Sunday, 19 May 2024 21:48

The Synology BeeStation is the perfect starter NAS for the non-tech home or business


Synology is well-known, and rightly so, for its wide range of NAS devices that range from small dual-bay options to far vaster cavernous capacities for power users, professionals, offices, and more. The Taiwanese-based storage and networking company has now forayed into simpler, but still robust and reliable, products for those with a less technical background with the BeeStation.

Here at iTWire we've always loved the Synology range of NAS units, and a big component of this has been the power and flexibility provided by the Synology DSM operating system that drives them. You can run virtual machines, Docker containers, set your disks up with all kinds of formats and redundancy options, store files, backup Office 365 or Google Workspace, run an FTP server, host your own multimedia platform or website, and do so, so much more.

Everybody on the planet needs to back up their data. Not everybody knows how. Here's where the new Synology BeeStation comes in. It's the plug-and-play NAS that "simply works" and is managed by smartphone apps.

Yes, it's a NAS, but at the same time, it's no normal NAS. A lot of the features - and accompanying headaches - are taken away to provide an excellent dead-simple experience that allows up to eight users to share files and photos with the minimum of fuss.

The BeeStation isn't like other Synology devices. It ships with 4TB of included storage as opposed to buying your own disks. You manage it largely via smartphone apps instead of through the embedded web server. And, while you can't configure it to run all manner of applications, it does what it does really well.

The BeeStation is a solid backup device that you simply plug in and use. It gives the basic backup that most people need and it's genuinely a device I feel confident I could give to those around me whose data I worry about, but who don't need, or want, to have the technical insight to run a fully-fledged NAS.

Here's the official Synology introduction:

I could give to my 82-year-old mother, for example, setting it up together in a quick session. From then on, she only needs two smartphone apps and a username and password.

I've mentioned in the past that Mrs iTWire is an early childhood educator; her school is always taking photos of children at play to share precious memories with parents and family of the clever and crafty things they have been doing. It's a lot of photographs, and with that is a fairly laborious process in managing and safeguarding these photos, particularly to use in daybooks and tailored messages to families. I've often spoken to my wife about the technology in use at the school - perhaps interferingly so - and the amazing things they could do with, well, essentially a dedicated IT person to help run all this stuff. And that's ridiculously unrealistic.

Not so with the Synology BeeStation. And here's where I see a perfect target market. This is a device that would be perfect for such a situation - network attached storage that is so simple to set up and use that anybody can do it. And once in place, a team of educators can let it sit in a corner and run, with no maintenance or skill required save to use a few smartphone apps.

Make no mistake, we're talking about caring, experienced, and educated individuals qualified to ACECQA standards ... but who are also busy constantly entertaining, teaching, cleaning, feeding, and generally supervising young children who can't be left alone for a second. Meanwhile, they're making observations, planning lessons and educational experiences, and ... importantly, taking photos to preserve memories.

Here's where the BeeStation truly comes into its own. It's the perfect, perfect device to help a busy centre like this safely backup, effortlessly share, and seamlessly collaborate on files and photographs with zero maintenance and zero fuss.

Once the BeeStation has been set up, connecting it to the network and creating user accounts, all interactions are through two smartphone apps, BeeFile and BeePhotos, both taking no more skill for users than everything they already know about how to operate their phone.

With BeePhotos, users can back up photos, of course, but also share them via a link, and search with all kinds of smarts to help find photos by place, by time, or even by people. BeePhotos includes built-in AI photo recognition. It doesn't send anything to the cloud but uses a built-in integrated Neural Processing Unit (NPU) to accelerate this performance while continuing to operate smoothly.

Similarly, BeeFiles allows you to store and retrieve all kinds of different files - documents, spreadsheets, and everything else - just as effortlessly. You can synchronise files from different computers and you can manage and view your files through your phone or tablet as well as the desktop or laptop.

The Synology BeeStation provides 4TB of disk space and is a one-time purchase without any subscription fees. It includes a USB port that allows you to extend your space further, or make a backup of your backups, to a removable drive.

Find more information here:

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You can find the Synology BeeStation at prices starting from $420.43.

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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