Take a look on your PC and see how many photos, home videos and other recordings you have. Many of these I imagine are the only copies you have. Now, although rare, the hard drive these files are stored on can fail and eventually will. You have now lost all of these memories. This loss can be mitigated by having a backup copy of your files on a separate hard drive. This reduces the chances of a total loss because for both hard drives to fail at the same time is doubly rare.
Synology has the Disk Station DS212J suitable to the task of have a separate store of files. It comes in a simple white plastic housing and small slither of dark grey accenting the front where the LED lights and power switch are. The side panels have the Synology logo cut into the side to provide air flow to the hard drives inside and round the back is a small fan that draws air through these vents and exhaust through the back.
Installing the hard drives is a simple process, you will need to supply your own and Synology have a list of recommended drives on their website for maximum compatibility. The plastic case splits vertically and slides apart after removing two holding screws on the back, the hard drives will then easily slot into the rack are are secured in place with four screws each. With that complete, slide the other half of the casing back on and secure with the two screws. Connect the power supply and then connect the DS212J to your router. Download and install, also on the included CD, the software which makes connection to your box a breeze and you are close to completion.
The DS212J, like all Synology products is managed with its own web browser based software which is incredibly easy to navigate. I only use it to backup my files, so I set the box up to have the two hard drives mirror each other, this means the box will contain two hard drives each with a copy all the files in case one of them lets go. There are other options such as having to hard drives merge together as one larger drive. These options are all called RAID versions and Synology also have their own hybrid version and all is explained in the setup and help portion of the software.
This only scratches the surface of what this can offer. Delve a little into the applications built in and available to download and you will find ways to stream your music, videos, itunes across your network onto any connected device, maybe use it to share photos to your TV. You can also set up your home security cameras and your own 'cloud' so that you can access your files from anywhere in the world where you have an internet connection. Or simply as I do have it backup certain files and folders.
So the Synology Disk Station DS212J certainly is a capable device. How does it stand physically? This sits on the desk next to the main computer in the house on its little rubber feet. Whenever a connected device accesses the network, the DS212J will wake from sleep mode to a quite noticeable hum as the disks and fan spin up to speed. You will notice this, I think the sound is amplified by the table though, so maybe place it on a more solid base, like a phone book. When waking up, it will take 10 seconds for the drives to be active and the files accessible but this isn't a problem as I would rather the drive sleeps when not in use to save on the electricity bills.
The DS212J is not really what I would call cheap and you will also have to your own hard drives, but having a backup of precious files makes up for it in peace of mind. The added features will should also sweeten the deal as you find you can now share and stream files without having to leave a PC on. Five stars all day long.