Synology is known for quality NAS products, not just on the hardware side of things, but also the company’s excellent software ecosystem. I got to have a go at the DiskStation DS218j a couple of weeks ago and I am surprised by the overall functionality and utility of the device.
The DS218j is company’s entry-level 2-bay NAS for home and personal cloud storage. This one replaces the DS216j and you will see some familiar design cues if you have been using a DS216j. The DS218j takes in up to two drives with a storage capacity of 8TB each. When it comes to connectivity, you get one gigabit Ethernet port and two standard USB 3.0 ports at the rear of the device.
Under the hood, the Synology DiskStation DS218j is powered by a dual-core Marvell ARMADA 385 (88F6820) with a clock speed of 1.3GHz. You also get 512MB worth of DDR3 memory. Inside the device, you get enough space to fix up two 3.5-inch hard disks. You can also use 2.5-inch hard disks and SSDs through an adapter.
For this review, I used two 3.5-inch Seagate HDDs made for NAS drives and configured them to use the default Synology Hybrid Raid (SHR). What SHR does is, it allows the device to tolerate the failure of one hard disk without any data loss, but at the expense of one disk’s capacity.
Setting up the DS218j NAS is a breeze. Connect the NAS to your router and power it up. Then go to find.synology.com, which will locate the NAS on your network. If you’re using brand-new hard disks, you’ll just be able to click the big Download button to install the latest version of Synology’s DSM operating system.
However, if you’ve used your disks before in another NAS, you will need to plug them directly into your PC and use Disk Management to erase any partitions. This needs to be done in order to start using the hard disks with the new NAS drive. You can even connect to your NAS drive from anywhere in the world as long as the NAS is turned on and is connected to an internet connection.
This can be done using the QuickConnect ID, which can be created during setup. Just by typing quickconnect.to/ followed by your own QuickConnect ID into any web browser, you will be able to access your NAS’ interface. It’s as simple as that.
With the Synology software ecosystem, you also get the company’s brilliant Package Center that boasts of hundreds of add-on applications. In the Package Center there are many add-on packages available to expand the value and functionality of your Synology NAS.
You will be able to download and install the packages designed specifically for your unique needs, whether it’s sharing files on the cloud, sharing photos on an online album, setting up a VPN environment or even an antivirus to protect your system. Everything can be found and done in Package Center, with just a few clicks.
Software packages include Acronis True Image, Active Backup for Business, McAfee Antivirus, Apache HTTP Server, Audio Station, Synology Chat Server, LDAP Server, GitLab, Redmine, Spree, Drupal, File Station, Java8, Joomla, iTunes Server, OpenERP, WordPress, and lots more.
To check the overall performance of the Synology DiskStation DS218j, we used the CrystalDiskMark benchmark. In terms of reads, we achieved 123MB/s, while we clocked 127MB/s for writes. The Synology DiskStation DS218j is a very capable and affordable NAS drive intended for people who are just starting with setting up their own personal cloud.