Last year, I initiated a home networking project to move my storage from an array of multiple desktop hard drives to a Network Attached Storage located in the basement. The unit I chose was the DS214play which is their 2-bay NAS that supports up to 12 terabytes of data and has a built in hardware encoder for media files (video, music).

In truth, I haven’t fully utilized all of the functions of this device. The main thing that I love about it is how often Synology sends out updates. Every other week, an update is available that reboots my NAS Monday morning. It causes my mapped drives to freak out a bit but not really a big deal especially considering that Synology emails me with notices that a new update is available.

The expandability of the unit is also great. I started with two 6-terabyte drives with parity so I can use about 5.5 Terabytes total and then with the two USB3 ports and one USB2 port, I Have 3 external drives plugged in (4TB+5TB+1TB). One of these has Time Machine backups from my 2 Macintosh computers and the others have content I want stored but is not critical should I lose it.

The NAS offers all kinds of awesome features but I have my own Web Server and I already use DropBox, BackBlaze and iTunes Match so a lot of the functions are not needed for me. One thing I do utilize is the media server built into the NAS with the hardware encoder. It means from anywhere in the world, I can watch a movie from the NAS remotely even on LTE or Hotel WiFi without lag or stuttering. Basically, my entire media library is always available via my iOS Devices.

The Synology Music app hasn’t replaced Apple’s default iOS app for me but it is nice when there’s a song not on my iPhone since I disabled iTunes Match on iOS a few months ago due to a strange issue where it was eating up a ton of cellular data despite having iTunes Match Disabled on cellular.

I highly recommend Synology to anyone that wants a NAS but only for folks who have a lot of data, travel a lot, have a hard wired ethernet network and had more than one user on their network. Obviously, exceptions are here for those who are geeky but one requirement I’d for sure make is you must have a hard wired ethernet from the Synology to your main computer and also to any other devices using it (AppleTV, Roku, Samsung Smart TV, etc)

There’s more I’ll be doing with this device over time but I’m very pleased with the results so far and it has far more function than something like Drobo or one of those easy-NAS units from Western Digital aka Ethernet Hard Drives.