Synology's DS1019+—about $650 without disks—is a super-charged 5-bay Network Attached Storage (NAS) device that Synology says is "designed for small businesses and advanced home users."
This small box stands roughly 6.5-by-9-by-9 inches, sports a Quad-core Intel Celeron processor, 5 drive bays—expandable to 10, 8GB of RAM, 2GB Ethernet connections, 1 eSATA port, and 1 USB 3.0 port.
The DiskStation I worked with had two drive bays filled with 4GB Seagate drives.
Out of the Box
Server running on macOS has been my goto basic file server for several years, but Apple has all but ended support for Server and features such as file sharing have been moved back into the core macOS, and don't offer most of the kinds of features you'd expect to find in a good file server.
Synology, in my opinion, is as close to what the Mac used to be when it comes to simple server setup, getting users added, and getting your hardware up and running with a minimum of effort, but also provides full support for integration into business networks running Active Directory and multimedia services that required third-party software on your macOS server. I say it's easy having worked on everything from Windows and macOS servers and Drobo NAS devices. Hands down, getting the DS1019+ or any Synology server, up, running, and ready-to-go is simple and straight forward.
My review DiskStation already had two drives installed, but the basics of setup are:
- Remove the server from the box
- Install your hard drives
- Connect to your network
- Connect power
- Power the server on
- Open the DS Finder app on your phone or iPad or use Synology's or go to the Find Synology website to locate your Diskstation on your local network.
After just a couple of steps, your DiskStation is set. Synology offers iOS and Android apps you can use to configure your DiskStation and that you can continue to use to manage your device, There's also an excellent web interface you can access from any device with a modern web browser.
For remote access, if you don't want to set your DS1019+ up with a dedicated public IP address and domain name, Synology offers a free connection service that works great. Create a Synology account then set up a QuickConnect ID for your DS1019+ and you can use that to access the devices from anywhere in the world.
- Simple setup
- Excellent replacement for Apple's deprecated Server App services
- Drive app gives you file synchronization across all your devices
- Multimedia services are simple to set up and there are apps available for accessing that media across all your devices
- None significant
It's All In the Software
The DS1019+'s greatest asset lies in the software it ships with, Disk Station Manager, or DSM, which, by the way, is what you'll find on all Synology DiskStations.
DSM is a web-based management system and the core OS of every Synology DiskStation. You use DSM to add services, set up file shares, add users, set up DNS, or backups to cloud services, and add any of more than ten-dozen other applications that are part of the Synology DSM universe.
When you turn your DS1019+ on for the first time, DSM offers to set up a couple of more commonly used apps by default. These are mostly geared toward home users, so it includes a variety of media servers, including a video streaming server, music and photo server, and a DropBox-like service called Drive that synchronizes files and folders across all your devices. If you're setting the DS1019+ for your office network you can skip this step and proceed directly to the DSM's package installer to select and install the features you need.
By default, Synology Disk stations use a proprietary RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) called Synology Hybrid RAID or SHR, but DiskStation's support up to RAID 10, for maximum data redundancy and data integrity. Synology also offers an option called Synology RAID F1 that is specifically designed for SSDs.
Synology Drive and More
One of my favorite DSM features is the Synology Drive, which is a feature allowing your DS1019+ to become a private Dropbox-like service. Install Synology Drive on your DiskStation using the Synology Package Center, the app you use to install all apps on a DiskStation, and then install the DiskStation app on all of your devices. Once installed you can begin adding files to the Synology Drive folder and they will immediately become available across all your devices. This feature alone is worth the price of admission.
In addition to Synology Drive, and the DS1019+'s standard file sharing features, I also gave the Synology Video Station a whirl. Video Station is a video sharing server that can take any video file, from DVDs you've ripped to disk or to the old super 8 movies you've had converted to digital format, and serve them up to any device anywhere in the world. You'll also find that this DiskStation can serve up any other media you may have stored in digital format, from photos to MP3s. And most all of your smart devices, from TVs to phones, can connect to this, or any other Synology device, can connect to and play the files stored on your Synology DiskStation.
Serve It Up
The DS1019+ is an excellent file server, whether you want to set it up at home as a person multimedia server, or at your office to serve up everything from email to a company VPN. If you're looking for a replacement for an existing macOS server or if you're looking to set a new server up from scratch, the DS1019+ (or any other Synology DiskStation) will set up quickly and serve you for years to come.
Who's Serving You
Synology isn't the only file server on the block. Drobo? WD My Cloud? Some other service that you've rolled up yourself? Where do you put the files you most need to serve?
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