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It might be a compact little NAS appliance, but Synology's new Disk Station DS-207+ certainly knows how to pack the features in, as this dual disk desktop box takes most of the features of its bigger Cube Station stable mates and delivers them at a competitive price.
The family comprises two models with the DS-207+ on review equipped with a 500MHz processor partnered by 128MB of memory. The lower-end DS-207 comes with a basic 266MHz FreeScale processor and 64MB of RAM and costs around £25 less. The feature list is very similar as both appliances offer Gigabit Ethernet plus a triplet of USB 2.0 ports for external storage or printer sharing but the DS-207+ also has an eSATA port at the front.
The appliance can be supplied diskless enabling you to pick your own SATA drives and Synology's supported device list is now quite lengthy. We opted for a pair of Western Digital Raptors and started by sliding the two halves of the chassis apart to access the interior. The drives are screwed into a metal carrier and linked with the supplied cables to the interface and power connectors on the motherboard. It's a little fiddly as you need to make sure you get the SATA cables the correct way round but it was job done in less then fifteen minutes.
The bundled Synology Assistant locates the appliance on the network and with a fresh set of drives in place it'll ask for the location of the firmware on the CD-ROM and proceed to set the system up for you. Using the well designed web interface you can then create a mirrored or striped volume or keep the drives separated as two non-RAID volumes. For share security you have a local user and group database or you can use NT domain or Active Directory authentication. Users are created from the Privileges menu and quotas used to limit the amount of space on the volume each one can consume.
A pile of default folders are created during setup for each of the myriad features. With the Web Station enabled the appliance runs an Apache server for web services and also supports PHP and MySQL, so there's plenty for fledgling web designers to play with here. The Photo Station 2 enables you to publish your own photos and videos on the web, add descriptions to each folder and individual pictures and it also lets users enter comments along with a contact email address when selecting a picture. Thumbnails are automatically created as pictures are downloaded and there's a slideshow option as well. The default Video folder is provided for the multimedia service which allows direct sharing with media devices that support UPnP.