If you want to have a good idea about what you can do with a NAS appliance, you should watch the above video made by Synology. A small 2-bay NAS might just be perfect/sufficient for homes and home offices with storage requirements of less than 8 TB. At least, that’s the maximum capacity offered by the Synology DS 213+ (2 x 4 TB, max). If you estimate that you’ll need more storage in the near future, you should look at buying a 4-bay or 7-bay NAS system.
The Synology DS 213+ is slightly more expensive (when compared to competing 2-bay NAS systems), but there are good reasons for its higher price which should be evident as you read this review. The Synology DS 213+ comes with a powerful Dual Core processor which will reduce the time taken to build RAID volumes/transfer huge amounts of data. The USB 3.0 ports and eSATA interface provide high-capacity/high-speed connectivity with external devices like USB-based hard-drives, etc. that you can use to back up the data in the NAS.
- Two (2) Bay diskless NAS appliance
- Dual Core CPU (1.067 GHz), Floating Point support
- 512 MB DDR3 RAM (Memory)
- HDD: 2 x 2.5″ or 3.5″ HDD via SATA II interface (Max supported HDD size: 2 x 4 TB = 8 TB)
- Additional interfaces: 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x eSATA, 1 x SD card slot, 1 x GE LAN (Wired RJ-45 Port)
- Rated: 110.36 MB/sec READ; 84.31 MB/sec WRITE
- Dedicated hardware encryption engine for faster encryption
- RAID 0,1 supported for disk-redundancy/disk-mirroring
- OS: Synology DSM (Disk Station Manager)
- Warranty: 2 years
Striking Advantages of Synology DS 213+ 2-bay NAS:
#1. Faster and more powerful processor (Dual-core) for quicker operation. This machine has a good reputation for being faster and quieter than competing models.
#2. RAID 1 offers disk-mirroring capability. All data in one disk can be copied to another (automatically), thereby creating redundant disks. Even if one disk fails in this configuration, other disk will immediately take over, thereby resulting in zero down-time. But do note that the total available storage space is halved (with RAID) and it doesn’t account for the hardware failures of other components in the NAS appliance.
#3. The USB 3.0 and eSATA interfaces are at least 10 times faster than their older counterparts. This reduces time when backing up the contents of the NAS box to external storage devices (You should do this occasionally).
#4. All the communications between network devices and NAS can be (and should be) encrypted. Synology even offers a dedicated hardware encryption engine for this purpose. Without this, encryption may take a lot of processing resources and time. Encryption is more important in cases where you connect your NAS appliance to an external cloud (over the Internet) to back-up data. Yes, you can do that with the Synology DS 213+.
#5. Supports Windows Active Directory and LDAP integration. A good feature to have, for businesses.
#6. There is good support for applications to extend the functionality of the NAS beyond just a file server. There are built-in applications and other apps that you can download, in order to use the NAS appliance as a web-server (to host websites, email accounts), DLNA server (to host and stream media to all compatible devices connected to the network), Digital Video Recorder (DVR) for storage and management of video streams from IP surveillance cameras, FTP server, Print server, etc. The full list of supported applications can be found here.
#7. There are mobile apps available from Synology to access and manage the NAS device/stored content from iOS and Android phones/tablets.
#8. The Synology backup replicator allows syncing and back-up of data from external servers, other Synology NAS devices, etc. There is a backup wizard that can back-up data to external cloud (Amazon S3, STRATO Hi Drive) or external hard drives automatically when connected, if required.
#9. The Synology DS 213+ is designed to operate 24 x 7, unlike the consumer grade PC’s/laptops.
#10. The hard-disk drives are hot-swappable.
#11. There is a hibernation mode available in this device, which enables the device to consume lesser power (2.6 W) when it is sitting idle. Wake On LAN/WAN features enable you to activate the NAS (from anywhere) only when you need it again, saving a lot of power.
#12. Wireless Internet connectivity is supported through an external dongle.
#13. Remote log-in and access to files/data stored in this device is possible. Data can be accessed even from mobile devices like smart phones/tablets, etc. from anywhere. Some settings are required to enable this, though.
#14. There is a terminal log-in in addition to the standard GUI web-interface, for advanced/technical users.
#15. The Synology DS 231+ supports Time Machine application and can be simultaneously used with multiple Mac systems. This device offers good Mac support, in addition to supporting PC’s.
Limitations of Synology DS-231+ NAS:
#1. The price of this unit is slightly higher, but you get what you pay for.
#2. If you have just one surveillance IP camera to manage through this device, then it’s fine. But if you want to manage more than one surveillance camera, you need to pay an additional amount per camera.
#3. RAID 1 offers disk-mirroring. Though you are protected by disk-failures, half of your disk capacity is lost if you choose to use RAID 1. Other (more efficient) RAID configurations are not supported. But then, people do prefer simplicity while handling complex processes like RAID. So, probably it’s fine.
Full specifications/Features: Manufacturer’s web-page.
Price (USD)/Buy From (US): Amazon web-page for,
Alternative model to consider: Synology DS-213 (Older model)
Accessories (Hard-drives): Western Digital RED 1 TB, 2 TB, 3 TB drives
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