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Synology DS214+ review

Michael Passingham
11 Aug 2014
Synology DS214+ lead image
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
275
inc VAT

Speedy performance and an excellent user interface make the Synology DiskStation DS214+ a strong contender for small businesses' cash

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Specifications

Capacity: Bare drive, 3.5" hard disk bays (free): 2(2), Networking: 2x 10/100/1000 Ethernet, DLNA media server: Yes, Print server: Yes, Dimensions (WXHXD): 103.5x157x232mm, Weight: 1.65kg

The Synology DiskStation DS214+ is a two-bay NAS designed for small businesses. As with all Synology products, it comes without disks, so you'll need to supply and fit two yourself. It's an easy process, with no tools or screws required.

There are two USB3 ports on the rear of the DS214+ as well as a single eSATA port, which you can use for expanding network storage or for making backups. You also get a pair of Gigabit Ethernet adapters. You can connect both of these to your router for load balancing and better performance, as well as for redundancy in case one connection fails. The front of the device has a single USB2 port, which you can use for one-touch backups by pressing the green "C" button once you've configured it through the DS214+'s user interface.

The DS214+ runs the DSM 5 operating system, which you access via your web browser. The user interface of DSM 5 puts other NAS GUIs to shame; it behaves in a very similar manner to a traditional desktop operating system with windows, a file explorer and even a web browser. Out of the box with no additional software installed, the DS214+ is ready to act as a file share as well as a backup device. Creating new shares is simple, and can be configured to allow access via SMB, AFP, FTP, NFS and WebDAV.

^ Synology's Package Center houses many quality apps to extend your NAS' usefulness

It's what else you can do with the DS214+ that makes it stand out. Thanks to the excellent Synology app store, you can dramatically add to the NAS' capabilities. For starters, you can install a DLNA media server, so you can access your media library from PCs, tablets and smart TVs on your home network.

You can also use your DS214+ as a Dropbox-style sync device by installing Synology's Cloud Station software. This creates folders that can be accessed by designated users, automatically synchronising the contents with files on their PCs and mobile devices.

The desktop application (Cloud Station) creates a folder on your PC that keeps in sync with the files stored in the equivalent folder on your NAS in a very similar way to Dropbox. By default only one folder on your NAS will synchronise with your Cloud Station and DS Cloud applications, but you can make any folder on your NAS available if you wish. You'll need to ensure you have the correct permissions set up for these folders: if, for example, a folder has read-only access for some users, they will run into problems where changes they've made to files won't be synchronised back to the NAS.

^ Synology's Cloud Station service lets you use your NAS as a sync service

It's possible to use the DS214+ as a print server. Plugging the USB connector into one of the DiskStation's USB ports is the first step, but you'll need to install the Synology Assistant software on your PC in order to use it. Once that's done, the printer will appear on your list of printers like any other, and we had no problems sending over large jobs to our printer, something that can't be said for all NAS devices.

The extensive selection of software available from the Synology Package Center also includes tools for web hosting, content management, a security camera suite and antivirus software meaning it's easily the best NAS app store around at the moment.

The DS214+ produced impressive speeds in our file transfer tests. The default setting for the NAS is Synology Hybrid RAID, which claims less wasted redundancy space and easier expansion. It's effectively an own-brand RAID 1 array, but it performed very well in our tests. It achieved 96.8MB/s when writing large files, and 104.8MB/s when reading them. In our much tougher small file tests it was able to read at 14.34MB/s. These results were largely recreated when using RAID 1 and RAID 0 configurations, although both proved to be around 5MB/s faster when writing large files. In any configuration, the DS214+ is very quick.

The Synology Diskstation DS214+ is an expensive but tremendously powerful two-bay NAS. Its DSM5 operating system and busy app store are highlights, but its file transfer speeds and general ease-of-use make us confident that even NAS novices will be able to set up a sharing platform or media server in no time. This NAS is geared more towards business users, though, so if you're merely a home user, you will be able to spend quite a lot less on the similarly excellent but slightly cheaper Asustor AS-202TE.

Hardware
CapacityBare drive
Default file systemEXT4
File attribute supportYes
Price per gigabyteN/A
Hard disk interfaceSATA3
3.5" hard disk bays (free)2(2)
RAID modesJBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1
Interfaces
Networking2x 10/100/1000 Ethernet
Front USB ports1x USB2
Rear USB ports2x USB3
Other ports1x eSATA
Networking
Universal Plug and PlayYes
DLNA media serverYes
Print serverYes
USB disk serverYes
Web serverYes
FTP serverYes
Mac file sharingYes
SSHYes
WebDAVYes
Other servicesPackage Center with extensive apps
Features
Dimensions (WXHXD)103.5x157x232mm
Weight1.65kg
Buying information
WarrantyTwo-years RTB
Price£275
Supplierwww.ebuyer.com
Detailswww.synology.com
Part codeDS214+

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