Synology DS216 + II Review

The Synology DS216 + II comes in handy when a NAS does not only contain data, but also stream media or serve as a web server. For 300 euros, it offers a dual-core processor from Intel, a gigabyte of memory and over 100 free Apps for retrofitting. This is how to convince in the test. However, all users are not happy with the network storage, because an important multimedia feature is missing.

Synology is one of the most popular network attached storage (NAS) providers. With the DS216 + II server, the manufacturer offers a 2-port solution for smaller offices and more demanding home users. The device is at a price of around 300 euros without hard drives in direct competition to the same expensive QNAP 251+ , which we have also tested. The NAS is fueled by an Intel Celeron processor. The dual-core chip clocks at 1.6 gigahertz, but is supported only by small one gigabyte of RAM. In addition there is a hardware acceleration for videos, which should allow 4K clips with a maximum of 30 frames per second. Unfortunately, there is no high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) connection,

Also available are: A Universal Serial Bus 3.0 (USB) port, two USB 2.0 ports, an External Serial Advanced Technology Adapter (eSATA), and a network adapter. The hardware equipment can not compete with the direct competition, but should at least be sufficient for the use at home. As far as the theory, time to look at the DS216 + II once in operation.

Processing and hardware features

The case holds two hard disks and is a real plastic bomber, but a properly processed. Really good is the hard disk recording solved: 3.5- inch plates can be locked completely without screws in the plastic sleds. If you change the volumes frequently, for example, for changing backup tasks , this will certainly appreciate . And, of course, the NAS is capable of hotspots, so disks can be exchanged during operation. The mounting of 2.5-inch panels is also possible with two screws.

Also positive: the device is pleasantly quiet – however, the intelligent fan is also set to “quiet”, which can lead to temperature problems in the summer. Meanwhile, the standard option is to use the front USB port for immediate copies of data carriers. Otherwise, there is not much to say about the hardware. The processing is good, but in the competition there are some clearly better performance data or more connections.

Performance

The Celeron chip is sufficient for the operating system DiskStation Manager (DSM). The slim Linux version runs absolutely smooth on the NAS, and the Synology DS216 + II also makes a good impression even with HD movies, even jumping back and forth in the film is just fast enough not to unnervish you. If, however, several users access each other in parallel, or if several tasks are executed simultaneously, the two cores of the processor, in particular the meager memory, quickly reach their limits. But the question arises whether you are concerned: For a normal home file server for a few people, the computing performance in most situations, and lean services such as web or database server, the workforce of a small medium-sized company can cope.

More complex tasks such as virtualization synuse synonymous accordingly consistently outside. The processor would even even just get straight, but the memory is unfortunately too small. For the competitor QNAP, the virtualization runs for example only from 4 gigabytes of RAM. Memory can not be retrofitted with the DS216 + II unfortunately. Basically, Synology can attest that they have donated the DS216 + II enough power for 80 percent of the buyers and applications. The abandonment of any reserves could, however, turn out to be an annoyance after a time and with increased requirements.

Establishment and administration

The setup of the Synology NAS is simply great. The installation in the browser runs through an assistant in about five minutes and only requests basic data such as user and NAS name, a password and which applications are to be installed Default setting. Convenient: The wizard will immediately set up access to the NAS over the Internet . To do this, you simply enter a name of your choice and can reach your home network at an address like MeinNas.quickconnet.to.

The DSM interface is like a normal desktop, including windows, startup menu, and partitioning into file manager, software center (here package center), and system control. A dashboard provides information about utilization, hard disk status and background tasks. The operation is basically child-friendly, most of the settings are briefly explained, are understandably named and, of course, the whole system is in German. However, this is only the case for users who are familiar with computers or are willing to work their way into the world of abbreviations such as SSH , VPN , DDNS , LDAP and so on. The DS216 + II is not just a network storage, but a complete computer with a lot of preinstalled software.

As far as the tools are concerned, there is absolutely nothing to complain about. All major tools for administration are available and properly implemented, such as the management of the shares and user rights, the configuration of the data carriers, settings relating to the network and connectivity or multimedia. The only minor drawback: applications such as the multimedia server appear nowhere in the navigations of the windows of the system control or the package center, but only in the start menu – once internalized, but this is not tragic either.

Software Features

The operating systems of QNAP and Synology are like one egg to another – well, Easter eggs: it works like one and the same system, but with different themes. Just the many completely identical (sub) menus nourish this impression. But there is a huge difference: Synology is using DSM by default with extremely few applications, so that after launch some things seem to be missing that are almost expected, such as Web and database servers. This results in little ballast and fewer settings in the system that might confuse beginners. Everything needed for general operation, such as backup tools or cloud connectivity, is, of course, finished.

All other basics can be easily installed with one click from the package center. Among the more than 100 apps, however, there are many programs out of the ordinary. Synology itself: monitoring software, virtual private network server, Synology Office, cloud synchronization, anti-virus and more. On the other hand, all kinds of third-party apps like content management systems such as DokuWiki or Joomla , shop systems such as PrestaShop and osCommerce, programming languages ​​such as Python, Perl and Rubi or, of course, WordPress . The offer covers many needs and thanks to Web and database servers, any web application can be created manually.

Multimedia capabilities

Multimedia is probably the king’s discipline on a home NAS and the hardware side, the DS216 + II has to be here as already mentioned rather small because no HDMI is on board. As a multimedia server for the living room, the computer is therefore only conditionally. For streaming, however, there are two very well-functioning approaches: You can either use the various Synology Stations for audio, video and pictures or try your luck with the Mediaserver Plex. The Synology services serve their purpose and play media in the network through the browser or Synology apps for smartphones and tablets.

If you manage a complete library, maintain metadata and use your media intensively, Plex will make the best choice. Plex does everything from automatically capturing metadata (scrapping) through management through a great web interface to on-the-fly conversion and streaming. Particularly strong is Plex when streaming into the outside world, so for example on your smartphone: You can look at the train a film, which is delivered in smartphone-fair quality and then at home in HD on the television uninterrupted. Unfortunately you have to register for Plex. On the software side, Synology makes everything right, even if the popular free media center is Kodi , which can also be used with QNAP only through virtual detours.

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