Synology, how, what, should I?


I’m looking to move away from using my external hot swap bay for backups to a NAS (on a black friday deal if I can).

There wont be any need for anything but a file server with focus on bitrot prevention and drive failures, which I will sync (selective files to).

I was thinking of either

Synology DS920+ 4 bay with 4 x 10GB WD RED Pro CMR drives in Raid 6 (2 drive failure BTRFS)


Synology DS720+ or DS220+ 2 bay with 2 x 8 to 2 x 10GB WD RED Pro CMR drives in Raid 2 (in mirror BTRFS)

My questions are:
Q. Is a 4 bay raid 6, more trouble than a 2 bay raid 2? And what happens when I get to the 5 year mark and need swap out all the drives for new ones?

Q. I assume I need to plug this in via LAN cables direct to my PC, what PCIE LAN card do I need? Should I plug in 2 ports at same time or just 1 (if available)?

Q. What LAN cables do I need CAT6, 7,8?

Q. Am I able to plug it in via usb 3 and use it as external drive that way? or is that slower? or not the way?

Q. When the day comes to move to a new synology, am I able to just plug the old drives into that and all will be working as it once was?

That is the beauty of a NAS, you don’t plug it into your computer but the router. You don’t need to buy extra NICs, assuming you have a free port on your router.

You totally can attach it directly to a computer if you wish to do so. But that would technically function as a DAS - direct attached storage.

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I have a standard router supplied by EE or BT, there are free ports on the back but I assume they were to connect to a PC for internet.

I’m not wanting to share the files on the web or access them from anywhere other than on the local computer. Last thing I want is them to be web accessible or streamed anywhere.

Those ports connect any device to your local network. I’m no routing expert but it shouldn’t be a problem. The NAS should by default be accessible only from LAN.

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No, not really. Unless you’re on a super tight budget I wouldn’t spend a whole lot of time looking at the two drive models. A four drive raid 6 sounds fine to me.

Yeah, just hooking it up to the router isn’t really what does that. Assuming there’s no port forwarding or additional firewall rules involved(which doesn’t sound likely), then a sneaky little widget called uPNP is usually what’s to blame there. Find it and verify that it’s turned off. That’s not a bad idea in general.

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Think I might just buy 2 x 10TB external WD drives and just mirror them manually with SyncBackupFree each week. And PCloud my work drive (them damn node_modules folders)…

Bit more work my end but probably faster speeds, a lot less expensive, way less confusing, and just usb plug and play.

The NASes you mentioned are only 1gig, cat6 will be plenty. You could get by with cat5e i suppose.

It’s not the intended use. USB ports on NAS are for hooking up additional external drives to it.

I hate manual backups, because I never stick with a schedule. But if it works for you, go on :slight_smile:

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Wait theres a cat 8 now??!


Ok I super dig those and want as many as I can possibly get.

To op, is there a reason for the synology specifically? The app maybe, or had past products? Why not get a tb3 enclosure instead? Or build a pc/use a nuc?

If you’ve got a USB 3.1 port locally attached storage will definitely be faster than gigabit ethernet.


Quick technical note: unless something changed recently, Synology runs btrfs on top of mdraid, so btrfs will handle checksum and compression for you but redundancy is handled by mdraid.

I know that BTRFS helps prevent bitrot (thanks to watching level1 videos on YT).

But anything to do with networking, protocols, raid etc I have no idea… mdraid?? never even heard of that one…

I’ve got about as far as googling and reading what various raid types are and using the calculator site to work out how much space I get on various raid types and no of drives of a specified size.

I think it will be safer for me to get 2 x 10tb WD external drives and sync them with software once a week and keep a cloud backup of my work drive via pCloud as it has .gitignore capabilities.

Jayzus, the pricing of AM4 chips is unreal, what used to be a 200 euro (3000G) AM4 NAS build is now 450 (looking at some old parts lists).

@starglider1 - I’m guessing you don’t have Linux experience?

That caveat aside, how would an odroid-hc4 suit you at its current price.

I guess the intended use case is that you’d just “plop” in the pair 3.5" drives, and use OpenMediaVault as a webui for raid/app management etc.

Some quirks for Synology:

  • You can setup automatic backups using the ActiveBackupForBusiness app for Synology but only for ‘+’ models (DS1518+, not just DS1518)
  • You can expand a Synology Hybrid Raid drive pool by adding additional drives to it, but RAID10 (for 4 drives) you cannot. Found that out the hard way.
  • If you want to go over 1Gbps without bonding, you’ll need a Synology model with an addin slot available, such as the DS1621+, to add a 10Gbps or higher NIC (This is the model I have for my uses)
  • Some of the beefier models support the use of Docker or hosting VMs, allowing for additional flexibility to backup how and what you’d like. Probably behoove you to check some of the Synology apps available and see which ones appeal to you prior to model selection. As stated at point 1, not all models will have access to the same packages necessarily
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  • Would use either the free tool SyncBackFree or write my own node/php script to do the job (hate python with a passion)

  • Expansion is nice, but I’m not a fan of the idea of 5 years replace all drives and the shit show that’s going to be

  • RE: Speed, would be nice but not that important, it will be used to bring files over to local machines and store resources and possibly a work backup (excluding node_modules etc) but other than that I have no use for it

  • RE: Beefier models for enhanced functionality
    No need I run locally xampp, docker, and docker on Linode & Digital Ocean, if I wanted a server I would probably just build another weaker pc or use my old one and network to that in some way. Video streaming, web access, ssh’ing in, not needed, simple storage with redundancy.

If only google drive had .gitignore I would upgrade my plan and backup every drive in my machine to it. Dropbox is crap and screwed my windows reg and broke functionality as it screwed with the mydocumens folder and onedrive is just lacking is so many ways just like dropbox. Need selective folder sync, .gitignore functionality and a lot of space (probably will buy 2 x pCloud 2TB packages for 4TB for live plans, shait GUI/UI but does have limited .gitignore functionality via the poorly designed interface).

But as I have a lot of installers and samples to store as well as work I will be also getting 2 x 10TB External WD drives and just hook them up 1 at a time once a week and run the SyncBackFree which also has .gitignore capabilities (selective file and folder exclusion by name/path etc) and just click and let that run before I’m done for the day. 1st time will take a while after that it just shadows left to right, copies over what’s needed or changed and deletes anything that should not be there (mirror without full copy).

RE: Old chip tech
Ye, world is going to shit right now… Hopefully will be back to normal when I do an upgrade when the 7080ti is out.

RE: Linux XP
Some but far from a guru, docker, ubuntu 20.04 LTS server, ssh, nginx, still have no idea what most of the folders are for, know a few of the commands etc, but its more like 10% known, 90% not known. I try to keep to Web Development, and leave the DevOps / server stuff to those people with job titles of DevOps / Server Admin.

RE: Suggestions
Thanks but think I will be doing what I stated in my above post… Seems far cheaper, easier, no lan bs, no network cards, no raid re-build every 5 years when all drives are to be replaced etc etc. Hopefully will have starlink by then and have it all on a BTRFS multi location cloud solution. lol

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md = multiple device driver aka Linux software RAID, kicks ass unless want to use built-in RAID-like capabilities from BTRFS or ZFS.

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The Synology Drive app plus enabling Quickconnect functionality allows you to setup your own Google drive/Dropbox, hosted by you. Been using it for a bit and it’s as reliable as the hardware/connection to wherever you are hosting the NAS

If you don’t want Synology hosting a weblink into your Synology and exposing it to the internet, another option is to just have Synology Drive setup plus VPNing into your home network, such as using OpenVPN

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