|Name||Two-bay NAS box: Synology DS710+|
|At a glance:||Dual drive bays,Optional expansion unit,great features, software and performance|
|Summary:||It isn't cheap, but this NAS drive delivers.|
We’ve had many NAS (Network Attached Storage) drives come through our doors lately, and while the DS710+ from Taiwanese storage company Synology certainly isn’t the cheapest, it does offer a comprehensive suite of features which will have a wide appeal from small to medium-sized businesses, to rabid media enthusiasts.
Driven by an energy-efficient Intel Atom D410 running at 1.67GHz with 1GB of RAM, the DS710+ has dual drive bays meaning a maximum of 4TB can be loaded into it via two 2TB hard drives. No drives ship with the unit by default, but any 3.5in or 2.5in SATAII hard drive or SSD can be loaded into the hot-swappable bays.
On the front of the unit there are the standard activity and status LED indicators, power and clear function buttons, plus a USB port for backing up or transferring data from a USB drive.
At the back there are the two ports where the drives are inserted – these aren’t lockable but there is a safety catch to prevent accidental removal. There is also a VGA port for monitoring an IP camera via LAN, two more USB connections, Gigabit Ethernet port, power socket, Kensington lock, and an eSATA connection for hooking the device up to Synology’s optional DX510 expansion unit, allowing up to seven drives in total to be connected.
Initial setup is done via the Assistant utility on the supplied CD, and disk management is performed via the browser-based Disk Station Manager which is surprisingly user-friendly for a machine with such complex features. This is also where you can configure RAID functionality (RAID 0 and 1, plus 5 and 6 with the DX510 unit).
Sharing and access privileges can be administered at both a user and group level, and quotas can be set to cap the amount of space set aside for each user.
For remote users, Synology has included an EZ-Internet firewall setup wizard, and you can create port forwarding rules for inbound remote access. Permissions for remote users can also be set to control what sort of file and administration access each user has.
NAS drives are perfect as backup stations and the DS710+ has many options here too – you can schedule backups to and from external eSATA and USB devices, plus Synology’s Replicator 3 software allows schedule workstation backup, which can even backup new and modified files on the fly in Sync mode.
Also on the extensive feature list is the Surveillance Station 4 software which you can use to record feeds from connected IP cameras.
A full complement of media storage and streaming options are also here. You can set up the device as a humble FTP/HTTP server to access your media from anywhere on the internet, and also (via LAN) stream your audio and video to any DLNA/UPnP enabled device including a PS3 or Xbox 360, with support for all the latest formats (support for new formats can be had via firmware updates).
For testing, the unit we received came with two high-performance 1TB Western Digital Black 7,200RPM drives configured in RAID1 (mirrored). Connecting to the DS710+ via a Gigabit Ethernet router, I could punch through read speeds of 114Mbytes/s and write speeds of 113Mbytes/s, which is almost as fast as a Gigabit connection can handle, so stellar performance there.
Overall, the D S710+ is probably a bit pricey for home use, but it has a solid feature set and great performance for the office.