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NAS Reviews

Introduction

Synology DS508

At a Glance
Product Synology Disk Station (DS508)
Summary Five drive BYOD SATA RAID 5 NAS with multiple server functions
Pros • 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports with jumbo frame support
• RAID 1,5 and RAID expansion
• Hot Swappable drives
• Built-in servers for Web, FTP, iTunes, Printer, UPnP AV, Photo sharing, Backup, and Bit Torrent download.
• Direct recording from IP-based cameras
• High performance
Cons • Very expensive
• Status indicators didn’t show drive rebuild
• No home page alert or status page status showing RAID in degraded mode
• Very limited documentation for using built-in web server/MySQL

Over the course of the last year, we have reviewed many Synology NASes ranging from the single drive DS107 to the dual drive DS207 and finally the four-drive CS407. We found that each of these products offered an excellent set of features in an easy-to-use package. 

Synology recently added three new products to the top end of its product line.  Two of the products are rack mounted servers and the third is the DS508. The 508 is a desktop five-drive BYOD SATA NAS , which, like its siblings, is loaded with features.

We have already posted a slide show, performance charts, and preview of the DS508, so I’ll focus primarily on the new features, as well as the new user interface.

Check out the slideshow See the slideshow for more Feature info and internal photos

Synology enables virtually all of its software features in each of its products.  However, differences in hardware obviously impact performance and, in some cases, provide additional capabilities on higher end products.

For example, the DS508 comes with dual gigabit Ethernet ports that each support up to 9K jumbo frames.  Each port can be connected to the same subnet or to different subnets.  Currently, the DS508 doesn’t support trunking or failover, but those features may be added in the future. 

For the energy-conscious consumer, the DS508 is also the first Synology product to offer scheduled power on.  Other Synology products offer scheduled power off, but you have to manually turn them back on. 

For businesses that require high availability, the DS508 is the first Synology product to offer hot-swappable drives.  Even though the CS407 has RAID 5 capabilities, it requires a power down cycle to change out a defective drive.  For the security-conscious administrator, the DS508 also has individual locks that secure the drives in their bays.  Finally, the DS508 has an eSATA port on the rear panel for connecting an external SATA drive for storage expansion.

In March, Synology released the new DSM 2.0 (Disk Station Manager) management interface.  Based on AJAX, the new management console provides a slick, responsive interface to all of the functions on the server. 

The release of this new interface also added new features that are now common to all of the Synology products.  If you have an older product, check the Synology support site to see if your device can be upgraded.  I upgraded my D107+, and it’s difficult to tell the interface apart from the one on the DS508.

Like all Synology products, the web management portal is on port 5000.  Optionally, you can manage the NAS over HTTPS on port 5001.  Through the UI, you can also direct HTTP requests to be automatically forwarded to the secure port. 

The new UI lets you log into the Management console, the File Station, Audio Station and Surveillance Station from a single place (Figure 1) – a definite improvement over the previous UI that required separate logins.  However, the Photo Station requires a separate login and the user list is separate from the system user list.

DSM 2.0 login page

Figure 1: DSM 2.0 login page

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