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5/9/2005
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Synology Product Offers Cheap And Reliable Data Backup

No matter the size of a business' data flow, business-critical information needs to be backed up and protected at all costs. Synology offers the DS-101 DiskStation, a barebones file server system that caters to the SMB market, for less than $250.

No matter the size of a business' data flow, business-critical information needs to be backed up and protected at all costs. However, reliable backup solutions can be quite expensive, especially for small or midsize businesses that can ill afford to spend money in excess.

Synology, a storage software and hardware vendor based in Taipei, Taiwan, offers the DS-101 DiskStation, a barebones file server system that caters to the SMB market, for less than $250.

The product ships with everything an integrator needs to build a backup and storage solution minus the storage subsystem—an IDE hard disk drive—but this omission is where the real opportunity lies. Solution providers could offer the DS-101 DiskStation as a backup or file server to provide automatic and realtime backup for customers. The device can be used to quickly add storage space to any PC or network and eases the transferring of files.

Integrators can take advantage of the extremely low current price points on hard drives. IDE drives are especially affordable and the DS-101 natively supports these drives. Coupled with Synology's Data Replicator, the DS-101 DiskStation will back up files automatically.

Besides offering critical backup functionality, the unit also can act as a viable print server. Any USB printer can be supported. Users simply connect the USB printer to the DS-101 DiskStation, and network users can instantly access the printing device.

The product includes three USB 2.0 ports. Attaching an external USB hard drive to expand storage capacity is an efficient, inexpensive option for solution providers. A USB Copy button on the front panel lets users plug a Compact Flash stick, used by digital devices such as digital cameras, or USB thumb drive into the front USB port—a great feature for real-estate offices and used-car dealerships, for instance. The data is automatically copied to the hard drive, and a file share is created.

Synology's DS-101 DiskStation also provides FTP service from its Web management GUI. When the FTP server is enabled, users are able to log in and transfer files using the FTP protocol.

The DS-101 DiskStation will send e-mails to notify administrators when critical events or errors occur. Users can enter the SMTP server address and assign up to two e-mail addresses for emergency notifications.

It sounds unbelievable that integrators would be able to put together a file server solution for less than $300, but CRN Test Center engineers found that Synology provides a mature, intuitive product that's easy to set up, easy to use and reliable. The DS-101 DiskStation also provides support for Apple's Mac OS X operating system.

Engineers found that the user interface was well-designed and very straightforward. The software, including the data replicator, worked exactly as promised, and the documentation, instructions and wizards made the entire testing experience pleasurable.

Setup consisted of removing the device's side cover and attaching an IDE hard drive. Once the hard drive was in place, CRN Test Center engineers connected the DS-101 DiskStation to an IBM ThinkPad X40 and ran the software CD. Installation went smoothly, and creating users, shares and passwords was easily accomplished.

Affordable NAS devices are flooding the SMB market. Surprisingly enough, these devices are not coming from the major hard-drive vendors but from major networking vendors such as Buffalo Technology, D-Link and Netgear. Most SMBs are restricted to low-cost storage solutions that may not offer them the performance and reliability they need to back up and recover sensitive data. Test Center engineers believe that the DS-101 DiskStation unit offers a terrific alternative to competitive offerings from major vendors due to its high-quality design, ease of use, low cost and excellent price-to-performance ratio. For an affordable SMB backup and recovery solution, the DS-101 DiskStation clearly fits the bill.

Synology does not sell exclusively to the channel. The Taipei, Taiwan-based company just recently began developing a channel program that is in its infancy. The DS-101 DiskStation comes with a one-year warranty.



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