Why We Love Synology’s Cloud Station

obrBy Ben Schmitt — Last Updated: 17 Jun'15 2012-12-17T07:49:27+00:00Google+

At Cloudwards.net, we work on a lot of files – Photoshop files for the next news image, audio files of our expert interviews, videos for our video tutorials, music files just for listening at the office, etc. As we have at least five people working every day, we need to frequently share our files in our local area network, but we also need to access our files on the go when we cannot be at the office. 

We need a solution that would store, back up, and sync our data among a variety of computers. We knew a NAS was the way to go, and we ended up choosing a Synology DiskStation 212+

Getting the terabytes in

We have a couple of Synology DiskStations here at our office: one works as our primary “machine,” which we use for file sync and collaboration, while others are just for backup. The backup machines are equipped with Western Digital Red 3TB NAS hard drives, which are built particularly for NAS storage systems.

We have a bay with four slots, so there is enough space for redundant backups and if one hard drive fails, it can easily be replaced. Currently, we’re using the automatic Hybrid RAID offered by Synology DiskStation, which allows one hard drive to fail without data loss. 

This is an acceptable risk for us, and it allows us to take care of other things instead of worrying about complex RAID setups. The advantage of the Hybrid RAID is that it doesn’t “waste” hard drives (see image below). 

DiskStation Hybrid RAID

What does Cloud Station do? 

The best thing about Cloud Station is that it also allows “technically challenged” people to have access to our NAS as it essentially works like Dropbox (Editor Rating: , 2 GB for 0 $/year). The first thing you have to do is install Cloud Station from the Packages Manager to activate it on your Synology.

Install CloudStation from Packages Center

After you’ve activated Cloud Station, you can configure its settings, add users, and edit privileges. 

Edit CloudStation's User Privileges

Advantages of using a private-cloud syncing solution

One of the main advantages of using a private cloud solution is that it is, well, private. Especially when you have very sensitive business data, you don’t have to share this information with a cloud storage company. Dropbox’s security issues are well known, and if you can encrypt and keep your files in your network, that’s certainly the better option:

  • Your files remain in your hands.
  • You can take care of encryption yourself.
  • You can grant access to a number of users.
  • Private cloud solutions are cheaper for teams.

Disadvantages of using a private-cloud storage solution

Of course, there are disadvantages, too. When you opt for a private-cloud storage solution, you have to manage everything on your own. There is no support to help you when a configuration suddenly doesn’t work anymore: 

  • You have to do everything on your own.
  • You have to be a bit more tech-savvy.
  • You have to take care of backups yourself.

Why we still love Synology’s DiskStation (Cloud Station)

Synology’s DiskStation, which has the extra service Cloud Station, allows us to easily manage users and grant rights or revoke those of freelancers who don’t work for us anymore. We can determine exactly who sees what in our network, and file sharing is very easy. 

As multiple people work on the same files, a file-synchronization service that manages file conflicts well (such as when two people accidentally edit the same document) becomes necessary. 

Of course, Synology is not the only NAS that offers these features. A couple of alternatives are available out there – for example, QNAP. 

We would love to hear your feedback! What is your setup, and how do you use NAS?

 

9 thoughts on “Why We Love Synology’s Cloud Station”

  1. Drawback: You can´t have the CloudStation folder neither encrypted on the server nor moved out of the default Home server. Poor documentation and forum content don´t help.

  2. Huge drawback is the space used by diskstation. The main reason is to get a common repository for data. How ever when the data grows the diskstation sync to the computer instead of fetching the data when you need it. The result is that a phone or a laptop will run out of space. If you use this with common laptops with say 160 GB SSD you will very fast start to have problems in a large scale as the synology diskstation fills up the SSD.

    You can opt out of syncing certain folders, but this give you a new problem as you sometimes need access to the files.

    So the Diskstation is not so practical once you start using it for real live data.

    Then suddenly you have to use SMB or similar.

    1. That is correct, however this is exactly what dropbox does as well. The reason for the data to be stored on your local machine is for you to be able to access it quicker if it is a larger file, as well as off-line use. If the data was not pre-downloaded then you are out of luck when you have no internet connection.

      1. Not the case for Dropbox on mobile device however, and the Dropbox Web platform is so good you can easily use it temporarily if you have a pc that’s not synced (say a work pc or any other machine).

    2. Well … this is not the only way to use the Synology NAS, although a very practical one when you have enough space on your local disk.

      The other way is elegant. You assign a drive letter to a folder on the NAS, lets say X: Then you can store and retrieve files from your NAS as if it was on your computer. This way you can buy PC’s with small discs and still have huge space to store valuable documents and pictures on.

  3. Finally I can manage my own cloud as I want.
    Surely they have to work hard to improve this solution (for example, I cannot decide to move only metadata on local disk, so the space on local disk and on cloud is the same) but I found cloudstation very good for me.

  4. Cloud Station is very balky and unreliable. You can find many posts around the web to that effect. Great design concept but VERY poorly executed.
    My case:
    DS916+ with 1TB “live” CIFS shares in production environment with 25 users. Target is older DS413. All DSM 6.x latest.

    It’s easy enough to install and configure. Enable and voila! it starts working. It may work for a couple hours or even days, but it eventually, Always, hangs, stalls and craps out. I can disable/enable or stop/start the package. Sometimes it starts working again and then it dies. I have a SR in with tech support at this moment but after more research around the web, I’m ready to move on to some other solution.

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