Heard the one about the electronics company that was so successful at miniaturisation it had to move into smaller premises? Maybe not, but NAS specialist Synology may have to do just that, at least if its latest DiskStation product, the DS411slim, is anything to go by.
Designed around 2.5in. disk technology, the DS411slim can hold up to 4TB of data, yet is small enough to fit comfortably into the palm of your hand.
Despite its lack of inches, the DS411slim is every bit as capable as larger DiskStations designed to take 3.5in. drives. Moreover, powered by a 1.6GHz Marvell Kirkwood processor with 256MB of DDR3 memory, it can run the same DiskStation Manager 3.0 software to support cross-platform file sharing plus a range of optional applications, from network backup to website hosting and video surveillance. It even has built–in media servers plus a tool to run scheduled downloads without the need for a PC.
Up to four SATA disks can be fitted inside the smart black DS411slim casing, mounted in plastic carriers that simply slide in at the rear. These can then be configured as a RAID 1, 5 or 6 array and shared, using a variety of protocols, across a mix of Windows, Apple Mac and Linux clients.
Network attachment is via a Gigabit Ethernet interface with USB and eSATA ports available to both add extra storage and take backups to external disk. You can even configure the Synology appliance as an iSCSI target.
Of course, Synology isn’t the first NAS vendor to offer a 2.5in. product: Buffalo took that honour with the 2-disk LinkStation Mini a couple of years back, followed by Synology's own DS409slim a few months later. As such it's not entirely new, the DS411slim employing the same casing as its predecessor but with a faster processor, more RAM and support for larger disks. It will also be able to run the DiskStation Manager 3.1 update, currently in beta testing and due out in a few weeks
Available now for just £187.46 (ex. VAT) plus the cost of the disks, another advantage with the DS411slim is that it's cheaper to run compared to 3.5in. models. Indeed, according to Synology, it needs just over 9 watts when idle and around 16W in use — resulting in a much smaller carbon as well as physical footprint.