First Looks: Synology Cube Station CS-406

My Very Large Cube

My Very Large Cube

The quest to find the perfect storage solution is never ending. Users no longer just hunger for larger capacities and manufacturers are aiming to produce low cost, easily maintainable servers with better quality features. So, it comes as no surprise that new storage servers like the Synology Cube Station CS-406 offer more than just file sharing and large storage capabilities. In fact, Synology has put some emphasis on users by integrating some intuitive server features into the CS-406 that should be welcome both at home and in the office.

What the Cube Can Do for You

Right off the bat, the Cube Station CS-406 supports up to four SATA hard disk drives, but before you get started, there is the little matter of hardware installation that we feel needs some commenting on. HDD installation into the box is actually a snap if you follow the instructions provided. There is a slight problem with cable management and removing of hard drives though, especially during failures so it could have been better if the CS-406 was equipped with hot swappable drive bays to avoid unnecessary down time due to maintenance work.

The Cube Station CS-406 supports RAID 0, 1, or RAID 5 arrays allowing it to have a monstrous capacity of up to 1.5TB with four 500GB hard drives in a RAID 5 configuration or a full 2.0TB if you're gunning all out on speed in RAID 0. In our performance testing, the CS-406 proved to be a capable server with decent all-round performance and impressive write speeds. File sharing is simple and allows up to 1024 users and 128 groups if used in a workgroup environment. The CS-406 can also be integrated into an existing Windows domain, making it even more user-friendly.

Photos can also be shared, as the Cube Station has a photo sharing tool that uses a web interface to share photos within its network or publicly. Photos uploaded to the shared folder created by the Cube Station even turns into a personal photo album with the ability to set access permissions.

A Cube for the Net

Besides being able to share files and photos, the Cube Station CS-406 can also be configured to host web pages. Configuration is painless and can be as easy as dropping your HTML files into a shared folder in the CS-406. In addition to hosting static HTML pages, the Cube Station also allows dynamic content as it supports PHP scripting language and comes installed with mySQL database. Therefore, web applications that have mySQL and PHP scripting will run smoothly on the CS-406.

We were able to test the Cube Station with a free available mySQL administration tool scripted in PHP called phpMyAdmin and observed that creating and managing databases is a snap through a web GUI. We also tested a free PHP-based bulletin board script called phpBB and found that the script was installed in less than a minute and it even created its own database automatically – which is quite similar to how its done in a Linux-based web server.

Final Thoughts

With an impressive write performance, compatibility with HTML, PHP scripting, and mySQL, photo and video sharing, and large storage capacity, the Synology Cube Station CS-406 is truly, an all-purpose box. Users who want to have a low-cost server that can offer both file servicing capabilities and an all-in-one web server must take heed of this gadget in case a server is needed for the home or the office.