Synology DiskStation is a best in class NAS system with the power and features to do so much more
October 19, 2021

Synology DiskStation is a best in class NAS system with the power and features to do so much more

Aaron Pinsker | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Synology DiskStation

Synology DiskStation is being used for multiple purposes across multiple organizations. The primary use is as a generic file server, but it is also being used as an all-in-one photo management solution (utilizing Synology's PhotoStation or Synology Photos in the latest version of DiskStation), a VPN server (either L2TP or OpenVPN), and an Active Directory Server. It is also used to host virtual machines to handle functions that the DiskStation can't handle natively (such as running a QuickBooks database, Ubiquiti UniFi Controller, etc.)
  • Synology's DiskStation Manager (DSM) provides a robust RAID experience with multiple RAID types available, including Synology's own RAID implementation (Synology Hybrid RAID - SHR)
  • DSM includes a full-blown app ecosystem to extend its functionality beyond its built-in features.
  • Synology is constantly updating DSM with not only performance, bug and security fixes but with major changes as well. In fact, the newest version of DSM, DSM 7, was just recently released.
  • The same version of DSM comes with all of Synology NAS products, from simple single drive models all the way up to enterprise-grade models with upwards of 20 drive bays.
  • DSM is not just a simple firmware OS, it is a full-blown Linux OS with all the features and benefits (and pitfalls) that entails.
  • The default file system for DSM is BTRFS. BTRFS provides some advanced functionality (such as snapshots, bit rot protection and compression) over Linux's default ext4 filesystem.
  • While BTRFS is a more advanced file system than ext4, it also is in a perpetual state of development, with many features not fully functional and a plethora of bugs. Synology has managed to overcome many of these limitations by placing BTRFS on top of a LVM, but there are much better file systems that Synology could have used, such as OpenZFS.
  • DSM's built-in backup software, HyperBackup, while robust, oftentimes runs into issues. Specifically, backups can be working fine for months or years, and then suddenly the backups will fail. Sometimes these failures can be resolved, but oftentimes the backups need to be completely restarted. Fortunately, even when the backup fails, the existing backups are still accessible, it is just that new backups can not be performed.
  • The underlying Linux OS provides significant benefits, but also adds a fair amount of complexity. Most of that complexity is wonderfully hidden by the DSM interface, but when certain problems arise, delving into the Linux command line is not out of the question.
  • Perhaps the biggest issue with Synology DiskStation is Synology's support. The issue isn't that the support is bad, but it can be frustratingly slow when dealing with a major issue. Synology does have a very active community that is always willing to help, but nothing beats first-party support.
  • Robust RAID support and hot swappable hard drives
  • Easy backups via built-in HyperBackup
  • Ability to fully replicate a file system from one NAS to another using the snapshot feature of BTRFS and Synology's built-in replication service.
  • A robust app ecosystem allowing you to expand the functionality of your NAS, including a VPN server, a virtual machine manager (with the ability to run Windows OS'), a full-featured Dropbox-style service in Synology Drive, a Google Apps style service in Synology Office, Docker, and a plethora of other first-party AND third-part app packages.
  • With as feature rich and flexible as DSM is, it is shockingly easy to use.
  • The initial cost of Synology DiskStation can be substantial (in the thousand of $ depending on the type of NAS and number and type of hard drives used). But once set up, maintenance costs are minimal.
  • When using Synology DiskStation has a cloud server (akin to say Dropbox), once the initial setup is done, there are no monthly costs regardless of the number of users.
  • Synology DiskStation does require some amount of IT knowledge and the ability to maintain and troubleshoot when issues may arise. For small businesses with little or no IT knowledge, Synology may simply cost too much in unavailable man-hours.
Synology DiskStation is by far the best all-around NAS solution on the market. QNAP provides more hardware variability and some better prices, but QNAP's OS, QT, is simply not as good as Synology's DSM OS. FreeNAS is an extremely powerful and robust open-source NAS solution that can be installed on generic hardware but is extremely complex and difficult to set up. TerraMaster provides some budget-friendly NAS hardware, but the TerraMaster OS, TNAS, leaves a lot to be desired.

Do you think Synology DiskStation delivers good value for the price?


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Would you buy Synology DiskStation again?


Synology DiskStation is extremely versatile and scalable and is thus useful in a plethora of scenarios - from a simple home NAS solution to an enterprise-level setup. There are two main scenarios in which Synology IS not well suited:
1.) when a person needs a simple plug and play setup for basic NAS system and
2.) when an organization needs more than a NAS setup, but a full-blown SAN setup.
In virtually all other scenarios, Synology is a perfect fit.

Evaluating Synology DiskStation and Competitors

Yes - QNAP, TerraMaster and FreeNAS were all considered. In the end, Synology simply had the best feature set and ease of use that it was a no brainer. QNAP is still a viable alternative if