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Synology DiskStation DS410j - Synology DiskStation DS410j
The diskless unit I was sent required me to install the firmware before use. Luckily the firmware was included on the disc provided with the device, so it's hardly a major issue. Also on this disc was the setup wizard needed to install this firmware, as well as Synology Assistant, a PC-based configuration utility for the DS410j.
Arguably more important is the inclusion of Data Replicator 3. Once this has finished taking a full backup it monitors for changes and replicates them in real-time. Just remember to check the "start with Windows" option!
As the DS410j can download files over HTTP, FTP and BitTorrent a piece of software on the installation disc named Download Redirector proves particularly useful. As you might predict, this intercepts downloads started on your PC and hands them over to the NAS to complete. While many NAS devices are able to do this with Torrent files, very few at this price point can also do 'normal' downloads. If you often download large files that aren't available over BitTorrent this should prove an enticing feature.
Where the DS410j really excels is its web interface. Put simply, this is the slickest looking yet also most functional I have seen on any NAS device. By default the home screen shows a 'Wizard' layout, which condenses all of the available configuration screens into simpler groups. If that's too patronising for you, though, then the 'Complete' mode will be more appropriate, letting you get on with things unhindered. Just don't try using an iPhone or iPod touch - it's possible, but these devices are just too small for it to be practical.
All the usual options, such as setting up volumes and RAID configurations, managing drive partitions and who can access them, and enabling or disabling DLNA and uPnP functionality, are present but Synology has also added a few less common abilities to the DS410j. One of these is a local PHP-capable web server, with a MySQL database also available. While the 800MHz CPU and 128MB of RAM in the system probably wouldn't handle, say, TrustedReviews' traffic it should be more than enough for running a personal blog, or small business website, read only by a few people.
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