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This powerful system comes without a drive, but installing your own is a piece of cake.
Of all the NAS devices we tested, the Synology DS107+ promised the most extensive feature list, and the device consistently impressed us with its Swiss-Army-like capabilities on our network.
The enclosure ships without a hard drive, so your first task is to install one. The instructions for doing so are simple and easy to follow, and we were plugging the device into our wireless router within minutes. (Disclosure: Synology was kind enough to install a drive in our test model, so we removed it and installed a second drive to duplicate the standard user experience.)
After installation, a setup application included on the CD directs you to an administration page within Safari. And here is where you begin to get an idea of just how much this device can do. File sharing and backup are only two core services in a list that includes Web hosting, an iTunes server, a photoblog, and a download station that pulls files from the Web directly to the shared disk. The Synology can automatically back up its enclosed drive to an external USB drive or to another machine on the local network, and the included iTunes server delivers the contents of a preset Music folder as a shared iTunes playlist.
Unfortunately, all that power complicates the Settings page to a degree that will probably intimidate some users. The designers attempted to minimize this by making file sharing active right out of the box and by offering setup wizards to customize the most common services, but the sheer number of options remains daunting. Another drawback is the fan noise that comes from the enclosure, which registers somewhere between an old Power Mac G4 on the loud side and a Power Mac G5 on the quiet side.
Still, those complaints are smoothed by support for Mac networking standards such as AFP and Bonjour, which integrate the drive nicely into a Mac network. The drive appears as a shared device in the Finder’s network browser, and its shared folders can be configured for guest or account-based access. Its support for Windows networking standards should make it an excellent choice for mixed environments.
The bottom line. Although at times too complicated for an entry-level NAS product, the Synology DS107+ delivers reliable file sharing and a truckload of advanced features for the adventurous user.
REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS 9 or later
Huge feature set, including web hosting and iTunes server. Reliable, consistent performance.
Noisy. Setup may intimidate some users.