Personal Cloud, act II – Nube Personal acto II

I’m as a Tech-Freak fan lover of DIY project, used to build my own solutions for everything I could need, this approach is funny, and a source of long hours of entertainment, but to be earnest not always delivered the best of the best, this was the case of my previous “time machine-media-center access point” devices (my 2nd or 3rd post here), Ok with that thing I achieved to do what I wanted, but then comes the issues with Updating Ubuntu (first failed “the media eject and then shut-down” feature for the power-button among other issues related to Wi-Fi drivers), etc, and not having time available for entertainmet (read: solve tech challenges), an factory-made solution seems practical in the horizon.

Sometimes the good luck knocks the doors, and this was the case: Sinology. Inc. gifted me a NAS DS713+ their best dual-hdd solution, I admit this was the only way I would get one, since I have the money to purchase one, I surely would purchased hardware parts or barebones pc to build my own DIY NAS as I used to do.

Synology proves me my approach is good for entertainment but wrong on providing me at the best cost all the features I wanted on a personal cloud.

The Synology DS713+  is available at Ads713+mazon.com  empty (no storage inside), My gifted DS713+ arrived empty too, no complaint since I have spare HDD around my office, later I’ll add a couple of 4GB Hard Drives by HGST (formerly known as Hitachi) since are the most reliables right now.

My first impression with this equipment is about the build quality, doesn’t look as an high-tech toaster, instead looks as an miniaturized Mainframe (for those younger than me, Mainframe is the name Given by IBM to the S3xxxx series of central servers, the backbone of the IT industry during the pre-PC and the PC era and seems will last a while during the post-PC era).

Then quickly I installed two 1TB hdd I have unused, the setup was very easy at the point I consider it could be done by anybody, not necessarily tech-savvy guys like me -emh-.Then I began exploring what I could do on this, I know I could install a lot of features from synology’s repositories and from synocommunity’s repositories, at the beginning I planned to use it for media server, torrent, timemachine and centralized file sharing, no problems all the apps installed in a moment, configured it without any complication, actually I was bored on how easy was to setup all this stuff: Download Station (bitorrent, and most popular download protocols), Plesk (media server), MultimediaServer (same as Plesk but for DLNA clients), iTunes server, WordPress (where I run an image of this site), TimeMachine support comes pre-installed, SurveillanceStation (to monitor/recording 2 surveillance cameras at my home, (DS713+ includes licenses for 2 cameras, should be unlimited), CloudStation to sync folders among my PCs and Phones/Tablets.

Ok everything is up and running, and only took about 1 hr. since I use to be distracted testing every feature, givens too easy this should be question of minutes (yes minutes to have all this stuff running).

I had to install CloudStation client on my mac and other devices (better solution than Bittorrent’s Sync) since I foresee my safe backup strategy relying on time machine for documents with changing versions, and folder sync for data protection strategy, I still keep an external hdd for dedicated TimeMachine backup “just-in-case” of course I do not update this drive so often and most the time is stored on my fire-proof/buglar-proff vault.

The first awesomeness here is how polite is Synology’s software solution, beyond aesthetical, the software is intuitive, fool-proof, and works as advertised, no surprises, no useless time spent, polite, full featured and reliable, this comment is valid for both DiskStation software (DSManager, Cloud Station Download Station etc) to client side versions as CloudStation for Mac OS/X, DownloadStation for Android/iOS etc.

The awesomeness doesn’t ends here, since many people use to require remote data access for its personal cloud space, before my Synology experience this required me to setup an DynDNS account, deploy special configurations on my router etc, solutions sometimes showed not to be too reliable, by contrast Synology offers its own easy to setup Dynamic DNS service allowing you to reach your DiskStation from every where, just out the box, task that used to require at least 2 days given DynDNS service doesn’t activate instantly, this is an huge amount of time saved.

Later I’ll explore more advanced features as well install packages from Synocommunity  -an repository with crowd sourced apps driven by the community with applications available that for one reason or other you will not find on synology’s official repositories-.

Now I’m very happy to be wrong, this DS713+ saved me a lot of time, while providing the best user experience.

So, now my home setup comprises: my Macs and iOS/Android devices, a laptop running WincrapOS (formerly known as Windows 8) and linux, a couple of surveillance cameras, the DiskStation DS713+, plus a ChromeCast and an Apple TV attached to my TVs.

The best of all this setup is in case  a disk on my DS713+ faults, my data still are safely mirroed on the second disk (this is due one disk is redundant on the DS713+ and is a copy from the other), and the only thing I need to do is to load an New Hard Drive on the DS713+ just to restore redundancy, this means peace of mind.

About security unlike Apple’s Airport Extreme, this NAS comes with Kensington Lock slot, the HDD slot is keyed too, and the video recordings have certified time-stamps and could be used as evidence on a trial, feature not present on most surveillance solutions.

Never been so happy to be wrong about DIY, notwithstanding this DS713+ cost me nothing, its sure I’ll get another one if I need replace it, just the time saved on setup represent economically much more than what I could save on an DIY Nas, and maybe never I’ll get all the features of the DS73+ and the DiskStation Manager.

Well done Synology, thank you very much for this gift