Having the facility to store data using the Synology DS1513+ and the Synology DS212 NAS units, means that I can relax knowing that I have access to all my data as and when I need it.
During the day the DS212 is used as the main workhorse, with the DS1513+ used to take all the backups of data from the DS212 on predefined time through the day. along with other devices on the network that all have their own space on the DS1513+.
At night, the DS1513+ unit is not really needed, but as it’s locked up in a secure location, going in to turn it off in the evening and back on in the morning would have been a real pain, but thankfully the Synology NAS devices have the option to set them to power down and power back up at predefined times.
While this all worked fine, I then found that I needed access to the data on the DS1513+ while the unit was powered off. Initially I thought I would just have to wait until the unit powered up in the morning, rather than having to unlock everything to get in and power it up early, but then I remembered that the LAN ports have an option for WOL (Wake On Lan), but had never gave it much thought… until now!
As my primary computer is an iMac, I decided to look around and see what would be required to wake the Synology NAS unit from being turned off. The help section on the Synology unit itself mentions applications to do this, but does not specify anything in particular, so the reliable Google search was undertaken to see what was there.
I have to say that for the Mac, I did find it difficult to find anything, but finally found a web site: http://www.readpixel.com/wakeonlan/ that had a FREE utility called WakeOnLan.
A quick download, and installation, and I was presented with a list of devices on the LAN. A simple click on the Synology device and tell it to wake up, and a few seconds later the unit was back up and running again!
To test it again, I went into the Synolgy unit, told it to shut down, waited, and then told it to start back up again using the utility, and it did so with ease! I did try and use the utility to put the Synology DS1513+ to sleep, but no matter what i tried it would not do this, so I just use the DSM interface to do this as usual.
So, if you are a Synology user with a Mac, and like to save a bit of money by turning things off, but have these items in a hard to get location, than have a look at WOL on anything you are using and check out this application to see if it will make things easier for you.
UPDATE: With the WakeOnLan software, go to preferences and make sure that the option to SCAN AFTER WAKEONLAN LAUNCH is not ticked once it has done it’s initial scan. If you have this on, once you turn the computer off and the NAS is asleep, when you restart the computer again it will not be able to find the NAS device. If that did happen with you, the way around this is to make sure you make a note of the IP address of the NAS unit as well as the MAC address of the unit as well. Once you have that, all you have to do is manually add the device to the WakeOnLan software and it will allow you to restart the NAS whenever you wish.
If you would like to see the video’s I have created of my Synology equipment please visit:
The Internet is full of unboxing video’s and people telling you how wonderful some product is, when in fact they have only opened it up or used it for 5 minutes… and sometimes that instant gratification of receiving a new toy to play with vanishes rather quickly, and you move on to something else to brag about having.
I did an unboxing video of the Synology DS212 NAS unit on the 3rd February 2012, and initially the look and feel of it impressed me, and in turn, I created another video of the device having its x2 3TB hard Drive array broken live, and that too impressed me.
But, time has went on, the device has been running 24/7 and it has been getting used for a wide variety of tasks, so I think I can now come back with an honest opinion on this product and say that it’s so good, I am seriously thinking of buying the DS412+ model that offers me double the capacity that I have at the moment!
So, you may be asking yourself, why is it so good? To put it simply, the reason the Synology DS212 is so good is down to the features that are contained in DSM (the unit’s operating system) that just offer so much, and they all work for me perfectly in a way that really does put many of the older NAS products to shame that I have used in the past.
As it stands, I have a DS212 with two 3TB drives configured as a mirrored array, so have 3TB of storage available that is mirrored to a second drive, so that the chances of losing data is minimised.
I have configured the DS212 with the following features:
AUDIO STATION – Play and organise stored music and radio
ITUNES SERVER – Play multimedia content to ipad/iphone and Apple TV.
MEDIA SERVER – Stream audio/video/images to PS3 and other DLNA/UPnP devices.
DOWNLOAD STATION – Torrent/P2P download manager.
ANTIVIRUS – Checks any downloads or data that are put on the NAS box.
FILESTATION – Lets me organise and move files around.
Using the ITunes Server, I can now store all of my music on the DS212 and have that music stream out to my Apple TV, new IPad and IPhone 4S, and keep specific songs on the devices themselves for when I am out on the road. As well as that, I can also store my movies on the unit as well as do the same! Massive storage with instant access, it really is something you need to try out to understand just how great this is to use.
Using the Media server is similar to the ITunes server but I can stream all my content to my PS3 with ease, and this handles formats that the ITunes side may have issues with at times. The PS3 just finds the NAS box and you click what you want to listen to or view.
The Download Station is a fantastic P2P download application that really is very neat to use. I set up a folder that is monitored on the device, and just save or copy any torrent files into that folder and the software auto detects it and downloads it all for you, so you focus on obtaining while the software handles the receiving!
Since there may be some nasty files out there that you might copy across to the unit, the supplied Antivirus runs and protects your data for you with free updates done automatically.
And then we come to File Station. This allows you to quickly get around all of your folders and copy and delete files in an instant. Simple to use, and really does make things a breeze to keep things organised.
Of course, writing about these features is not quite the same as seeing them, but you can actually test all of the software out yourself on a real system by visiting their LIVE DEMO.
Now, you might be thinking… I have a PC/Mac and can do all of this as well… but then you are missing the point about this device. This small unit draws a lot less power than any PC, and is easier to manage and maintain. Also, all of the applications are in the device and work, perfectly right away. No need to go searching for software and worrying about how to share things out… it’s all in the box…
And… if you have a number of people in your home/office you can set up users and groups with passwords to restrict what can and cannot be accessed on the device. It also hooks into Windows domains with ease, and mine integrated into my Small Business Server 2008 system with no issues at all.
So, my original feelings still stand and are more solid than ever on this product, it really is something you should consider if you are on the market for a storage solution that actually does a lot more!
The Synology DS212j NAS server seems to be the latest gadget that everyone is clambering for at the moment, and after a read of the specifications of this device, it’s not hard to see why it’s growing in popularity. But me, being me, I have to think along the lines of what the main use of this sort of unit would be for me, and potential clients, and how easy or difficult things are for them in setting things up, and more so, for when things go wrong.
I decided to go for the Synology DS212 NAS Server as it provided me with HOT SWAP hard drive bays, no need to open a case up and screw things in, and gave me a bit more processing power to go along with it. With the HOT SWAP drive bays, if a drive fails, a client can just pull the defective drive out and replace it with a similar drive, and allow the unit to carry on as normal, with no down time at all.
The maximum drive capacity the DS212 can take is 6TB, so I decided to go that route and bought a pair of Western Digital 3TB hard drives, making sure they appeared on the compatibility list that is on the Synology web site. This is very important and you really should take the time to double check the model of drive you are going to purchase and use.
In the unboxing video I released on YouTube, you can see what you get in the box and what the overall quality of the unit is like. I have to say, the Black case really does look and feel nice, and the ease of removing and inserting drives is really good as well.
The setting up of the unit is really straight forward, and even a novice user would be able to get things up and running initially, with the software guiding you through things by wizards, so in a short time you should be up and running with the basics in place.
Now, in any review you read online, all of the features and functionality are written about, but not many people are wiling to show you what happens in a disaster scenario. I have been running the Synology DS212 unit for a couple of weeks now, running live feeds of security camera’s into it for storage, Apple Time Machine Backups, and a range of Windows based workstation backups as well… a lot of data, and something I would not like to lose!
So, with all of that in mind, I am in the scenario of a client having the same unit, so clearly I need to be the one, who having faith in a product, can believe what the manufacturers are telling me… my mirrored array is providing me with security of my data…. so if you pop over and watch the YOUTUBE video of events unfolding, you will see if it was a good experience or a bad experience!
The only complaint I would have against the unit, is trivial, but, annoying none the less if you have the unit sitting close to you, or in a quiet room. The fan in the unit is initially quiet, but after a while there is a slight click that starts to come from the unit. This keeps going until you go to the power management setting and switch the fan speed to cool mode, which puts the fan on at it’s full speed. The other modes drop the power to the fan, but the fan makes an irritating click, tick, click noise that once you are attuned to, it really does get annoying. But, even after a while at cool speed, the clicking happens again… so clearly the best place for this unit will be in another room out the way and the you can ignore this small defect.
But, other than that, I cannot recommend this unit highly enough, as it really is a great piece of kit. If you need any more feedback or advice about this unit, please feel free to get in touch and I’ll do my best to help you out.