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Synology Disk Station DS408 Review

Nemo    -   March 3, 2009
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Managing the DS408 is done through a web-based user interface known as Synology Disk Station Manager 2.0. DSM 2.0 is an AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript And XML) management UI that provides a richer web interface akin to running a Windows application on the desktop. It is through this interface that you access and manage all aspects of the DS408. You can reach the login page of the management screen by pointing your browser to http://xxx.xxx.x.x:5000 where 'xxx.xxx.x.x' is the IP address of the Disk Station. If you chose not to assign it a fixed address during in the setup wizard then you can use http://DiskStation:5000. If you changed the server name during setup you would use that name in place of 'DiskStation' in the URL. We'll look at the Web UI and all of its features in greater detail later.

We need to finish the initial configuration of the server by creating a volume. This means we need to have the system configure the drives and get them ready for to be used for storage. A volume is simply a way of referring to the space on a drive or set of drives. If you recall, at the end of the Setup Wizard process, the wizard automatically launched the login screen for the Web UI. Since this is the first time through we have to use the system administrator account and you'll need to supply the password you choose during the setup process described earlier. If you didn't change the password then leave it blank, which is the default. Once you have successfully logged in you see the main Disk Station Manager screen and along the left hand side you'll see a tree structure that list the components. You'll need to make sure the Storage node is fully expanded by clicking on the '+' next to it. Beneath that you need to click on 'Volume' to bring up the screen where you'll begin the volume creation process. You'll notice the screen is essentially blank as this is our first time to create a volume. The only option available to you is the Create option and once you click on that you start the Volume Creation Wizard that will walk you through the steps needed to create a new volume.








The first step in the volume creation process is to specify which disks to include in the volume. Before you make a choice you need to consider which volume type you will be using. The DS408 supports five different hard drive configurations: Basic (each hard drive is configured as a separate volume), RAID 0 (also known as striping where two identical drives are set up as one larger drive), RAID 1 (also known as mirroring where one drive maintains a copy of the other drive), RAID 5 (uses striping similar to RAID 0 but also provides redundancy for data protection) and RAID 6 (similar to RAID 5 but provides protection against 2 drives in the set failing). The pros and cons of each type of setup are outside the scope of our review but a concise explanation can be found in The Official OCC RAID Guide, Version 2.0. Basic volume types can only make use of a single drive, while RAID 1 volume types must consist of two drives. RAID 0 volumes can be configured using two or more drives and RAID 5 and Raid 6 volumes must contain three or more. In our example I'll be creating a RAID 5 volume type so I selected all four drives by highlighting them and then acknowledged the warning about all the data being erased. On the next page I chose RAID 5 as the volume type. The final choice to make prior to the actual volume creation process is to select how the drives will be examined prior to creating the volume. A complete consistency will examine each drive for bad sectors and remap them before the volume is built. This process could take up to several hours depending on the number and size of the drives. If the drives are new or have never been checked for bad sectors this is the preferred choice. A rapid check is similar to during a quick format in Windows. The danger being that if a bad sector on the disk is encountered later it could cause a volume crash.




After you have made your choices and press the Next button you'll get a chance to confirm your choices. In our example we'll be doing a rapid check just to save a little bit of time. Another Next button click starts the volume creation process. This can be a several hour process as mentioned earlier, so this would be a good time to go do something else. When the volume creation process is finished, you should see the volume information with a status of 'Normal' as shown in the final screen shot.




Now that we have the volume created, it's time to look at some of the additional features and configuration options available on the DS408.

  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Installation
  3. Configuration: Initial Setup
  4. Configuration: Volume Creation
  5. Configuration: Web UI & Information
  6. Configuration: System
  7. Configuration: Privileges
  8. Configuration: Storage
  9. Configuration: Network Services
  10. Configuration: Backup
  11. Configuration: External Devices
  12. Specifications & Features
  13. Testing Setup
  14. Testing: SiSoft Sandra
  15. Testing: Intel NAS Performance Toolkit
  16. Testing: Operation
  17. Teating: Features
  18. Conclusion
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