From our own experience we know that many small businesses-and for that matter even larger ones, have not discovered or implemented NAS units in their organisations.
This is not a primer on the benefits of NAS but a summary of our day-to-day experience with the RS814+ which is the latest product from Synology aimed at serving the smaller businesses.
More importantly, the RS814+RP was launched at the same time that the latest implementation of DSM 5.0 was released, the heart and soul of the machine. We'll spend some time highlighting the new features of this latest update of the operating system.
Let's first summarise again a couple of the benefits of using NAS in a business environment.
It is not just another way of backing up all the critical company data. Far more important would be the ability to share files between everyone in the organisation, even if they use different hardware platforms or operating systems themselves.
We've seen NAS units grow in other abilities as well. For instance rather than backing up to the Cloud it is a lot easier to create a Private Cloud or use the multimedia capabilities inherent with all systems through various apps that can be installed.
Hardware-wise too we have seen NAS units develop into powerhouses with hot swappable disks, redundant power units and top-of-the-line optimised network capabilities.
So let's delve into the RS814+ specs for a moment.
Speed, power and redundancy probably sums it up nicely.
The system has a dual core CPU with a floating point unit maxing out at about 330 Mb/s when reading and close to 200 Mb/s when writing. There are 4 LAN ports with failover and link aggregation support, a couple of USB 3.0 ports together with an ESATA port which takes care of most of the back panel.
The front of this 1U appliance is very slim and elegant in its simplicity. 4 bays with a bunch of LEDs to report on the status of the system. These 4 drives can accommodate 16 TB but is easily up-scalable to 32 TB with the Synology RX410. And we have already spotted 5TB and even 6TB drives becoming available soon....
The RS814+ comes in 2 flavours as indicated by the RP in this particular model. This Redundant Power where the PSU is duplicated, is highly recommended as power units are often the critical weakest link with these units.
The hot swappable drives make it easier to replace drives that have gone on the blink (a very common occurrence) without having to power down the system. Security of these drives is further enhanced by the new tray locks and of course the fact that most of the time these units are in a server cabinet that should be locked as well. And ideally, that server cabinet should be in a secure room as well!
With the Quad LAN ports you have a lot more flexibility in the configuration in addition to safety and speed enhancements. For instance, if one link fails the other one can take over and still have a high enough bandwidth during the outage. And with link aggregation you also have more bandwidth than just with the traditional 1 GB networks.
We have used the RS814+ extensively over the last few months.
As with all the Synology products that we have tested over the years, it gets pretty boring but in a good way: there are no nasty surprises or hardware failures, just good solid performance at a lower price point every time. It is very much an evolutionary process where the company sticks to the proven concepts and enhances the features continually.
Are we a Synology fan?
We have tested and reviewed many other brands and it basically comes down to personal preference. Or as we say here in Australia you're either a Ford or a Holden guy....
Much of the credit for our Synology preference has to go to the operating system which is now at the 5.0 mark. The new release of DSM 5.0 is more than just an overhaul of the interface. So what's new?
These are the highlights as Synology sees them:
• Refreshed user interface and effortless access to NAS with Synology QuickConnect
• Unified storage platform harnessed by enterprise-level reliability and manageability
• Hybrid cloud solutions with immense connectivity
• Robust data backup and system performance
• Seamless file access and optimized multimedia enjoyment
But there is a lot more under the hood and these are our personal highlights:
We like the new user interface. It's very customisable.
What's more: it's fast. We couldn't quite measure it but it certainly seemed that way.
The QuickConnect approach to remotely access all your NAS services does away with the often complicated access to your data when you're not in the office. Ever got stuck on port forwarding, for instance? Sharing data and syncing work files is now truly easy.
And finally: TV Streaming. Not sure how essential this is to most business environments but in a home environment it's great to be able to steam to your smart TV. We have the Samsung 6600 Smart TV with the Synology app but it should also work on Chromecast.
You can't go wrong if you or your business invest in a Synology-based NAS solution.
You won't outgrow the RS814+RP easily: plenty of expansion possibilities at a good price point. In Australia expect to pay between AUD1600 and 1700.
The latest DSM 5.0 operating system with all the various apps make this a very versatile powerhouse.