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Synology RackStation RS212 Review

We have covered the Synology DiskManager Operating system many times before, but it is certainly worth a recap. It is one of the finest operating systems on the market for a NAS system, and doesn’t need a high spec list of hardware to run well either. The multitasking support means that multiple tasks can be handled simultaneously.

The first step is to ensure you are using the latest version of the operating system for the device. We recommend to ignore the software on the disc and to head over to the Synology support site, which is updated on a regular basis. One point worth making is the speed of the Synology website, we were able to grab the 174MB file in a matter of seconds, achieving 100mbit download speeds.

The next step is to install the Synology Assistant, which is also available on the optical disc, or direct from the Synology website here. The software will initially report a ‘configuration lost’ Status which is correct, as the software has to be installed.

Simply click ‘install’ via the main menu, then follow the step by step instructions, which really are idiot proof. The whole process takes 10 minutes or so, depending on the size of the drives.

If everything went according to plan, then the Status will change to ‘ready’. Simply double click on the RS212 product line and it will automatically load your default browser. Log in with ‘admin’ in user name and a blank password. This can be changed later to something more secure.

Now that the drives are configured, the first step is to configure a volume. This particular product supports Synology Hybrid RAID, Basic, JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1. The volume can be migrated from basic to Raid 1 at a later date.

While setting up a volume, the software allows for a thorough disk check procedure. If you are using new drives we recommend you don’t turn this on, as it takes a very long time to complete. If however you are using older drives you had stored in a drawer in the house, then this might be a good option to enable.

The Synology software will automatically set up a volume for you, unless you select the ‘custom’ option, which allows for RAID options as shown above.

The software will proceed to configure the drives as you requested (in our case RAID 0), but thanks to the multi tasking software, you can look in other areas of the operating system without interruption until this is completed.

The software has a management panel with various cache management, and S.M.A.R.T. information panels. Our Samsung HD502HJ 500GB drives can be seen above.

Setting up a shared folder only takes a couple of seconds. The operating system can handle up to 2048 user accounts, 256 user group, 256 shared folders and 128 concurrent connections. More than enough for a general office environment.

The default name of the hardware can cause a confliction on a network, if another RackStation is already installed and left with the default product name of ‘RackStation’. We recommend that all devices are given individual names to resolve any potential networking access problems. We named this product to ‘RS212’ as shown above. If you fail to find your new NAS system on a network, this could be the problem.

The control panel offers easy access to various parts of the operating system interface.

There is support for the Macintosh operating system networking protocols, which is enabled by default. The NFS protocol is also supported.

There are FTP options to allow friends and family members to get access to the NAS, from outside the local network.

WEBDAV support is also included, which is handy, especially for Macintosh users.

As this unit supports Failover and Link Aggregation, there are two LAN connectors on the front. These can be adjusted in the network section of the panel, as well as full support for Jumbo frames.

Sick of the blue scheme? Then Synology let you change the interface colours to green or orange.

The power section of the panels can be used to fine tune the noise and performance of the fans, as well as configuring the system to automatically reboot after an unexpected power failure. UPS systems are also fully supported, as well as scheduling and HDD hibernation settings.

If you don’t want to keep checking for updated versions of the software, then the NAS system can be instructed to automatically check online and then subsequently download and update the device to the latest revision. Be aware that if you let the RS212 automatically handle updating, then some downtime during work hours could be possible.

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).

Frequently used programs can be pinned to the taskbar for easy access later. There are many nice touches throughout which we are sure will be enhanced further as time progresses.

Survelliance station is a useful feature, especially for a business. Users can hook an IP camera into the unit. We have looked at this in detail before and if you missed it before you can read it here.

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