Synology NASes require that you use a special utility to install the system partition on the hard disks, which means that the DS210+ won’t work when you just install your disks into it and press the power button. You will have to launch that utility and follow simple step-by-step instructions to specify such basic parameters as network settings, time zone, admin password, etc. By the way, this NAS model only supports 3.5-inch HDDs. You will have to look for adapters to install a smaller HDD into it.
The versions of the programs in the software bundle are directly related to the firmware version. So if you update the firmware, do not forget about the programs. Particularly, DSM 2.3 introduces some significant changes into the functionality of the firmware as well as into the Synology Assistant tool. We will describe the Windows version of the latter utility here.
Besides initializing the NAS before the first use, launching the browser for setting the NAS up, mounting shared folders and connecting a printer, Synology Assistant now offers much more functions.
First of all, it now has a screen where you can see the current CPU, memory, network and disk volume usage (of course, it will need the admin password for that). This is a handy monitoring solution.
The second feature that also requires that you enter the admin password is about loading photos and videos into the Photo Station. This tool makes use of external utilities (dcraw, ImageMagick, ffmpeg) to convert files into a compatible format. For example, you can load RAW photos and AVI videos. The only downside is that ffmpeg can run on only one CPU core, so the transcoding process may take quite a lot of time. Video clips loaded in the Photo Station can be watched directly in a Flash-enabled web-browser.
Take note that when a file is converted into a different format, both the original file and its copies (in MP4 format, from one to three copies with different bit rates) are saved on the hard disk, so you need more disk space for them.
The last interesting option is that the NAS can be turned on using Wake-On-LAN technology. This feature works on the local network only. The monitoring and multimedia loading features can be accessed via the Internet.
As the consequence of such enhanced functionality, the program folder takes over 100 megabytes on the hard disk.
The second program from the software bundle is Download Replicator. You can use it to manage the autonomous file download system that works with HTTP, FTP and BitTorrent protocols (eMule is not supported in it). Unfortunately, you cannot associate it with .torrent files, so you have to download such files to your PC first and then add them into Download Replicator (e.g. by dragging and dropping or using a special icon that shows up above all other windows). Download Replicators is more limited than the web-based client. It cannot download separate files from a torrent, change seeding parameters individually or configure the service. Perhaps its development halted after build 942 whereas the firmware is build 1157 already.
And finally, there is Data Replicator in the software bundle. It is a simple tool for saving backup copies of files to the NAS both interactively or by schedule. It does not have any special features but you can run the file restoration tool without installing it on your PC.