Synology DiskStation DS416 4-bay High-Performance NAS Review

Introduction


I’ve taken a look at quite a few 2-bay NAS units lately and while they already allow for an impressive 16TB raw storage, that might not be enough for everyone. Today I’m taking Synology’s DiskStation DS416, a 4-bay feature-rich and high-performance NAS server, for a spin on my test bench. The Synology DiskStation DS416 is built around an Annapurna Labs Alpine AL-212 32-bit dual-core CPU with 1.4GHz, floating point unit, and hardware encryption engine. The CPU is backed by 1GB DDR3 memory that sadly isn’t upgradable.

The DS416 is a full-fledged NAS that comes with everything you’d want from a performance system. It features dual Gigabit Ethernet network that supports all types of failover and link aggregation, allowing you to keep your system connected under heavier load or when one connection should fail. The DS416 also features three USB 3.0 ports where one of them is conveniently placed on the front of the NAS for easy access.

With powerful hardware like that, the DS416 is able to deliver an average reading and writing speeds of 220 MB/s and 140 MB/s respectively while encrypted file transfers come in at an evenly impressive 146 MB/s reading and 65 MB/s writing. Those figures naturally depend on what hard disk drives you use as well as the method of data access and your network setup.

The drive bays feature a convenient tool-free drive installation for 3.5-inch drives where as you still need screws to mount 2.5-inch drives. The latter is a rare occurrence anyway and shouldn’t be anything to bother anyone. The drive bays are covered by a removable front plate that gives the NAS a cleaner overall look by hiding away the drives. The drive bays aren’t the only thing that you can swap out in this NAS, the fans are also redundant. The DS416 incorporates a passive cooling design on the actual components and only uses two 92mm fans on the rear to keep everything at an optimal temperature. When the system detects a fan failure, the built-in redundancy mechanism ensures continuous operation until the replacement fan arrives.

The DS416 is naturally powered by DiskStation Manager (DSM), the award-winning operating system from Synology. It has a beautiful and functional user interface and all the features you will need at home or in a small to medium-sized business. It offers all the network protocols you’d want including SMB2, AFP, NFS, WebDAV, and FTP. Server admins don’t need to worry about maintaining two set of user credentials either as the DS416 comes with both Windows AD and LDAP integration. An added convenience factor is the network recycle bin that is featured on AFP, CIFS, File Station, and WebDAV. All files deleted in a shared folder will be automatically moved into the Recycle Bin instead of being destroyed.

The DS416 isn’t just an all in one server when it comes to features, it also has the power to handle it. You can easily turn your DS416 into a mail server with webmail interface, set up a VPN server connect as a VPN client, create a print server for USB printers and much more such as Radius server, Proxy server, and Syslog server features.

Creating your own personal yet comprehensive cloud solutions is no problem either with the DS416 thanks to the Cloud Station package.It is the perfect package to sync files across multiple devices, perform offline edits and later synced them, and keep up to 32 historical versions for easy restoration. You also got all the normal backup features that you’ll want such as 2-way sync between different DiskSations as well as support for commercial cloud services such as Glacier Backup and HiDrive Backup.

The Synology DiskStation DS416 has a comprehensive security package, starting with AES 256-bit encryption but also more advanced setups like 2-step verification. It also comes with AppArmor that can block malicious programs from accessing unauthorized system resources and you can customize the trust level in the package center to only accept apps from certain publishers. The built-in firewall is another useful feature just as the Denial of Service (DoS) protection. Antivirus can also be downloaded and installed for that extra level of security. Overall, everything you need to keep your data safe from malicious code and people.

Synology also offers a row of mobile apps that you can use to easy connection and usage of your NAS from your mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. The apps include DS note, DS audio, DS video, DS photo+, DS cloud, DS file, DS download and DS cam.

Feature Highlights

  • Dual-core CPU with hardware encryption engine
  • Dual LAN with failover and link aggregation support
  • Over 221.05MB/s reading, 139.51MB/s writing
  • Effective backup solution for all desktop and mobile devices
  • Front USB 3.0 for fast easy access
  • Hot-swappable & tool-less hard drive tray design
  • Running on Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM)

Packaging and Accessories

The Synology DS416 comes in a simple brown package with a sticker for model inside. It has all the relevant features presented as well as an image of the unit that is inside.

The rear of the box has a second sticker with some of the hardware highlights.

Inside the box, next to the NAS itself, you’ll find an AC adapter with power cable for the region where you purchased it, two RJ45 LAN cables, screws for use with 2.5-inch drives, and a Welcome and Quick Installation Guide. Everything you need to get it setup and I like that Synology included two LAN cables so users can get port trunking up and running right away.

Synology Releases 3 New High-value NAS Servers for Homes and Businesses

Synology announced not one, not two, but three new NAS units that should provide plenty of features for a moderate price. Three three new NAS units are the DS216se 2-bay NAS, DS216play 2-bay NAS, and DS416 four-bay NAS.

Let’s start out with the biggest model, the DS416. It is the replacement for the DS414 NAS and the new DS4166 features a 1.4GHz dual-core processor (Annapurna Labs Alpine AL212) with hardware encryption engine and floating point unit. It comes with 1GB RAM and features dual Gigabit Ethernet with failover and link aggregation. You also get three USB 3.0 ports where one of them is on the front of the unit.

With Link Aggregation, the DS416 delivers over 221MB/s while reading from an RAID5 array, and over 139MB/s writing. The hardware encryption engine helps a lot when encryption is needed and the DS416 can still deliver up to 146MB/s reading and 65MB/s writing here. That is an easy 90% gain on encrypted file performance over the predecessor.

The cheapest of the three new Synology NAS is the DiskStation DS216se, a budget-friendly two-bay NAS device with the capability to host, share and protect data. This could be a great NAS for people who want to enter the world of NAS users without blowing their budget.

The DS216se features a Marvell Armada 370 800MHz with floating point unit that helps in a lot of scenarios, but especially when creating thumbnails and similar media related operations. However, the built-in floating-point unit generally enhances the overall capability of the CPU. The DS216se only features 256M DDR3 RAM, so you shouldn’t multitask too much with it. The DS216se delivers an average 102 MB/s reading speed under RAID 1 configuration and over 59 MB/s writing.

Two USB 2.0 ports on the rear allow the connection of portable storage drives for easy backup both ways. There is a single Gigabit Ethernet connection that should be plenty for most people’s home NAS needs. You can also connect it wirelessly with optional USB dongles if you should wish to do so.

With the DSM operating system at hand, you got a lot of useful features such as DLNA streaming, UPnP setup, and much more. A great feature for home users is the scheduled on and off times that help you to save electricity, live greener, and also extend the lifetime of the hardware.

The third and last new Synology NAS is the DiskStation DS216play, the successor to the highly popular entry-level DS214play NAS. The new DS216play features a better processor and comes with a dual-core 1.5GHz featuring hardware transcoding engine and 1GB RAM. The new processor in the DS216play allows for real-time transcoding of 4K Ultra HD source content (H.265) for a perfect multimedia experience on all devices. The CPU is an STM STiH412 dual-core with 1.5GHz that also features both hardware encryption and floating point unit.

The DS216play features one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port on the rear of the NAS as well as a single Gigabit Ethernet connection.

The name suggests play and that is in regards of media playback and not playing games and the DS216play could be a great solution for this. With its real-time transcoding abilities, support for DVB-T and DVB-S sticks and video recording as well as the general file serving options for pretty much all systems, including Windows, Linux, MacOS, iOS, and Android, there isn’t much that the NAS can’t do in that regards. DLNA support is also part of the deal.

 

All three NAS are backed by a two-year warranty. The DS216se has an MSRP of £98.40, the DS216play £186.00, and the DS416 has an MSRP of £330. Prices including VAT and all three NAS units should be available now.