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Synology RackStation RS3411xs Review (10 Bay NAS)

An integral part of owning a Synology product is the fantastic, multi threaded, multi tasking operating system which is a genuine pleasure to use. Over the last year we have been using this with various Synology products and we find it hard to move to anything else now. I was recently configuring a Windows Server for my friend and I actually missed the intuitive, yet diverse nature of DiskManager.

The Synology Assistant is a networking tool which can find all the Synology drives installed on a network. The RS3411xs needs to be configured once. We are using multiple connections so there is more than one IP address initially, as shown above. For the review we are using all four connections.

The supplied disc contains the .PAT file, which allows the NAS system to operate properly. You can also get updates from the official Synology website, in the support section.

When the operating system is installed, the user is able to log into the console via the webbrowser. The software supports all major browsers, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera and Chrome. All screenshots are taken from Firefox on Windows 7 64 bit.

The default log in is always ‘admin’ with no password. This can be configured later. After the login, you are presented with a step by step guide on how to set up a drive configuration.

Depending on how many drives are installed, the software allows for Basic, JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 5+Spare, RAID 6 and RAID 10 configurations. Raid 5, Raid 5+ Spare and Raid 6 can be expanded on the fly, by adding new drives to the system. We have 9 drives installed in the image above.

There are many ways to set up the NAS system. Above we have three Raid 0 configurations, with 3x500GB in each.

There is a complete interface section to check the status and health of the each of the drives installed.

The main control panel interface is intuitive and easy to follow with nicely laid out submenus and icons. There is also a handy resource monitor which can be set to run all the time. The software is multitasking capable so multiple windows and tasks can be run simultaneously. We noticed that this system was extremely responsive, thanks to the 3.1ghz Dual core Intel processor installed.

Folders and users can be set up within specific panels. 4096 users can be configured and 512 groups can also be set up with 512 shared folders. This unit can handle 1024 concurrent connections, which is double the count of the excellent DS1511+. Ideal for a demanding business environment.

Shared folders can be accessed across the network after the configuration is set up. A point worth noting is that every Synology device on a network defaults to the identify of ‘RackStation’ or ‘DiskStation’ meaning that the network will only recognise one of the NAS units if the names are left to the default setting. A simple renaming is needed if you are using more than one Diskstation across the same network. Synology should really use the identity of the PAT file to give each NAS system a unique identifier, automatically.

There are full recovery options, and the interface can be tuned and adjusted, to suit specific tastes.

Above, we have hooked in four LAN connections and we can configure Link Aggregation.

The DiskManager software offers many applications for media and networking support. Photo station supports BMP, JPG (jpe, jpeg), GIF, RAW (arw, srf, sr2, dcr, k25, kdc, cr2, crw, nef, mrw, ptx, pef, raf,
3fr, erf, mef, mos, orf, rw2, dng, x3f image formats and 3G2, 3GP, ASF, AVI, DAT, DivX, FLV, M4V, MOV, MP4, MPEG, MPG, QT, WMV, XviD, RM, RMVB, VOB, RV30, RV40, AC3, AMR, WMA3 video formats.

The DNLA/UPnP Media Server can support both Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 with AAC, FLAC, M4A, MP3, Ogg, Vorbis, PCM, WAV, WMA, WMA VBR, WMA PRO, WMA Lossless audio formats. 3GP, 3G2, ASF, AVI, DAT, DivX, DVR-MS, ISO, M2T, M2TS, M4V, MKV, MP4, MPEG1, MPEG2, MPEG4, MTS, MOV, QT, SWF, TP, TRP, TS, VOB, WMV, XviD, RV30, RV40, AC3, AMR and WMA3 video formats. It also can handle BMP, JPG (jpe, jpeg), GIF, ICO, PNG, PSD, TIF (tiff), UFO, RAW (arw, srf, sr2, dcr, k25, kdc, cr2, crw, nef, mrw, ptx, pef, raf, 3fr, erf, mef, mos, orf, rw2, dng, x3f ) image formats.

iTunes Server is also supported with MP3, M4A, M4P, WAV, AIF audio formats, M4V, MOV and MP4 video formats and M3U, WPL Playlist Format. Two printers can be hooked into the system supporting LPR, CIFS, AppleTalk and Multi Functional Print Server.

If all this isn’t enough it also offers the following iPhone and Android applications.: DS Photo+, DS Audio, DS Cam, DS File (iPhone only) and DS finder (iPhone only).

Survelliance station is a useful feature, especially for a business. Users can hook an IP camera into the unit with support for up to 40 cameras (licenses required).

The software really is indepth and we have touched on many of the major features, but a new user would be advised to carefully read through the literature, as there are many features to cater to a wide audience.

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