Here's some good news for those wanting to move to a real NAS server gingerly. Synology today announces the availability of its 2023 entry-level dual-bay NAS server, the DiskStation DS223j, as the upgrade to the DS220j that came out three years ago.
As the name suggests, the new server is part of the J-series, Synology's lowest-tier server that can multitask. Still, the DS223j is a formidable step up compared with any router-based NAS solution. And it's also the most advanced server within this low-cost series.
Synology DS223j: A formidable server of the modest J-series
Generally, while limited, the DS223j is similar to any Synology server. As a result, you can expect it to handle multiple IP cameras (up to 12), and comes with two free licenses -- not required if you use Synology's cams -- for its Surveillance Station application.
The server also supports a host of common useful features and apps for local and personal cloud storage, including the versatile Synology Drive, which turns the server into private cloud storage with real-time data backup and sync.
Most importantly, running DSM 7.2, the DS223j is the first in the J-series to support the Btrfs file system and, with it, Synology's powerful Snapshot Replication feature, which creates frequent point-in-time snapshots for users to undo unwanted or accidental file changes.
Still, compared with higher-end Synology servers, such as those of the Plus-series, the DS223j is, as expected, underwhelming.
The new server runs on a Realtek RTD1619B 4-core 1.7 GHz CPU and 1GB of DDR4. It has a single Gigabit port and two USB 3.0 ports. There's no possibility of hardware upgrade other than its internal storage, where you can pick two standard SATA hard drives or SSDs of your liking.
But even on the storage front, the DS223j leaves much to be desired. Like previous servers in the series, it doesn't feature easy-access drive bays with tool-free installation. Instead, you'll have to use a screwdriver to open its case, which is inconvenient and time-consuming.
Synology says the new DS223j can handle up to 36TB of raw storage space, but that's only because the company currently offers hard drives of up to 18GB. Generally, the server works with third-party HDDs, and its storage space depends on the capacities you pick.
When it comes to storage space, more is always better, and for most situations, a dual-bay server is a minimum since it can also deliver redundancy via RAID 1. The DS223j also supports RAID 0, SHR, and JBOB.
Availability and pricing
Synology says the DS223j is available today with the suggested retail price of $189.99 (diskless). Generally, you only need a single drive to start using the server, but two, preferably of the same capacity, are required for a RAID setup.
Looking to dabble into real network storage in a small way? Consider this server today!