Network-Attached Storage: 5 Bare Enclosures

Synology DiskStation DS211+ 2-Bay NAS Packs in the Features

At a Glance
  • Synology DiskStation DS211+

The two-bay Synology DiskStation DS211+ is as feature-packed as two-bay NAS enclosures come. Not only is the box fast, but its easy-to-use DiskStation Manager 3.1 software provides tons of Secure FTP and HTTP, a variety of media-serving features, rsync backup to other NAS boxes, iSCSI, video surveillance (free for one camera), and a whole lot more.

Although the unit itself is attractive, the DS211+'s drive bays have a slightly cheap feel. The pop-off faceplate that facilitates access to the drives is clever as well as handy, but the plastic trays and locking mechanisms seem a bit penny-pinching for a box this pricey. So does the lack of a second ethernet port for failover and increasing available bandwidth.

The company's DiskStation Manager 3.1 software offers an interface that is like running Linux within a Window. You can open, close, drag, and stack windows--all within your Web browser. The multiple views and windows make it much easier to get a handle on file operations and the contents of the drive. And it's just plain cool.

I tested the DS211+ with both a 3TB and 2TB drive installed. The unit averaged approximately 44 MBps writing data to its drives, and about 62 MBps reading on my gigabit network. That's a good performance, but a tad slower writing than the Synology DS411slim, though 4MBps faster reading.

The DS211+ is a fast NAS box with a vast array of features, but it's pricey, retailing for over $400 (as of 8/29/2011). Cheaper, slower versions such as the plain 211 or 211j will be a better deal for the average user on an average network who doesn't need top performance.

At a Glance
  • A fast but pricey 2-bay NAS box loaded with feature-packed software.

    Pros

    • No second ethernet jack
    • Supports 3TB drives
    • Great software features

    Cons

    • Poorly designed drive trays
  
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