NAS Storage Blog

NAS storage news, reviews, tips and tricks

Synology releases DS213j

Synology has just released the DS213j NAS server. The unit is a 2-bay NAS with 512MB RAM and designed with a cool white design which will fit nicely in every office or home.

The DS213j is designed with low noise and energy efficiency in mind so it will be perfect as your first NAS server.
With a fast CPU and 512 MB DDR3 RAM you can easily run several processes on the DS213j without the cost of performance.
I am bit disappointed that the DS213j does NOT support SATA III and that the external HD interface is NOT USB 3.0. I know that several other not Synology NAS units are using SATA III which is a lot faster than SATA II. I do know that QNAP has several new NAS units equipped with SATA III.

Synology DS213j hardware specifications

The DS213j is not a high end NAS server from Synology but it will provide good performance and flexibility in the home or in small business where the number of users are limited. It is the perfect solution for your home cloud storage.

  • CPU Frequency: 1.2GHz
  • Hardware Encryption Engine
  • Memory: DDR3 512MB
  • Internal HDD/SSD: 2 x 3.5″ or 2.5″ SATA(II) (I recommend hard disks from Western Digital or Intel if you are going to use SSD)
  • Max Internal Capacity: 8TB (2X 4TB HDD) (Capacity may vary by RAID types)
  • External HDD Interface: USB 2.0 (This is bit disappointing. Why not USB 3.0)
  • Weight : 0.91 Kg
  • LAN : 1 x Gigabit
  • Wake on LAN/WAN (This is a nice feature)

How to count the number of files in a directory in Linux

It is easy to count the number of files and subdirectories in some directory in a Linux OS. With the use of the command ls and wc you can create the command that will do this.

Count number of files and subdirectories:
ls -l | wc -l

Count number of subdirectories only:
ls -l | grep ^d | wc -l

Count number of files only (inverted grep command):
ls -l | grep -v ^d | wc -l

I just love the way that the output from one command can be send as input to another command also known as piping. This is so powerful.

Dump and restore databases easily with PostgreSQL

My favorite open source SQL database is PostgreSQL because it is easy to use, fast and very flexible. It has become the only open source SQL database that I use in some of my software projects. It is very easy to install and update on different operating systems. I use PostgreSQL on Debian (install and update via apt) and Mac OS X (install and update via Macports).
When PostgresSQL is installed it is quite easy to dump and restore databases.

Dump the PostgreSQL database

There are several approaches to dump (backing up) a SQL database in PostgreSQL but they all use the pg_dump utility. My favorite approach is to dump the database to SQL and pipe the result into a zipped file via gzip.
The following command is very useful:

pg_dump -O -U postgres foo | gzip > foo-16032013.sql.gz

  • Dump the database called foo with no owner with user postgres.
  • Gzip the result into file foo-16032013.sql.gz.

This will create file called foo-16032013.sql.gz that you can use for backup.

Restore the PostgreSQL database

Restoring the PostgreSQL database is also very simple. For this task you will have to use psql which is a terminal PostgreSQL client.
The following command is very useful when restoring a PostgreSQL database (assumed you have database called foo that is empty):

gunzip < foo-16032013.sql.gz | psql -U postgres foo

  • Unzip the zipped file foo-16032013.sql.gz.
  • Use the unzipped data for restore in database data.

Voila. You now have a database called foo with data.

Voyager Q Disk Docking Station – Easy disk access

I just bought the Voyager Q Disk Docking Station from Newertech that will replace my old Sandberg Disk Docking Station. I am big fan of disk docking station because of the flexibility with raw disks. Take a raw 2.5 or 3.5 inch hard disk and put in your docking station, connect the docking station to your Mac/PC and you have data access. Very easy and very useful. It use my docking station once a week when I am backing up the data on my Mac Mini. A docking station is an important part of my data backup strategy. I use the docking station to create an identical clone of my data so I can insert the cloned hard drive into my Mac Mini if needed.
My plan is also to use the Voyager Q to clone of my mirrored disks in my Synology DS211+ NAS once a week if possible.
The reason that I bought the Voyager Q was it that has many port/interfaces so there are many connection possibilities and I like that. I am used to use USB 2.0 on my Sandberg docking station but the Voyager Q uses USB 3.0 which is a LOT faster. When I clone or create a disk image based on the data on my Mac Mini disk (120 GB data currently) it will take about 30 minutes, that is more than 50 minutes faster than before.
I gave nearly 85 US dollars for the Voyager Q but I use a docking station very often, so I do not mind buying a quality docking station like the Voyager Q.

Voyager Q features

The Voyager Q has many nice features and I will list some of them here:

  • Support 2.5″ and 3.5″ SATA I/II/III drives and SSD drives.
  • Support drives up to 4 TB.
  • Hot-Swap for multiple SATA drives.
  • Nice compact design.
  • Easy Plug and Play for Mac/PC.
  • Weighted base and rubber feet. (A lot more stable than my old Sandberg docking station)
  • Eject button for easy disk removal.

Voyager Q specifications

Here are some of the most important specifications on the Voyager Q. I do like the high transfer rates.

  • 1 x eSATA port
  • 2 x FireWire 800 (1394b) ports
  • 1 x FireWire 400 (1394a) port
  • 1 x USB 3.0 port (compatible with USB 2.0)
  • eSATA transfer rates – 3.0Gb/s
  • FireWire 800 transfer rates – 800Mbps
  • FireWire 400 transfer rates – 400Mbps
  • USB 3.0 transfer rates – 3.0Gb/s

Voyager Q includes

The Voyager Q is bundled with a cable for each port available on the base station so no need to buy cables. It is all there. The following cables are included:

  • 1 x Double Shielded FireWire 800 connecting cable (9-9 Pin cable).
  • 1 x Double Shielded FireWire 400 connecting cable (6-6 Pin cable).
  • 1 x USB 3.0 (Standard-B to Standard-A) USB 2.0 backwards compatible cable.
  • 1 x Double Shielded eSATA connecting cable.

Conclusion

The Voyager Q is a great tool and if you have lot of data that you want to backup this is the tool for you. You can transfer much data very quickly and time is money.

Just upgrading my new Mac Mini 2012 2.6 i7 with 480 GB SSD and 16 GB RAM

The new Mac Mini 2012 2.6 i7 is a little killer when upgraded with a 6G 480 GB SSD and 16 GB RAM. How do I know this? I just bought a Mac Mini 2012 2.6 Quad Core i7 and replaced the original hard disk (1 TB 5400 RPM) with a OWC Pro 480 GB Solid State Drive and replaced the original 4 GB RAM with 16 GB RAM.
After this upgrade I am the proud owner of a Mac Mini that just flies when it comes to performance. The hardware upgrade took a little bit longer than expected and after this upgrade I had some problems booting the Mac Mini. I will describe the problems later in this post.

Upgrading the Mac Mini

Upgrading the Mac Mini 2012 with a new SSD and more memory is no more different than upgrading the Mac Mini 2011 which I did in the Spring of 2012, so I do have some experience when it comes to upgrading the Mac Mini unibody. The Mac Mini is a small box and the components are placed very tight inside so you will have to be careful in some aspects of the upgrade. But I have found some tutorials on the Internet. Ifixit have some of the best tutorials around when it comes to replacing hardware in a Apple Mac.

The tutorials that I used are listed here:

  • fixit – replacing the hard drive in Mac Mini 2012
  • Matt Saunders on Youtube

Make sure you have a good toolset before you begin otherwise you are stuck before you know it. I do recommend Newertech 11-Piece Portable Toolkit.
The following components in my Mac Mini were replaced:

  • 1 TB 5400 HGST HD was replaced with an OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G 480 GB SSD.
  • 2 x 2 GB RAM was replaced with 2 x 8 GB OWC 1600 Mhz RAM.

My problems after the hardware upgrade

I did ran into some problems after the upgrade. First I did not put the hard drive logic board connector. Big mistake. After this fix my Mac Mini would not start as my OWC SSD was corrupted. Then I had to use Apple Internet recovery to clean my OWC SSD, reinstall Mac OS X and finally restore with Apple Time Machine. This was actually the first time I used my Apple Time Machine backup. Works perfect by the way.
These operations took some time. I could not figure out why the SSD would not boot on the Mac Mini. But my Mac Mini is now running well but I have seen some problems with my dual display setup even though the Mac Mini should be able to handle two Cinema Displays.

The Intel HD 4000 graphics should be powerful enough to support two large displays and this setup has been confirmed to work by other users.

Performance testing and improvement

My new Mac Mini 2.6 Ghz Quad Core is fast, very fast. I did some Geekbench tests in order to test the little devil in both 32-bit and in 64-bit and the results were very impressing as you can see from the results below. Some of my installed programs are running very smoothly. I have never seen IntelliJ open so quickly before. Building some of my code projects goes VERY fast. 2 seconds to compile and create a Java war file that is ready for deployment. Perfect!

Geekbench performance test 32 bit

Geekbench performance test 64 bit

Apple MacBook Pro no more

My MacBook Pro early 2011 had a battery replacement but this replacement was fatal. My MacBook Pro will NOT see this new battery. Extremely frustrating and I can see that I am not the only one having this problem when batteries are replaced. A lot of posts on many different Apple related forums show this problem.

I have tried many fixes but nothing seems to solve this issue so I am taking the computer to the nearest Apple repair dude in order to diagnose the problem. I sure hope it is a minor hardware issue and not a logic board replacement. That would be way to expensive. When the MacBook is hopefully fixed I will sell it. I currently do not need a laptop.

Conclusion

Upgrading the Mac Mini 2012 is not that hard as it seems to be and you will love the power that the machine now has. The Mac Mini is fast and silent.

Synology releases DSM 4.2 for NAS devices

Synology has just released the DSM 4.2 for all their NAS devices. Many new features are available. I downloaded the DSM 4.2 version last week and I have not found any bugs so far, so thumbs up for all you testers out there. Good job.
We NAS users have some (many) feature requests and I think Synology does a very good job implementing these features and acknowledge future demands.

Synology DSM 4.2

As usual a Synology DSM minor release like the 4.2 is full of new features. Just by looking at the release notes from Synology was quite overwhelming. A lot of work has been done here. So many features and I will list some of them here:

  • Storage Manager – Global Hot Spare Disks and S.M.A.R.T. Test Scheduler.
  • File Services for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. Major performance improvements when data is transferred between devices.
  • Package Center – New design in order to browse packages.
  • LDAP/AD Accounts for business.
  • Task Scheduler – Automate tasks.
  • Bluetooth Support – Stream music with Bluetooth.
  • Firewall & Security – Denial of Service (DoS) Protection and Customized block and allow IP List.
  • Disk Usage Report.
  • And much more.

If you have a Synology NAS that can support this DSM update download and install the new DSM version.

Testing Macbook Pro performance with Geekbench 2.4.0

As a hardware geek/enthusiast I had to see how well my Macbook Pro 2011 performed after some Geekbench tests. Geekbench is the preferred tool to use when performance tests are to be executed. You can get Geekbench for Windows, Mac and Linux computers. You can even get it for Android and iPhone mobile devices.
I bought Geekbench 2.4.0 for 13 US dollars on Mac App Store and ran the following tests in order to see the performance.

  1. 32-bit benchmark
  2. 64-bit benchmark
  3. Hardware stress tests (3 iterations)

I was curious to see how my Macbook Pro was performing compared to similar Macbook Pro models.

These are the specifications for my Macbook Pro 2011:

  • OS: Mac OS X 10.8.2
  • Model ID: MacBookPro 8,2
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-2635QM @ 2.00 GHz (4 Cores, 8 Threads)
  • L1 Instruction Cache: 32.0 KB x 4
  • L1 Data Cache: 32.0 KB x 4
  • L2 Cache: 256 KB x 4
  • L3 Cache: 6.00 MB
  • Memory: 16.0 GB 1333 MHz DDR3 (2 x 8 GB OWC RAM)
  • BIOS: Apple Inc. MBP81.88Z.0047.B27.1201241646

32-bit test result

Test score: 7318
My test result is a bit lower than the average test score uploaded to primatelabs but I did noticed some background processes consuming some resources during the tests, so this could be the reason for this low score.

64-bit test result

Test score: 9060
The test result was nearly the average that was uploaded to primatelabs.

Conclusion

My Macbook Pro is performing well and compared to other similar models there is nothing to worry about, but I do want a desktop computer again. I need a fast computer this year.

Apple Mac Pro release 2013

Apple has confirmed that they will upgrade the Mac Pro desktop in 2013 and I think the upgrade will be released in March or April and we will see new Cinema Display’s also.
This is just another Mac rumor but I do think that Apple will have the kindness to release a new Mac Pro in the spring of 2013.
I am in the need of fast desktop computer so a new Mac Pro will be good news for me.
I have already saved some money for a new desktop computer and if I am about to buy a Mac Pro I will need between 2 – 3000 US dollars just for the basic components. I can always upgrade the RAM, graphics, hard disks and so on if needed. But I do have to save some more money in order to buy this machine.
BUT I must say that you can get a lot of computer components for a Intel based Microsoft Windows or Linux PC for half the price of the Mac Pro.
You can get a fantastic homemade PC for 2000 US dollars made of quality hardware but you will have to build it yourself.

Why is the release date in March or April?

First of all I do NOT consider this website to be another Mac rumor site but I do think that I want to share my thoughts on the Mac Pro release this year.
In the four years that I hav e been following Apple and their products releases their seems to be some sort of a pattern:

  • The release of new Mac computers almost always occurs in the first 6 months of a year.
  • The release of new iPads almost always occurs in the first 6 months of a year.
  • The release of new iPhone’s and iPod’s almost always occurs in the last 6 months of a year.

The Mac Pro will most likely be released along with a brand new Apple Cinema Display that will be based on the same concept as the screen on the iMac’s from 2012.

I do think that I will have to write a post about what I can expect from the Mac Pro 2013.

The hardware that I am going to spend some money this year is the following:

  • A brand new fast desktop computer (An Apple Mac Pro or Linux PC).
  • A brand new 4 bay Synology NAS unit.

So my first Apple Mac rumors is now in the open. I do not know if it will be the last one but there will be some time before I release another one. Apple do not disappoint me and upgrade the Mac Pro this year.

I need to replace my MacBook Pro laptop with a fast desktop

I love my MacBook Pro but there are things that are starting to anoy me: noise and speed. There some scenarios were I just get so frustrated I am using my MacBook Pro. When I use the machine for software development or using the Airplay function to render a movie on my TV it is very often the case that my MacBook Pro with 16 GB RAM, a fast SSD and semi fast CPU is under heavy load. For some reason I am not able to find the root cause but some indications points to a hardware problem which is not good at all. I changed my Intel 520 SSD with a OWC SSD and I must say that I have experienced some strange behaviours in Mac OS X since then:

  • Unexpected screen black outs
  • Unexpected OS log outs
  • Suddenly heavy load

These problems might not disappear when I get a new computer but a new computer is always a good thing. My problem is what to choose. Since I switched from Windows to Mac I promised myself not to go back to Windows but I might just buy a highend Intel based computer and install some sort of Linux distribution.
I would love to get a Mac Pro but it is not cheap. You can get PC which has the same specs as Mac Pro for half the price of a Mac Pro but then you will not get Mac OS X unless you create a hackintosh computer. I have been looking at some of the golden hackintosh builds at tonymacx86 and I must say thät I am keen to get a computer with that much power and Mac OS X for a lot less than a Mac Pro.

I would love to develop software on an extremely fast desktop with a lot of memory, fast CPU(s) and fast SSD’s.

Stream video from your Synology NAS via Airplay with Synology DSM 4.2

Synology DSM 4.2 is now in Beta and one of the new features is video content streaming via Airplay. I am a fan of Apple products (not all products) so this new feature in Synology Video station is just good news for me. This new Airplay streaming feature from Synology make it possible to use a device like iPhone or iPad as a controller. As I got both gadgets I simply can not wait to try this.

If you want to try out this new Video Station feature from Synology I would suggest that you join the DSM Beta program. When you have joined the DSM Beta program it is possible to downlad and install the DSM 4.2 Beta. But if you find any bugs you should inform Synology about this in that way you helping all to stabilize the DSM.