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Synology DS418j review, test the small NAS for storage

DS418j

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The use of NAS in increasingly diversified environments has led, in recent years, to a more precise classification of the various models: the Synology DS418j falls into the category of NAS with ARM processor, less powerful than those equipped with Intel, but also quieter and generally cheaper, factors that can represent important reasons in the choice for the small office, the single professional who maybe works (also) from home or simply those who mainly need to store a lot by exploiting the network more than cables.

We say this because the ARM option is very important, it cannot be changed at a later time and the number of services offered radically changes: DS418j perfect for all storage and document sharing needs in a small reality via AFP, SMB and FTP, also offering a solid document management via browser.

Synology DS418j

It can do other things, of course: it can act as a reservoir for surveillance cameras, as an email backup service, provide development tools and present an integrated office environment that can be managed by a browser and collect and organize personal photos and videos, which we can say, far more than the average use that users perform with NAS, even if it lacks some important services such as Plex and virtualization which, if they are interesting, would bring the choice to a much more powerful model (like the Synology Plus series ).

DS418j, originality and design

Out of the box, the DS418j has a very original design: to load a disc, since there is no opening for the front slides, you have to literally perform a brute maneuver, opening it from behind, and then place the four discs on the horizontal slides with the appropriate screws.

These are designed to comfortably exploit 2.5 and 3.5 disks (although, in all honesty, for a model like this 2.5 SSD solutions are probably oversized) and in fact two categories of screws are proposed inside.

The opening and positioning of the disks is not feasible when turned on, due to the difficulty of keeping the power cable connected, so it is necessary to turn it off, which is not a big problem considering that 24/24 redundancy will hardly be required on a model like this: however, in expert hands the change of a disk from NAS on to NAS on takes place in no more than ten minutes, according to whom in a few weeks has made several tests with many disks and configurations.

Speaking of disks, with this model of NAS we wanted to test a new disk arrived in the editorial office, an IronWolf with 12 TB of space: a very particular model, because it combines server mechanics (designed to be used 24/24 and 7/7) to a very impressive storage space (almost the maximum of the market).

The disc, which weighs more in hand than the other 6TB discs that we usually used, offers a nice feeling, because the external shape, entirely in metal, more collected and closed than the models with less space and in all honesty it makes a certain impression to think how many documents of all types can accommodate on their own (a quick mental calculation led us to think that 12 TB of data can easily host all the animation films released so far, in Mp4 / H.264 format at HD or FullHD resolution ), or an infinite number of Jpeg images, vector or Office documents, but also many, many images in Raw or DNG format, even of digital backs.

DSM, a security

Once the disks were defined, that for those who do this work a very unstable situation because for obvious reasons we tried multiple configurations with RAID and not, we launched the initialization of the NAS.

The DS418j can use the DSM 6 operating system, which is certainly one of the best on the market both in terms of safety and in terms of ease of use.

The initial phase of initiation totally guided, safe, easy and bombproof: of course, the possibility of stumbling is there, but all thought to offer a service that is as automated as possible, so much so that in the end the system also offers us to install the Apps. best based on usage profile.

List the possibilities offered by DSM here would be impossible, because the services are many and vary from office problems to the cloud, from office management to interfacing with the Mac, very good thanks to a service that allows you to synchronize some Finder folders directly with the NAS (a kind of private Dropbox).

The coverage outside the Mac is also very nice, with the Apps for Apple TV that a little fill the lack of Plex (which is not really possible to install, even outside the App Store) also these, which rely on services also present for the furniture, are based on a database perhaps too complex and not very elastic.

Considerations

In the use that we have made of the DS418j we have obtained more than positive impressions: there is no doubt that the nature of the small NAS hangs predominantly for pure storage, as we said with sharing systems to computers (above all) but also smartphones and tablets.

DSM's excellent disk management systems offer ample flexibility in the various configurations and a good response speed in the indexing phase after the creation of a volume or a RAID system, for which the initial configuration, as well as a change of disk or however, a very fast RAID system, despite the downtime.

We see it as a product suitable for the living room, despite the lack of Plex (but not necessarily necessary for everyone) and also for the small office, where with two or four users the DS418j is the perfect replacement for a Server, otherwise much more complex .

Synology DS418j available in the Synology sales network, or even as a Prime product on Amazon.it: we recommend the use of NAS category disks, in the test in question we used Seagate IronWolf and SSD Angelbird mechanical disks.

Pro:

  • Quiet and effective
  • Efficient and mature operating system

Versus:

  • The design too original
  • The use of an ARM processor limits some functions

Price: 317.20 Euros