When it comes to the ever-growing landscape of technological innovation, one of the hottest commodities is storage.
Synology, a company specialising in Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices, has created a solution catering to those of us prone to collecting large amounts of digital files. A NAS is basically just a computer optimized for data storage, so there’s limited functionality but it’s the perfect storage solution if you find your computer frequently clogged with masses of files.
Synology has two NAS ranges, namely the DiskStation and the RackStation. The former is aimed at home users and small offices, while the latter caters to larger commercial environments.
For the purpose of this review, I used a single 2TB Western Digital drive but you could easily go up to 10TB if your budget allows it. Multiply that by the amount of docks or bays available in the station and you could have upwards of 40TB of storage. This does not even take into consideration that the DiskStation series has a capacity ranging between 2 and 8 docking bays.
The model detailed in this review retails for around R7000, so it isn’t necessarily a budget-friendly storage solution, but it’s well worth the price when you consider how much it will expand your capacity.
Why would you need this?
The DiskStation features a powerful built-in AES-NI hardware encryption engine, which is great for encrypted file transmission, and it’s is also capable of transcoding up to two channels of H.265/H.264 4K videos at the same time.
This kind of small-scale server could be useful in a number of ways, the main one being a media centre. Because videos in an HD format generally take up a lot of space on a drive, the DiskStation can act as a dedicated space for those kinds of files.
The same can be said for photos. For professional photographers, or even home photographers with a backlog of memories, the DiskStation is a great way to keep photographs safely tucked away for later access. Creating this kind of archive is also a great organisational solution to help keep track of your photos.
I personally used the DiskStation for a variety of things. It acted as a media centre, while also storing other video files associated with editing. This helped free up space on my laptop where video project files used to take up far too much space and actually slowed down my device.
It could also be used to store game saves, giving you a dedicated space for those kinds of files. You could look at it as extra space to perhaps store game files that you aren’t currently using but might need to pull up again later.
The DiskStation can’t exactly be described as a “plug and play” solution, but that doesn’t mean it’s too complicated to even consider. Here’s a basic rundown on how to get it started.
1. Make sure the DiskStation is connected to your local network
2. Open your web browser and head to http://find.synology.com to access the Web Assistant startup wizard
3. Click “Connect”
4. Name your server
5. (Optional) Create a Synology account and a Quick Connect ID. This is a useful step if you plan on remotely accessing your server.
6. (Optional) Install some core application packages
7. Access the “Control Panel”
8. Select “Update & Restore” in the “System” section
9. “Download” the necessary updates and, once downloaded, click “Install”
10. After a reboot, your DiskStation will be ready to go!
The DiskStation is perfect as a small household server even if it was originally designed for small and medium-sized businesses.
Because the DiskStation is available in a configuration of 2 to 8 bays, it allows for a really customizable storage solution with the option to expand later on if necessary. Differentiating between the different drives docked in the station is very easy, allowing for greater organization of files and the categories they might be sorted in.
The Synology DiskStation is truly a device that makes the sharing and storing of ultra-high definition media content convenient and comfortable without the bulk of other small server solutions.
By Daniëlle Kruger