Synology have done a great job of combing hardware and software to deliver a lot of great features. What’s also great is how simply they’ve made the setup, with many NAS configurations requiring a degree in Linux, the DS220+ is a breeze.
To get started, just connect the power and network cable to the device, with the other end connected to your router. Next, you take a quick visit http://find.synology.com and your device will be discovered, allowing you to commence setup. From there, you proceed through the setup, configuring user accounts, shared folders and importantly what type of configuration you’re after. Personally I went with a standard RAID0 setup, to ensure the data I backed up, was replicated across both drives.
If you choose to, you can activate remote access and setup QuickConnect. This allows you to visit QuickConnect.to from any browser and enter your unique ID. Once you do, you’ll be prompted for a username and password, which then gives you access to your data, from anywhere in the world.
Uploading data is just the start, it’s when you break open the Package Center app that you discover the full capabilities of what you just bought, everything from an archiving solution, to even being able to run a web server like WordPress.
This app is the real rock star of the solution when it comes to replacing Google Photos. This app installs in seconds and then you can grab the associated mobile app on your phone and enable photo backup. You sign into this app using the simple QuickConnect ID and credentials above, making the whole ecosystem secure and simple.
What I love is that the background sync is configurable to only occur on WiFi, when your connected to power (like charging overnight), or if you need it to be immediate, over cellular. It’s also smart enough to know what photos are backed up, so if you need to free up space on your phone, it’s a single button to make it happen.
Something I loved about Google Photos was the ability to refine photos based on the location they were taken at. Thankfully Synology also offers smart Albums, automatically sorting your photos into folders like ‘Places’. This really helps you track down the photo you’re after rapidly.
My other feature with photos is basically a must-have, which is facial recognition. It has been so great to be able to get albums automatically created based on the system identifying my 3yo daughter’s face, saving hundreds of hours of work to curate this manually. You do have to enable this in Synology Photo settings before facial recognition is active, a great example of Synology understanding this may not be something all customers are comfortable with.
The Synologoy mobile app even supports playing photos back to AirPlay or Chromecast devices, so you can play a slideshow for the whole family on you big screen.
More information about Synology Photos here.
Effortless Data Sharing & Synchronization
When you add a device like this to your home network, it’s likely that you’re whole family will need access to share, and sync their data from various devices, even if they are across different operating systems. You can give different permissions to different folders, say, work files versus family photos. Having this level of control over the shared folders and users that can connect to the storage (and applications), makes this NAS feel much more like a business appliance in terms of capabilities.
Connecting to the device is a breeze and can be done a number of different ways. If you’re on a Windows PC, you can use deviceName in Windows Explorer to get to the list of Shared Folders, then map the relevant drive. Once you’ve configured this, it’s easy to setup Windows backup to point to this location and ensure your files are always backed up. The story for Mac users is similar, just fire up smb://deviceName in Finder.
If you don’t want to use the standard SMB option, there’s also AFP, NFS, FTP, rsync for more advanced users.