It may cut back on size, but the DS409 Slim doesn’t cut back on features. Granted, its diminutive size limits the interfacing to a single Gigabit LAN port, a pair of USB sockets and an eSATA connector. Yet all the standard functions of Synology’s excellent firmware are there – and that means you get a lot of options.
Multiple RAID formats are supported, including JBOD, RAID0, RAID1, RAID5, RAID 5+Spare and RAID6. You can incorporate additional external drives into the array using one of Synology’s purpose-built enclosures and you can convert between different RAID levels with ease.
Synology’s firmware is very impressive, not least because of its excellent web-based user interface. The massive array of choices runs to way more than a screenful on most monitors, but the company has taken a lot of care over the interface design. By taking a modular approach the whole process feels simple and almost enjoyable.
For example, the main management interface offers Wizard and Expert modes. By starting off in Wizard mode, you arrive at a rather pretty, icon-based page which takes you straight to the options you’ll most likely want to set up first; creating users and setting up shared folders.
It also gives you quick access to backup and FTP server configuration, as well as helping you set up a fully fledged Web server, including PHP/MySQL and Photo Station, which allows you to create a photo and video-based blog which can be optionally shared over the Internet.
Power Consumption (Watts)
Shorter bars are better
In addition to all the usual network file sharing capabilities – for up to 64 simultaneous users from a maximum of 1,024 accounts – you also get support for Windows Active Directory Services, network re-cycle bins and email system notifications.
70MB/sec isn't bad over gigabit ethernet, although isn't all that great compared to theoretical max. The benchmarks say that the equivalent products are slower, though, which probably explains the reviewer's enthusiasm.
I'd be more interested in seeing the ESATA performance, personally.
Pack this thing with 4 x SSDs and you have a very nice external disk array for a box limited by internal space. But very pricey if all you want is an external drive array - you would probably be better off using a 3.5" array with brackets to mount 2.5" disks if all you wanted was a 2.5" array.
WTB a dumb 2.5" external drive enclosure...
"So... you'd consider a product "bad" because you, personally, don't just happen to be its target demographic?"
Yes, if the Reg seems to think so, then so do I.
@ AC 10:10 GMT
So... you'd consider a product "bad" because you, personally, don't just happen to be its target demographic?
I don't know much about these NAS boxen (I'm a fileserver man, myself,) but ~70MB/s seems rather slow to me. Any 3.5" drive available for $60 will read at 70mb/s, and your average 5 year old desktop with a gigabit card can push that speed over NFS.
Plus with those notebook drives you have to consider seek time, which is miserable compared to full size drives. And when you've got a torrent client and a user or two on there, you'll notice that seek penalty, especially using raid5, which is pretty much the only way to fly for 3+ drives of storage.
I just can't see much advantage over standard NAS boxen, which I generally don't see a huge need for. I suppose they're good if you don't want to / can't build yourself a linux fileserver. As it stands I have more unallocated LVM space on my raid5 arrays than you could hope to cram into this little box, especially if you want your data to be redundant (oh, trust me, you do.)
the vanilla 409
Can take either 3.5 or 2.5 disks and has very similar noise levels, but a bit lower - probably because they can fit larger, slower fans into the case.
The power consumption on the 409 is similar at idle (16w for the 409 versus 12w for the slim)
If only the Reg editors would ask their hardware reviewers to study up on benchmarking methodoloy or else focus on the usability and cite more thorough benchmarks than they can provide. benchmarking a nas properly ... it's a complicated process and the benches here provide precious little info, as is invariably the case in hardware reviews.
My tests of the 409 gui leave me very disappointed. It is much prettier than the Promise GUI, yes.
However, all that enabling NFS support does is start the NFS daemon - there is no option to work with /etc/exports given (that I could see) in the GUI in either simple or full mode. The only editor available at the commandline by default is vi. Asking a newbie try to work in vi and then try to get a working exports file going is just atrocious. At least the Promise NFS gui actually did ask "oh, um, who should have access to the NFS mounts?" and then set up an export, even.
Raid level migration is similarly murky. Expanding a raid from 1 disk to three in raid 5, you are not shown which disk will be used as the data source, you have to trust the device that it is in fact going to erase only the newly added disks. Very pretty but very uninformative as to which disk is where. Or how many total you will be left with.
If only the original promise 4300 weren't such a noisy beast! The 4600 is somewhat tempting, but does not give you what Synology does, real root access to the box and a package manager.
If I were recommending one of these to someone who wasn't a pro, though, I might recommend the gen 2 2disk Promise system in preference over a Syn 209, because while ugly the UI is actually more functional. I will wait and see to find out how loud the next generation of Promise systems are. The claim is that the 4600 is fairly quiet and fairly fast.