D-Link ShareCenter+ DNS-345 review
It may be long in the tooth now, but D-Link’s ShareCenter+ DNS-345 is an exceedingly cheap four-bay NAS appliance. Its compact, solid metal chassis has room for up to 16TB of storage, which can be presented as NAS shares and iSCSI targets. See also: what to look for when buying a NAS for business.
Drive installation is tool-free: push the front cover up to remove it and slide in up to four LFF SATA hard disks, which mate with the power and interface connectors at the back. Levers are provided at the rear to pop out the drives. A wizard makes installation easy; we created a RAID5 array with four 4TB WD Enterprise hard disks that took only 22 minutes to format. The appliance then made the entire volume available as a single share with open access.
We tightened up security with local users and groups and applied access permissions to selected shares; the appliance’s quota service allowed us to apply usage restrictions in megabytes to selected users and groups. The web console’s homepage, meanwhile, provides quick links to files, photos and music. The My Files page shows the root volume where sub-folders can be created and files uploaded and downloaded from our host PC.
The DNS-345 is geared up to provide a private cloud store for remote users. Once we’d created a mydlink cloud DDNS account on the appliance, we used the new URL to access it remotely and view shared files and download and upload data using the My Files web console app.
We installed the Windows Cloud Sync app, which provides a personal Dropbox-like service between remote users and the appliance. It worked fine during testing but, cheekily, D-Link restricts sync folder capacity to 2GB; to increase this to 50GB, you need to pay an annual fee of £20.
The DNS-345 provides some useful backup apps, which we used to run incremental copies from one local volume to another and from a remote system to the appliance. For the latter, we created multiple tasks that secured data from shares on Windows workstations and servers to the appliance at regular intervals.
Remote backups can be made to other rsync-compatible NAS appliances, and we also ran local backups to storage devices connected to the appliance’s USB port. Jobs are started by pressing a button on the front panel, and progress can be tracked on the OLED display.
The Surveillance Center app only supports D-Link’s IP cameras, but it automatically discovered our DCS-7513 model. For a free app, it’s rather handy: it can support multiple cameras, record and playback using the DNS-345, and link up with motion detection events.
The elderly Marvell processor and 128MB of system memory hit disk write performance hard, however. Drag-and-drop copies of a 50GB test file returned a reasonable 90MB/sec sustained read speed, but writes dropped to 43MB/sec. Backup performance was even lower – our 22.4GB folder of 10,500 small files managed only 36.5MB/sec. We also tested D-Link’s ShareCenter Sync software on a Windows 8.1 host and watched it secure the same test folder at barely 20MB/sec.
To create an IP SAN, we simply enabled the iSCSI target service and added targets, which all appear under a single portal. Performance is poor, with Iometer reporting low read and write speeds of only 82MB/sec and 53MB/sec respectively for a 100GB target.
Better suited to a home office than a small office, the D-Link ShareCenter+ DNS-345 is dated, and its meagre hardware spec leaves it lagging behind the competition. It’s worth considering if you want a simple, affordable NAS appliance, but if performance is critical, we recommend Netgear, Qnap or Synology.