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An introduction to Synology NAS systems

Kitguru has worked hard over the last year reviewing many NAS systems and we have found that Synology really are leading the way in many key areas, including cutting edge performance and the fantastic multi tasking DiskManager Operating System. If you want to read our independent reviews on many products within the Synology range then visit this page.

While Kitguru may review the NAS systems for a primarily enthusiast audience, we have looked at some of the high end business models as well, such as the DS3611XS, RS3411XS which are class leading products. My own personal favourite has to be the DS1511+ which we use to power one of the high bandwidth Kitguru media networks.

We think the company has grown from strength to strength in the last year and today we have just reviewed their latest DS211j mainstream unit which retails for only £162 inc vat. We recorded 90MB/s throughput in a Raid 0 configuration across our network, which means that the budget audience can play at a level previously unheard of. We are giving one of these away with Synology so be sure to check out the front page for more information on how you can win this.

Synology have been working with many organisations in the United Kingdom and they wanted to share some of their case study findings with our readers today:-

Renfrewshire County Council

“The Synology products price and performance offer a superior end user experience, and fulfil all of the requirements that the primary schools need – plus more. We would be happy to recommend Synology NAS servers.”

“The device delivered everything that we wanted and would definitely recommend the use of Synology's product.”- Mr. David Smith, ICT Engineer of Renfrewshire Council

The Result

  • Centralised Backup
    The primary school backs up all the data stored on the DS211 using rsync to one of the high school servers, which in turn is backed up to tape each evening. The complete back up mechanism not only increases data security, but also spared the ICT engineer the time to perform the backup manually.
  • Permission Directories
    The home directories for each of the users have proper ACLs on them, allowing multiple permissions to be applied to these. The shared directories similarly have ACLs on them allowing senior staff to have repositories to which only they have permissions to view, and the staff can also have folders to which they can add data but pupils can only read.
  • Multimedia Support
    The DS211 supports iTunes, thus the school can have one single storage area for all music and video that they can use as teaching material throughout the whole school, rather than having local versions on each client machine.
  • Cost saving/ economical
    The DS211 saves high hardware, licensing, and support costs that a Windows environment required.

The Full case study is available – http://www.synology.com/products/profile_renfrewshire_council.php?lang=enu

Horse Cross Arts Ltd

“A single NAS server from Synology solved a myriad of problems across a diverse set of departments. Collaboration is now easier, management is centralised and simplified.

Setting up the Synology NAS was very easy, the integration into a mixed Macintosh and Windows environment with Microsoft Active Directory was very smooth.” – IT Administrator David Smout

The Result

Horsecross Arts now has a Synology NAS server with four 2 TB disks giving 5.5 TB of storage using Synology Hybrid RAID. Installation was very smooth. Using 4 disks they were able to deploy a RAID with 1 redundant disk and maximise the storage with the Synology Hybrid RAID.

Set Up and Management – The web interface gives the impression of a desktop with different applications. Everything is easily managed with a good help file system accessed from the application you are working in. Joining the device to a domain, setting up shared folders on the volume and assigning permissions using the Active Domain Groups was simple. Setting up the features needed was just a case of enabling them and putting in a few pieces of network specific information. The access to the web management interface can be set to HTTPS only for extra security.

iTunes Server

Centralising the music and SFx into the Synology NAS server was very simple. The iTunes service was enabled and a name was given to the service on the network. The libraries of all the editing computers were copied to the default shared music folder on the Synology NAS server. About 350gb of data was copied over a gb network in a few hours, once that was complete the Synology NAS server appeared in iTunes as a shared Library, a password was set to allow only authorised access. It is fully searchable within iTunes which dramatically cuts down the amount of time creating sound tracks and with mapped drives for windows users or mounted drives at log on for Mac users it also can be added as a Library folder in iTunes. This makes the shared library available to all applications on the client computer. Removing the huge library off the client editing computers allows them to run the editing software much faster than before. Creative Learning and Community teams previously had to wait until a sound engineer was available to create their sound tracks, now they can do this job themselves. They have greater flexibility and lower costs per project.

Camera Surveillance

The internal IP cameras across both sites were mainly Axis PTZ213, Synology Camera Surveillance supports the function of these cameras and many others. Adding extra Camera licences was a quick and cost effective method as was configuration of the cameras into the system. PTZ is fully supported as is patrol function and the image settings of each individual camera. Storage quotas can be set for each camera too. A separate secure web control panel has also been set up for operators for easy administration and control of the system. This is centrally accessed in any building the safety and monitoring of has been improved as well as now having the ability to analyse events using the footage stored on the Synology NAS server.


The Synology NAS server was the perfect fit for Horsecross Arts. It has all the functionality required in a single device. It is cost effective, meets the requirements of the Green Policies, simple administration and secure set up and integration within the current network system. Dual network ports means a good through put of data, dual USB ports and eSATA gives expansion potential as well as disaster recovery planning using off site external drives. In the near future the RSync function will be used to back up to cloud based servers as an alternative to the external drives.

The Full case study is available – http://www.synology.com/products/profile_horsecross_arts_ltd.php?lang=enu

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