Like with other Synology NAS servers, we were most impressed by the new DS410's application stations, such as the Surveillance Station, Download Station, File Station, and Photo Station. All of these stations can be accessed via the local network or over the Internet.
The DS410's Surveillance Station 4 supports up to 12 IP cameras. This means you can use the NAS server as a video recorder/managing station of a very comprehensive surveillance system. Unfortunately, only one camera license is included, and additional camera licenses cost $49 each. Other than that, this feature worked really well in our trial. We could view live images and record them based on scheduling or motion detection. When multiple cameras are used, we could even synchronize the playback to see what happens at different cameras at a given time. The server supports a long list of IP cameras on the market and is able to automatically detect those connected to the local network to help facilitate the setup process. Synology also offers an iPhone app called DSCam so you can manage your surveillance via an iPhone, even when you're out and about.
The DS410 comes with Photo Station 3, which allows you to easily organize photos into albums. Once activated, a share folder called "photo" will be created. Photos stored in this share folder will be automatically placed into a well-organized, customizable album. You can then browse the album via a Web browser and like in Google's Picasa Webalbum and very easily add captions and comments to each photo/album.
The server's Download Station 2 allows the server to download files from the Internet by itself and is able to download files from websites that require authentication (such as RapidSahre). It also supports eMule and BitTorrent file-sharing services. You can manage your download anytime from anywhere via the local network or the Internet. This is an excellent feature for those who want to download large files, as no other computer needs to be running, other than the NAS sever itself, during the downloads.
Any local computer can access the DS410's storage via its share folder, similar to browsing for shared data between computers. However, if you want to access the NAS server's storage via the Internet, you'll need to use its File Station. To do this, you'll need to know how to set up a dynamic domain name system (DDNS) connection or access the Internet via a static IP. The DS410 made it a little easier for users by adding the ability to automatically change the settings of the router if it supports UPnP. Still the process is not easy and intuitive enough for novice home users.
Once set up, the File Station allows for accessing data from the NAS server's share folder over the Internet. You can download a single file or a whole folder to the remote computer at a time and can also upload files to the NAS server. Multiple users can use this feature at one time from different locations.
The DS410 has built-in backup options that are focused on backing up its content onto an external storage device or a network location. For backing up files on your computer to the DS410, Synology bundles it with its Data Replicator 3 desktop software.
The Data Replicator 3 is a simple, straightforward backup application that allows you to quickly copy data, much like copying and pasting using Windows Explorer, from your computer to the DS410. Also, the software has a nice feature that helps you find and quickly back up e-mail archives, which generally are buried deep in layers of subfolders within a user's profile. In addition, it also allows for scheduling and keeping track of the backup process via e-mail notification.
In RAID 5--the setup that balances between data protection, storage space, and performance--the DS410 scored 279Mps for write speed and 422.6Mbps for read speed. These were significantly faster than the DS409Slim, which is another RAID-5-capable NAS server from Synology. When compared to other NAS servers, these were also faster than RAID 1 performance of others, such as the QNAP TS259 Pro that scored 268.1Mbps for write speed and 350.6Mbps for read speed.
In RAID 0, the setup that gives you the most of storage space and performance at the expense of data protection, the DS410 scored slightly higher in write speed at 301.8Mbps, while its read speed remained the same. For comparison, the scores of the QNAP TS259 Pro were 299.2Mbps for write and 361.5 for read.
As we are in the process of transitioning to using Windows 7 64-bit to test NAS servers, we tried the DS410 with this operating system, and it did significantly better with throughput speeds up to 430Mbps and 870Mbps for the Read and Write tests, respectively.
Overall, the DS410's performance is among the highest of NAS servers that support RAID configurations. The NAS also performed smoothly in our tests and remained cool even during heavy loads. It was also relatively quiet for a four-bay NAS server. In a quiet room, however, you'd still hear the subtle humming noise of the fans.
Service and support
As with other NAS servers it has released, Synology also backs the DS410 with a two-year warranty from the date of purchase. Phone tech support is available Monday through Friday from 9a.m. to 5p.m., PST. At its Web site, you can find Synology's forum, download software and the latest firmware, and get more information about its products from its Wiki page.