up and managing your own personal cloud server is easy with Synology’s DiskStation DS220j ($169.99). This two-bay network attached storage (NAS) device
offers a user-friendly OS and numerous apps that let you store and share
videos, photos, music, and more. It also offers several RAID configuration
options to help safeguard your data, and it delivered brisk file transfer
speeds in testing. It’s an excellent choice—in fact, our new Editors’ Choice—for an affordable personal NAS solution.
DiskStation DS220j uses the same glossy white enclosure as its predecessor, the
DiskStation DS218j. It measures 6.5 by 3.9 by 8.9 inches (HWD) and has a power
switch and four LED status indicators on the front for system status, drive
activity, and LAN activity. The rear panel holds two USB 3.0 ports, a single
Gigabit LAN port, a reset button, and a power jack. Unlike the Asustor AS5202T,
the DS220j enclosure is not tool-free; you’ll have to remove two screws to
access the drive bays and secure the drives with additional (included) screws. As with
most of the NAS devices we review, storage drives are not included.
DS220j may look like the DS218j, but it offers a major hardware upgrade: it’s
equipped with a 1.4GHz quad-core processor and 512MB of DDR4 RAM. (The DS218j
has a 1.3GHz dual-core chip and 512MB of DDR3.) It can accept 2.5-inch
and 3.5-inch SATA drives of up to 16TB for a total max capacity of 32TB, and it
supports the EXT4 file system and several RAID configurations including RAID 0,
RAID 1, JBOD, Basic, and SHR. The last is Synology’s Hybrid RAID, designed for quick volume
creation. A single fan keeps internal components and drives from overheating.
DS220j uses Synology’s excellent DiskStation Manager (DSM) operating system, a web-based NAS OS that
makes configuring and managing the device easy. When you first launch DSM, you’ll see a Windows-like desktop populated with tiles labeled Package Center,
Control Panel, File Station, and DSM Help. A System Health window on the right
side of the screen displays your current CPU and RAM usage.
As you download
apps, you can add them to your desktop along with other DSM programs that can be
found by tapping the icon in the upper left corner, including Storage Manager,
Resource Monitor, iSCSI Manager, and Security Advisor.
Package Center is where you go to access and download more than 100 Synology-branded and third-party apps including antivirus, backup and restore, media server, and office apps. Tap the File Station tile to
search for files, share files across multiple platforms, modify file
structures, and edit file-sharing privileges.
The Control Panel contains a wealth of system settings including
individual user and group access settings, network security settings, update
and restore options, wireless and DHCP settings, and task scheduling. Use the
Storage Manager to create storage volumes and storage pools, monitor drive
health, and view file system and free storage information. For tips and
tutorials that show you how to configure the DS220j and use its many features,
tap the DSM Help tile.
Installing and configuring the
DS220j is quick and easy. I removed two screws on the rear panel and slid the
left part of the enclosure forward and off. I installed a pair of Seagate 10TB IronWolf SATA drives in the drive bays, secured them with the included screws, and
reattached the enclosure. I attached the NAS to my router, powered it up,
opened a browser, and typed http://find.synology.com. The NAS was immediately recognized, so I tapped
Connect, then hit Set Up, and installed the latest DSM operating system,
which took around 10 minutes.
NAS restarted, I created an administrator account and then created a quick SHR
RAID volume, which yielded 9.09TB of total storage. I let the app run a drive
verification process overnight and was ready for testing. (Note: You can use the DS220j while it runs verification, but it may affect performance.)
The DS220j performed admirably in our file transfer tests, in which we use a 4.9GB folder containing a mix of
music, video, photo, and office document files to measure NAS read and write
Its score of 87MBps on the write test was a significant increase
over its DS218j predecessor. It beat the TerraMaster F2-210 by
17MBps, but was a hair slower than the Asustor AS5202T. In the read test, the
DS220j’s score of 90MBps was the fastest of the bunch, 34 percent faster
than the DS218j.
Synology DiskStation DS220j is an excellent choice for home users looking to
create a personal cloud where they can back up their data and share photos,
music, office documents, and more. It’s a cinch to install, performed wonderfully
in testing, and offers a user-friendly operating system that makes it easy to
configure drives, create shared folders, and turn the NAS into a multimedia
server. You’ll have to supply your own storage drives and use tools to install
them, but nearly all of the NAS devices that we review are sold without drives.
Affordable pricing, speedy performance, and a bevy of available apps earn the
DS220j our Editors’ Choice for personal NAS drives. If you require a more
powerful two-drive solution with lots of features, consider the Asustor AS5202T
(also an Editors’ Choice). It’s more expensive, but it offers
multi-gig LAN, link aggregation, and video encoding hardware. It’s also an
Synology DiskStation DS220j Specs
|Connection Type||Ethernet, USB 3.0|
|RAID Level||RAID 0, RAID 1, SHR|
|Hard Disk Configuration||Fixed Single, JBOD, RAID|
|Rack-mount or Standalone||Standalone|
|Wired Network Speed||10/100/1000|
|Number of Bays||2|
|External USB Hard Disk Expansion||Yes|