Synology DiskStation DS412+ NAS device
This network storage box is a powerhouse for home and office users
- Wide range of storage and business apps
- Excellent transfer speeds
- Easy drive access and upgradeability
- Overkill for home users
- Initial setup can be daunting
- Surveillance Station only supports one camera by default
Synology's four-bay DiskStation DS412+ has everything you could possibly want in a network storage device: it's expandable, fast, and has a variety of apps that are genuinely useful. Its premium price means it's best suited to a small business or serious home user, but anyone willing to spend the asking price will end up with an excellent and future-proof external storage solution.
Price$ 849.00 (AUD)
Synology DS412+: Setup, features and performance
Setting up the DS412+ for the first time seems like a relatively simple process, but investigate further and it quickly becomes daunting. It’s easy enough to connect the NAS to your network — two 2m Category 6 Ethernet cables are in the bundled accessories — but enter the setup procedures and you’re faced with a lot of options.
Synology Assistant and Data Replicator 3 are both installed from the bundled Synology CD. The Assistant is the most important software — it’s used for the inital setup and configuration of the DS412+.
Once you’ve plugged in, powered on, installed the software and found the Synology NAS on your network using the Assistant, you’re prompted to find the DiskStation Manager operating system software file on the bundled CD and install it onto the device. You can also download a newer beta version from Synology’s website — it’s good to see constant updates for new features and compatibility.
Once you’ve installed the operating system, you’re able to access the NAS with Synology Assistant software or directly through a Web browser. Naturally, you can change the username and password to restrict access after the initial login.
Synology DiskStation Manager presents a user interface that’s very close to a Windows desktop — on-screen icons are used to show all the different Synology apps that are installed on the device. Click on an icon to launch that app and a window-within-a-window shows its status; it’s almost like using a virtual machine.
The DiskStation Manager operating system for the Synology DS412+ has a huge range of options. You can set up a media server, iTunes music streaming, automated backups, mail servers, security camera storage and feeds, websites... the range of apps available is extremely diverse and the quality of the services offered is excellent. We won’t list all the apps here — you’re best off reading about them here — but suffice to say there’s almost every service we’d expect to find on a NAS for home and small business use.
They range from simple to complex, and basic to powerful, but we don’t see any glaring holes in the services on offer. We did notice that the Surveillance Station business app only includes support for a single IP camera out of the box, though — this will be an additional cost to a small business or home looking to run several cameras.
On the storage side of things, the DS412+ continues to impress. It created a 9TB RAID 0 volume in under 30min, with a similar figure for the same drives in a 5TB Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR) configuration. Synology Hybrid RAID is a RAID5-esque setup that lets users add extra capacity if needed — it offers one drive of redundancy while remaining flexible (unlike static RAID5).
We’d recommend almost all users use SHR — it provides a good compromise between available space, redundancy and extra capacity for later expansion. You can find out what storage you’ll get out of the DS412+ with the Synology RAID calculator here.
Speed from the Synology DS412+ was among the best we’ve seen from a networked storage drive setup. With a single Gigabit Ethernet port used for our testing, where we transferred 248GB of video files (approximately 2GB each), we achieved write speeds of 108.3Mbps and read speeds of 104.9Mbps in the Synology Hybrid RAID mode. The all-out-performance RAID 0 mode managed a very slightly superior 112.0Mbps write and 108.1Mbps read, so there’s no reason to choose RAID 0 over SHR except for outright storage in most settings.
Synology DiskStation DS412+: Conclusion
Synology’s DiskStation DS412+ is a very versatile mini-server. It’s got space for plenty of storage, a huge range of apps with an equally large range of uses, and is reasonably easy to set up in a basic way. Leave it up to your IT contractor (or tech-savvy neighbour) to configure the more complicated services, though.
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