Synology is one of the rapidly rising players in the SMB (Small to Medium Businesses) / SOHO (Small Office & Home Office) NAS market. This market is a highly competitive one with many players like QNAP, Thecus, Netgear, Drobo, LaCie, Seagate and Western Digital. Consumers with a necessity to store and backup their home media collection are also amongst the customers in this market.

Synology has a sensible model number nomenclature in which the last two digits refer to the year through which the model is intended for sale. The first set of digits refer to the maximum number of bays supported. Some models have a + at the end, signifying higher performance. Today, we have the DS211+ for review. The DS refers to the product category, Disk Station. 2 indicates a 2 bay model, and the 11 indicates a 2011 model. It is supposed to have a higher performance compared to the DS211 which was released in November 2010.



The purpose of any NAS is to serve as a centralized repository for data while also having some sort of redundancy built in. The redundancy helps in data recovery, in case of media failure of any other unforeseen circumstances. Along with the standard RAID levels, some companies also offer custom redundancy solutions. The OS on the NAS also varies across vendors.

In addition to manual support for the standard RAID configurations, Synology also provides the SHR (Synology Hybrid Raid) option. The OS on the DS211+ is the Disk Station Manager 3.0 (DSM), a Linux variant. Most of its features for day-to-day operations can be accessed over a web browser.

The last SMB NAS that we reviewed was the LaCie 5big Storage Server, a 5 bay model running Windows Storage Server 2008. We introduced our new NAS benchmarking methodology in that review. In addition to repeating the methodology on the DS211+, we also checked up a little bit on the Linux performance. Before we get to that, however, let us devote a couple of sections to the hardware and software that make up the DS211+.

Unboxing and Setup Impressions
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  • ganeshts - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    Yes, the NAS has encryption facilities. There is hardware acceleration for encryption, courtesy of the Marvell processor.

    When you create a shared folder, there are two options:

    1. Hide the shared folder in 'My Network Places' in Windows

    2. Encrypt the shared folder (provide encryption key)
  • Penti - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    Well running over iSCSI you could simply use truecrypt for the drive. With the key/secret being in the computer accessing it (or on a USB-key on the user) rather then the NAS-box. It would make it moot steeling the NAS for accessing the data at least.

    Bitlocker don't support encrypting network drives or shares though. But it's far easier to steel data if it's just on a bitlocker (default) encrypted drive in a laptop that's just tied to TPM.

    Any encryption fully implemented in the NAS would be unsafe any way. The built in feature into this NAS is just an AES-encrypted volume/folder where you have to enter the key/password, which should provide some protection. Probably based on ecryptfs any how. is the feature.
  • Conficio - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    I'd like to know what is the IPv6 support on this?

    Also what are all the USB ports for? Can it work as a printer server too?
  • oynaz - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    I have a much older model, from 2006 I believe. The USB ports on that allows external storage (I use a Samsung 1Gb HDD), and printers - yes, it can act as a print server.

    I would be very surprised if the 2011 model did not offer the same features, and more.
  • jmelgaard - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    Printer Server9
    Max Printer #: 2
    Printing Protocols: LPR, CIFS, AppleTalk

    Guess that's a yes. Also for UPS', Speakers (Um... o.O) and ofc. USB storage devices.
  • mino - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    What good is a review of a NAS with CUSTOM softwares without even mentioning this stack's behavior?

    Thumb down AT, this is another PCWORLD-class review.
  • ganeshts - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    Thank you for the constructive criticism.

    We will keep this in mind for future NAS reviews using units from QNAP, Thecus etc.

    DSM will also be probably covered in detail in the next Synology review.
  • 7Enigma - Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - link

    Wow, you have better composure then I do. :) I agree it would be important to include this in future reviews but the OP could have used a bit more tact.
  • ganeshts - Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - link


    Can you let me know what sort of evaluation of software stack you want?

    I have already mentioned in the article that DSM is built on a a standard Linux kernel. User visible applications are as shown in the UI pics (Photo Manager / iTunes Media Server / DLNA etc.).

    Our aim is to deliver what the reader wants, but it would be great if you could be a little bit more specific.

  • Nehemoth - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    Maybe someday (I hope sooner than later) we will be able to get a decent 4Bay NAS for less than 200US.

    I would love to have a NAS, I have already 3 Hard Drives (4TB) almost full of media files, so a NAS its a must for me, sadly I can not afford it right now.

    I have the knowledge to build one, sadly is that in my country is very difficult if not impossible to get smart computer parts Like a decent case, everything that arrive here is like the worst things from China or even worst what they're think are the best.

    Anyway for now I'll continue dreaming about it.

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