Synology DS210j NAS - Network Application Server

Aron Schatz
September 1, 2010
Product Page
Synology DS210j NAS - Network Application Server
The DS210j is easily the most feature rich NAS we've ever seen and it easily wins Editor's Choice for the DiskStation Manager software.

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We are always on the lookout for interesting and unique products. We go to many different trade shows to find those special companies that go above and beyond the competition to really shine. When we saw Synology's product line at a local trade show, we were stoked to try them out. Sure, you can call the DS210j a NAS, as in Network Attached Storage, but it is more like a Network Application Server. Calling the DS210j a plain old NAS is just plain wrong and the feature set is truly incredible. Move over large x86 servers, these new products can do it all.

About Synology


Synology America Corp. located in Redmond, Washington is the North American branch of Synology Inc. Synology has been delivering award-winning NAS (network attached storage) devices to small business and home users since early 2000. Synology is a network attached storage company, with all R&D focused solely on delivering the best in class network attached storage devices with forward-thinking features at an affordable price.

When you purchase a Synology product, you will have peace of mind in the value that our products deliver and if you ever need a little help, our in-house support team, located in Redmond Washington is second to none.

Synology Products

Synology DiskStations include both disk and rack style NAS stations, in multiple configurations from entry-level to business class. With world-wide recognition for performance and reliability, Synology Disk Stations bring value to every day IT functions. Disk Station Manager software, a Synology exclusive, comes with every model, enabling robust functionality, and feature sets, in an intuitive AJAX web-based interface.

Synology's Guarantee

From mid-sized businesses to home users, Synology Disk Stations are designed to bring affordable peace of mind to digital asset management. Synology is fully committed to providing exceptional services, with both pre and post sales support. All Synology Disk Stations come fully backed by Synology's hardware warranty, and 24/7 online product support is available through the Synology online forums, the Synology Wiki and Synology's website.



Synology seems to use the same box for many different products and you know you're getting the DS210j by the simple sticker on the top. We've got no problem with the cost cutting that companies do as long as it doesn't affect the product itself.
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We're about to spoil the entire review by listing the entire specifications, but we do so to be complete.

  • CPU Frequency: 800MHz
  • Hardware Encryption Engine
  • Memory Bus: 16bit@DDR800
  • Memory: 128MB
  • Internal HDD1: 3.5" SATA(II) X2 or 2.5" SATA/SSD X2 (with the Disk Holder)
  • Max Internal Capacity: 4TB (2x 2TB hard drives)
  • Size (HxWxD): 161mm X 88mm X 218mm
  • External HDD Interface: USB 2.0 port X3
  • Weight: 0.98kg
  • LAN: Gigabit X1
  • Wireless Support (with dongle)
  • Fan: X1(70mmX70mm)
  • Noise Level:2 20.8dB(A)
  • Power Recovery
  • AC Input Power Voltage: 100V to 240V
  • Power Frequency: 50Hz to 60Hz, Single Phase
  • Power Consumption3: 25W(Access); 10W(HDD Hibernation)
  • Operating Temperature: 5°C to 35°C (40°F to 95°F)
  • Storage Temperature: -10°C to 70°C (15°F to 155°F)
  • Relative Humidity: 5% to 95%RH
  • Maximum Operating Altitude: 10,000 feet
  • Certification: FCC Class B, CE Class B, BSMI Class B
  • Amazon Link, Newegg Link


File Station 3

FTP Server
  • Bandwidth Control
  • Custom FTP Passive Port Range
  • Anonymous FTP
  • Transfer Log

Web Station
  • Virtual Host (up to 30 websites)
  • Alternative HTTP Error Page
  • 3rd-Party Applications Support

Surveillance Station 4
  • Default IP cam #: 1
  • MAX IP cam # (licenses required): 5

Photo Station 4
  • Supported Image Format: BMP, JPG (jpe, jpeg), GIF, RAW (arw, srf, sr2, dcr, k25, kdc, cr2, crw, nef, mrw, ptx, pef, raf, 3fr, erf, mef, mos, orf, rw2, dng, x3f)
  • Supported Video Format5: 3G2, 3GP, ASF, AVI, DAT, DivX, FLV, M4V, MOV, MP4, MPEG, MPG, QT, WMV, XviD, RM, RMVB, VOB, RV30, RV40, AC3, AMR, WMA3

Download Station 2
  • Supported Download Protocols: BT/HTTP/FTP/NZB/eMule
  • Custom BitTorrent Port Range
  • BitTorrent / eMule Bandwidth Control

Audio Station 2
  • Supported Audio Format: (USB Mode) AAC, FLAC, M4A, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, WMA, WMA VBR; (Streaming Mode) MP3, M4A, M4B
  • Supported Playlist Format: M3U, WPL
  • Internet Radio: SHOUTcast, Radioio

DLNA/UPnP Media Server
  • PS3/Xbox 360 Support
  • Supported Audio Format: AAC, FLAC, M4A, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, PCM, WAV, WMA, WMA VBR, WMA PRO, WMA Lossless
  • Supported Video Format: 3GP, 3G2, ASF, AVI, DAT, DivX, DVR-MS, ISO, M2T, M2TS, M4V, MKV, MP4, MPEG1, MPEG2, MPEG4, MTS, MOV, QT, SWF, TP, TRP, TS, VOB, WMV, XviD, RV30, RV40, AC3, AMR, WMA3
  • Supported Image Format: BMP, JPG (jpe, jpeg), GIF, ICO, PNG, PSD, TIF (tiff), UFO, RAW (arw, srf, sr2, dcr, k25, kdc, cr2, crw, nef, mrw, ptx, pef, raf, 3fr, erf, mef, mos, orf, rw2, dng, x3f)
  • Supported Subtitles Format: srt, psb, smi, ass, ssa, sub, idx, ifo

iTunes Server
  • Supported Audio Format: MP3, M4A, M4P, WAV, AIF
  • Supported Video Format: M4V, MOV, MP4
  • Supported Playlist Format: M3U, WPL

Printer Server
  • Max Printer #: 2
  • Printing Protocols: LPR, CIFS, AppleTalk

Synology Packages
  • SqueezeCenter
  • Mail Station
  • Webalizer
  • phpMyAdmin

iPhone Applications
  • DS photo
  • DS audio
  • DS cam

General Specifications

Networking Protocols
  • CIFS
  • AFP
  • FTP
  • iSCSI
  • Telnet
  • SSH
  • NFS
  • SNMP

File System
  • EXT3
  • FAT32 (External Disk Only)
  • NTFS (External Disk Only)

Volume Management
  • Synology Hybrid RAID
  • iSCSI Target (Max size: 16TB):10
  • Volume Type: Basic, JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1
  • RAID Migration: from Basic to RAID 1
  • Expand RAID 1 volume with Larger Hard Drives

File Sharing Capability
  • Max User Accounts: 512
  • Max Groups: 128
  • Max Shared Folder: 256
  • Max Concurrent Connections(SAMBA, FTP, AFP): 64

Windows ADS Domain Integration
  • Domain Users login via Samba/AFP/FTP/File Station

Backup Solutions
  • Network Backup
  • Local Backup
  • Desktop Backup (using Synology Data Replicator 3 or Apple Time Machine backup application)
  • USBCopy
  • 3rd-Party Backup Support

  • DSM Upgrade
  • Email Notification
  • SMS Notification
  • Customized User Quota
  • DDNS Support
  • PPPoE
  • Resource Monitor
  • UPS Management
  • Scheduled Power On/Off
  • Custom Management UI HTTP/HTTPS Ports
  • System Temperature Display

  • FTP over SSL/TLS
  • IP Auto-Block
  • Firewall
  • Encrypted Network Backup over Rsync
  • HTTPS Connection

HDD Management
  • HDD Hibernation
  • S.M.A.R.T.
  • Dynamic Bad Sector Mapping

  • Synology Assistant
  • Synology Download Redirector
  • Synology Data Replicator 3

Supported Clients
  • Windows 2000 onward
  • Mac OSX 10.3 onward
  • Ubuntu 9.04 onward

Supported Browsers
  • Internet Explorer 7
  • Internet Explorer 8
  • Firefox 3
  • Firefox 3.5
  • Safari 3 (Mac)
  • Safari 4 (Mac)

Supported Mobile Devices
(Photo Station, File Station)
  • iPhone OS 2.2.1 onward
  • Windows Mobile (IE Mobile or Opera 9.0 onward)
  • Symbian OS 9.1, S60 3rd Edition onward

  • Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese Brazil, Portuguese European, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Swedish, Traditional Chinese, Turkish

Environment and Packaging

  • RoHS Compliant

Package Content
  • DS210j Main Unit
  • Installation CD
  • Assembling Kit
  • Welcome Note
  • AC Power Adapter
  • 2M RJ-45 LAN Cable

Optional Accessories
  • Remote
  • Camera License Pack
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Marketing Summary


Budget-friendly 2-bay NAS server for Home and Small Business

Synology Disk Station DS210j is designed to provide a cost-effective file storage and backup solution with RAID protection for home users. The system firmware, Synology Disk Station Manager 2.2, delivers rich features for multimedia streaming, worry-free backup, web-hosting, and energy-saving options.

Package Contents


Aside from the DS210j itself, Synology packages in an ethernet cord, the AC adapter and power cord, screws, literature, and the installation CD. The installation CD contains binaries for Windows, Mac, and Linux and should work on anything that has bash access and GTK support.



The DS210j looks like a normal sized SOHO (Small Office, Home Office) type of NAS. It supports two drives in RAID or JBOD and can support more through USB. Synology DiskStation products have a white with gray accent look. On second thought, it really doesn't matter what the color scheme is since this is a server. Black would have been nice, though.


The front of the DS210j has four status indicator LEDs on the top. Under the status LEDs, there is a front USB port for quick attaching things like USB flash drives. The reset button is next on the way down. Finally, the power button is located on the bottom. The LED for the power is a subdued blue.


The back of the DS210j has the 70mm fan for airflow along with two USB ports, the gigabit ethernet port and the AC adapter port. The little extra hole to the right of the image is for locking down the unit like you would a laptop. There is a hard reset button above the AC adapter port.


The side of the DS210j has the Synology logo in a gray circle.


The bottom has four rubber feet to prevent the DS210j from slipping around. The bottom is also where you can see the case lock. Slide it back to access the drive compartment.


Our DS210j came preloaded with the drives (this is a review, after all). The drives easily install in two slots and screw into place. The rear fan sucks air through the unit to cool the drives. It is important to keep the drives cool and the size of the fan helps. These are two 500GB Seagate drives installed.


There is ample room between the drives for adequate airflow. This picture is the meat of the unit. The brains and storage are all located here.

The DS210j is only partly about the hardware. There is a whole other side to the DiskStation series from Synology. Their DiskStation Manager is what really sets this product apart from the rest.
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DiskStation Manager 2.3


Once you run the installation from the included CD and setup everything, you'll be able to log into the device by going to the IP address you set. If you have DHCP set, fire up the client software on the CD and find what IP address the DS210j is using and point your web browser to that. If you opted to use the longer installation, most of these things will be obvious. If you elected the quick installation, you can login using no password on the admin account. This is the screen that you'll be presented. The entire web setup is an interesting experience. Make sure you change the administrator password when you do login.


Our DS210j was loaded with 2x 500GB drives and the DSM 2.3 software setup the drives in a RAID1 configuration (which everyone should use) with a usable capacity of 454GB. If you plug in USB drives, you'll be able to access them from additional shared folders and mount them here. Internal drives must be setup using EXT3 (one of the many Linux default filesystems). USB drives can use EXT3, FAT32, or NTFS. This means you'll be able to plug in your USB flash drive and it'll be ready for use ASAP.


The first thing you'll probably want to do is to setup the DS210j for your specific network. On our network, we've assigned it to an internal address of (DS210, see?) and since we don't have gigabit switches, we disabled the jumbo frame. Make sure to give the DS210j a unique device name. This will be used to find the device by Samba and Windows networking.


Any NAS should do shared folders. The DS210j is no different. You can setup as many shared folders as you want with different levels of security. This is share level security and works the same as setting up users and/or groups for each folder. If you want only certain users to read a folder and other to have full access, you can do this. As you can see, we've got a few folders shared for different purposes. Shared folders can use Samba (Windows type networking) or NFS for access. You can also opt to enable FTP support for all the shared folders. The DSM 2.3 can handle many different use cases.


To enabled file sharing with everything that supports Samba, click on the Win/Mac OS tab under File Sharing and make sure that the Windows file service is enabled. You can also set a workgroup and opt to use a domain controller, if you have one. An interesting thing is the CIFS recycle bin which saves files from deletion. If your users have an itchy delete key finger, you may want to enable this option.


What sets the DSM software apart from the pack is that it gives you access to the full hardware to do whatever you want. Synology packs in many features into the DSM software to enabled features that you may need with ease. One such use case is the built-in web server. If you want to have a light webserver with MySQL and PHP support, the DS210j can easily handle that. It won't be able to serve tons and tons of users, but for a light local network or a test server, this is a perfect setup. In addition to a plain old webserver, the DSM software gives you complete access to virtual hosting. As long as you have a DNS server, you can have all the virtual hosts you want. PHP is version 5.2.12 and MySQL is version 5.1.34. These are not too old, but Synology actively updates their DSM software to give you newer versions from time to time. If you'd like to see a phpinfo() of the environment, please post a comment. We'll be happy to post it.


What network application server would be complete without a way to offload downloads? The DS210j with the DSM 2.3 firmware can handle HTTP, FTP, BitTorrent, and NZB downloads. Most use cases will fall on BitTorrent and HTTP downloads. You can setup this area by enabling the Download Station in the management interface under applications. We are downloading the newest Ubuntu Linux from BitTorrent.


Telling the DS210j to download is as simple as navigating to the Download Station and telling it the location of the file. It can handle HTTP authentication and once you hit "Create," it'll start the download process. You can control the download and upload rates of the DS210j. This is important so you don't saturate your upload bandwidth, especially using BitTorrent. This will choke your entire network. All downloaded files can be placed on a folder of your choice.


As a home based network server, the DS210j can do UPnP AV server duties. Combine this with the Audio Station to enabled a fully aware content management system. The DS210j is DLNA certified to work with all UPnP AV clients. Our recent »review of the WD TV Live Plus used the DS210j for serving content. It can also act as client itself and pump music through USB speakers or through the web interface.


Once you load up some music in the correct folder, the Audio Station is ready to play your media. Unfortunately, the web page kept telling us we needed to install Flash Player 9+ to play streaming music and we already had 10.1 installed. We plugged in a USB audio device we had around (the »Steelsound 5H) and the DS210j picked it up as a CMedia USB audio device and the Audio Station happily played the audio through the USB sound card. You don't need to stay on the Audio Station web page for it to keep playing through USB sound. You can leave and it'll continue to go through your playlist. This is a very interesting use case.


One of the best additional features of the DSM software is the ability to function as a security station. Enable the Surveillance Station and you'll get access to a range of features that would only be found on expensive DVR solutions. There are many IP cameras listed as supported and you can add any generic MJPEG source. Our »SkyIPCam777W wasn't listed as supported, but we pointed the device to the MJPEG stream and the DS210j happily started grabbing video from the device. The DSM software can handle motion detection and other such features as you would expect from a security solution.

The DS210j can make your USB printer available on the local network using one of the USB ports. The DSM software can even setup many common routers so that the DS210j can be accessible on the internet and has DDNS support built in. The DS210j can send you a SMS or an email when there are faults. The DSM software can even turn on and off the DS210j at certain times.

You can also install prepackaged additions to the device from third parties by downloading them and going to the package installation area of the management software. This is an excellent feature, but there is a better one.


root@'s password: 

BusyBox v1.1.0 (2010.03.12-16:58+0000) Built-in shell (ash)
Enter 'help' for a list of built-in commands.

ASEDiskStation> uname -a
Linux ASEDiskStation 2.6.24 #1141 Sat Mar 13 00:51:39 CST 2010 armv5tejl unknown

The DSM software gives you full access to the Linux installation through telnet or SSH. You need to enable an admin password to get in since root logins can't be password-less. Once we SSH'd into the device, we saw that it had ARM based hardware and was running kernel 2.6.24. This is getting pretty old, but it is pretty stable. With SSH support, we could install anything we want and have full access to hack up the device.

The DiskStation Manager software is probably the best feature of the DS210j. Having full access to the operating system is fantastic and even if you don't want to poke around, the DSM will handle all its other tasks in a simple point and click interface.

Synology is also good on keeping up with the latest versions and features. They have just released a brand new beta of DiskStation Manager 3.0. This updates the Linux kernel to 2.6.32 and updates all the other pieces of the software to later versions. The back-end isn't the only change, though. The entire user interface has been reworked. Since this isn't the shipping firmware, we won't include it in this review, but we'll have a follow-up article on the new software. Regardless, this shows that Synology supports its installation base. The DSM 3.0 software works on units that are multiple generations old. It isn't just for new units, only. This is excellent support.

We really can't give you all the features of the DS210j and the DSM software in this review. They are really too much to write down. Needless to say, if you want to do something server related, the DS210j can probably handle it. It is only an 800MHz ARM processor, though. It won't be the fastest thing to handle hard jobs.
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Since we only have 100mb/s ethernet switches, the DS210j easily saturated our network bandwidth. You'll need gigabit to get the maximum throughput and we're in the process of upgrading our network to handle gigabit devices. The 800MHz ARM CPU is plenty fast for tasks that the DS210j was designed to do. It easily served PHP pages with MySQL and can function as a test web server and much more. ARM processors are very efficient. The hard drives didn't get hot and even while in use, they remained at under 104 degrees F (40 degrees C). Normally, the drive stay at around 95 degrees F (35 degrees C).

Power usage was excellent. Since this is a low power ARM device, at normal load it was using 16 Watts. Even on bootup, the DS210j got up to 29 Watts which is the peak we saw for power usage. There is simply no comparison to an x86 based server in terms of power usage.

Video Review

The text portion actually contains much more information than the video since we were up against the 15 minute wall. Still, it is handy to see how the web configuration works. Please check out the video.


The Synology DS210j really does it all. It truly is a Network Application Server. Move over other NAS devices, the DiskStation Manager software has you beat. We like to see healthy competition and the DS210j provides just that. The DS210 exceeded our expectations and at $200 (Amazon Link, Newegg Link), this is an excellent price for a feature rich product. It can do everything that any x86 server can do in a smaller size and power envelope. The DS210j is easily an Editor's Choice for the feature set and price. Synology has an excellent product line and the DiskStation Manager wraps it all up in an easy to use interface. Well done.

ASE Labs gives the DS210j an Editor's Choice award.

ASE Labs would like to thank Synology for making this review possible.


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