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It may not be the fastest or cheapest NAS box around, or the best specified when it comes to storage, but the EDS14 makes up for that in a number of ways. It's silent, rugged and can be installed in places you wouldn't dream of putting a conventional NAS and, when teamed up with IP cameras, makes a great little small business or edge surveillance platform.
The small size and rugged format are key selling points with the EDS14, enabling it to be tucked away out of sight in public locations, such as shops and meeting areas, where it might be tampered with. Another option would be installation in a bus or coach. Extremes of temperature shouldn't be a problem either, although it will need to be protected if located outside as the casing isn't weather-tight.
Where the product really scores, however, is as an NVR both for small businesses and larger distributed organisations. Indeed, with its ability to handle up to five cameras (additional licences are required for more than one) we could see it being used to monitor and protect satellite offices, warehouses and yards with optional central control. The ability to record to SD Card is another useful feature for secure recording of surveillance video, albeit limited in capacity.
The EDS14 isn't particularly quick and, although you can add wireless networking by plugging in a dongle, with only two USB ports this is far from ideal, and a built-in Wi-Fi interface would be better. We would also have preferred to run the latest DSM 5.0 operating software. At the time of testing, however, we had to make do with DSM 4.3 which was disappointing as the update is needed to support some of the features claimed for this device. On the plus side, however, we are assured an update to 5.0 is imminent.
Some buyers could also be put off by the lack of RAID capabilities but with only two USB ports this is understandable, and if it concerns you then you're really looking at the wrong type of product.
Looked at as a conventional NAS, Synology's compact EDS14 has a number of limitations, but as a rugged storage appliance and, more importantly, a self-contained video surveillance platform it has a lot going for it. Able to reach the places other NAS boxes can't and especially when teamed up with IP cameras it becomes a lot more useful and interesting, filling a real niche in the market where the NAS-specific limitations are of little concern.