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3/26/2009
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Fredric Paul
Fredric Paul
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Synology "Disk Stations" Bridge Business, Consumer Markets

Just as consumer technology is trickling up to small and midsize businesses, business technology is also trickling down to so-called "prosumers." Case in point is Synology's new line of Network Attached Storage (NAS) units.

Just as consumer technology is trickling up to small and midsize businesses, business technology is also trickling down to so-called "prosumers." Case in point is Synology's new line of Network Attached Storage (NAS) units.The Synology 09 Series Disk Stations combine Linux-based firmware with high-speed processors, significant amounts of RAM, ethernet connections, and up to five drive bays to let businesses and consumers store and manage digital files. Better still, they can even replace full-scale servers for many simple business applications.

synology Synology's Disk Stations can function as simple servers.

According to Synology marketing manager Heather Morford, small businesses don't think "I need a NAS," they mostly think they need a server. But most small busineses use servers for file storage, print servers, mail servers, Web and FTP servers, and other simple tasks, Horford says. "You don't need a full-scale server for that." The Synology Disk Stations can handle 95% of what most small businesses need from a server, she says, without requiring additional server licenses, and are cheaper and easier to install.

They're also energy efficient, Morford adds, with auto-scheduling of on/off cycles and variable fan speeds. The 4-bay DS409slim unit holds 2.5-inch drives and is quiet enough to be placed on the desktop, Morford claims.

synologyslim The new Synology DS409slim uses 2.5-inch drives to keep the noise to a minimum.

Businesses are the primary audience for Synology's 09 Series Disk Stations, and the company is packaging subsets of particular features to address specific vertical markets.

At the same time, Synology's AJAX-powered Web interface is designed to make the NAS units so simple to set up and maintain that high-end consumers can use them to back up large media collections or integrate with an iTunes server.

Sold through distributors like New Egg, Amazon, and Tiger Direct, prices for single-bay units (without the actual hard drives, users add those separately) begin at just over $100.

That's not very expensive, but I was wondering why a small business would buy NAS when it could store its data in the cloud without buying anything?

With NAS, Morford explains, "you own it, and you keep control of it." Ironically, she cautions that subscription-based pricing could cause problems down the road. "What if you need to cut costs? How are you going to keep paying the subscription costs?" Morford says that makes the cloud better suited for secondary storage, not for primary backup and storage.

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