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Synology Disk Station

Synology Disk Station
Summary B.Y.O. Drive NAS with built-in USB print server and FTP support. Also available with 120GB drive
Update None
Pros • Software well written
• Easy to use and setup.
• Complete documentation
• OSX and Windows support
Cons • Expensive

The price of hard-drives is dropping like a stone these days, and more and more households are installing home networks. Add to that the popularity of large digital media such as music, video and photographs, and a natural product emerges to take advantage of these trends: a home network storage device. These devices are designed to allow consumers to expand their available computer storage without having to modify their existing system or upgrade to a new one. If the device is done right, using it should be as simple as plugging it into the home network, mounting it as a network drive, and using it like any other drive on the system. In this review, I'm going to take a look at a home network storage device offered by Synology, the DS-101.

When it comes to consumer network storage devices, there are a few trends that are shaping up. The device can be a self-contained unit complete with hard drive like the Linkstation by Buffalo Technology. Or the device can be designed to use external USB drives like the Linksys NSLU2 or lesser-known OvisLink MU-5000FS. The newest approach seems to be Bring-Your-Own-Drive (BYOD) which is sort of a combination of the two previous approaches, i.e. a self-contained unit, but where the consumer supplies and installs a hard drive.

This is a good deal for the NAS manufacturer since they avoid getting stuck with smaller-capacity inventory as drive makers continually push the price-per-bit of drives down with higher capacity drives at roughly the same price points. The networking product vendors also get to make bundling deals with the drive manufacturers that may or may not bring them additional revenue.

This last approach was first taken by Buffalo Technology in its Kuro Box [reviewed here] and ASUS in its WL-HDD2.5 [reviewed here]. But where the Kuro Box is strictly for gear-heads and VARs capable of building and/or modifying a Linux distribution, Synology's DS-101 is more like the ASUS product - aimed at regular folks and not requiring any special software-building skills.

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