Synology RackStation RS408 review

Price when reviewed

With its latest RS408 NAS appliance, Synology steps in line with the competition by delivering a rack mount version of its DiskStation products. The new RackStation is aimed at small businesses and offers hot-swap RAID-5 and dual Gigabit ports whilst the RP version also has dual redundant power supplies.

Synology RackStation RS408 review

Synology supplied the review unit with a triplet of 1.5TB Seagate Barracuda SATA hard disks as proof it can support them. However, you can start small and grow with demand as drives can be replaced individually with larger models and the RAID controller will rebuild the array. Build quality is up with Netgear’s rack mount ReadyNAS and certainly superior to Buffalo’s TeraStation Pro II Rackmount which still doesn’t support hot-swap and uses a fatter 2U chassis.

An 800MHz processor is in the driving seat and this is partnered by a useable 512MB of DDR2 memory. The two USB ports at the rear can be used for connecting external storage devices or sharing printers over the network. The Linux OS needs to be loaded on the drives and this is handled neatly by the Assistant utility which prepares the hard disks and installs the kernel from the CD-ROM. The appliance’s web interface is a cut above the rest as Synology’s Ajax-based Disk Station Manager 2.0 interface is very slick.

Performance is very good but not a patch on Netgear’s storming ReadyNAS Pro appliance. We copied a 2.52GB video clip over Gigabit Ethernet and saw average read and write speeds of 45MB/sec. The appliance functions as an FTP server and with the same file, the FileZilla utility reported read and write speeds of 59MB/sec and 50MB/sec – fast, but well below those delivered by the ReadyNAS Pro.

If it’s feature you want then the RS408 won’t disappoint as it’s endowed with everything offered by Synology’s Disk and CubeStation products. Client support extends to Windows and Macintosh systems and access can be controlled with a local database or integration with an AD server. User quotas allow disk space usage to be carefully controlled and read and write access determined for each shared folder.

Backup facilities have a business-like feel as selected folders can be copied to USB attached storage devices or another Synology appliance using a scheduler. Workstation backup is handled by the Replicator 3 utility which we found easy enough to use. During backup job creation it’ll find the appliance, show the shares that can be used as targets and once a full backup has completed it secures new files and modifications on the fly.

The Surveillance Station looks handy as feeds from IP cameras can be recorded directly onto the appliance and Synology includes motion detection as well. We successfully tested this with an Axis PTZ camera and were able to view the live feed and set up recording schedules for each day of the week. The appliance can also run as a web server and the Download Station lets you copy files from remote locations directly to the appliance using BitTorrent, HTTP or FTP.

The RackStation RS408 simply won’t be beaten for features with many of them useful for small businesses. Performance is good enough for the target market and, if you want them, you’ll find the RS408 is bristling with multimedia applications as well.


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