Synology Disk Station DS408 ReviewNemo - March 3, 2009
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As mentioned in the section on volume creation, the management of the DS408 is done through an AJAX Web UI called Disk Station Manager. The unit was tested with version 2.0, although Synology has released a beta 2.1 version since I began testing the unit. The user interface is divided into two panes. On the left side you have all the major categories arranged as folders in a tree structure similar to Windows Explorer. The right hand pane takes up most of the screen real estate and can be configured in one of two views. The first view is Wizard Mode that allows you quick access to some of the more common features. You can also set it to Complete Mode which displays all of the features broken out by major category with each individual feature represented. This complete list of features extends past a single screen, requiring you to scroll down to set all of them. You'll also notice in this mode there is a one-to-one correspondence to the directory tree shown on the left. You'll also notice in this mode there is a one-to-one correspondence to the directory tree shown on the left. In the upper left hand corner you also notice options to return to the home page as well as an option to restart or shutdown the server.
The management features are broken down into seven main categories:
Information – this section allows you to view the status of the unit including general and network settings and overall health of the system and hard drives. You can also use this section to view any of the various logs maintained by the unit.
System – included in this section are options to set the detailed network settings, language used for the display and the time, time zone and network time protocol (NTP) server. Other options include setting up e-mail notifications, power settings, update the firmware and restore the unit's settings.
Privileges – here is where you can create users, groups and network shares and assign rights to folders as well as set user disk space quotas.
Storage – this is where you can check on the health of your disk drives using SMART monitoring as well as create, delete and repair volumes.
Network Services – the DS408 provides various services that can be enabled in this section including FTP, iTunes service, multimedia UPnP support and other Web services such as enabling the Web server and photo sharing capabilities.
Backup – these options are for backing up the system configuration and creating local and network backup jobs.
External Devices – these are all features associated with devices connected via the external USB ports including flash drives, printers and uninterruptible power supplies (UPS).
The Information section contains three subsections where you can get information on the current status of the DS408 as well as check any items in one of the various logs maintained by the system. There are no user-configurable items on this page.
The Status subsection displays basic information on the health and status of the DS408 and the physical drives and any volumes you have created. Various information is displayed in three panes broken out by 'Basic information', 'Network', 'Time', 'Hard Disks' and 'USB device'.
In the 'Basic information' area you'll find information on the server itself including the name, serial number, amount of physical memory installed, system temperature and amount of disk space used/available on the volume(s).
The 'Network' area details basic network information pertaining to the settings you supplied including IP address, subnet mask, DNS server address and workgroup name.
In additional to the actual time set on the system, you can view time parameters such as time zone and NTP time server name if yo have one defined.
You can also check on some of the SMART information reported on the physical such as model number, temperature, size, status and which volume the disk is included inalong with information on any USB devices connected to the DS408.
The DS408 maintains several logs of events. The systems log monitors both normal and abnormal activity and presents them in a easy-to-read format with the most recent events at the top of the page. Information includes the event time, user name and event description. The display can be sorted by any column by simply clicking on the column heading. You also have the option of clearing the log or saving the log to an HTML file for archiving or research purposes.
Logs are organized into six different categories. In addition to the System log, the DS408 maintains logs for Connection, Current connection, FTP file transfers, Backup and Network Backup events.
There is also an About page that displays various information concerning copyright and trademark notice information. Next up we'll check out some of the System configuration options on the DS408.