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First Looks: Synology DiskStation DS411 – A Boon For Business

By Lionell Go Macahilig - 31 Aug 2011

First Looks: Synology DiskStation DS411 – A Boon For Business

NAS Spells Out Efficiency

NAS appliances are undeniably becoming a more popular choice among small offices and home-based businesses (SOHOs) because of their efficient characteristics. Their design allows businesses to save important resources like space, money, and energy more effectively rather than when employing a desktop system as a dedicated storage server. An accurate embodiment of a NAS appliance that consolidates all of the positive attributes mentioned, Synology’s DiskStation DS411 is a worthy investment for a business.

The Synology DiskStation DS411's small footprint reminds us of the XPS systems from Shuttle, a maker of small form factor desktop systems.

Storage Simplified

Understanding that the majority of small businesses are not capable of sustaining a devoted IT department, Synology has made the DS411 easy-to-setup. With a diminutive profile that is smaller than a regular Shuttle XPS system, the DS411 can be conveniently installed anywhere inside a busy office environment. Nevertheless, the ideal arrangement is to place the NAS appliance near the router or network switch where it is hooked up via a LAN cable.

Fans are attached to the back door that is secured with four thumbscrews. Below the door, seen are the DC in, Gigabit Ethernet, two USB ports, and the eSATA connector.

To install a SATA hard drive (ideally, it must be empty), you simply have to open the DS411’s back door that is secured with four handy thumbscrews. Once opened, the NAS appliance reveals a set of four racks ready to accommodate SATA hard disk drives with a total storage capacity of 12TB. Apart from the manual, software disc, power adapter, and Ethernet cable, Synology also bundles the DS411 with three different packs of screws for hard drive mounting. In addition to the four internal SATA connectors, the NAS appliance is also equipped with two USB 2.0 ports and an eSATA connector for hosting external storage devices.

A set of four bays is ready to accommodate hard drives that are based on the SATA II standard. The DS411 can host a total of 12TB.

Once the physical connection has been established, the user must launch the Synology Assistant application on the client computer. This software will virtually manage everything, from formatting to configuring, to make the DS411 visible on the network. The application will also assist in installing DSM (DiskStation Manager), Synology’s operating system for its NAS appliances. At the time of writing, the latest DSM was version 3.1. By and large, DSM virtually has all the essential features that the user needs in creating shared network storage, managing its contents, securing them against illicit access, and hardware monitoring. DSM also includes apps designed for keeping, playing, and acquiring (through torrent downloading) multimedia files, so it is obvious that having a DS411 is not always an all-work affair.

DiskStation Manager's Control Panel offers a host of applications for managing and securing files stored on the DS411.

A Mainstream NAS

Intel’s NAS Performance Toolkit Exerciser application provided us with an inclusive breakdown of DS411’s performance through a series of simulated tasks. Weighing the DS411’s scores against those of the DS1511+, Synology’s current top-end NAS offering, the benchmark clearly underlined the DS411 as a mainstream solution. Although the DS1511+ outdid the DS411 in every category of the test, which we sensibly expected, it should also be noted that the DS411 had managed to draw near to its high-end sibling in some respects.

Intel NAS Performance Toolkit Exerciser: Synology DiskStation DS411 and Synology DiskStation DS1511+ (in MBps)

Task Synology DiskStation DS411 Synology DiskStation DS1511+
HD Video Playback 51.8 82.6
HD Video Record 63 97.9
Content Creation 6.7 10.7
Office Productivity 24.9 25.8
File Copy To 49.9 100.9
File Copy From 48.7 78.4
Directory Copy To 11.4 12
Directory Copy From 12.7 12.9

Since the DS411 is accessible over a wireless network, we also made a comparison between its performance via an Ethernet cable and over Wi-Fi. Logically, the DS411 yielded lower scores while being tested over Wi-Fi than when it did through a LAN cable. Nevertheless, the minimal disparity between the DS411’s performance on a wired and a wireless connection was obvious on simulated tasks like content creation, office productivity, and directory copying.

Intel NAS Performance Toolkit Exerciser: Synology DiskStation DS411 Over Wi-Fi and On LAN (in MBps)
Task Via Wi-Fi Via Ethernet
HD Video Playback 38 51.8
HD Video Record 20.8 63
Content Creation 5.7 6.7
Office Productivity 14.3 24.9
File Copy To 34.9 49.9
File Copy From 46.7 48.7
Direct Copy To 11.4 11.4
Direct Copy From 4.9 12.7

 

Final Thoughts

The Synology DiskStation DS411 is certainly a beneficial storage solution for SOHOs and SMBs that usually allot a limited budget for IT-related expenditures. Possessing a compact outline, the DS411 occupies only a small footprint in a restricted office environment. With its easy-to-use and energy-efficient (it consumes only up to 29.7W) qualities, this NAS appliance also enables users to save more because of its low cost of ownership. It may not be the fastest NAS appliance out there but with speeds that can catch up with the pricier DS1511+ at certain points, we can say that the DS411 is a good performer. Above all, capped with a price tag of PhP 29,900, we deem that investing on a unit of the DS411 would not hurt for a budget-conscious entity.

For more information on the features and specifications of the DiskStation DS411 and other Synology NAS appliances, visit www.synology.com.