support Engineer - OnsiteOther
- TPUser Experience DesignerACT
- CCDevOps EngineerQLD
- CCXamarin DeveloperNSW
- FT.Net Analyst ProgrammerSA
- FTPrincipal Consultant - Scheduling & Planning (Primavera & MSP)Other
- TPIT Storage EngineerVIC