Articles: Networking

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Getting Started

You have to open the case of the NAS up in order to install your hard disks into it. Just unfasten the four screws at the back, flip the fans down and take the top panel off. The screws, although have large heads, are not easy to turn with fingers. Each HDD is installed into a plastic frame which then goes into its bay along the guides. There are two screws per each disk that secure the whole arrangement.

The next thing you have to do with Synology NASes is install firmware to a dedicated disk partition. You launch the DSAssistant utility to find the NAS on the network, format your HDDs and install an operating system on them. If the HDDs have been transferred from another Synology NAS, you can keep user data intact.

Synology having recently released its DSM 4.0 beta firmware, we want to describe its new features here but our tests were carried out with the latest stable version DSM 3.2-1955. Take note that there is no official way of downgrading to an earlier DSM version. The bundled software usually has to match the firmware, but you can use the latest DSAssistant with DSM 4.0-2166 beta. By the way, DSM 4.0 is expected to be the last firmware version to be supported by Synology’s x08 series NASes due to performance requirements. Some of its features won’t be available on “j” series models. We won’t use the word beta to refer to the new firmware below. Of course, some options can be removed from the final release but our experience suggests otherwise.

When installing firmware, you can specify the name of your device, its IP address and administrator password. The NAS can also be set up quickly with default settings. Its web interface is available in several languages and can be accessed via encrypted HTTPS. It offers an integrated help system and a wizard for inexperienced users. You can change the visual theme and port numbers for the web interface to work on.

Version 4.0 has become even more exciting visually. It now has a system status widget that aggregates data from the monitoring module (CPU and memory usage, network activity), log files and current network connections. It can also show you information about your disk volumes and backup jobs. To easily navigate multiple open windows you can enable Pilot View where everything is represented with thumbnails within a single window.

The interface employs HTML5 technologies and has the look and feel of a GUI of a modern OS. For example, you can preview open applications by hovering your mouse over their icons in the taskbar. The new version allows creating link groups right on the desktop. These features are available not only to the administrator but also to ordinary users (the menu will contain applications the particular user has access rights to).

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