Synology’s cloud storage platform can be slightly overwhelming at first thanks to its wide variety of functions, features and components that all combine to form your own private cloud storage system. For this reason, it’s best that you get accustomed to one app at a time. Today, we are reviewing the Synology cloud station app.
Our review will focus on presenting the software architecture of the Cloud Station as well as the supported client types and platforms. Furthermore, we will also be reviewing the main features of the app and its most common usage scenarios. Before we start it’s important to know that the app is free with the purchase of any Synology NAS device.
What Is Synology Cloud Station?
Synology Cloud Station is an individual app part of Synology Disk Station Manager (DSM) software suite. Its main function is to synchronize your files and data across all of your devices connected to Synology’s server. It’s also a file sharing service that allows users to store and backup their files.
Synology Cloud Station Architecture
Before you can start using the app, you have to designate a Cloud Station server. We recommend using a network-attached storage (NAS) device from Synology as the server. Feel free to consult the complete list of products if you haven’t purchased one yet. On the selected server you have to install the Cloud Station Server Package. On the devices you have to sync with you’ll have to install a client software of one of the four Synology applications.
- Cloud Station Sharesync: client package designed for NAS-to-NAS shared folder synchronization.
- Cloud Station Drive: client utility designed to facilitate file sharing and collaboration on personal computers.
- Cloud Station Backup: client utility designed to offer real-time file backup on personal computers.
- DS Cloud: client sync utility for Android and iOS platforms.
Each of the apps should come in your purchased Synology package or you can always download them from Synology website.
Synology Cloud Station Supported Platforms
When it comes a proprietary cloud storage system involving purchasing both hardware and software, usually the app client is supported only the company’s hardware. Fortunately, this is not the case for Synology Cloud Station.
At the time of this review (September 30 2016), the Cloud Station client can be installed on the following devices and platforms:
- Windows XP and onwards.
- Synology NAS with DSM 5.0 and above.
- Linux Ubuntu and Fedora.
- Mac OS X from version 10.7 and onwards.
- Any Apple device running iOS 7.0 and above.
- All Android devices with Android 4.0 and onwards.
Synology Cloud Station Features
Despite being only an app part of a large suite specific to a cloud storage system, the Cloud Station offers a surprising number of features without compromising the quality of the service it offers.
The main features are:
- Sync: allows users to automatically sync their data among all the connected with all devices that have a client installed.
- Instant File Backup: data backups are automatically started thanks to permanent monitoring of any change to your files. Each client can selectively backup data based on the file criteria you selected.
- Versioning: Cloud Station supports up to 32 different version of files. The versions are stored in the app’s database where you can choose what version to restore if the need arises.
- Administration: the app provides a set of comprehensive administrative tools for all DSM users. Administrators can enable certain user privileges and set what other users can do with shared files. They can even designate a specific sync profile to certain users. They can limit the access of files by their size and type.
- Connectivity: Cloud Station servers can be linked with IPv4 and IPv6 addresses, domain names, and Synology QuickConnect. It also supports HTTPS tunneling and proxy environment.
- Security: Data transmission between server and clients can be encrypted by SSL, and a certificate check feature helps clients verify server identity. Privilege settings allow only selected users to access files via Cloud Station. Support for encrypted shared folders ensures the data is safe.
- Graphic User Interface: the app’s UI combines excellent design with great functionality. It offers live sync status of your files and folders across all connected devices, shared folder status, a log for all activity on the system, and options for issuing commands. Additionally, you can monitor progress of file transfers and the client history. More advanced users can make use of a system tray menu and command interface.
Synology Cloud Station Usage Scenarios
Thanks to its many features, the app has a wide variety of uses for different type of users. In the following paragraphs we will showcase some of the most common scenarios you’ll use the Synology Cloud Station.
- Personal File Sync: this is probably the most common use for any type of cloud storage system and the Cloud Station is no exception. Users can sync their files between multiple devices easily and quickly.
- Real-time data backup: is another common use for a cloud service. Cloud Station facilitates this process thanks to its scheduling options. Users can add as much storage capacity as they need but the individual file size is limited at 10GB.
- Teamwork: this scenario is available thanks Cloud Stations sharing functionality. It allows multiple users to download, view, and modify sync files within their given privilegies even across different type of devices.
- Multi-site coordination: usually this scenario is encountered when the Cloud Station is used in enterprises. The app facilitates the coordination between servers on different sites and locations around the world. The regional sites are linked to the designated central Cloud Station server. This way of using Cloud Station reduces upload bandwidth and optimizes storage.
This concludes our review for the Synology Cloud Station app. We analyzed the supported platforms and devices as well as the features and the most common scenarios in which you’ll use the app. During that our evaluation process, we found that Synology have made an excellent file sync app that addresses a lot of problems found in others and provides additional features compared to standard services. All in all, the Cloud Station’s file sync, share and storage features are at the heart of the DSM suite of apps.