Synology offers a very user friendly Network Attached Storage (NAS) device experience, just that doesn’t hateful unboxing it and starting it up is exactly a one-click thing. Allow’southward get things up and running then we tin move onto all the fun projects a compact NAS with server-like functionality can facilitate.
What Is a Synology NAS?
Synology is a visitor, founded in 2000, specializing in Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices. A NAS, simply put, is a computer optimized for data storage, often with additional functionality layered on top. Synology has two primary production lines, DiskStation and RackStation, with the former intended for abode users and small offices and the latter intended for larger commercial environments.
The DiskStation models range in size from elementary i-bay models (starting at around $150) that offer a non-redundant place to park your data, all the way up to larger models that support 12 drives (starting at around $1000+) with support for advanced multi-disk redundancy and even expansion via auxillary disk bays. Between the two ends of the size spectrum, they can effectively embrace the home use needs of everyone from the “I need to backup my family photos” crowd to the “I need to back upward the entire net” oversupply.
DiskStation models come up with a propriety Linux-derived operating system, known as DiskStation Manager. DiskStation Director comes with a very intuitive web-based interface that feels similar you’re using a desktop computer, complete with piece of cake to identify icons, well laid out menus, and abundant aid files. In add-on to core NAS features like file management, you can add a big assortment of custom plugins that handle things similar organizing your family photos, torrenting files, and everything in between. The end event is a multi-function device that can perform the tasks of a total size computer, but without the energy consumption. (Fifty-fifty the beefiest DiskStation models swallow less than one-half what a desktop figurer or full size domicile server would.)
Permit’southward look at the setup process for the Synology DS916+, a four-bay model with plenty storage room and plenty of retentiveness and processing power (including on-the-fly video transcoding for dwelling streaming applications). It’due south a great model to showcase the setup procedure, as information technology sports the additional ports and such found on the larger models but still shares the aforementioned operating system institute on all DiskStation models.
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The Physical Setup: Make full, Plug In, Boot, and Enjoy the Silence
Your Synology NAS comes with a power cable, an Ethernet cable, drive mounting screws, and, if you have a higher end model, it may too come with hot-swap drive bay trays, and a second Ethernet cable (the high cease DiskStations support dual network cards for increased network throughput). Before we take a look at the actual unit of measurement and how to fill it up, allow’s talk nearly disk pick.
Hard Bulldoze Selection
For an optimum NAS experience, nosotros recommend starting with new drives, in the largest size your budget will let. For our purposes we’ll be using 8TB Western Digital Red drives, which are specifically designed for NAS use where operation is projected to be around the clock in a tight space. Regardless of the make of difficult drives yous become with, you want to, at minimum, avoid budget or desktop drives and stick with server/NAS drives.
If you’re contemplating what size drives to use (or the effects of mixing dissimilar size drives), we highly recommend Synology’s easy to use elevate-and-drop RAID calculator to help visualize how unlike drive combinations yield different amounts of usable space.
How to Use Multiple Disks Intelligently: An Introduction to RAID
Synology uses a custom RAID setup called Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR)—seen equally the selected option in the screenshot above—designed to keep your drives redundant. That means you lot’ll need more drives, just if one fails, you won’t lose whatsoever data, because it’ll be mirrored on another drive. You lot tin read more about RAID here, if you aren’t familiar with information technology.
Fifty-fifty if you lot’re familiar with basic RAID terminology, though, you lot’re likely not familiar with Synolgy’s Hybrid RAID setup if y’all oasis’t used Synology products before. It is a superior selection for almost every consumer scenario, hands down. It offers more flexibility than traditional RAID, it’s much easier to expand your storage in the future if you employ it, and it makes radically more efficient use of disk space when the disk assortment doesn’t have perfectly matched drives. Don’t accept our give-and-take for information technology though—if you lot want to swoop into the technical breakdown between SHR and RAID, you can read up on it here.
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Adding the Drives
Let’due south have a look at the instance with the removable cover off, then pop (and populate) the drive bays. To remove the face up plate, but wiggle information technology away from the chassis of the NAS. The plate is held in place by thick rubber fingers (designed to help silence vibration) and should come off hands with a first touch.
Notation the tabs at the top of each drive bay. Simply push the tab gentle upwardly and slide the tray out. Although tray screws are included with all the models (some of the more economical models in the Synology line don’t take drive trays and require directly mounting of drives via screws), you don’t need to use them on the hot-swap trays. While you tin do so if y’all’re really set in your ways, it’southward much better to utilize the hard drives in their trays without the screws by gently pulling off the side guards (seen below), pushing the hard drive into the tray, and and then snapping the side guards back into place. (The only exception for the use of screws on the hot-bandy trays is with the utilize of two.5″ drives—you have to screw mount them to proceed them from sliding around.)
The hard drives are held very firmly in identify thanks to safe grommets in the side of the trays, and the lack of hard contact between the drive and the tray (thank you to the rubber buffer) does an amazing job minimizing vibration. In one case you lot’ve trayed all your drives, slide them back into the NAS.
Where to Park Your NAS
With the drives in your NAS, information technology’due south time to take a peek at the back of the NAS to see where everything will be plugged in, and talk briefly about where you’ll identify it in your dwelling house. First, here’southward the behind.
On this particular model you’ll find a ability jack, two LAN ports, an eSATA port, two USB ports (which can be used both for storage expansion and backup besides as using your Synology equally a print server), and, of course, the cooling fans. Why two LAN ports on the larger premium models? If you’re using those models in a high-demand environment (east.grand. your Synology is the file server for a large household or organisation that is accessing the NAS simultaneously) you tin can use both LAN connections for a significant throughput boost. This kind of arrangement shines when multiple people are all streaming Hd video at once merely is less important if you’re the only one streaming video to a single destination.
With that in mind let’s talk about NAS placement. Wherever you lot place the NAS information technology should be, ideally, a cooler expanse of your home (ground floor and basements are peachy, stuffy attic guestrooms are non) with hardline access to your router or network switch. If you’re a mostly-wireless household, this means you may be express to placing your NAS next to wherever the router is installed.
First Boot Setup: Configuring Your NAS
Once you’ve institute the correct spot for your NAS and wired information technology all upwardly, it’s time to boot it up for the start fourth dimension. Unlike a traditional computer, there won’t exist a mouse, keyboard, and monitor fastened. When you printing the power button, it will boot up chop-chop and then just sit in that location (don’t be alarmed if y’all don’t hear a thing, we tin’t hear the fans on our unit of measurement unless nosotros have our ear a few inches from the back of it).
After powering it on, head to whatever computer that’south on your local network (Ethernet or Wi-Fi connection is fine, so long every bit information technology’s on the same network as the NAS). Open up your spider web browser and caput to http://find.synology.com, this will pull up the Web Assistant startup wizard, seen below. Click “Connect” to start the process of configuring your Synology NAS.
The first step is the naming of your server and the creation of the administration account. At that place’s a couple things to consider on this step. FIrst, your server proper noun is how your NAS will appear on your network and volition be listed in various applications. A compact proper name that is easy to blazon out like, say, “blackbox” or “diskstation” is preferable to longer names with spaces similar “Miltons Magic Download Fun Time Box”.
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Your username and password can be anything you desire, just hither’s a pro tip for Windows users: if yous make the username and countersign for the administration account of your NAS the aforementioned the username and countersign of your Windows PC, then you’ll exist able to seamlessly access all the network shares on the NAS from your Windows PC without inbound a password or username.
In the next step, yous tin can create a Synology business relationship and a Quick Connect ID. This step is not required,all the same, if you plan on accessing your Synology NAS exterior your network for any purpose (and there are a variety of reasons you may wish to exercise then like accessing your files while away from abode, backing upwardly vacation photos, or sharing files with friends) this is a handy manner to skip fiddling with configuration settings later. QuickConnect is Synology’southward free included-with-your-NAS Dynamic DNS service that allows yous to always dial habitation to your NAS with an easy to think addresses like http://quickconnect.to/yourNASname
instead of your domicile IP address.
After setting upward (or skipping) the Quick Connect step, you’ll be prompted to install some cadre application packages. You lot can also skip this step and option them one by one later, but given the utility of the core packages, we suggest installing them all (they take up a trivial amount of space when installed).
One time y’all install (or skip), you lot’re washed with the basic setup procedure and the wizard will close.
Getting Around DiskStation Manager: The Basics
Afterward this concluding step, you’ll be prompted to take a very brief bout of the DiskStation Director interface. Let’southward look at a few of those key areas now. Here’s what the “desktop” of the DiskStation Director looks similar. There’southward access to applications with a shortcut and carte organization, notifications in the upper right corner, and a system health and resources monitor in the lower right corner.
On the left hand side, you have a main bill of fare and desktop shortcuts. The Outset Menu-like push button at the top of the screen will pull up all your apps, but there’s straight access to 4 oftentimes used apps right on the desktop: Package Heart, Control Console, File Station, and DSM Aid, as seen below.
The Package Center is where yous can install, update, and remove applications. If yous see notifications from the Packet Center, this indicates that one or more of your installed applications needs updating.
The File Station is file manager that allows you to hands create and browse folders on your NAS with support for file manipulation (like cutting, paste, movement, and delete) built correct into the right-click context menu.
The Control Panel is like to the command panel on other operating systems, and includes settings for everything from the network configuration to usergroup management. The Control Panel is a groovy last stop for a setup tutorial, as it allows us to show you how to update the operating organization of your NAS before sending you off to play around with it. Once you’ve opened the Control Console by clicking on it, click on the “Update & Restore” icon in the “System” section.
Here you’ll find any bachelor core updates. Click “Download” to catch the update and then one time it has downloaded click “Install”.
Your NAS volition reboot and yous’ll be running the most up-to-the-minute version of DiskStation Manager.
At this bespeak, you’ve got your new Synology NAS upwardly and running. Yous may be request yourself “Merely what virtually deejay configuration? Formatting? Network shares? Why aren’t we setting that up?” Well, we aren’t setting it up because DiskStation Manager set it up automatically in the background for y’all. Based on the number of disks you insert during the initial setup, the NAS automatically selects the optimum configuration for those disk to maximize your storage potential (while yet retaining redundancy with RAID). Y’all can go into the settings carte du jour and mess around with the configuration to allocate the disks differently, but unless you lot have a strong need to practice and so, we’d encourage y’all to stick with the infinite/back-up optimized default.
In addition, there are already network shares fix upward with the administrator account of your NAS as the default user. Farther, if y’all installed the application packages, there are default directories for many of those packages already in place. You can browse these directories either in the File Station app seen in the previous section of the tutorial, or merely by pointing the file explorer on your PC to the name of the network share. We named our Synology NAS “blackbox” so it’southward attainable at \\blackbox\ in Windows, as seen below.
With this bones setup out of the way you’re ready to apply you’re fix to starting time exploring the installed packages (and the available packages) in the Package Center, equally well as filling upward your bachelor storage with all that’south fit to back up.