I just bought myself a Synology NAS server. A NAS server can be compared to a machine that performs backup of files, contains a webserver, ftp server, ITunes library, multimedia streaming across the network. I needed to backup my files and be certain that if I experienced a disk failure I wouldn’t loose the data that I have. The NAS server has something called mirroring – that is to have two sets of the same data on different locations, so if a file is updated one place, it will automatically be updated on the other place. So, if suddenly I have a harddisk crash, I will still have the data on another disk, thereby not crying because I lost all my precious vacation photos, music, books and movies.
The first thing that I noticed when I got the package was how small the machine was. Whenever I look at the pictures, it seems big, but the DS-207 was just a litlle bit bigger than the usual Western Digital external USB harddisks. The size of it is: 16 cm X 21,8 cm X 8,8 cm It weights only 1 kilo.
It supports up to two harddisks, 1 TB each, so internally it can be up to 2 Terrabytes of data. That is more than enough for my data needs for the time being. I bought one Seagate Barracuda 1TB SATA/300 disk (and I will buy one more on my next paycheck). Putting the harddisks in place was a bit of a hassle. To take off the chassis in itself wasn’t easy. And – when installing the harddisk it was easy to install the harddisk on the upper slot, but impossible to put the harddisk in the bottom slot. The reason is that there were too little room for both the harddisk and for the place to attach the harddisk wires to the machine.
So the time came to install the machine. I started the macosx software, and it never found the synology server. The problem was that I had to open up some ports on the firewall to get there, and there was too little information about that. I ended up opening my machine on all ports, just simply because it’s the easiest. Port 9999 would probably have been enough. A list of all the ports Synology uses can be found at the Synology forums.
The Synology Assistant found the machine, formatted the harddisk and started installing software on it. And the installation seemed to freeze for a long long time (we are talking over an hour). In the end I tried to restart my mac, and then the assistant suddenly woke up and had come much further in the software install, and it didn’t take long before it restarted the server and things were working from there.
Working with the Administration UI was a pleasant surprise. It was easy to navigate in and to see what features was available. I haven’t really tried out everything so how functional everything is, I can’t say. The Synology machine showed up in Finder (macosx) , and it was easy to start copying over files, though it did take some time to do. 50 Gb took about 2 hours to transfer, so I had to have some patience when transferring data.
I wanted to migrate my ITunes library to the server, and even though it was easy to copy the files over, making ITunes recognize that fact hasn’t been that easy. I wasn’t really looking for the shared library feature (works like a charm by the way), but actually using the NAS as my library. I’m still hazzling around about it and haven’t made it work effortlessly in ITunes yet. The user documentation for synology only gives information about how to open the shared library feature in synology. Documentation about that feature on Apple and the web wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, so it has required me to test things out on my own.
The NAS server can act as a download center that downloads files 24/7. There are two management user interfaces, one is the application Download Redirector. The second is the web interface. The web interface allowed for more settings like max and min bandwidth speed, number of peers etc. I am not impressed by the download speed it achieved. Even with my personal computer on only during the day, it would download the files much faster than what the nas was able to do.
Another drawback is that the Data Replicator 3 is only available to Windows and I’m a mac user. So, if I want automatic synchronization of files, I have to either purchase some software for it, or set it up myself with rsync. BAD! There is a blog post about how to set up backup with time machine, but that doesn’t provide synchronization which is important for me since I will be using the Synology machine from my home macosx and work computer (linux).
But my first impression is still very positive (though the noise is getting on my nerves). It might seem like this machine is for the advanced computer person, but it isn’t necessarily so. It requires some knowledge in the field, but if all one need is to take backup – well, then it works easily.
My boyfriend has already stated its either him or the nas because of the noise. I guess I have to figure out how to replace the fan on it as well 🙁
Well, it turned out that replacing the fan was very easy. I bought the fan from netshop and replacing it was a peace of cake. All it required was remove the bolts, replace the fan, and put the bolts back on. Now, the original noise according to the Synology specs is 30 desibel, and the new fan brags to be 16 desibel. I don’t think the noise reduction was by 50%. I’m happier, and hopefully, I have managed to keep my boyfriend. Time will tell.
Well, the noise didn’t get much better (just a little bit). I added rubber thingies and put them between the fan and the chassis, and it helped a little bit, but the noise inside the chassis is still high. So my next step is to buy some soundproof plates that can be bought at biltema and glue them to the chassis. I will let you know how it went.
A noise reduction mat didn’t work at all. So – I have done everything I can. It’s down to doing the dirty – disable the fan. The harddisk temperature went upwards from 28 degrees to 42 degrees in 15 minutes when the fan was disabled and the harddisk was idle. When a harddisk reaches 45 degrees and above its more likely to die of failures. Suffice to say, disabling the fan doesn’t work as a solution either. The system temperature went up to 61 degrees.
I followed these instructions:
– set “0” in the file “/sys/module/ds107+_synobios/parameters/check_fan”
to avoid bip each 2 seconds, but after a reboot you must do this again.
– I create a shell script in “/usr/syno/etc.defaults/rc.d/” that i named “S99zz_fan_check_disable.sh”
– Write “echo 0 > /sys/module/ds107+_synobios/parameters/check_fan”
into this shell and change the permission “chmod +x S99zz_fan_check_disable.sh”
NAS server: 2300,- NOK
1TB harddisk: 950,- NOK
New fan: 250,- NOK
Rubber thingies: 30,- NOK
Noise reduction mat: 80,- NOK
Total cost: 3610,- NOK
+ Small and lightweight
+ Easy to upgrade the firmware
+ Great many features
+ Administration user interface
– No wireless connectivity
– Installation software froze
– DR not for macosx
– Difficult to install a harddisk in the bottom slot
– It should come with at least one harddisk
I love the nas, but it’s too noisy. If I had known how noisy it was, I would have continued searching for a more silent option, even if it would added up the cost.