In the US, Synology sells the NAS with the hard disks bundled and also in a diskless version. The review unit had 2 Seagate 1 TB disks pre-installed. The disks also had the Disk Station Manager (DSM) installed, and so, it was almost pure plug and play.

The contents of the 2 x 1TB DS211+ box are as below:

  1. Synology DS-211+ chassis
  2. 2 x 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200rpm drives inside the chassis
  3. Cat 5E Ethernet cable
  4. 72 W external power supply
  5. CD with Synology Assistant and miscellaneous software / user guides
  6. Getting Started guide
  7. Screws for hard disk installation

The DS211+ chassis is aesthetically pleasing, and the drive slots are nicely covered up by the front panel (which is also quite easy to remove). Upon removing the front panel, we can see the two hard drive chassis. The chassis can be pulled out by pressing the button at the top.

The front panel has the status LEDs, a memory card slot, USB 2.0 host port and the power buttons. At the back of the chassis, we have a large, but quiet, fan. There are 2 USB 2.0 host ports, an eSATA host, GbE port and the power adapter input.

Setup was very straightforward. In our testbed, the unit was directly connected to the computer. The Synology Assistant on the supplied CD was installed on the testbed, and it promptly detected the attached unit. Alternatively, one could have just navigated to the IP of the NAS in a browser for the setup / administration process.

The volumes can be setup in any RAID configuration. Synology provides the SHR (Synology Hybrid Raid) option which provides 1-disk redundancy. It has some advantages over the classic RAID with 1-disk redundancy as outlined here. All our benchmarks were run with the volumes managed in SHR configuration.

DSM 3.0 is a pleasure to use, and it provides a multitude of management options as shown in the gallery above. There are also options to enable Telnet / SSH into the NAS for the more adventurous users. As is evident from the gallery, many features are targeted towards the home user. These include options to enable the NAS to act as a DLNA DMA and iTunes media server. DSM 3.0 also has apps for Bit Torrent and eMule download management. There is also a surveillance station app to use the NAS as a DVR for a set of IP cameras.

Introduction System Teardown
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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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