With DSM 4.0, most of features which are not directly related to the NAS’s main job of storing files have been transferred to individually installed packages. The only integrated services left are File Station (for browser-based access to files), backup copying and website hosting. It’s easy to install software packages: you choose the ones you need in the Package Center menu and they get downloaded from the internet and installed.
Installing and updating software packages does not interfere with the NAS’s routine operation. A package can integrate into the NAS’s web interface (even into its help system) or be accessible at its own address which can be changed in its settings. Two variants are possible: using a user-defined port number (e.g. http://DiskStation:9999) or adding a suffix to the link (http://DiskStation/AudioStation). The single possible inconvenience is when you remove the hard drive or disk volume with the installed packages.
So, the File Station package helps you easily manage your files from anywhere. You only need a web browser for that. The connection is secure (HTTPS). File Station lets you do everything you want with your files and folders. Particularly, you can download and upload them and change their access rights. If you’ve got a Java-enabled device, drag-and-dropping is supported for the local disks as well. Moreover, you can work with ZIP and 7Zip archives (and unpack RARs), mount ISO images, share you files, access other shared network resources, and search for files stored on the NAS.
The quick sharing feature is especially useful. Having selected a file, you specify its availability period, short link and password protection. The NAS generates a unique link like http://DiskStation:5000/fbsharing/63IY38zG which can be sent by email to anyone you want. The file can be downloaded from the outside, but you don’t have to create a user account or explain your friends how to use File Station or FTP.
The integrated backup features can serve multiple purposes. The most popular purpose is to copy data from the NAS’s shared folders to another shared folder, an external disk, another NAS (Synology or rsync-compatible one), or Amazon S3. Encryption and compression can be enabled for local backups. The administrator can define any number of backup jobs with different parameters, including an operation schedule. Then, you can also create backup copies of iSCSI volumes on your local or network resources. For performance considerations the number of concurrent backup jobs is limited to 2 with the DS411. The third backup option is folder synchronization. You can use it to synchronize data in specific folders between several NASes over your LAN or via the internet.
One software package enables the NAS to back up data to the STRATO HiDrive service and another, Time Backup, allows you to have multiple copies of the same shared folder on another disk volume or NAS.
The DS411 having a rather fast hardware platform, it can serve for website hosting. This service supports PHP and MySQL. You can have up to 30 virtual websites and allow your users to create their own sites. There are additional software packages for this application: phpMyAdmin, WordPress (publications management) and Webalizer (usage statistics).
If you want to have corporate-class features on your LAN, you can use some of the packages from the software catalogue: LDAP, Syslog and VPN. LDAP helps you create a common user database for all your home devices without creating user accounts on each of them. Of course, the client devices must be LDAP-compatible. The Syslog server will help keep event logs from all your network equipment in one location. The VPN server with support for PPTP and OpenVPN can be used for secure remote access to the LAN from the internet. Users can be assigned access rights to the NAS’s services individually.
The NAS can also serve as an email server with support for POP3, IMAP4, SMPT. The server has a web interface.
Traditionally for Synology NASes, the DS411 has a lot of multimedia services which all share the same scanner of files to create a common database of compatible content. You can specify which folders and file types the scanner should index.
Audio Station allows accessing music files stored on the NAS via a web browser. Its catalogue also contains online radio stations and other media services available on the LAN. You can listen to them via your browser, or a USB sound card plugged into the NAS, or via a DLNA-compatible player on your LAN.
Next goes a very advanced photo album system called Photo Station. It has a dedicated user database, offers photo commenting and blogging features, and has user-defined visual themes. Its fifth version has improved in terms of interaction with social networks and external photo hosting sites. It has also become simpler in terms of creating and managing photo albums. Besides publishing video clips, you can transcode them to MPEG4 for mobile gadgets.
The integrated DLNA server can stream multimedia content to other devices on the LAN. It supports the following file formats: JPG, BMP, GIF, TIFF, PNG, MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, WAV, AC3, AVI, DIVX, MP4, MPEG, MKV, WMV, MOV, M2TS, TS, M4V, VOB, ISO. There is an integrated transcoder for FLAC, AAC, OGG and AIFF. You can choose file sorting and grouping options, language and mime settings for better compatibility with players.
The iTunes server supports music and video formats compatible with Apple products. Squeezebox series devices, optimized for lossless audio formats, are supported, too.
The integrated video surveillance system is now compatible with over 1000 IP camera models. The DS411 can support up to 12 cameras concurrently but comes with a license for one camera only. You have to buy additional licenses to use more cameras. Delivering up to 120 fps at the standard resolution, the system supports MJPEG, MPEG4, H.246, high-resolution cameras, audio recording and PTZ. The new firmware can work with fisheye cameras to get a panoramic picture. Several recording modes are supported: manual, always on, by schedule, by motion sensor. The viewing mode works in every modern browser and can output the video signal from four cameras. Cascading is possible, enabling complex configurations with multiple NASes.
The video surveillance system can have a dedicated database of users with different access rights (for example, administrator or watcher). Besides email and SMS, notifications can be sent via Windows Live Messenger and Skype. Recordings can be viewed via mobile gadgets after installing the DS cam utility which can also serve as a recipient of push notifications about system events. There is a special technology for verifying that the video recordings and screenshots are not false.
The file download service has acquired two new options in DSM 4.0: it can automatically add download jobs as soon as there appear torrent or NZB files in a specified folder and it now supports SFTP/FTPS. We can remind you its other key features: downloading files via BitTorrent, FTP, HTTP, eMule and NZB protocols with support for premium accounts of file sharing services. It can work by a schedule, download from RSS-feeds and has an integrated file search system. The BitTorrent client has flexible settings such as port numbers, encryption, DHT, seeding criteria and limits on speeds and connections. Download jobs can be managed via the web interface or Download Manager. There is also third-party client software for mobile gadgets.
The system (based on Transmission) works rather fast even with a lot of download jobs. We could reach a combined speed of over 8 MB/s while downloading several torrents. The manufacturer limits the max number of concurrent jobs at 20, which seems to be a reasonable compromise. The NAS is left enough resources for its main tasks whereas it keeps on downloading at a high speed.
One of the new software packages for DSM 4.0 is an antivirus that is based on the free ClamAV product. It can update its virus database via the internet, scan folders by a schedule, put files in quarantine, and create reports. It is quite a heavy load for the DS411’s processor, so you may want to set it to run at nights.
The last new package is Cloud Station. Together with PC-based client software (currently available for Windows only), this package helps synchronize files and subfolders between a specific folder on your local PC (or PCs) and the NAS. The beta version only supports files up to 100 megabytes large. Cloud Station can store multiple copies of the same document, so that the user could easily return to a previous version whenever necessary. Thanks to its QuickConnect support, the service doesn’t require you to set up your router and port translation. The number of supported accounts depends on the NAS’s performance. You can create up to four accounts with the DS411.
As we’ve written above, with the new firmware many extra services have become available as individually installed packages. We can add that the NAS allows adding applications to user catalogues and installing specific applications from packages you download.
Synology officially permits you to access the NAS via telnet or ssh, so an experienced user can significantly expand the NAS’s functionality considering its standard ARM platform and 2GB system partition.