The DS211 has only three USB 2.0 ports for external devices. The lack of eSATA can be explained by the fact that the employed processor has only two SATA channels, so an external SATA port would require an additional chip, which would increase the cost of the product. You can use USB hubs to connect more external devices. The DS211 supports the same devices as the earlier products from Synology: external disks, printers, Wi-Fi adapters, sound cards and UPSes.
Synology's NASes still do not support the HFS+ file system on external disks, which is a downside for Apple users, but the various versions of EXT, FAT and NTFS all work normally. You can format the attached disk in EXT3/4 or FAT32 from the NAS's web interface. External disks are individual resources and cannot be integrated into the main RAID array.
A Wi-Fi adapter allows connecting the NAS to a Wi-Fi network. The compatibility list isn’t very long, yet includes a couple of popular adapters. Take note that the two connections can be active simultaneously, but the NAS will not route traffic between them.
There are no updates in terms of the printer and UPS support.
The design of the login window can be customized even though such customization makes no practical point. The more important option is that you can change the login port, especially if your router does not support port address translation. You can use an encrypted HTTPS connection when you are accessing the NAS via a public network and even make it obligatory (the same option is available for FTP, by the way). There are a few other security features: the web interface logs you off automatically after a period of inactivity; the access is blocked if an attempt to guess the password is identified; there is a firewall for the network interfaces.
The status page summarizes the key system parameters such as the firmware version, network addresses, status of the disks, uptime. You can take a look at dynamically constructed graphs of CPU and memory load, network activity and disk usage on the Resource Monitor page (this information can also be obtained from Synology Assistant). You can even see what processes take the most CPU and memory resources.
The NAS keeps multiple event logs: system events, connections, FTP, backup and many others. You can even learn what user did what via File Station, for example. This advanced logging is one of the key features of Synology products. Just don’t forget to set up the integrated clock manually or synchronize it via the Internet for the logs to have accurate timestamps.
The NAS can keep the administrator informed about everything that’s going on by sending notifications via email or SMS (using the paid service Clickatell). Unfortunately, it is impossible to choose message categories. The notifications will only concern some important matters like a shortage of space on a disk volume.
The DS211 provides a few power management options. It can shut down the internal and external disks when they have not been accessed for a while. You can also specify a schedule for the NAS to start up and shut down. The DS211 does not support Wake-on-LAN. We guess this feature is just not available in the platform’s network controller. The UPS support allows to shut the NAS down safely in case of a power failure. And when the power problem is solved, the NAS can restart automatically. Besides working with a local UPS with USB interface, the DS211 can connect to another Synology NAS via network for the power management purposes.
There are some management options regarding sound signals the NAS can emit. For example, you can turn off any sounds, including the start-up and shutdown ones. The NAS’s fans work automatically, and you can only choose between two operation modes for them: for cooling 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch HDDs.
Like most modern devices, the NAS allows to update its firmware. You have to do it manually via your computer. The system settings can be saved as a file and restored later when necessary. A separate menu page offers such options as disk cleanup, resetting the NAS to the factory settings, and resetting the MySQL database password.