Self Hosted Synology

Synology Diskstation NAS

If you find yourself running low on digital storage space, you might consider buying more cloud storage on Google, Dropbox or another cloud-based storage plan. However, before you start up another digital subscription, you may want to consider a network attached storage (NAS) device like the entry-level Synology DS218+.

Why Choose a NAS?

A NAS device has some great benefits over buying more cloud storage or buying extra hard drives or flash drives. A primary benefit is having a device that can hold massive amounts of data inside a relatively small footprint. Take the DS218+ for example – you can fit up to a total of 28 terabytes of storage. That’s 28,000 gigabytes, or enough space to easily hold a few thousand full-length, HD movies. Obviously, 28 terabytes is overkill even for some small and medium businesses, but the point is that you have the flexibility to choose what storage capacity you need when you get your NAS and you can upgrade as needed.

How Do I Use It?

You connect your NAS to your existing network and in most cases, that means you just need to connect an ethernet cable from the NAS, to your router. Just about all consumer routers will have some available LAN ports on the back, where you can connect the cable. Once the NAS is connected to your network, you’ll need to open a browser and go to it’s web interface to start the setup. All of this information is easily found in the quick-start setup instructions included with the NAS.

Pick Your Own Capacity & Protect It

Most NAS devices are sold diskless, meaning they include just the device and no hard drives. This allows you to pick what size drives you want, based on how much storage you need and how you want to protect that data. Speaking of protection, the Synology NAS can use standard RAID configurations, or you can use Synology’s own hybrid RAID configuration called SHR (Synology Hybrid Raid).

Seagate Ironwolf 4TB NAS Drive
Seagate IronWolf 4TB NAS Drive

Storing your important data in a redundant RAID array is highly recommended and protects your data should one of your hard drives fail. Think about where your important data is stored right now. Is it on a single hard disk somewhere? It would be a shame to lose thousands of pictures or videos due to a single disk failure and it does happen. Think of a RAID-enabled NAS as insurance for your important data. Yes, there is a cost to get it, but you get piece of mind and better protection for your data.

**Note – RAID is not a backup solution, it just protects against disk failure. You still need to back up your important data, to your new shiny NAS!

Specs & Storage

My first Synology was the DS218+ and was a perfect introduction to the Synology ecosystem. I chose to load it with 2 x 4TB IronWolf NAS drives by Seagate. They had the best price per GB and were within what I wanted to spend on disks. You can find a huge list of specifications on the Synology site but the main specs at the time of this post are as follows:

  • CPU: Intel Celeron J3355 (64-Bit)
  • Included Memory: 2GB DDR3L (2GB x 1)
    • Expandable to 6GB with 4GB add-on
  • Drive Bays: 2
  • Maximum Capacity with Redundancy: 14TB
  • Network: 1 x Gigabit LAN port
  • USB 3.0 Port: 3
  • eSATA Port: 1

Entry-level NAS: Synology DS218+ on Amazon
Pro-sumer NAS: Synology DS918+ on Amazon
NAS Hard Drives: Seagate IronWolf NAS 4TB on Amazon

More Than Just Extra Storage

The Synology NAS can go beyond just providing extra storage for photos and media. As I wrote in another post about cloud vs local storage, the Synology Diskstation platform is like a mini-server where you can install and configure a lot of different packages. I will have more content coming soon on the packages I use and how I set them up so please check back soon! Thanks for reading!

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