The Synology DS-211+ is a black aluminum case with a plastic front. Behind the easy-to-remove plastic front is the drive bays. LEDs on the front of the unit indicate Status (alive or sleeping or error), LAN, disk access, power, and USB copy in progress. The unit has a USB port and an SD card slot on the front, with a pair of USB ports, an eSATA port, a gigabit Ethernet port, and a power port on the back. There’s also a lock port and a 92 mm fan keeping it all cool.
The sides of the unit have Synology embossed, and the left side of the unit when facing it has slots cut out for air vents.
There’s not a whole lot to see inside the unit, as the end-user accessible part is just the drive bays, found behind the plastic cover on the front. Each bay has a cradle rail. The rails have rubber screw pads to dampen the noise generated by the drives’ movement.
The drive bays are hot-swappable, so you can drop a new or larger drive in without having to power down the unit.
Installation and Use
Notably, one must install not only the drives but also the device’s software. On the CD, or better yet, downloaded from Synology’s web site, there’s a tool to do just this. If you get one of these — or any NAS ever — just the latest software from the manufacturer’s web site.
Installing the drives was a breeze — really nothing special. I fired up the installation software and installed the firmware. It asks for simple information, such as the name I want to give to the device, and some basic user/password info, then goes about its business installing. It took a while — probably 20-30 minutes. After that, though, I set about exploring.
My initial use for the DS-211+ was a pretty hellish one for the new device: a LAN party. I dropped two 1 TB drives in it, formatted RAID0, and mounted the public SMB share as a drive on my Windows gaming machine. I then directed all of my downloads for the event onto the this mounted drive and never looked back. It handled everything I threw at it over the gigabit network at Pittco’s Iron Storm 12 LAN Party early in March.
Colin Dean has been a writer for ThinkComputers since 2006.