First Glance: Synology’s Sleek New DS414slim

As both a paying customer and long time Synology enthusiast, I tend to have my ear to the ground on what the folks over in Bellevue are up to. This time, they’ve taken their 4-bay “slim” series and beefed it up in a big way.

The newest model, the DS414slim, looks perfect for any home lab that needs a small form factor with a decent bit of throughput and redundancy built in. I’m already leaning strongly towards snagging one of these – which would be my third Synology box.

Speeds, Feeds, Form Factor

Here’s an angled shot of the new bezel, including the status lights, power button, and USB 3.0 port on the front. I really like the way they’ve made it so that you can have the box facing sideways, making it easy to both read the LEDs and also service the rear of the unit.

Hey there little buddy
Hey there little buddy

If you flip the DS414slim to the rear, you’ll see four 2.5″ drive cartridges, an additional USB 3.0 slot, dual 1GbE LAN ports, and a power input. That’s right, dual LAN ports on this little guy – awesome!

Drives, USB, LAN, and power. The essentials for a happy NAS box.
Drives, USB, LAN, and power. The essentials for a happy NAS box.

Improvements and Price

As per Synology, here are some additional hardware improvements over the previous generation:

The DS414slim is small enough to fit on the palm of a hand, yet powerful enough for workgroups in businesses, with the ability to serve up to 128 active connections. The unit now includes an FPU, and twice as much RAM as its predecessor, improving overall performance in multitasking, and media processing. Most significantly, the DS414slim utilizes DSM 5.0 with its rich and extensible array of features including: media streaming, web hosting, timed backups, and photo management.

Synology has set the MSRP to $299.99 USD.

Use Case Ideas

In my particular situation, I think this would make a good unit for cloud storage and lab backups. Specifically, I could mount it via in-guest iSCSI to my file server, or just turn it into its own file server (similar to what I’ve done with my DS411). I’d likely just make it a standalone file server so that I could further leverage the features in DSM 5.0, such as Cloud Station.

Because the DS414slim is not VMware certified, and I have yet to put my hands on one in the lab, I am not sure I’d suggest this for running virtual machines upon. Often times “not certified” has nothing to do with it working or not, but support may matter to some folks. My DS411 works fine for virtual machines, it’s just a little light on rotational horsepower (4 spinning disks does not put out a significant amount of IOPS) – you could perhaps try using SSDs.

However, that doesn’t mean that I can’t use it as a target for virtual machines via NFS or iSCSI in the case of backups – such as an additional partition / drive letter / mount point for my SQL box to dump nightly backups to.