Many companies in the Philippines were forced to fold up due to the negative economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Those that have managed to stay up and running, meanwhile, opted to reduce the capacity of their workforce and compelled their employees to work from home.
In a work from home setup, continuous communication and collaboration are crucial to ensure productivity regardless of employees' location.
Because the pandemic happened in an unexpected manner, many companies were unprepared for shifting to a work-from-home arrangement, especially those that belong to the micro, small, and medium enterprise (MSME) segment.
A work-from-home setup requires dependence on technology. But many MSMEs do not have a dedicated IT staff who can put up a system for remote communication and collaboration. This is where solutions such as Synology’s network-attached storage (NAS) appliances play an important role.
The Synology Plus series consists of network-attached storage (NAS) models that offer some of the best features of higher-end models, such as instantaneous snapshots and point-in-time recovery protection, at more affordable price points.
Some of the models under the Synology Plus series include the DS920+, DS720+, DS420+, and the DS220+. In this review, we will focus on the DS220+.
Synology DS220+: A quick overview
The Synology DS220+ is a NAS device that comes in an all-black metal enclosure with a plastic front panel. The front side hosts the power button, USB copy button (C) along with the front USB 3.0 port, and LED indicators for Status, LAN 1, LAN 2, Disk 1, and Disk 2.
The back, meanwhile, shows the NAS device's system fan for heat dissipation, two Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports that support Link Aggregation, another USB 3.0 port, power port, and a Kensington security slot. When enabled, Link Aggregation technology allows users to combine the two GbE ports to increase the bandwidth of the NAS appliance and maintain network connection in case there is a downtime.
Drive installation on the DS220+ is convenient, thanks to the front panel which can be easily removed and reinstalled with bare hands without the help of any tool. Removing the front panel bares the NAS device's two drive bays. The drive bays can be removed by simply pushing the latches and sliding them out. Sliding them back in connects the drives to the device's SATA 6Gbps connectors. The bays are compatible with 2.5" and 3.5" drives, while the DS220+ can hold up to 108TB of single volume size.
Removing the bays also reveals the device's memory slot that can accommodate up to 4GB on top of the built-in 2GB DDR4 RAM. Under the hood, the DS220+ is powered by an Intel Celeron J4025 dual-core processor clocked at 2.0GHz (2.9GHz burst).
Once a drive (or drives) is installed, you can instantly connect the DS220+ to your PC using the supplied LAN cable and connect to a power source using the power adapter.
After setting up the device, you must download the DiskStation Manager (DSM) software from the Synology website then initialize it. This can be done by using the Synology Assistant app or via Synology's web-based PC client at http://find.synology.com or http://synologynas:5000. Follow the succeeding prompts to complete the installation process.
As Synology's DSM is a web-based operating system (OS), the DS220+ enables users to access, share, and sync data regardless of the operating system or the device they are using.
Synology’s NAS devices have been known for their multifunctionality and the DS220+ continues that legacy with the DSM. As the DSM serves as the OS of Synology’s NAS appliances, it comes with applications called “packages” and these allow users to maximize the capabilities of the DS220+.
While some people may perceive the DS220+ as a mere storage device, it goes beyond that by providing data protection which is essential whether you’re an individual or business, especially when doing remote work like this pandemic. This NAS appliance does it in two ways: replication and backup.
By using the Snapshot Replication package, users of the DS220+ can replicate their data from one location to another or to multiple locations on a scheduled basis or in an instant. With the Hyper Backup package, on the other hand, users can implement a reliable backup plan that involves multiple recovery points and destinations which can even be another Synology NAS appliance, external storage device, rsync server, or public cloud service.
Collaboration and productivity
Synology NAS appliances, such as the DS220+, come with collaboration and productivity packages that are now more useful as many individuals and businesses have switched to remote work due to the pandemic.
Among these packages, users could be most familiar with Synology Office due to its similarities with Microsoft Office and OpenOffice. With Synology Office, multiple team members can work simultaneously on one document, spreadsheet, or presentation regardless of their location. Members can also easily export/import files to Microsoft Office or OpenOffice with Synology Office.
Team members can access the file through Synology Drive, a private cloud storage. Unlike other similar services, Synology offers Synology Drive with no recurring subscription fees. Adding simplicity to the collaborative aspect of the DS220+, files on Synology Drive can be shared with external parties with some additional restrictions for security like a password, permission status, and validation period.
Synology Drive also facilitates full content search so users can easily locate files even when they forgot the names of the files.
Compared to previous and other NAS devices, Synology Plus series models, such as the DS220+, promise to offer an average of 15% performance boost of photo and document-indexing in Moments and Synology Drive, while a significant 95% to 130% performance boost in terms of Web PHP response efficiency.
The DS220+ is not only a work-only utilitarian device but it is also an entertainment hub that serves as a media center where you can access your videos, songs, and photos in a convenient and organized manner.
Synology has created packages dedicated to organizing and streaming these file types, namely Video Station, Audio Station, and Photo Station. Another package, Synology Moments uses a deep learning algorithm to organize random photos based on similar faces, subjects, and places.
Whether we’re going through a pandemic or not, Synology continues to help individuals and businesses address their needs with simple yet reliable solutions like its NAS devices, such as the DS220+, and their associated software packages. Not only convenient to use but also reasonably priced (the DS220+ costs P19,998 at VillMan), Synology’s NAS appliances can be a useful tool to help you survive and thrive amid the new normal.