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I had purchased this for my customer in order to setup video surveillance backup for his lorex camera. But unfortunately, the camera doesn't support ONVIF, and using FTP to transfer from the DVR to his NAS box was a hit or miss. Sometimes it would transfer and other times it would completely skip some cameras. I found this NAS box good as a FTP/SFTP server. The Synology OS comes with a ton of other apps. However, my primary reason for purchasing was for video backup which I couldn't do so I'm sending it back for that reason to explore Ubiquiti NVR instead. Otherwise, it is a great box.
I had tried a few different storage solutions for my Home and family's small business, but no solution I tried seemed to work the way that it was advertised or meet my needs. In all honesty it was because of my choice to try to find a budget solution because $400 for a NAS and then another 4-500, at least, for drives to put in it is a lot of money. I can't begin to describe how happy I am I did it though. This is a solid product. I can't speak to the uses for a media server, because I haven't gotten around to testing those features yet, but for a storage solution I can. This NAS makes back ups, data storage, and file sharing extremely easy and not just because I'm a computer science major. Even for people who may not be the best with computers, set up is super easy and the web interface is simple and very intuitive. Set up on a local network is extremely easy. Set up for remote access for multiple users though, while still much simpler than something like an Ubuntu server, still will probably require a little more than average technical and networking knowledge. Especially if running an antivirus and/or firewall as you will have to make exceptions for the remote IP address. For creating a remote network drive, you will also need either a static IP address or a domain name and a DDNS service.
Overall though so far, I couldn't be happier with the product and am glad I decided to spend some extra money and get something that works great, is easy to manage, and meets all my needs. I will try to come back and update once I have the opportunity to text some of the media server features.
UPDATE: So I have now had the opportunity to test some of the features using this as a media server. I have put some movies on it and and was able to stream them. My conclusion is I have some good news and some bad news. Lets get the bad news out of the way first.
Bad News: If you are a fan of Plex you may be out of luck. Synology seems to have discontinued support for Plex for all model NAS servers aside from those using an intel processor. According to the Plex forums, some of the older DS418 models do have the intel chips but almost all of the new ones have the Realtek quad cores in them. Fear not though, I did find an alternate solution I will share in the good news. One other thing I did find is if there are some other services running while you are trying to stream HD video you may get some stuttering occasionally while there is other uploading or downloading going on in the background. I'm not sure if this is related to the processor or the limited amount of RAM but I plan to add more RAM in the near future I have also recently enabled the ethernet port aggregation and will test to see if that makes any difference as well. **Note: True Port aggregation will only work if you have a router that supports it. They do have a Load balance bonding but it is not the same as port aggregation. Will retest after these modifications and report back again with another update.
Good News: The good news I found is, though there is some stuttering it is pretty easy to work around it by pausing some of the back up services you may have running while tyring to streaming video, which, while its not ideal, I don't find to be that big of a deal given the price point compared to other solutions. The port aggregation I enabled recently along with my plan to increase the RAM may even resolve this issue. The other good news is, for those of you who don't have your heart set on Plex, there is an application for the Amazon FireStick called Archos that seems to work very well in my opinion. You can browse all your folders on the server look at pictures, play music, and stream video. So far I have only tested this while streaming on my local network and have not yet tested remote streaming using this application. Once I have had the opportunity I will again report back with another update.
As a photographer I have run through my laptop storage (250GB) and my additional external 500GB storage, so after a number of YouTube videos I settled on the Synology DS418 as a solution for this problem.
Looking for in purchase: -Sturdy -Value -Hot Swap -Link Aggregation -Easy Setup -Four Bays Minimum
Design: The design of this product is sleek and well designed, while it is a plastic it seems to be a sturdy and hard plastic that will last for a significant amount of time. There is a USB port in the back along with 2x 1GB LAN ports (link Aggregation compatible) and a USB port up front. There are four bays that all have access from the front and the bays are lockable. Size is not a significant issue and it fits easily on a cart shelf.
Issues: The setup on the computer is not as easy as I thought it was going to be, but as long as you take time to read instructions online there is no significant problems. I believe that the time to get everything online is somewhere between 1-3 hours depending on how computer savvy you are (it took me 3-4 hours, to set up four different storage areas on the NAS (2x Time Machine Backups, a folder for my photography and a folder for general family storage, then to provide access to mine and my wife’s computers to where everything worked seamlessly). All of that said none of it is a real issue, because Synology directions are fantastic.
Final Thoughts: I LOVE THIS. It is so nice to free up hard drive space on the computer and to get rid of all the dongles needed for all the external stuff. The system works flawlessly and after it is setup and about a day of playing with it everything seems really intuitive. I set this up with 2x WD 2TB RED drives and the system was up after plugging it in, following the basic instructions and some auto updating (total of about 20 mins). I have one volume with four folders (2 Time Machine Backups, a folder for photos, and a general storage folder) that are have dedicated space and users assigned to them. The backups work with no issues and our MacBooks link right to the system, even if we go away for travel and come back. I can’t believe I have been asleep at the wheel when it comes to NAS and I will never use cloud storage again. Especially when I can access my NAS anywhere in the world via the internet with just a couple of clicks.
Would I recommend: Yes, 5 Stars and easily would recommend the system to anyone who needs a system.