With high-speed internet and high-end gadgets now available at cheaper prices, we are generating 10 times more data than before.

Be it photos or videos or simply work documents, large amounts of data needs to be generated and, more importantly, stored safely. While online backup and storage options are not cheap, owning a personal cloud at home is now a crucial investment. And the Synology DiskStation DS420j NAS is just the device that you can bring home.

What is this NAS?

NAS (Network Attached Storage) is a barebone box (purpose-built computer) that can hold up to four hard drives for storing and serving all kinds of data to and from a single source. Using the DiskStation OS you can configure these drives (two or more) to combine and store up to 108 terabytes of data, good enough to span your entire life’s photos, videos, music, documents and more.

How can it help me?

Apart from backing up all your photos and videos from your phone and laptops, you can also store music and movies and use it as a media streaming server for everyone on your home or office network. You can automate your device backups (phones, laptops, pen drives, etc.) the moment you connect them to the network or the NAS. You can also offload all your internet downloads (torrents, etc.) to the NAS even if you are not at home. You can host a website, email server or even a VPN server from your very own NAS. Have surveillance cameras at home? You can also use it as a DVR for those cameras. There are numerous applications where the NAS can help you at home and office.

How powerful is it?

Built using a 64-bit quad-core 1.4GHz Realtek processor with 1GB of RAM, you can pop in four 16TB hard drives to make a whopping 64TB storage box. With a Gigabit Ethernet port for all network devices and two USB 3.0 ports to plug in your portable storage drives, this is a one-stop solution for a personal home cloud or storage box. Collect all your movies, music and photos and share them with your family devices or with your friends over the internet too. Stream your content to almost all media players, smart TVs or mobile phones simultaneously. And if a hard drive fails, you can simply replace it with a new one (while it is still powered on) and safely retain all your data (RAID only).

What other services/servers can I run on it?

Well, the Synology NAS runs on packages, similar to an Android smartphone running on apps. All you need to do is download them from the DiskStation user interface and configure it accordingly. You can also install packages manually from third-party developers available online. Using these packages, you can run a long list of services such as web, email, media streaming, FTP, Torrent, download, CCTV DVR, iTunes, virtual machines, antivirus, backup, PDF viewer, chat, office, VPN, Proxy, DNS, and a lot more. Best-case scenarios for a casual home are media streaming server, download server, backup server and surveillance server.

What about performance?

Honestly, we have had our office servers holding our crucial data on a Synology NAS since a few years, running 24x7 without us ever having to look at it frequently. As for the DS420j, it has been running at our office since two weeks now, streaming all our videos and audio apart from helping us save our daily Adobe files for work. The box never seems to get hot either — thanks to the two large exhaust fans that take care of the internal temperatures. Yes, running heavy office Adobe documents simultaneously while streaming does create a tad slowdown, but that is because of the single Gigabit Ethernet that’s available for us. As for your usage at home, you will find this device almost invisible to your devices and your power bills — thanks to the auto-hibernation mode that puts down the electricity consumption to a mere 7.8W at lowest.

What about adding or upgrading drives, or migrating to a larger NAS box?

It’s very easy, and safe too. You can easily add or upgrade hard drives by replacing or plugging them in. Using the operating system options, you can also migrate to a higher-end or larger capacity Synology NAS with great ease. Simply choose the migrate data option and you can simply plug out the hard drives from the old NAS and plug them in the same order on the new NAS box. The powerful DiskStation OS will help you step-by-step with the data migration, keeping all your data safe, with the existing configuration and profiles from the older NAS. And if you are stuck somewhere, the Synology help desk will guide you through the way.

Should I consider it?

Our honest opinion is that every home or small office should have one of these boxes. You can safely and securely store all your data at a single, centralised location without any risk of it leaking out in the open and without spending on third-party cloud services. Homes and offices can interconnect and automatically sync data between multiple DiskStation NAS boxes with ease too. In short, you won’t get a network storage as cheap, as simple and as robust to manage all your data. It’s a complete peace of mind.

Stuff says... 

Synology DiskStation DS420j review

A one-stop personal online cloud for the starting price of a mid-range smartphone
Good Stuff 
Up to 108TB storage
Power efficient
Very easy to configure and deploy
Rugged build quality
Efficient cooling system
Very affordable
Bad Stuff 
Hot swapping drives are a bit cumbersome
Non-standard power brick
Single Ethernet port
No front USB slot