Today I am installing a Synology DS218+ network attached storage (NAS) box and configuring it as a 4 TB RAID 1 array.
Click to watch the video—28 minutes, for beginners. Scroll down for more information.
The Synology DS218+ is a 2-bay NAS device that is designed for home use or very small office use. It works well for me in my office because I am the only one accessing it. However, I generally wouldn’t recommend it for offices with more than 3 or 4 people. Normally, I work on projects locally (from a PCIe SSD) for speed and efficiency. When those projects are done, they are stored on the DS218. It also houses common documents, images, and so on that I might access from multiple computers. So far it has worked great for me. I’ve set up over a dozen Synology products for customers, and have personally used several of them with good results. In fact, this device is replacing a DS216Play (with a 1 TB RAID 1 array). I’ve set up that DS216 as a 4 TB RAID 0 backup device for the DS218.
Data transfer has averaged around 72 MB/s written to the DS218+ drives. That’s from various devices and computers on my network including Core i5 and Core i7 systems, and other NAS devices. It is a bit slower from laptops. But in general, the DTR is up about 10% compared to the DS216Play. I attribute most of this to the newer CPU the device uses in comparison to the DS216, but the additional RAM seems to help a bit also when initiating larger data transfers. All devices and computers are connected via Cat 6 patch cables (and other Cat 6-based equipment) to a TP-Link TL-SG1016 gigabit switch. That said, I was able to achieve the maximum write speed of 112 MB/s as stated by Synology, but only when copying data from an Intel 750 PCIe SSD to the NAS device—and this only when nothing else was running on the computer and no other connections were made to the NAS.
Click this link for an online demo of the DSM software. (Be prepared for a slow connection—much slower than you would see when working on the NAS on your local network.)
How does this relate to the CompTIA A+ certification? An A+ candidate should know what a NAS device is, how to install drives to it, how to connect the device to the network, how to configure the built-in software, and how to find out what its data transfer rate is. Some basic troubleshooting would help as well—know how to read the indicator lights, and be able to diagnose problems within the NAS device’s built-in software. Basic security of the device is also important. For example, using complex passwords, and carefully selecting how (and if) the device can be seen over the Internet. Finally, know where and how you can purchase the device and how returns work.
Remember to shop around. At the time of purchase the NAS box was $299, drives were $129 each, and the RAM was $37. No shipping cost and all purchased from Newegg. Other shopping portals either didn’t have the product I wanted, or had shipping fees, or the price was too high (for example the RAM). But all of that can change on a daily basis, and RAM prices especially are volatile, so remember to shop for price and availability, and be prepared to wait—sometimes you can save a lot just by waiting a couple of days. Another tip: before making a purchase, clear your browser cache with a program such as CCleaner. This will help to prevent online price discrimination.