NAS units capable of only accepting 2.5" drives have been a rarity, but the launch of WD Red drives in that form factor has given a boost to vendors looking to cater to that space. Synology launched a 2.5"-drive only 4-bay NAS back in 2011 (DS411slim). This year, we have a refresh, the DS414slim.

The Synology OS (Disk Station Manager - DSM) has evolved into a very capable, user-friendly and feature-rich server OS in its own right. Its high-performance iSCSI features make it very attractive for virtual machines. The 414slim comes equipped with a very capable SoC (the Marvell ARMADA 370 running at 1.2 GHz, which we already saw in the LenovoEMC ix4-300d) and sports four hot-swappable drive bays, two USB 3.0 ports and two GbE links. Inside the system, we have 512 MB of DRAM. Since 2.5" drives don't consume a lot of power, the unit is able to do with a 30W external power adapter.

The small size of the system as well as the massive RAID-able storage capacity (4 x 1.5TB supported currently) and rich networking capabilities make it an ideal mini server for those experimenting with virtualization and have a space-constrained setup.

Source: Synology

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  • SirMaster - Wednesday, May 28, 2014 - link

    This or its predecessor never quite made sense to me. So packing 4 1.5TB drives in this would give you 4.5TB in RAID 5. Wouldn't it just be better to go with a 2-bay Synology and put in 2 4TB disks in RAID 1? Or even a pair of new 5TB or 6TB disks?
  • ganeshts - Wednesday, May 28, 2014 - link

    Four bays allows for RAID-6 or RAID-10 : It is all a matter of how many disk failures you want to be able to handle. Also, many consumers feel wary about putting in all their data on a big capacity disk as they don't want to lose it all in one go. Smaller sized disks are preferable to those users and this type of unit allows them to be 'densely' packaged.
  • Flunk - Wednesday, May 28, 2014 - link

    In a stand-alone small office/home office case? If it was rack-mountable it would make a lot more sense to me.

    I'm with SirMaster on this one. This product doesn't seem to make much sense.
  • bernstein - Wednesday, May 28, 2014 - link

    if you want rack mountable you obviously have racktower in a room where noise & ventilation isn't a problem... obviously your not the target audience and should buy a supermicro server... has up to 36 2.5" hdds.
  • BillyONeal - Wednesday, May 28, 2014 - link

    4 2.5" spindles in RAID5 can offer more throughput than 2 3.5" spindles in RAID1.
  • imaheadcase - Thursday, May 29, 2014 - link

    None of that matters on a network. Speed is the least of concern with a setup like this.
  • azazel1024 - Wednesday, May 28, 2014 - link

    It depends on the drives and controllers.

    I've seen a lot of numbers with RAID5 arrays where individually you can get, say, 120MB/sec read and write performance out of each disk, but a 4 disk RAID 5 array ends up netting you something like 350MB/sec reads...but 120-150MB/sec writes with HUGE varience on write speed based on queue depth (sometimes actually dropping with higher queue depth).

    So actually, with a couple of resonable fast 7200rpm 3.5" disks, its at least possible SOME of the disk performance will be faster with a 2 disk 3.5" RAID1 array then with a 4 disk 2.5" RAID5 array. Kind of depends on what you are interested in.

    I can see the use case on this NAS, it just seems like a very, very niche market though. As for storage...well, personally 4TB seems like a decent chunk of storage and 6TB pretty nice. I am rolling only 2.7GB total in my desktop and 4.1TB total in my, yeah, 6TB would be nice. Fingers crossed I can nab some 3TB drives this fall as my desktop is pretty much completely out of space (I think I have around 20% spare area right now and shrinking).
  • isa - Wednesday, May 28, 2014 - link

    OK, fine: another new NAS that doesn't use Silvermont. I won't wake up for a NAS review until a consumer/SOHO Silvermont NAS is covered. Any coming soon?
  • name99 - Wednesday, May 28, 2014 - link

    Well how should we interpret this?
    Does it mean that the whole world of these manufacturers are all in some weird conspiracy to keep people from buying what they want? Or does it mean that something about Silvermont (performance not as great as claimed for this task? inability to easily create the exact SOC required with the LAN, USB, SATA, CPU and RAID engine all on one chip?)

    I'd say the answer is likely the latter --- which is exactly what people have been saying since Atom came out --- that competing in embedded is not just a matter of a kickass CPU, it's also about being willing and able to play ball with everyone else who is part of the ecosystem.
  • isa - Wednesday, May 28, 2014 - link

    Well, I guess a conspiracy by the Saucer People or their minions is a possibility, but I asked the question because I actually don't know and genuinely want to know.

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