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Which 4-bay Synology to get?


eagle63
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Hey guys, I've been using WHS (both v1 and now 2011) for a few years but I'm getting very curious about Synology. I currently have a 4-bay Drobo (2nd generation) that I use for some miscellaneous things (such as a time machine backup for my mac mini) It's fine, but it's horribly slow and from a software/features standpoint the Synology machines seem to utterly blow-away Drobo. (maybe Drobo's market is more on the enterprise side? certainly for home usage though they just don't compare)

 

I'm definitely not planning on dumping WHS, I love it and use it everyday. But I would like to have a NAS that can act as a Time Machine destination for the Macs in my house. (my Drobo cannot do that over the network nor can WHS2011) So, I guess my specific question is if anyone has any experience comparing the lower-end 4 bay model (the 413j) to either of the higher-end models. (the 412 or 412+) From what I can tell you gain CPU and ram as you move up the chain, but I have no idea how important that is for a typical home setup. I have a feeling the 412+ is probably overkill, and I also have a hunch that the 413j would probably serve my needs just fine - but if I'm going to spend the money I'd hate to regret not getting the faster model somewhere down the road.

 

Any feedback is appreciated!

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Quick question. Do you need 4 bays? Just curious since you already have the WHS but I can see some folks needing more bays if they are going to backup the server to the NAS and use it as a Time Machine. The CPU and RAM will help if you're going to use the box for add on apps and surveillance. Things like that. If it's just going to be a destination and backup device I think you can get away with the "j." Don't forget to compare the external ports though if they are important to you.

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Good question Dave, for just acting as a TM destination then no I definitely wouldn't. I would certainly play with some of the features such as the photo sharing, music sharing, etc, but I think even with that a 2-bay unit would be fine. What I'm thinking about in the back of my head, however, is if this thing might eventually replace my WHS? If Synology keeps evolving the software and features (whereas WHS is pretty stagnant) then that day might arrive, and if it does I would probably want a 4-bay unit.

 

The features that keep me on WHS right now are the bare-metal backups (of windows machines), the media center integration (limited though it may be), and the ability to run iTunes as a server. (using the iHomeServer plugin) I know the Synology can backup windows PC's but my impression is that it's not really a full bare-metal backup like WHS provides.

 

Who knows, maybe the 2-bay makes more sense since it lets me get my feet wet for a lower cost. I think for the immediate future I'd be running it alongside my WHS as they might complement each other fairly well.

Edited by eagle63
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I have the 212j and find it to be fine for time machine and other backups and think you'll find it fine as a file destination. I also have a 212+ and do find the added memory and cpu are noticeably better when running apps.I mainly run photo station and find thumbnail creation and the responsiveness to be better. Synology benchmarks the + disk to be faster. I've never benchmarked them myself but I'm not frustrated by files copies even when apps are running. Just in use, they seem comparable for my usage which is pretty light. Just backups and file copies, no video streaming or actively editing files on the NAS. The + model also has some additional features which may or may not be important and may have different external ports. My 212+ adds USB 3 and the ability to automatically copy from a USB drive or SD card to the NAS

 

I started with the 'j' to see if I liked it. Like you said, it's the low-cost way in. I upgraded to the '+' for USB 3 and the better hardware for apps. Considering how long ago I got my 212j (Nov 2011) and that they've started release the '13 models the 212j may be due for an upgrade and I would guess it would get USB3 (but it's just a guess)

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  • 1 month later...

Good question Dave, for just acting as a TM destination then no I definitely wouldn't. I would certainly play with some of the features such as the photo sharing, music sharing, etc, but I think even with that a 2-bay unit would be fine. What I'm thinking about in the back of my head, however, is if this thing might eventually replace my WHS? If Synology keeps evolving the software and features (whereas WHS is pretty stagnant) then that day might arrive, and if it does I would probably want a 4-bay unit.

 

The features that keep me on WHS right now are the bare-metal backups (of windows machines), the media center integration (limited though it may be), and the ability to run iTunes as a server. (using the iHomeServer plugin) I know the Synology can backup windows PC's but my impression is that it's not really a full bare-metal backup like WHS provides.

 

Who knows, maybe the 2-bay makes more sense since it lets me get my feet wet for a lower cost. I think for the immediate future I'd be running it alongside my WHS as they might complement each other fairly well.

 

I echo I thoughts 100 percent, I am in the same boat as you, That bare-metal backup has got a hold on me. I just purchased a two bay Synology box DS213 last week for testing and I must say I absolutely love this box, Right now I am using it for recording my cameras both onsite and offsite, I am also using Synology email server and it all works great. I am now slowly moving all my famlys photos, documents, and pictures off of WSE 2012 and on to Synology and if all works well I will purchase the 5 or 8 bay Synology box to replace home server all together but I am still thinking this threw. One more thing I want to point out is you say your using WHS 2011 for an iTunes server?? Synology has an iTunes Server. http://www.synology.com/support/download.php?lang=us&b=2%20bays&m=DS213

 

Well good luck and keep us posted.

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I echo I thoughts 100 percent, I am in the same boat as you, That bare-metal backup has got a hold on me. I just purchased a two bay Synology box DS213 last week for testing and I must say I absolutely love this box, Right now I am using it for recording my cameras both onsite and offsite, I am also using Synology email server and it all works great. I am now slowly moving all my famlys photos, documents, and pictures off of WSE 2012 and on to Synology and if all works well I will purchase the 5 or 8 bay Synology box to replace home server all together but I am still thinking this threw. One more thing I want to point out is you say your using WHS 2011 for an iTunes server?? Synology has an iTunes Server. http://www.synology....=2 bays&m=DS213

 

Well good luck and keep us posted.

 

So I've decided to hold-off a bit on buying a Synology. My immediate need was a time-machine destination for my Macs, and I've accomplished that by installing Lion Server on my old (2007) Mac Mini. It's actually a perfect use for this machine, as it's small low-power, and quiet. Works great, and isn't a 3rd-party solution. (though I'm sure Synology works just fine for this, it's nice knowing I'm using "blessed" mac software for this purpose) OSX Server is also fun to play with, and does some cool things with management of the i-devices in our house.

 

All that said, I still am very intrigued by Synology and it's still on my radar as a potential WHS replacement someday.

 

With regard to running an iTunes server, I don't think what Synology offers is quite the same thing as running the iHomServer on WHS. iHomeServer is actually running/managing an instance of iTunes, whereas the Synology is taking your music and "broadcasting" it in a format that other Apple devices perceive as iTunes. So it accomplishes the same thing with regard to streaming your media, but in terms of managing/purchasing content it isn't the same thing.

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