NAS devices comes in all shapes and sizes, and the market is currently booming with an array of options. But when you want to use more disks you quickly end up looking at rackmounted models. These are generally large and heavy and loud, so not so great for office environments. Last year, Synology launched the Disk Station DS2411+, a NAS device with room for 12 disks in a compact, cuboid chassis. Its replacement has now arrived in the form of the Disk Station DS2413+ (the NAS is available from Scan for £1,060).
From the outside it looks identical to last year's model. It's a compact cabinet with space for 12 disks in individual trays that tales both 2.5in and 3.5in disks. The lock above the trays allows you to lock them in place. The front also has a power button and control LEDs that indicate the activity, which network ports are in use, and whether there is a problem. Simple yet effective.
The back side is fairly decent as well, with two GbE network ports, four USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports. There is also a serial port, but no monitor connector that last year's model had. It does have the special connector for adding the DX513 expansion unit with space for five extra disks or the DX1213 with room for 12 disks. The latter is the reason for the "24" in the name of the Disk Station DS2413+. 12 disks in the NAS itself plus the 12 extra disks equal 24.
The hardware of DS2413+ is a pretty significant upgrade over that of the DS2411+. On the outside, the main difference is the addition of two external USB 3.0 ports, great for making back-ups to an external disk. It's an important addition, since the previous model did not have any fast transfer options that way.
The system runs on a dual-core Intel Atom D2700 processor and clocked at 2.13 GHz with a Marvell 88SX7042 controller. The motherboard has two memory slots with one towards the middle containing a 2GB module leaving the slot nearer to the edge. When you remove the side panel of the chassis it's easy to access that memory slot so you can add more RAM for a maximum total of 4 GB. In the back are two large fans that are fairly quiet. In comparison, last year's model ran on an Intel Atom D525 (1.8 GHz) and 1 GB of RAM.
We have lauded Synology's Disk Station Manager often enough, and in a more demanding environment, it holds up very well. It's just as easy to configure a server with 48 TB of storage (like these Western Digital 4TB hard drives at £235 a pop) which you can upgrade to 96 TB with a second chassis and expansion module, as it is to setup one of the entry-level models. There is also a huge number of apps available.
It makes this NAS device an interesting product for both the private home media collector and for businesses. You can use it as security, mail and VPN server. You have access to CRM packages like SugarCRM and VtigerCRM, CMS systems such as Joomla, Wordpress and Drupal, webshop packages like Magento and OScommerce, and other services like OrangeHRM and OpenERP. So you can use it as a true storage device but also a relatively affordable and easy to install application server.
An interesting quality of the DS2413+ is its expandability, especially for businesses with growing storage needs. All common RAID levels are supported, and you can also let the NAS itself decide what the best RAID configuration is with SHR (Synology Hybrid RAID) feature.
It's easy to add disks as well. If you're in a complex environment then it's practical that you can combine multiple storage volumes into one RAID set. It's also nice that the NAS supports iSCSI so can can add the storage capacity of the DS2413+ directly to your server.
When it's full of disks the DS2413+ uses about 100 watts of power which is relatively low. However, with fewer disks the consumption is relatively high instead, so this is definitely not a model for just one or two disks. You can read all about the performance of the Synology DS2413+ in the full review on Hardware.Info.