Synology DS215j

I needed a replacement for a failing Time Capsule, used to back up two MacBooks. The obvious solution would have been a new Time Capsule but I did a little investigation and found that I could get a two disk Synology (a NAS, or network attached storage) for less than the equivalent from Apple. More features for a lower price? Yes please!

The downside? It’s not plug and play in the same way that the Time Capsule is. I had to install the disk, download the operating system, set up the disks, create users… None of which were really hard but still need to be done.

At this point, the Time Capsule and NAS are roughly level pegging. Apples solution is easier, the Synology cheaper. For some that might already make the latter the obvious solution.

But the Synology also does more. I set up a VPN and a Plex server. I configured quotas so that both me and my wife both get 1Tb of space for backups each, rather than 2Tb of space both both of us (where the person with most, biggest backups tends to get the most space). And it switches itself off overnight, saving power and wear-and-tear on the disk.

And while it’s certainly harder than the Time Capsule, the UI is well presented and powerful. The admin interface does so much that I’ve not felt the need to enable to the ssh interface.

It’s easy to recommend as a Time Capsule replacement for the more technical user. For everyone else, Apple’s solution is easier but it might still be worth considering the Synology if any of the extra features might be useful.