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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  • Rasterman - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    a comparison to the previous model would be nice
  • MadMan007 - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    The prices on NASes like this always make me shudder and laugh at the same time. For much less than $400 you could build something like a low-end C2D setup (used parts, if not a new cheapie combo) that is still reasonably power efficient (My e7300 WHS box with 4 HDDDs pulls 50W idle with a 450W 80+ PSU which honestly is a touch large. Spending more on modern parts like a Clarkdale would get closer to this device's power draw.) That costs me an extra ~$22 in electricity each year over this device except I could probably put it together for around $200-ish 8-10 years to make up the difference? Oh, and it' much more expandable and also acts as an emergency backup PC.

    I know these are for 'consumers' who don't know jack about assembling a PC but for anyone who can I just don't see the appeal or economic advantage. I guess it's good to have a little basic PC knowledge, I kind of feel bad for the consumers who 'have to' buy these hings.
  • MadMan007 - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    *note: not that price with 4 disks, just the hardware for an apples-apples comparison
  • WackyDan - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    "I know these are for 'consumers' who don't know jack about assembling a PC"

    Bull. I have two Synology NAS and I'm a systems engineer for a rather well known tech company. I have several PC's in this house, sitting around idle in my attic. I chose Synology for the energy consumption, to be quiet, and SIZE. They don't crash, auto restart on power loss, and have been bulletproof. *which with my wife, is important.

    If you want to pay likely more than the $22 in extra power than that is your opinion, and right to it. Some of us like more refined solutions, and for NAS Synology is it.
  • V864 - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    Power consumption has implications beyond simply cost of energy. Your homebrew system would require more than twice the UPS capacity than the DS211+ to attain the same level of uptime if you lose power.
  • Exelius - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    Don't bullshit yourself, you really couldn't build anything comparable for less than $400 unless you have a crapton of parts just lying around. Then there's the issue of your time having any value at all... Old PC equipment isn't necessarily cheaper; after it's been end-of-lifed it disappears from the marketplace pretty quickly. I guess there's always eBay, but anyone who's tried to buy computer hardware off ebay knows what a crapshoot it can be between mislabeled or non-functional gear. You can blow your savings in a hurry.

    There's also something to be said for a headless unit that you can manage through a web browser. At the end of the day, you're going to spend somewhere in the ballpark of $400 and have a device with similar functionality, but you'll put in a LOT more work. Why not just buy the $400 device and be done with it?
  • fteoath64 - Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - link

    Not true. Here is the parts list:

    Intel Atom D525DW OEM = $70
    2GB DDR3 SODIMM = $25
    Thermatake Element Q case = $80 { included 90w PS}
    Total = $175

    Download ZFSGuru in a USB stick install and configure. Done.
    You have 2 SATA ports , 6 USB ports, a PCI slot and mini-PCIe slot for expansions.
  • blckgrffn - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    Performance looked OK for raw data access, but how does it stand up to something like iometer? Hit this thing and give us an idea of how its cache works, etc. :)
  • ganeshts - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    I agree IOMeter can give info about the cache behaviour.

    However, NASPT is the benchmark which actually gives the real world performance. More info here:

    That said, I will definitely try to integrate IOMeter in the next NAS review.
  • Pandamonium - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    I own a DS209 myself, and I think there's a major flaw in the Synology DSM OS.

    There is no way to schedule SMART tests on your disks. You have to manually initiate the tests on each drive. Unless Synology has some kind of unpublished mechanism whereby it verifies data integrity, I'm pretty sure that automated SMART tests are a necessity.

    For most home users, a NAS is a place where you can centralize your music, photo, and video collection. And while I realize RAID 1/hybrid RAID isn't true "backup", it is a relatively acceptable solution. I think we are all more likely to have a HDD fail on us before we are robbed or our houses suffer catastrophic damage.

    That said, say you've got 1 TB of stuff stored on the NAS. That data isn't generally accessed on a regular basis. We all have media that hasn't been accessed in years. When one of your drives begins to go, you might lose a bit here and a bit there. And you would have no way to know that your drive is failing unless you were manually running SMART tests or other HDD diagnostics. When all is said and done, your RAID 1 or hybrid RAID would be inconsistent. What guarantee is there that the Synology DSM could tell which hard drive contains the "right" data?

    As far as the competition goes, QNAP definitely supports automated/scheduled SMART testing.

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