The Synology DS1812+ Network Attached Storage server is overkill for many computer audiophiles much like our 1000 watt mono blocks, garden hose power cables, and components milled from solid blocks of aluminum. The DS1812+ houses eight hard drives at up to 4 TB each in size for a total of 32 TB of storage in a single box. If that's not enough space the DS1812+ can be expanded up to 18 drives / 72 TB with Synology's DX510/DX513 expansion chassis. The DS1812+ also supports SATA and USB 3.0 external drives. All but the most heavy digital hoarders should be set for quite awhile with this amount of space. The DS1812+ features two Ethernet ports that support failover and dynamic link aggregation (802.3ad). This is a big deal that most NAS servers and switches don't support. This unit is also expandable to 3GB of RAM although I never used more than half of the installed 1GB.
Most of the other hardware features of the DS1812+ are standard fare on all NAS servers. In fact most NAS manufacturers use identical internal components. It's not uncommon for these manufacturers to run into each other while meeting with suppliers of the internal components. Differentiation all comes down to software.
DSM software is full of features from simple to grand and runs on every Synology NAS. DSM enables both novice and savvy users to configure any Synology NAS server to their heart's content. Configuring the DS1812+ through DSM is done by pointing a web browser such as Safari, Chrome, or Internet Explorer to the address of the NAS once it's connected to the Ethernet network. After logging in to the DS1812+ interface DSM presents a desktop-like screen that's very easy to navigate. Novices can click the Quick Start icon and learned users can begin browsing the plethora of options in the Control Panel, Package Center, Storage Manager, etc. Like all NAS servers DSM enables users to setup file sharing for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux computers, and standard stuff like creation of users and groups. Unlike many NAS servers DSM is incredibly simple.
In my system the DS1812+ was placed outside the listening room as it generated more noise than was comfortable with while listening. This noise is par for the course with eight drive NAS servers. I setup my CAPS servers to connect to the NAS via a mapped drive, in this case the M:\ drive. After every reboot my PCs connect the M:\ drive to the DS1812+ and use it just like a local USB or FireWire drive.
The features of DSM that I took advantage of most include the network link aggregation, package installation, and scheduled backup. Serving music in my environment doesn't require all the features of DSM, but it's nice to have the overkill the capability with software as well as hardware.
Link Aggregation 802.3ad is also called bonding among other names. It allows more than one Ethernet port to be combined thus supporting more throughput than each single port operating alone. I bonded the two DS1812+ 1 Gb Ethernet ports into a single 2 Gb port. To really take advantage of the bonded channel I created a similar bond on my Cisco switch aggregating the two ports that connect the NAS to the switch. The connection from the DS1812+ to my Cisco switch was then 2 Gb full duplex rather than to separate 1 Gb full duplex ports that function independently. My CAPS servers only contain a single 1 Gb Ethernet port and couldn't come close to saturating the 2 Gb bonded link of the NAS. however, I felt very comfortable knowing I had throughput to spare while using several devices to stream music and movies simultaneously. Advanced users have the ability to adjust the MTU value enabling jumbo frames to tweak the connection even further. I played with these settings a bit but didn't notice much difference in a non-optimized non-jumbo frame network.
Synology DSM features very simple package installation of both standard packages and third party packages. Media Server, iTunes Server, and Audio Station are but three easily installed packages computer audiophiles may desire. In addition to these three DSM offers the Logitech Media Server as a third party package installable with the click of the mouse. Recently I was made aware of a product named MinimServer. It's a UPnP application capable of streaming DSD files. I followed the instructions closely and as able to install the MinimServer package on the DS1812+ NAS without a problem. It wasn't click and play, but I made it work. Based on this experience I believe DSM can be expanded much further than Synology advertises. The only limitation is the imagination of developers and the time it takes to create the package.
The DS1812+ supports external USB 3.0 hard drives via two rear ports. Supporting the hardware is one thing but working reliably with such drives is a completely different matter that depends on the system software. I connected a Hitachi 4 TB drive in a Plugable drive docking station (LucidPort USB300 USB 3.0 to SATA-II Chipset) to the Ds1812+. Using the DSM Backup & Restore app I created a scheduled backup of my music to run every Saturday at 3:00 AM. This may not seem like much but searching the Internet for NAS backups to 4 TB USB 3.0 drives will lead one to believe it's rocket science. Many issues are reported with many different NAS servers and external drives. Using the Ds1812+ with DSM 4.1 the backup works perfect and provides a nice log displaying success or failure that I can browse at each login. In addition the home page of DSM displays a little red icon in the top right corner that allows one to view backup status as well as other important items.
The DS1812+ offers some advanced hardware features such as dual Ethernet ports and expandability. However, it's the DSM software that places this NAS server above much of the competition. By link aggregating its dual Ethernet ports into a single bonded channel I have no doubt its throughput is enough to serve my neighborhood. I've been streaming gapless uncompressed high resolution to my CAPS servers running JRiver without a single playback issue. The DS1812+ is as fast as my music servers can handle. Support for all toes of package installations and automated backups is something many computer audiophiles either need or don't realize they'll need very soon. The DS1812+ is expandable far beyond any normal music serving platform. This jibes well with audiophile beliefs in all things overkill and ready for anything that may come in the future. The capability to scale up to 72 TB and be upgraded to the forthcoming version of DSM 4.2 are other comforting capabilities. My use of the DS1812+ barely scratches the surface of what's possible with such a versatile platform. I'm a computer audiophile that may not require much in NAS capabilities, but what I do require has to work when I need it and mustn't require a Ph.D. to configure. The Synology DS1812+ with DSM 4.1 meets all my requirements and currently sits in pole position as my go-to Network Attached Storage server. Highly recommended and CASH Listed .
- Product - Synology DS1812+ NAS Server
- Price - $999
- Product Page - Link