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Energy-efficient NAS server shares USB drives

Oct 8, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 9 views

Synology began shipping a diskless network-attached storage (NAS) server designed for use with USB storage devices. The USB Station 2 incorporates an 800MHz processor, supports up to 4TB of external storage via dual USB 2.0 ports, includes gigabit Ethernet port, and offers file sharing and multimedia streaming via Synology's Linux-based, DLNA/UPnP-ready DiskStation Manager 3.0 software.

The USB Station 2 enables the sharing of files and multimedia content among Windows, Mac, and Linux desktops, making it particularly suitable for mall office networks with multiple OS platforms, says Synology.

Unlike Synology's many other NAS devices, such as the two-bay, DiskStation DS210+, the USB Station 2 has no onboard storage. However, it does run the same Linux-based DiskStation Manager (DSM) 3.0 software as the DiskStation devices, offering a wide range of NAS features and servers (see farther below).

Synology USB Station 2

The USB Station 2 is built on an unnamed 800MHz processor and is accompanied by 128MB of RAM. Each of the two USB 2.0 ports supports storage devices up to 2TB, for total storage of 4TB, says Synology. A gigabit Ethernet port is also supplied, and the device is said to offer wireless support, though the latter apparently requires a USB dongle.

Rear view of USB Station 2

The fanless, 5.2-ounce (147-gram) device measures 4.8 x 4.4 x 1.8 inches (122 x 111 x 46mm), and consumes only five Watts when connected to self-powered USB storage devices, says the Synology datasheet. (For the record, the press release claims four Watts, but we tend to go with the datasheet whenever we see such discrepancies.)

USB Station 2 in typical connection scenario
(Click to enlarge)

The USB Station 2's DSM 3.0 software includes a File Browser that offers easy file sharing on connected storage devices, says Synology. The software also enables the sharing of a USB-connected printer, says the company.

Other DSM 3.0 features of note include an Audio Station 2 application that supports Internet radio stations and iPod playback with optional speakers (see image below). The app streams music to multiple users "over the Intranet or Internet," says Synology. Meanwhile, an iTunes server is available, and a DS audio smartphone app lets users stream music to iPhone, iPod Touch, or Android devices, says the company.

DSM 3.0's Audio Station 2 application

Other DSM 3.0 features include a Download Station 2 app that enables downloads to the device without requiring an attached PC as an intermediary. A DLNA-certified media server, meanwhile, lets users stream multimedia files to DLNA/UPnP compatible devices, such as a TV, Sony PS3, or Microsoft Xbox360.

Stated Chad Cheng, product manager of Synology Inc., "USB Station 2 is the most affordable Synology NAS server ever. Together with its fanless design, USB Station 2 not only reduces users' carbon footprints but also brings them noiseless environments."


The Synology USB Station 2 is now shipping globally, "except in the U.S.," says the company, which did not list pricing. More information may be found here.

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