Analysis and Experience with the Synology DS218+ NAS

If you are in this post you probably already know what a NAS is, but if you don’t and you are interested in knowing it I will give you a brief definition. A NAS, short for Network Attached Storage, is a device that allows you to have your own personal cloud to access from anywhere in the world, although it’s really much more than that. In this post you will discover more about how this kind of devices work and more specifically the DS218+ from Synology, which is one of the best.

Getting Started with the Synology DS218+

Synology is a proven leader in the information technology sector . Thanks to its wide range of products and services, this company guarantees an excellent management of our data with three concepts always ahead: simplicity, security and reliability.

Analysis and Experience with the Synology DS218+ NAS
Analysis and Experience with the Synology DS218+ NAS

I was able to personally test the NAS Synology DS218+ accompanied by its multiple services . In the box, in a perfect state of protection, came the device accompanied by its power cord and the ethernet cable that must be connected to the WiFi router.

This NAS comes with two bays , which are slots to insert hard drives that can be used in two configurations: RAID 0 and RAID 1 . If you have two hard disks, you can make the NAS accumulate the information from both hard disks , which is known as RAID 0. The other configuration, RAID 1, is just a mirrored configuration which makes the information from one of the disks duplicate in the other.

The recommendation that we make is to configure two drives in RAID 1 , and that is that despite losing storage you will end up gaining in protection and security if one of the two drives stops working. That way you will always have a secure copy of all your files .

At the time of testing the Synology NAS, I had a hard drive with 7TB of storage, so the only possibility I found to configure it was in RAID 1. Once that drive was inserted into the bay and the NAS was connected and powered up, all I had to do was configure it.

Connecting the NAS and Registering with Synology

If we use a Synology NAS, we can benefit from its extensive software service that handles absolutely everything related to the device . However, you need to register at www.findsynology.com first. We recommend to do this from your computer even though, as I will explain later, Synology’s services are multi-platform.

Once on this page, and having connected the NAS correctly, you must click on “Connect” to start configuring the device. If during this process you get a message saying that no hard drive was found, it is likely that you did not insert it correctly into the bay, so you will have to disconnect the NAS from the power and proceed to place the hard drive correctly.

When the connection with Synology’s device is complete, it will require to install the DSM on the hard drive, which will be done automatically by clicking on “Install Now”. The hard drive will be formatted during this process, as it should not contain any previous information. So, depending on this, the process may take a few minutes.

After the first configurations, you will need to register with Synology and start creating your server with QuickConnect , which will allow you to access the NAS from anywhere in the world . Note that once you have done this, you will be shown the link to your server that you can access from any browser. Also on this screen, you will be shown an icon that you will have to drag to your desktop if you want to have quick access to the server.

Synology Applications and Services

As for the recommended packages to install on the NAS, we strongly recommend those shown by Synology itself during the first installation process.

  • Moments: an application similar to Apple Photos that will allow you to order your photos in an easier and more visual way.
  • Video Station: Like Moments, it will be the key to better organizing your video files.
  • Audio Station: the same as the previous ones, but in this case in relation to the audio files.
  • Media Server: provides support for devices with DNLA protocol.
  • Hyper Backup: service that will help you manage your backups.
  • Drive: an application to manage files in a very similar way to other clouds such as iCloud or Google Drive.
  • Download Station: Manages torrent downloads so that they are automatically stored on the NAS and you can access the downloaded files from any device. Until a few months ago, there was an iOS app called DS GET that allowed you to manage downloads remotely, but unfortunately Apple removed it from the App Store as it was found to violate the app store’s policy.

These applications will then appear on the DSM , Synology’s operating system with which we can manage everything related to the NAS. In this operating system, as in any other, we can manage any section concerning our server and file management. One section that deserves to be highlighted is the Control Panel , from which you can configure all kinds of technical parameters including the power management of the NAS.

The above image belongs to the desk of the DSM . Here you can have shortcuts to applications and folders, as well as a view of the “System Health” screen which will inform you about some data such as the resources the NAS is using or the free memory left on the hard drives.

One of the highlights of this Synology system is File Station , a file explorer that would be homologous to the Finder of macOS. Through this manager you can access all the folders you have created on the NAS, as well as import, delete, move, or modify the files .

“Packet Center” is also something to note as it is Synology’s application store from which you can download all kinds of applications, from a code version driver (SVN), to the possibility of making a VPN with the NAS. Here too, we find antivirus software to protect us from possible threats, although in the security area of the Control Panel you can also find several preventive measures such as blocking an IP that tries to access the server several times.

And as we said in another part of this post, Synology’s great asset is its wide variety of multiplatform applications with which we can manage our files from an iPhone, iPad, Mac, Android or Windows. In my particular case I have used several apps on the iPhone: DS File for managing all files, DS Note for text documents, DS Video for my videos, DS Photo for my photos and DS Audio for my favorite songs.

C2 Backup, the dose of peace of mind we need

When you buy a NAS, you are demonstrating how important your data is to you, so it’s important to have not only a place to store it, but also a service to protect it. C2 Backup is the definitive solution provided by Synology.

C2 Backup will ensure the availability and protection of our most valuable data in the cloud . That’s why it offers scheduled backups, support for multiple versions of backups and granular file-level restoration for any operating system including DSM. New features such as differential backups, granular recovery and global data deduplication are also highlighted.

The military level security is present in C2 Backup and can protect the data against unauthorized access. For this purpose, AES-256 and RSA-2048 encryption technologies are used. In this way, and with the private key that only you will know, nobody will be able to access the data, not even Synology itself.

C2 Backup is also compatible and functional with VMware virtual machines and system image backups for Windows or Linux servers . These backups can be converted into virtual machines that will work through Synology Virtual Machine Manager .

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On top of this, C2 Backup works with G Suite and Office 365 , being able to efficiently back up email, contacts and calendar. It supports granular recovery, “self-service” recovery and secure storage in a single copy to reduce storage consumption.

Obviously such a complete service is paid for, but we strongly recommend it because the subscription fees are among the most competent on the market . After all, it is very difficult to find such complete security at a price that can go from 0.83 euros/month to 6.99 euros/month .

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My Experience with Synology Services

Once we know the more technical aspects of the NAS, which are not few and could still offer more information, it’s time to know what my experience with the team has been in practice. I could summarize it in two words : fully satisfactory.

The truth is that since I configured the NAS I have seen all my expectations fulfilled regarding storage . Used to storing my data in different services such as iCloud or Google Drive, the Synology NAS has allowed me to unify all my files and sort them into different folders, which I could access from my Mac, iPad, iPhone and even my Smart TV .

As an anecdote I will say that I was fascinated with the Torrent download manager offered by Synology , the already mentioned Download Station . For me it’s almost magic to be at the office and send to download several chapters of my favorite series through the iPhone and be able to enjoy them when I arrive home from my television.

As for the C2 Backup service, I must say that I have also been pleasantly surprised by the peace of mind it gives me . It’s not that I have highly confidential data and files, but like everyone else I like to have them protected and feel reassured that they could be lost. With this C2 Backup service I can save daily copies of all my current Mac files, as well as keep the ones I had previously saved.

Of course the issue of security both for C2 Backup and the whole ecosystem of Synology has made me feel even more reassured about the possibility that someone outside my permissions could access my NAS and therefore the data I store on it.

In definitely I think this Synology DS218+ NAS is worth a lot , so I recommend it to anyone who is looking for services like this. I can guarantee in first person that you will not regret it.

If you want more information about Synology’s DS218+ NAS or any other device or services, we invite you to visit its official website.

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