NAS Storage Blog

NAS storage news, reviews, tips and tricks

Use IP blocking (Auto Block) in Synology DSM if some ports are open

With IP blocking it is possible to deny connection to certain IP addresses that tries to connect to different services on your Synology NAS. If it is possible to access your Synology via SSH, telnet, WebDAV, FTP, rsync and others from the Internet due to a port forwarding, IP blocking is a nice security feature. It prevents the bad guys from keep trying to connect to your NAS services and gain access if they provide the correct username and password. This must not happend.
If a someone tries to login to DiskStation via SSH and the number of failed login attempts is too many according to the number of login attempts that you define, the IP will be added to an IP black list. Your NAS now knows that this IP is blacklisted and it should not be allowed to try to connect to the service.

Enable IP blocking in Synology DSM 4

By default IP blocking is not enabled in DSM so you will have to enable ít.

  1. Login to your NAS.
  2. Open Control Panel and go to Auto Block.
  3. Check Enable auto block.
  4. Set Login attempts to 5 and Within (number of minutes these 5 login attempts must be within) to 5.
  5. Click Apply.

That is one step closer to a more secure NAS.

Western Digital Elements SE Portable 750 GB is my preferred NAS backup device

Western Digital Elements SE Portable 750 GB is my preferred NAS backup device and I got two of them. They are both a part of my data backup strategy. The Western Digital external disks are extremely popular and it is understandable.

I do like them a lot because of their stability, capacity and connectivity.

Even though my Synology DS211+ NAS has a capacity of 2 TB it does not mean that all 2 TB are used and far from all data is that critical.

The critical data on my NAS has a current capacity that says 300 GB and that data is backed up on the two WD Elements SE 750 GB disks every week. I do make an encrypted image off the content on my MacBook Pro and put it on each disk too. So each disk now contains NAS data and MacBook Pro data.

Each disks is placed on a separate location outside my house and the data is off course encrypted. I do not store my data externally unless the data is encrypted.
I do recommend the Western Digitals Elements series and the My Passport series for backup. Both series are worth the money.

The QNAP TS-219P Turbo NAS did loose to Synology DS211+

When I bought my Synology DiskStation DS211+ last year the QNAP TS-219P was the toughest competitor among the many other NAS devices that I reviewed in order to find my new NAS.

The QNAP TS-219P was and still is a worthy competitor to Synology DS211+ because the hardware specifications and price for both devices are so similar. QNAP NAS devices are known to be stable and the NAS chassises is quality.

Both Synology and QNAP are some of the top dogs of NAS manufacturers in the world and they do make quality hardware and firmware for their devices.

I had chosen 5 NAS devices for the final and at the end only two finalist were chosen in the final round: Synology DS211+ and QNAP TS-219.

Why did QNAP TS-219P loose?

The reasons that QNAP TS-219 lost to DS211+ last year in the final was the following:

  1. Design. The DS211+ has in my opinion a better looking design than the TS-219 and since my NAS is visible and not hidden, it does matter how the NAS looks.
  2. DSM. The Disk Station Manager (DSM) is a bit better than QNAP Firmware but QNAP has a package system called QPKG which is a fantastic feature created by QNAP.

I will do a similar NAS competition the next time I am going to buy a NAS and I do hope that the final will include NAS devices from many manufacturers.

LaCie Little Big Disk with Thunderbolt for your MacBook Pro

LaCie Little Big Disk with Thunderbolt I/O is an interesting device and it is indeed useful with your Apple MacBook Pro 2011.

I am the owner of a MacBook Pro and I find the Thunderbolt technology very interesting because it provides a connection to your computer that is very fast. With Thunderbolt you can transfer data with up to 10 gigabit per second from one device to another. It is perfect for fast data backup and that is something that I could use.

I want a LaCie Little Big Disk for my birthday.

What is Thunderbolt?

I do not want to give a complete overview of the Thunderbolt technology but only mention some of the benefits this new technology brings us.

  1. Extremely fast data transfer.
  2. Compatible with existing DisplayPort devices (Perfect for us Mac users).
  3. Daisy-chaining. Chain your Thunderbolt devices so they are wired together in sequence.

Thunderbolt was developed by Intel as was first used by Apple in their computers in 2011.

LaCie Little Big Disk specifications

I have thought of buying the LaCie Little Big Disks in order to try the data transfer myself and use this little device as the Time Machine disk. It could be an interesting test.
The LaCie Little Big Disk is a small aluminum box with a hard drive and two Thunderbolt interfaces.
Here are some LaCie Little Big Disk specifications:

  1. Capacity: 1 TB, 2 TB or 240 GB SSD hard drive.
  2. Nice looking aluminum enclosure with heat sink cooling.
  3. Weight: 650 g.
  4. Two Thunderbolt ports.

Synology DS112j 1-bay NAS with USB 2.0

Synology has just released the DS112j NAS that features hardware encryption of data, very low power consumption and a cool white design that will blend in perfectly in most homes and company offices.
The DS112j will be a perfect start NAS for users that are unexperienced with the use of a NAS device and how it can fulfill the many IT services that is needed at home and in small officess.
The DS112j is a 1-bay NAS you will not be able to configure RAID but if you buy a good and stable hard disk from Western Digital so should be good to go.
Here a list of the most important hardware features in Synology DS112j:

  • Cool white design that will blend in.
  • Wake on LAN.
  • Up to 4 TB data storage.
  • Encryption engine.
  • Low power comsumption: 13 W when active and only 5 W when hibernated.
  • 1.0GHz processor.
  • 128 MB DDR2 RAM.
  • Place for one hard drive (3.5” or 2.5”).

Buy the new Synology DS112j if you need a cheap and stable service provider for LAN or WLAN. This NAS will be an excellent beginner NAS for most users.

Synology has just released DSM 4.0

Synology has just released DSM (Disk Station Manager) 4.0. The Disk Station Manager contains several newsworthy features and I must say it looks extremely nice and so far it runs smoothly on my Synology DS211+ NAS. The firmware file has a size of 171 MB.
Here is how you can upgrade your current DSM version:

  1. Use DSM to upgrade automatically. The DSM will download the firmware file and restart the NAS afterwards.
  2. Upgrade manually. Download the file from Synology Download center and upload the file to your DSM afterwards.

I used the automatic update and the whole operation download, install and reboot worked like a charm. After the install the DSM seems to work perfect. All users are available, files are available, packages are OK so far so good.
New important features in DSM 4.0:

  1. Cloud service.
  2. New business services like DHCP server and VPN.
  3. Powerful and easy to use user interface.

I am looking forward to try the new Cloud functionality in DSM 4.0. It is one features that I think will be important for future use of my NAS.

Enjoy the new features in DSM 4.0.

Is Apple Time Capsule a NAS?

Before buying my Airport Extreme I also considered to buy the Apple Time Capsule which is an Airport Extreme with one hard drive and one hard drive only. I ended up buying an Airport Extreme and a Synology DS211+ with two Western Digital 2 TB green instead. I am glad that I did not bought the Time Capsule because in my opinion it is only a router with a build in backup device.

The Time Capsule does not have the many features that an ordinary intelligent NAS has. You can not run services like FTP, HTTP (web server), use RAID and use surveillance.
I am a big fan of RAID and the lack of RAID configuration on the Time Capsule (There is only one disk) is extremely bad and this is intolerable for me. I want backup of my data with a RAID 1 configuration.

The Time Capsule can provide you with data back up but do not expect it to be the best solution in the wold. Go for a NAS with RAID.

RND2110 READYNAS DUO – NAS from NETGEAR

RND2110 READYNAS DUO NAS from NETGEAR is a cheap 2 bay NAS with some good features. Cheap in this case is less than 200 US dollars for a NAS with 1 TB storage.
The RND2110 is in my opinion a good beginner NAS for home users. For business I definitely recommend a Synology NAS or a QNAP NAS that will provide more features for business use.

When you buy the RND2110 you will get 1 TB hard drive but it is possible to add another hard drive and I do recommend a NAS with at least two hard drives in order to use a RAID 1 so disk failures is handled properly.
What I do like about the RND2110 is the rock solid NAS chassis like the QNAP NAS devices.

The power consumption is bad. 60 W is way to much for a 2 bay NAS.

Use Airport Express to extend your WLAN

My LAN and WLAN is always turned on so my Apple Airport Extreme is running 24/7 and it is a very good at that. The WLAN covers most of my house but there are some places where the signal is low so I have often needed some sort of a wireless network repeater.

I am not a big fan of WLAN because a WLAN is less secure than a LAN. But the WLAN is extremely nice to have and when you can sit in the garden with your MacBook and access your NAS it makes sense.

The Apple Airport Express device is a easy way to extend the current WLAN and even provide a new feature: AirPlay. With AirPlay you can connect to iTunes on your MacBook and play music anywhere in the house that has some sort music device.

I find Airport Express very useful as the device can be placed almost anywhere it just needs some power in order to function. The Airport Express can not act as a repeater unless the current network is an Airport network. I was a bit annoyed when I heard that.
I definitely recommend the Apple Airport Express if you want to extend your current WLAN.