Synology DS207+ NAS Server Page: 1
Introduction
 
The lure of Network Address Storage (NAS) has advanced significantly in recent times and is increasingly finding its way into the homes of general PC users like you and I. Traditionally NAS storage has had its roots deeply entrenched within the realm of Enterprise, but its appeal to the end user has a simple and effective formula for success, a formula based upon: cost of acquisition; cost to deploy and a cost to manage.
 
Synology DS207+Cost of acquisition - NAS appliances are essentially disk arrays combined with a kernel operating system optimized for network connectivity and storage. The price per megabyte is relatively low, so the costs of adding additional drives or an additional server are usually reasonable.
 
Cost to deploy - NAS does not require connection to a server HBA. It connects directly to a network. Deployment of NAS can be 'plug-and-play' with common IP services such as the Dynamic Name Service (DNS). NAS servers usually come pre-configured to support NFS and CIFS and typically require only a few minutes of configuration. In the most complex instances, additional configuration steps may be required (e.g., to create virtual volumes or to customize RAID configurations). However, these steps are usually performed offline and before device installation. No downtime is associated with deployment of a network-attached storage appliance.
 
Cost to manage - Most NAS servers feature their own management utilities. Many products can also be monitored and managed via standard SNMP-based network management systems already in use. In short, NAS deployments do not require additional IT personnel skills or new storage management programs.
 
If you're like me and want to have your storage 'cake and eat it too', then the appeal of simply acquiring a new and larger HDD to cope with your storage needs just doesn't cut it any more. I want speed, configurability and security to manage files on my own home network, but all wrapped up in a reasonably priced solution. Enter the Synology NAS server, or more specifically the Synology Disk Station DS207+, which is the subject of today's review.
 
Synology Inc. is a Taiwanese based company that specialises in next generation Network Attached Storage servers for the international market. Providing a secure way of storing and sharing digital content, Synology products are stylish in appearance, compact in size and energy efficient. This makes the Synology product an ideal choice for the Home, Small Business and Corporate setting. Let's hear what Synology has to say about their DS207+:
 
DS207+ is designed with Windows ADS authentication, USB printer sharing, dynamic website hosting, and data backup. The ultra-high- density file storing capability gives business users the freedom to store twice as much data. With the RAID 1 protection, DS207+ can further prevent data loss from inevitable disaster.
 
Let's begin today's review by taking a look at the vast, but impressive features of the DS207+. The specifications were unashamedly taken from Synology's product page.
 
Hardware
* CPU Clock Rate: 500 MHz
* RAM Size: 128MB
* Internal HDD: 3.5” SATA(II) X2
* External HDD Interface: USB 2.0 port X3, eSATA port X1
* Size: 160mm X 218mm X 88mm
* Weight: 0.98kg
* LAN: Gigabit X1
* Fan: X1(60mmX60mm)
* Power Recovery
* AC Input Power Voltage: 100V to 240V
* Power Frequency: 50Hz to 60Hz, Single Phase
* Max Capacity (Internal HDD): 2 TB (See All Supported HDD)
* Max Supported IP Camera: 5 (See All Supported IP Cameras)
* Operating Temperature: 5°C to 35°C (40°F to 95°F)
* Storage Temperature: -10°C to 70°C (15°F to 155°F)
* Relative Humidity: 5% to 95%RH
* Maximum Operating Altitude: 10,000 feet

Power Consumption
* 32.76W(Access);
11.04W(Hibernation)

Certification
* FCC Class B, CE Class B

Networking Protocols
* CIFS
* AFP (3.1)
* FTP

Windows ADS Domain Integration
* ADS Support
* Domain users login via Samba/AFP/FTP
* Synology Data Replicator 3 for Domain Users

Security
* "FTP over SSL (explicit)" or "FTP over TLS (explicit)"
* Encrypted Network Backup
* HTTPS Connection
* FTP Auto-Block

File System
* EXT3
* FAT (External Disk Only)
* NTFS (External Disk Read Only)

File Sharing
* Max User Accounts: 128
* Max Groups: 64
* Max Shared Folder: 100
* Max Concurrent Connections: 32

Utilities
* Synology Assistant
* Synology Data Replicator 3
* Synology Download Redirector
* Add printer wizard

Applications
* Surveillance StationNew!
* Photo Station 3New!
* File Station
* Audio Station
* Web Station
* PHP/MySQL
* Download Station
* iTunes Server

UPnP Multimedia Service Support
* Sony PS3, Microsoft Xbox360 (See All Supported DMA)
* Audio Format: AAC, FLAC, M4A, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, WAV, WMA, WMA VBR, WMA PRO, WMA Lossless
* Video Format: ASF, AVI, DAT, DivX, MP4, MPEG1, MPEG2, MPEG4, VOB, WMV, XviD
* Image Format: BMP, JPG (jpe, jpeg), GIF, ICO, PNG, PSD, TIF (tiff), UFO
* Playlist Format: WPL, M3U

iTunes Server Support
* Audio Format: MP3, M4A(4), M4P(4)
* Playlist Format: M3U, WPL

Audio Station Support
* Audio Format: AAC, FLAC, M4A, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, WMA, WMA VBR
* Playlist Format: M3U, WPL
* Internet Radio: SHOUTcast, Radioio

Photo Station 3 Support
* Video Format: ASF, AVI, MPEG1, MPEG4, WMV, XviD, DivX, DAT(2), MP4(2), MPEG2(2), RM(2), RMVB(2), VOB(2)
* Image Format: BMP, JPG (jpe, jpeg), GIF

Management
* AJAX-based Management UI
* BitTorrent Port Range Setup
* BitTorrent DHT Support
* CIFS Recycle Bin
* Download Station Bandwidth control
* Download Station Port Range Setup
* Editable HTTP Error Page
* Email Alert Message
* Email Notification for New User
* External HDD Hibernation (eSATA, USB)
* Scheduled Power Off
* Firmware Upgrade
* FTP passive port range
* Hide-able Shared Folder
* Internal HDD Hibernation
* Movable Shared Folder
* Removable Default Shared Folder
* Ez-Internet
* PPPoE
* Telnet/SSH Support
* UPS Management (Over USB 2.0)
* User Quota
* Web-based Download Station

RAID Management
* Volume Type: Basic, RAID 0, RAID 1
* Upgrade from Basic to RAID 1
* Expand RAID 1 with Larger Hard Drives

Backup Solutions
* Network Backup
* Local Backup
* Desktop Backup (using Synology Data Replicator 3)
* USB Copy

3rd-Party Backup Support
* Acronis True Image
* Symantec Backup Exec
* EMC Retrospect
* LaCie SilverKeeper (Details)

Supported Clients
* Windows 2000 onward
* Mac OS X 10.3 onward

Printer Support
* Max Printer #: 1
* Supported Protocols: LPR, CIFS, AppleTalk

Languages
* English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Dutch, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese.

Environment
* RoHS Compliant

The Synology Disk Station DS207+ boasts an impressive specification list, as I'm sure that you'll all agree. It provides everything and more that a small business would want want in a NAS server, bar hot-swappable SATA drives. Should you want that as a feature, you will need to upgrade to one of Synology's purely business NAS servers. So without further ado, let's head over the page to see how the unit arrived at my place...


Synology DS207+ NAS Server Page: 2
Packaging
 
The Synology DS207+ arrived in a simple, yet elegant and appealing box. The box itself features a carry handle to make handling of the unit a little easier and safer.
 
Synology DS207+ side Synology DS207+ top
 
The front of the DS207+'s box features a large image of the DS207+ and a list of the unit's predominant features.
 
Features DS207+ features
 
The side of the box features the DS207+'s specifications and a diagram illustrating how the DS207+ can be incorporated into your network.
 
DS207+ specifications DS207+ specifications_2
DS207+ networking diagram
 
As well as the networking diagram, Synology has included a small diagram illustrating the DS207+'s connections and buttons. Let's take a look at the package contents...
 
Contents
 
Opening the top of the box, we are greeted by a well-designed and thoughtfully laid out packing scheme. The DS207+ itself is well protected and situated between two folded portions of dense cardboard. This serves to prevent extraneous movement of the DS207+ chassis during transit and provides a buffer between it and the extremities of the box in case of impact. The DS207+ is also wrapped in a polystyrene packing sheet to prevent scuffing and scratching to the outside of the chassis.
 
Included in the box with the DS207+ are two other smaller boxes: one houses the power supply cable (as seen below),  and the other includes the necessary accessories.
 
Packagin opened
 
Packaging revealed
 
You can see from the image below why the DS207+ was wrapped in a packing sheet. It'd be a shame to see that shiny gloss finish marred by a scratch. Opening up the accessories box we can now see the additional bits and pieces that Synology has included to help us get up and running. I have included a list of the accessories for you below:
 
 
* DS207+ Main Unit
* Installation CD
* Welcome Note
* Assembling Kit
* AC Power Adapter
* AC Power Cord
* 2M RJ-45 LAN Cable
* SATA Hard Drive Power Cable X2
* SATA Hard Drive Data Cable X2
 
 
Synology DS207+ Synology DS207+ contents
 
Let's head over the page to take a look at the DS207+ chassis in a little more detail...


Synology DS207+ NAS Server Page: 3
A Closer Look
 
The DS207+'s front fascia features an on/off button; USB copy button; an eSATA connector; a USB 2.0 port and four lights that represent Status, LAN, and Disk 1/2 activity. At the rear of the unit, the DS207+ features 2 x USB 2.0 ports for external HDD's, a Gigabit LAN connector, a reset button should you forget your password, and the power supply input for the PSU.
 
Synology DS207+ front panel Synology DS207+ rear panel
 
Synology has included some nice rubber feet on the bottom of the DS207+ to prevent the unit from sliding around on your desk. And the overall look of the DS207+ is very classy. 
 
On the underside of the chassis there is a louvered vent which facilitates the passage of cool air to be drawn up into the chassis and expelled via the fan at the rear of the unit.
 
Synology DS207+ upright Synology DS207+ underside
 
In order to gain access to the internals of the DS207+, all that is needed is to remove two screws from the rear and then slide the unit apart.
 
DS207+ slides apart DS207+ outer shell
 
Once inside, the complexity, or lack there-of, really becomes apparent. The DS207+ features a small PCB with two SATA plugs and 2 x 3-pin power connectors attached. I'll show you the motherboard in greater detail over on the next page, so don't worry.
 
Situated over the rear of the motherboard, courtesy of four screws, is the steel housing for the HDD's. As the DS207+ is only capable of running a singular HDD or RAID 0/1 array, there is only provision for two HDD's. Interestingly, you can see that the fan at the rear of the unit protrudes below the steel HDD housing plate. This assists with drawing cool air over the componentry on the motherboard from the louvered vent at the bottom.
 
DS207+ connectors DS207+ HDD housing
 
Let's head over the page to see what kind of components Synology has used to control the DS207+ NAS server.


Synology DS207+ NAS Server Page: 4
A Closer Look continued
 
The Synology DS207+ incorporates a surprisingly feature-rich and well laid out motherboard. Once again, the two images below illustrate how the 60mm fan cools both sides of the motherboard.
 
Synology motherboard Motherboard vertical
 
The DS207+ features solid capacitors over the entire motherboard, with not so much as one electrolytic capacitor to be seen. The CPU used is a Marvell 88F5BF01 C500 500Mhz SoC (System on a Chip) processor, and does not require a heatsink (below).
 
Solid capacitors CPU
 
The DS207+ features a Marvell 88SX7042 Serial ATA Controller chip. It provides a dedicated channel for each SATA port, supports hot-plug SATA drives and is compliant with both SATA 1.0 and SATA II, including Native Command Queuing (NCQ). The Marvell 88SX7042 controller chip supports SATA PM, direct SATA connections and Spread Spectrum Clocking (SSC).
 
The DS207+ also comes equipped with a Spansion S29AL032D90TF103 4MB Flash RAM chip.
 
Ethernet chip bla bla
 
Rounding off our little tour of the DS207+ motherboard, we arrive at the two 64MB Hynix HY5DU121622DTP-D43 IC's which equates to 128MB of onboard RAM.
  
Onboard RAM
 
Let's head over the page to see how easy the Synology DS207+ is to install.


Synology DS207+ NAS Server Page: 5
Installation
 
I chose to install two 80GB capacity Western Digital Caviar SE HDD's into the Synology DS207+, and I'm happy to report that the process is just as easy as installing HDD's into a regular chassis HDD caddy.
 
WD Caviar SE installed WD Caviar SE installed_2
 
You can see from the image below that the DS207+ allows for sufficient airflow to circulate around the HDD's, which is most certainly a good thing.
 
Gap between HDD's
 
I particularly like how the shorter SATA and power cables retain the cooling ability of the DS207+, and don't add additional clutter to the interior. This will also benefit the cooling performance of the unit itself.
 
power connections
 
With the HDD's installed and the side cover back in place, the DS207+ is ready to be fired up.
 
Power up
 
Now that we have the HDD's installed and the Synology DS207+ connected to the network, let's have a look at what it has to offer over the page.


Synology DS207+ NAS Server Page: 6
Features and Configuration
 
The Synology DS207+, like its purely business-orientated bigger brothers, use the Synology Disk Station Manager 2.0 (SDSM 2.0) software in order to control and/or manipulate the NAS's settings. SDSM 2.0 utilises an AJAX based GUI, which allows you manage the Synology server like you would with Windows. Furthermore, the configuration menu is very easy to use and can be setup via manual configuration or through easy to use configuration wizards. In order to keep this review at a reasonable word count, instead of the 20 or so pages that it could easily consume, I have chosen to cover the main features that an everyday user would likely utilise. If you are interested in reading a little more on the Synology Disk Station Manager 2.0 then you can read more on it and its features here.
 
 Synology Assistant
 
The Synology Assistant is one of the pieces of software that comes on the installation disk; it finds your NAS server for you and provides the interface between your computer and the DS207+.
 
Synology Login AJAX GUI
 
Once the Synology Assistant has found your NAS, it will forward you onto the login screen. Synology has provided you with a default username and password, but you can change it once you enter into the configuration menu. From the image above (right) you can see the sheer amount of features that the Synology DS207+ offers. I'll give you a brief run-down of them for you below:
 
Expandable RAIDExpandable RAID
 
The Synology DS207+ offers three storage options: Basic; RAID 0 and RAID 1. The DS207+ will allow you to upgrade to RAID 1 from a single basic disk and it will even rebuild your RAID 1 array should you wish to move to larger Hard Disk Drives...All done 'on the fly'. You can set up what sort of Hard Disk Configuration you wish to run with courtesy of the configuration menu. One thing to note is that you cannot set the stripe size should you wish to run a RAID 0 array.
 
 RAID Array setup Choosing disks
 
The DS207+ took around six minutes to format both of my drives into a RAID 0 array.
 
Photo Station 3 logoPhoto Station 3
 
 If you spend a lot of time uploading photos to free photo sharing sites,Synology’s Photo Station 3 simplifies photo sharing into a few steps. Furthermore, you have full control over who can view your photos. In addition to sharing your photos, you can create and share your own blog with Synology's Photo Station 3
 
Photo Station 3 blog
 
Synology Network ServicesNetwork Services
 
The Synology DS207+ allows for a plethora of useful network tools and protocols. In addition to an inbuilt iTunes Server and Audio Server, the Synology DS207+ supports Win/Mac OS compatibility (including AppleTalk); FTP with SSL/TLS; EZ-Internet; Telnet/SSH and NFS support. The Win/Mac OS compatibility/cross-talk server would be very handy in Small Office Home Office (SOHO) environments where there are both Windows and MAC OS computers requiring access to important files. Nice touch Synology.
 
Win/Mac OS FTP Server settings
 
The inclusion of an FTP server with Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TSL) explicit encryption makes file transfer both fast and secure. HTTPS also makes an appearance here for the security conscious.
 
HTTP Web Services iTunes Server
 
 For the audio buffs and connoisseurs of fine music, the DS207+'s ability to run both an iTunes and Audio Server will be a welcome addition. The iTunes Server supports MP3, M4A and M4P formats, but the playlist format supports M3U and WPL respectively.
 
The DS207+'s inbuilt Audio Server supports all major formats including: AAC, FLAC, M4A, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, WMA and WMA.  VBR. Streaming media content over the internet hasn't been forgotten either, with support for SHOUTcast and RadioIO Internet radio.
 
The Synology DS207+ also has the ability to host your own personal website with the inclusion of MySQL 5.0.51.
 
Data Replicator Data Replicator
 
Data backup is so important but people tend to ignore it, and the DS207+ makes data backup so complete and automatic that backups can always be done without your attention. The DS207+ has a local backup facility that allows you to back up data from the DS207+ to an external hard drive attached to the DS207+ via the USB port.
 
Desktop Replicator

Desktop Backup simplifies the whole desktop backup process with Data Replicator 3. Plus the Synology DS207+ is compatible with many of the reputable backup utilities currently available on the market (Acronis True Image; Symantec Backup Exec; EMC Retrospect and LaCie SilverKeeper)
 
Let's head over the page to see how the Synology DS207+ performed during our testing...


Synology DS207+ NAS Server Page: 7

Testing

In order to test the Synology DS207+, I kept the testing process extremely simple and focused primarily on network transfer speed between the NAS itself and the client PC. All testing was conducted from within a closed network scenario in order to reduce network overheads affecting the performance of the DS207+. Unfortunately, I was unable to secure access to a Gigabit switch in time for the review to assess the Gigabit capabilities of the unit, but the numbers that I managed to obtain are, in my opinion, accurate and qualitative.

The Synology DS207+ will be assessed using a freshly formatted RAID 0 array, while Nodesoft' freeware DiskBench and Intel'  Iometer (Intel Open Source License) will be used to assess the Synology DS207+' disk performance. DiskBench is a handy little benchmarking utility that should give an indication of real life performance instead of synthetic numbers. Three tests were performed using DiskBench: read, copy and create. The read, copy and create benchmarks were all undertaken using a 500MB file.

Iometer is an I/O subsystem measurement and characterization tool for single and clustered systems. It's a useful tool to test disk performance and can measure the I/O transfer rate and the average I/O response time. The 'All in one' test was run for ten minutes and the results have been presented below for you:

 

Iometer results

 

 From the Iometer results chart above, we can see that 'Maximum I/O Response Time' is very high, but yet the 'average' is quite reasonable.

The low CPU Utilization figure is a welcome sight too. We can see from the DiskBench charts below that the Synology DS207+ provided satisfactory file transfer rates and times for both the read and copy benchmarks.

 

DiskBench benchmark

 

However, the 'create' benchmark causes a significant slowdown in disk performance, and the bottom chart illustrates this the best.

 

Transfer Rate

 

All things considered, the Synology DS207+ has handled itself quite respectably. Let's head over the page to see what we can draw from the conclusion...



Synology DS207+ NAS Server Page: 8
Conclusion Synology DS207+ NAS
 
So how well did the Synology Disk Station DS207+ perform in today's review?
 
There is no doubt that the Synology DS207+ is an excellent product. The build quality is very good and it certainly looks very classy, whilst ensuring a small desktop footprint. The Synology DS207+ also provides good cooling for the hard drives contained within, and the cooling fan manages to remain reasonably quiet most of the time. However, at times the fan does become noticeable, and emits some low frequency noise from time-to-time.
 
The performance of the Synology DS207+ is good, and additional performance could be achieved by using faster drives than the smaller 8mb cache Western Digital's that I used in today's testing. Additionally, the 2TB maximum storage that the Synology DS207+ allows should be more than enough to keep even the heaviest of storage users happy.
 
The recommended retail pricing for the Synology DS207+ is £203.26, but the best price I could find for the unit was £228.53 Inc VAT from Scan Computers UK. Admittedly, the Synology DS207+ isn't cheap, and consequently it may keep many potential buyers away. However, if you're in the market for a solid SOHO NAS setup, then the Synology DS207+ NAS should be on your short list.
 
 
The Good
+ Excellent feature set
+ Looks
+ Build quality
+ Effective cooling
+ Performance
+ Storage capacity and array options for such a small unit
 
The Mediocre
* Fan can be noisy
* The steep price will deter many
 
The Bad
- Absolutely nothing
 
It's times like these that I wish we had an OC3D 'Highly Recommended' award as the recommended award doesn't really seem to do the unit justice.
 
OC3D Recommended Award
 
Overclock3D would like to thank Synology for providing the Synology DS207+ NAS for review.
 
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