Since there is no particular testing that can be conducted with a NAS drive beyond using its functions and seeing how it fairs, thats what we did. After installation the next step was to access the main panel which is done using the network drive search software that comes on the Synology CD.
If you have several drives on the network they should all show up in the Management tool, but since this is my only NAS drive in at the moment, this one looks a little lonely. Double clicking this takes you through to the main menu, which requires a login. For starters you only have a single option, Management. Clicking this brings you to the main admin panel which gives you a giant selection of options.
There’s really far too many to completely detail each one, but there are a few that need addressing. You can setup user accounts, create logins, alter a myriad of features that most won’t even look into, as well as running the setup for the internal drives.
The first option you need to pay attention to is the disk/volume setup. Before you can do anything on the synology drive, transfer any files, setup any media stations; it needs a volume.
Depending on your chosen drives, you can utilise different setups. Identical drives can utilise the RAID option giving multiple backup, or extra speed with a RAID 0 setup.
After that, prepare to sit back for a few hours. I used 2 x 500GB Seagate Barracuda drives in my setup, but it took over 4 hours to create and "check" the volume. This puts a stopper in your excitement of setting this up somewhat.
When your volume has finally been created… you can move on to checking out some of the features that the Synology NAS drive has. However before that happens you must enable each one in the Management screen. This is done with a simple check box and prevents the device from being overcrowded with features you won’t use. The first one I investigated was the Photo Station. This allows you to view pictures and images across your network and via the web using the secure login feature.
When first accessing the Photo Station 3, you’ll find that you don’t have immediate access. You have to login once again, but you can use the same login as you have so far; whatever you decided during setup.
Once you’ve gained access you’ll not find much in there unless you’ve already added some photos to the area. This isn’t actually done in the Photo Station application and is accomplished by simply accessing the drive via your PC, and transferring files over the network. However images can also be added via a USB portable device.
Once addded, the images will show up in whatever folders they were transffered in. All pictures are supposed to have thumbnails, but for me only a few eventually showed up for some reason. Titles and descriptison can be added for each one, and every picture can be viewed at a much larger size should you so wish. Cooliris is also supported but must be installed seperately.
There is a similar option available for videos which works in the same fashion as the photo section of the Photo Station. However, the 3rd option is an interesting one; a Blog. This allows you to use the Synology NAS as a mini-web server and have your own personal photographic site and blog for friends and family to read. However unless you’re packing a hefty upload rate broadband line, don’t attempt to use this as a traditional website hosting option.