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Synology DS-106e: One very full-featured NAS

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June 28, 2006 4:39:07 PM

Jim Buzbee found that Synology's latest disk station does just about everything that you'd want a single-drive NAS to do.
June 30, 2006 1:32:22 AM

Great review. I still think these vendors are missing the boat by not implementing the ability to make the NAS an iSCSI target. Would seem that the jumbo frames capability they include would be a real benefit if they also had iSCSI.
June 30, 2006 1:38:10 PM

Hi Tim,
Thanks for the nice review.
Could you clarify what do you mean minimal noise of unit turned on?
Maybe make some comparison to other similar units.
You have also not mentioned or I missed it if the drive is spun down when idle and if this is adjustable.
Thanks, Lleo_
June 30, 2006 3:26:31 PM

I think you need to be in Marketing becuase that review made me want to run out and buy one. I am currently using a DLINK DNS-120 to Connect my USB Maxtor 1 touch II to the network and it is OK but not very speedy and not enough admin perks. I think I will be picking one of these up in a few months and adding a gigantic amount of storage.
June 30, 2006 3:28:03 PM

Quote:
Great review. I still think these vendors are missing the boat by not implementing the ability to make the NAS an iSCSI target. Would seem that the jumbo frames capability they include would be a real benefit if they also had iSCSI.


So Tech, I am not to savvy abotu frames and such... What you are pretty much saying is if I have a gig switching network and link this up it is not going to get me much more speed then 10/100 switching??
June 30, 2006 5:05:03 PM

Quote:
Great review. I still think these vendors are missing the boat by not implementing the ability to make the NAS an iSCSI target. Would seem that the jumbo frames capability they include would be a real benefit if they also had iSCSI.


So Tech, I am not to savvy abotu frames and such... What you are pretty much saying is if I have a gig switching network and link this up it is not going to get me much more speed then 10/100 switching??

I guess the point I was trying to make really had to do with the other features they package with the NAS. Rather then giving it features that try to do "server-like" things (ftp, database, etc), I'd like to see them focus more energy on enhancing its capabilities as a network storage device. Why anyone would use a NAS, with its limited processing and memory, as a standalone database server is beyond my understanding. By implementing the ability for it to be used as an iSCSI target, it would be much more useful as a network storage device. Jumbo frames allows you to increase the frame size from the standard 1500 bytes, reducing the overhead created using TCP/IP for storage. Most enterprise class storage filers that implement iSCSI, also implement jumbo frames as a way to help improve performance.
June 30, 2006 7:04:15 PM

Ok, I use my NAS as a FTP right now but not too much becuase the speeds are atrocious. It is being used as a file server since I dont want a old HUGE box and I dont want to spend 400 bucks on the memory it will cost to make it significant.
July 1, 2006 1:33:57 AM

The post is not really about DS-106e, but about Synology's previous products DS-101 series, espeically DS-101.

After having read the great review of DS-106e, I guess some DS-101 users may want to dump DS-101 for a new model. Well hold your wallet. Synology is not like other vendors who dump their previous products as quickly as possible. People would feel lucky if vendors continue to maintenance their products for some time, not mention adding features will only happen in dream. They still remember us, DS-101 users, who actually supported Synology keeps making new products even better.

Synolody will release a new firmware for all DS-101 series NAS. In fact, they already did it for DS-101j/g+. The new firmware will make DS-101 series effectively as same as DS-106e in terms of functionality. They really cannot make DS-101 series to have gigabit network capability though. :D 

I actually have installed the new firmware v366 (properly still in beta) in my DS-101. It is great. The new firmware effectively turns DS-101 into a "new model". I bet a lot of DS-101 users will be very happy about it. Well, dream comes true. New features added to DS-101 include download station, UPnP multimedia server, SQL/PhP web server support, per user per photo folder configurable photo station, user quota support, UPS support (no auto power on due to hardware limitation), network backup and Data Replicator II support. All in all, Synology did all they could to top up the features of DS-101 except those hardware related features. I really appeciate the effort Synology has made.
July 2, 2006 2:39:23 AM

This NAS seems promising, i'm interested to know more about the download station feature. Didnt recall reading much about it in the review, especially with regards to the performance of the torrent client. Is the performance similar to a PC based torrent client? What happens to the overall performance of the unit when the torrent client is running? How many torrents can it support? Can anyone comment on this?
July 2, 2006 6:25:10 PM

Download feature is just introduced in Synology NAS, it is normal that it is not mature. Http and ftp downloads work very well. BT download is another story. The download engine does not use UPnP to allocate forward port in the router, and user cannot set the forward port manually for ther router either since the port numbers are unknown. So bt download is slow (typically 2x kB/s in my case) since the engine cannot accept incoming connection. But this is the case when the router is behind the NAT (typical scenario for most home users). I don't know if BT is fast if the router is directly connected to the network.

Synology said that "In next release, Synology would like to allow user to select ports for download. Our engineers are still working on it." I think everything still works, and time is needed for get it perfection.
July 3, 2006 2:50:51 AM

I wonder if the slow download is actually caused by the port forwarding issue. You can try forwarding ports 6881 to 6999 to your NAS to test or simply put the NAS in the DMZ zone to isolate the cause. Essentially BT operation will work fine with just a single port number for incoming connections.


Quote:
Download feature is just introduced in Synology NAS, it is normal that it is not mature. Http and ftp downloads work very well. BT download is another story. The download engine does not use UPnP to allocate forward port in the router, and user cannot set the forward port manually for ther router either since the port numbers are unknown. So bt download is slow (typically 2x kB/s in my case) since the engine cannot accept incoming connection. But this is the case when the router is behind the NAT (typical scenario for most home users). I don't know if BT is fast if the router is directly connected to the network.

Synology said that "In next release, Synology would like to allow user to select ports for download. Our engineers are still working on it." I think everything still works, and time is needed for get it perfection.
July 3, 2006 5:23:37 AM

I tried DMZ and port forward. Both help to increase the download speed to over 100KB/s (limited by DSL line). More peers are connected too (100, limited by the box).
July 18, 2006 9:48:46 PM

Sure seems very similar to the TS-101 NAS from QNAP out of Taiwan ... I'm curious as to who, or which company, actually makes the orginal.

An advantage for U.S. residents is the QNAP TS-101 is more readily available in the U.S. than Synology.
July 19, 2006 8:04:52 AM

I agree the QNAP TS-101 seems very similar in terms of features and price. Synology seem to have a good reputation but very few stockists for either device in the UK which is keeping the prices rather high.
Has anyone seen a review comparing the Synology 106e and the Qnap TS-101? I could trawl through the manuals of each, but that doesn't give you a users viewpoint of what works well or badly.
Sounds like a good topic for a THG article!
July 19, 2006 3:15:59 PM

Quote:
I agree the QNAP TS-101 seems very similar in terms of features and price...Sounds like a good topic for a THG article!

TS-101 review is in the works.
July 19, 2006 3:48:47 PM

Not sure about the 106e but you'll be missing out on additional enhancements and new features for the TS-101 if you only read the manual.

Quote:
I agree the QNAP TS-101 seems very similar in terms of features and price. Synology seem to have a good reputation but very few stockists for either device in the UK which is keeping the prices rather high.
Has anyone seen a review comparing the Synology 106e and the Qnap TS-101? I could trawl through the manuals of each, but that doesn't give you a users viewpoint of what works well or badly.
Sounds like a good topic for a THG article!
July 19, 2006 5:15:45 PM

I'll be curious how the TS-101 ranks, especially since their website states:

"The highest performance 1-bay NAS in the world!!!"
July 22, 2006 3:18:21 AM

about the history (rumor) between these two similar devices...QNAP vs Synology
As I know, some talents who are old ASUS capable guys joined Synology. Synology realized how to design product and do business.
The SOHO NAS is actually defined and promoted by these ASUS key men.
Due to some reasons, they left and then joined QNAP then come out the TS-101, which is better.
Before they join QNAP, QNAP actually is an experienced IPC vender, providing NAS and Surveillence.

I do believe QNAP will have much brighter future, and much better product roadmap.
In product point of view, I bought and installed one QNAP TS-101 in my apartment. It is stable and quiet.
I love its metal good-looking housing, fanless without noise design. Metal housing is good to resolve heating issue.
Base on the newest firmware release 1.2.0 from QNAP. I think the performance of BT download and functionality wins over Synology's.
QNAP's GUI also looks more professional.

I think QNAP's one will be a better solution.
July 22, 2006 3:49:10 AM

Apart from being stable, it also has relatively high transfer speeds. I managed close to 12MB/sec in write and 16MB/sec in read for a gigabit networked environment (WITHOUT using Jumbo frame). This is between a notebook (XP Pro) and TS-101, with file sizes ranging from 200+MB to 700MB. An improved feature is the web based download station that does not require installing a client side app (so there's better compatibility if you are not running Windows/Mac). The latest firmware also supports HTTP and FTP downloads! :D 

Quote:
I do believe QNAP will have much brighter future, and much better product roadmap.
In product point of view, I bought and installed one QNAP TS-101 in my apartment. It is stable and quite.
I love its metal good-looking housing, fanless without noise design. Metal housing is good to resolve heating issue.
Base on the newest firmware release 1.2.0 from QNAP. I think the performance of BT download and functionality wins over Synology's.
QNAP's GUI also looks more professional.

I think QNAP's one will be a better solution.
August 3, 2006 11:00:36 AM

Just a little question, can you assign the DiskStation a hostname?

So it would be possible in stead of accessing like \\ip\share it is also possible as for example \\file-server\share

Thanks. :) 

Btw, the Synology seems to perform a little faster. There are some benchmarks from Synology. They seem to be reliable, don't they?
August 3, 2006 4:18:20 PM

Yes. You can assign a name for the device in web setup ui.
August 3, 2006 11:58:02 PM

Quote:
Just a little question, can you assign the DiskStation a hostname?

So it would be possible in stead of accessing like \\ip\share it is also possible as for example \\file-server\share

Thanks. :) 

Btw, the Synology seems to perform a little faster. There are some benchmarks from Synology. They seem to be reliable, don't they?


Well, lets just wait for this site's review on the TS-101 to see which of the 2 is the faster NAS. :) 
August 4, 2006 10:05:00 PM

Quote:
Well, lets just wait for this site's review on the TS-101 to see which of the 2 is the faster NAS. :) 

Review should be coming in another week or so. But testing has been completed and selected results are available in the NAS Charts:
http://www.tomsnetworking.com/nas/charts/index.html?cha...
August 7, 2006 12:31:47 PM

Phil said:

Quote:
Your great review drove me to purchasing the DS-106e from TigerDirect.ca which I just received in the mail last week. I know you didn't touch on all the features that this little unit has to offer but you did mention the Download Station.

However when I received my unit I was actually quite surprised that it does not act as a true bit torrent client in the fact that it does not upload or act as a seeder at all. This does not rub me the right way since we know that bit torrent is a peer-to-peer technology which is based on uploading being equally important as the downloading aspect.

Although I admit that this is really a great product, one of the main reasons I purchased this NAS was so I could turn off my PC at night while still running my FTP server and bit torrents. This review led me to believe that this was possible.

Although I have emailed Synology with the suggestion and await a firmware update with this feature, I think that your review should mention this as well (since it is one of the only reviews on the net for it). I think that readers would like to know exactly what they're getting into when purchasing this premium-priced SOHO product.
August 7, 2006 10:52:52 PM

I read the article and have a question. I am looking for a device to work on my small office network. Our server runs Windows 2000 server, we have three desktops with XP Pro, one desktop with 98, two laptops with Windows 2000 and one with XP pro. We currently have an internal tape on the server, keep all important files on the server, and do not back up our individual machines. The tape has gotten too small and rather than spend the money on a new tape, I thought an external hard drive backup system was a good idea. It appears that some may also be able to run auto backups on client machines on the network. Is this so? What do you recommend? Thanks in advance!
August 8, 2006 12:52:37 PM

I'm quite surprised by the results obtained in yr TS-101's tests. Your write speeds achieved is only half of what i'm getting. I wonder why the great discrepancy?

Quote:
Well, lets just wait for this site's review on the TS-101 to see which of the 2 is the faster NAS. :) 

Review should be coming in another week or so. But testing has been completed and selected results are available in the NAS Charts:
http://www.tomsnetworking.com/nas/charts/index.html?cha...
August 8, 2006 12:56:56 PM

Heard from some local retailers, the DS-106e's poor performing BT client was a known issue actually. Thats what made me chose the TS-101 instead. Its torrent client is not brilliant either, but at least it works. In addition, the TS-101's web based torrent client (does not require an OS specific client installation) is a bonus really. Sorry to hear that you were disappointed with the DS-106e's torrent client performance. Guess u just have to be patient for newer firmware releases to address the issue.

Quote:
Phil said:

Your great review drove me to purchasing the DS-106e from TigerDirect.ca which I just received in the mail last week. I know you didn't touch on all the features that this little unit has to offer but you did mention the Download Station.

However when I received my unit I was actually quite surprised that it does not act as a true bit torrent client in the fact that it does not upload or act as a seeder at all. This does not rub me the right way since we know that bit torrent is a peer-to-peer technology which is based on uploading being equally important as the downloading aspect.

Although I admit that this is really a great product, one of the main reasons I purchased this NAS was so I could turn off my PC at night while still running my FTP server and bit torrents. This review led me to believe that this was possible.

Although I have emailed Synology with the suggestion and await a firmware update with this feature, I think that your review should mention this as well (since it is one of the only reviews on the net for it). I think that readers would like to know exactly what they're getting into when purchasing this premium-priced SOHO product.
August 9, 2006 12:39:49 PM

Quote:
I'm quite surprised by the results obtained in yr TS-101's tests. Your write speeds achieved is only half of what i'm getting. I wonder why the great discrepancy?


Are you testing with iozone? If so, the amount of memory in the machine running iozone can make a big difference. Also, results on Linux/BSD machines will be faster.
August 9, 2006 2:02:34 PM

No, i did not run the tests using iozone. I dont know how accurate is Iozone in reflecting real world performance. What I did is simply to perform file transfers between the PC (XP Pro, Explorer) and the NAS. I timed each transfer and take the average results. File sizes tested ranged from 160Mb to 700Mb, consisting mainly of video files. I've never seen my write speeds dropped below 11Mb/sec, with read speeds averaging 15.5Mb/sec. Thats with 0615 release firmware. I've not tested the speeds with the newer releases though. Which firmware release were you using for the test?

Quote:
I'm quite surprised by the results obtained in yr TS-101's tests. Your write speeds achieved is only half of what i'm getting. I wonder why the great discrepancy?


Are you testing with iozone? If so, the amount of memory in the machine running iozone can make a big difference. Also, results on Linux/BSD machines will be faster.
August 9, 2006 3:05:13 PM

Quote:
No, i did not run the tests using iozone. I dont know how accurate is Iozone in reflecting real world performance. What I did is simply to perform file transfers between the PC (XP Pro, Explorer) and the NAS. I timed each transfer and take the average results. File sizes tested ranged from 160Mb to 700Mb, consisting mainly of video files. I've never seen my write speeds dropped below 11Mb/sec, with read speeds averaging 15.5Mb/sec. Thats with 0615 release firmware. I've not tested the speeds with the newer releases though. Which firmware release were you using for the test?

Do you mean bits or Bytes?

Drag and drop file transfers using Windows should show lower performance than iozone does because iozone doesn't have all the Windows file sharing overhead.

More test results will be available in the TS-101 review, which will be up by the end of the week.
August 10, 2006 12:00:59 AM

My typo ... eyes must be blurry while entering the earlier post, pls replace all Mb and Mb/sec with MB and MB/sec, i.e. MEGABYTES. :D 
August 21, 2006 10:32:58 AM

Nice product but the cooling is completely inadequate. I've just cooked a brand new 750gb drive and I'm not happy. The drive and the heatsink where incredibly hot but the air venting via the fan at the back wasn't, so I had no idea. It was only when I took the cover off and felt the drive that I realised this.

Until the cooling is sorted I cannot recommend it (except for low volume use).

I bought this specifically to copy backup my data - guess that was asking too much of it (i.e. continuous disk activity for a couple of hours).
August 21, 2006 11:28:04 AM

Thats the problem with this sort of device that relies on active cooling. Used to own a Syrotech external harddisk casing which eventually had a failing fan, resulting in rising internal temp which I didnt realise until it was too late.

Hence, one of the criteria when looking for a NAS is PASSIVE cooling for me. My Qnap TS-101 has been working 24/7 for months with no overheating issues. The Synology is not alone in this. Heard that Thecus boxes also suffer from heat issues. Sorry to hear of your problem with the DS-106e. :( 
August 27, 2006 12:08:27 PM

This review (together with some user experiences on Gathering of Tweakers) made me very eager for the Synology DS106e. So I went and bought it, and I really like it. Now I'm reading about heat-problems, and I'm thinking of putting something like a car-temp-meter on it / in it to keep an eye on the temperature. It would be really nice if in a newer firmware some temp-monitoring would be available.

Now I don't know what the maximum HDD capacity is that the DS106e can handle, but I do know that the only company in the Netherlands who imports the Synology products range will ship the DS106e with HDD's ranging from 80 Gb to 500 Gb (or none at all if you like). Perhaps this is heat-related (or they can't get their hands on larger disks)?

One post in the forum of this company reads that you shouldn't use HDD with a 16Mb cache, but rather 8 Mb, because disks with 16 Mb cache tend to get hotter. (I ignored this and fitted the DS106e with a SE16WD2500KS and I haven't run into any problems -yet).
August 31, 2006 9:55:28 AM

I suppose a 750GB drive will become hotter as well, since they use more platters.

Active cooling seems to be an important issue when it comes to single disk NAS'es.
The one's with 4 disks have already a cooling fan (and I don't mean such little 40mm fan that makes a lot of noise).
September 26, 2006 9:00:11 AM

There is an extreme version reported at www.brack.ch - which lists 128mb ram (instead of 64 for 106, and 32 for 106e). This seems very tempting - but reading the comments about the heating issue does concern me... hence my temptation for the QNAP 101 (although it is more locked down, memory upgrade issues?). However if the reason for the TS101 is the passive cooling, is it possible to find a different enclosure for the DS106 (inc Extreme) which acts better? Has anyone done this, and is it feasible? Drilling a few hole for LEDS' and buttons is not a problem - or resoldering them to something a bit more useable could also be an option...

Thoughts?
September 26, 2006 11:50:03 AM

Simon wrote:
Quote:
Based in part on reviews from tomsnetworking, I went out and got myself a synology NAS. To make a long story short, I went to set up the box and seeing no warning about drive formatting and being somewhat oblivious to the fact that the synology products require EXT3 formatting, I used an NTFS drive that had data already on it.

Since there was no warning in the synology materials and no promting before the formatting, I just thought you might want to make note of this in your review to save other people the same troubles that I've had. Obviously synology needs a warning of their own, but otherwise the box seems great. Hope I'm one of the few who makes this mistake.

This issue isn't unique to Synology. Virtually all BYOD NASes are based on open source OSes and use ext3, reiser or other non-Microsoft drive formats.
September 27, 2006 12:45:06 AM

So far I have not had any heat related issues and the 106e has adequate transfer speeds, but... I am attempting to back up(local backup) the internal drive to a connected USB drive and the performace is dismal. The management page indicates that it will take 2 days to back up 170GB to the attached USB drive, plus, according to Synology support, if there is any access the internal drive from another machine it will take longer! I need to find out what the device is doing when executing a local backup.
October 21, 2006 2:25:45 AM

I've had my DS 106e for a few weeks and love it in many ways. One thing I can't get it to do correctly is hibernate (and yes, I've turned that on in the menus).

It's attached to a gig switch (gs108). As long as there is any network activity (all computers are turned off, but there are still various 'who's out there' type activity that I see on my network) the thing stays active.

I've gone so far as to unplug everything except the synology from my switch (including the dsl modem...so I know nothing is coming in) and it still stays running. I can get it to hibernate if I unplug the cat 5 cable from the back of it. Since it gets used only a few times during the day, it would be great for it to spin down most of the time, certainly overnight when there are no other machines turned on.

Any ideas or does this need to be address in a firmware upgrade?

I'm running a linksys wrt54g with ddwrt firmware on it incase that matters.

Other than the HD always running, it's been a great product.

Sean
October 22, 2006 5:46:12 AM

That is unusual because I can have a share connected and the internal SATA drive will spin down with no drive activity. My network is busy as usual and it will still spin down. I wish it would spin down my connected USB drives, though. Have you sent an email to synology support? They respond quickly (although I am still waiting for a reason why backups are so slow). Perhaps, a drive setting?
October 22, 2006 9:54:16 AM

Quote:
That is unusual because I can have a share connected and the internal SATA drive will spin down with no drive activity. My network is busy as usual and it will still spin down. I wish it would spin down my connected USB drives, though. Have you sent an email to synology support? They respond quickly (although I am still waiting for a reason why backups are so slow). Perhaps, a drive setting?

Sane here. I have set the drive to go into hibernate after being idle for 20 minutes, and it does spin down after 20 mins. I haven't had the drive spinning up again from network activity. It only wakes up when being accessed. What value have you set for the idle time?

Quote:
Any ideas or does this need to be address in a firmware upgrade?


Btw, about the firmware upgrades, Synology does offer you to join their beta-program on their website here.
October 22, 2006 10:09:46 AM

I have it set for 10 minutes. I just adjusted for 20 minutes and let's see what happens later today. Thanks much for the replies...I can't see why my network would be any different than most folks.


Sean
November 3, 2006 7:16:47 PM

Thanks Tim...I'll have to give a yell over there.


I still can't get the thing to get quiet. I see the lan light flicker even when no one is accessing the drive (the drive light is not lighting up). I'm guessing this is just various things on lan checking what's going on. Only if I unplug the cat 5 cable can I get it to go silent after a while.

Today I moved it to a different location (better airflow maybe?) and will see. Any other ideas on what to try?


Sean
November 4, 2006 3:52:30 PM

My lan light flickers from time to time also but the drive is not spinning when it does so. I hear the drive spin up sometimes when one of my machines (mac and xp) wakes up from sleep. It eventually spins down when there is no activity. Are you sure you drive is spinning when the lan light flickers?
November 6, 2006 4:45:35 AM

A quick question for people who has QNAP TS-101: :?: :?:

As I know, ds-106e has hibernation feature, i.e., if there's no access to the NAS for a period you set, the hard drive will spin down. Does TS-101 also come with this feature? Thanks in advance.
November 6, 2006 12:27:07 PM

>Are you sure you drive is spinning when the lan light flickers?

yes, I put my ear to it and can hear it.


So I tried some other things with better results. I moved the drive to another part of my network which happens to be in a very cool room...and now the drive is spinning down most times. I still see plenty of lan activity that does not wake up the drive just as you say.

The "network" closet that it was in is not very hot, probably 80-82 degrees most times. So I have to wonder if there's something in the firmware that says "if the drive is hot, keep the fan spinning and keep the drive spinning until it cools down?" Or somehow the move to a different network point made the difference.

I'll have to test and see what I can find...

Sean
November 20, 2006 11:21:53 PM

My two bits:

Mostly on the strength of this review, and the fact that it is one of the few NASs supporting AFP (we're all-Mac around here), I bought one of these.

Setup was no big problem, and initially all seemed well. Print serving also seemed OK. My main purpose for this was to act as a backup device for two Macs and a print server, to get the printer off my desk.

When I attempted to make an initial backup to the drive of my home folder, less big media files (about 60,000 files weighing in at 10 GB), the process aborted with an "insufficient disk space" complaint Tried with two different backup apps (Synk and Silverkeeper). On a forum for Synk, found that this is apparently a problem with NAS implementations of AFP, but mounting the same share via SMB had the same result.

What does seem to work is creating a sparse disk image on the target device and mounting that as the actual backup target. This imposes a much higher load on my Mac though. I'm not completely happy with this outcome, and would welcome alternatives.

Printing proved problematic when printing from two different machines: the DS106e would go into a five-minute freakout where the power light blinked, then it would reboot. Not sure, but I think this may have been the result of having different versions of print drivers on the two Macs. I've harmonized and initial results are good.
!