Synology Configuration and Network Design

Synology offers a very user friendly Network Fastened Storage (NAS) device feel, simply that doesn’t mean unboxing it and starting it up is exactly a one-click affair. Let’s get things up and running so nosotros can movement 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, only put, is a computer optimized for information storage, oftentimes with additional functionality layered on top. Synology has two primary product lines, DiskStation and RackStation, with the one-time intended for dwelling house users and small offices and the latter intended for larger commercial environments.

The DiskStation models range in size from unproblematic 1-bay models (starting at around $150) that offering a non-redundant identify to park your data, all the way up to larger models that support 12 drives (starting at effectually $one thousand+) with support for advanced multi-disk redundancy and even expansion via auxillary disk bays. Between the ii ends of the size spectrum, they can effectively comprehend the abode use needs of anybody from the “I need to backup my family photos” crowd to the “I need to back up the entire internet” crowd.

DiskStation models come with a propriety Linux-derived operating system, known equally DiskStation Director. DiskStation Manager comes with a very intuitive web-based interface that feels like you’re using a desktop reckoner, complete with easy to identify icons, well laid out menus, and abundant aid files. In addition to core NAS features like file management, you can add a large assortment of custom plugins that handle things like organizing your family photos, torrenting files, and everything in between. The end result is a multi-role device that can perform the tasks of a full size estimator, only without the free energy consumption. (Even the beefiest DiskStation models consume less than one-half what a desktop calculator or total size domicile server would.)

Allow’s look at the setup procedure for the Synology DS916+, a four-bay model with plenty storage room and enough of memory and processing ability (including on-the-fly video transcoding for dwelling streaming applications). It’due south a great model to showcase the setup process, equally it sports the additional ports and such found on the larger models but still shares the same operating system institute on all DiskStation models.


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The Physical Setup: Fill, Plug In, Boot, and Savor the Silence

Your Synology NAS comes with a ability cablevision, an Ethernet cable, drive mounting screws, and, if you take a higher end model, it may too come with hot-bandy drive bay trays, and a 2d Ethernet cable (the high end DiskStations support dual network cards for increased network throughput). Before we have a expect at the actual unit and how to fill it up, allow’s talk about deejay selection.

Hard Bulldoze Selection

For an optimum NAS experience, we recommend starting with new drives, in the largest size your budget will allow. For our purposes we’ll exist using 8TB Western Digital Red drives, which are specifically designed for NAS apply where functioning is projected to be around the clock in a tight infinite. Regardless of the make of hard drives you lot go with, you want to, at minimum, avoid upkeep or desktop drives and stick with server/NAS drives.

If you lot’re contemplating what size drives to use (or the effects of mixing different size drives), we highly recommend Synology’s easy to use elevate-and-drop RAID computer to help visualize how unlike drive combinations yield different amounts of usable space.


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Synology uses a custom RAID setup called Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR)—seen as the selected pick in the screenshot higher up—designed to keep your drives redundant. That means you’ll need more drives, but if one fails, you won’t lose any data, because it’ll be mirrored on another drive. You tin read more virtually RAID here, if you aren’t familiar with it.

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Even if yous’re familiar with basic RAID terminology, though, yous’re probable not familiar with Synolgy’s Hybrid RAID setup if you oasis’t used Synology products earlier. It is a superior choice for nigh every consumer scenario, hands down. It offers more than flexibility than traditional RAID, it’southward much easier to expand your storage in the time to come if you apply it, and it makes radically more efficient use of disk space when the deejay assortment doesn’t have perfectly matched drives. Don’t take our give-and-take for it though—if you want to dive into the technical breakup between SHR and RAID, yous tin can read up on it here.


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Adding the Drives

Allow’s accept a look at the example with the removable cover off, and and so pop (and populate) the bulldoze bays. To remove the face up plate, only wiggle it away from the chassis of the NAS. The plate is held in place by thick safe fingers (designed to help silence vibration) and should come off hands with a first touch.

Note the tabs at the top of each drive bay. Simply push the tab gentle upwards and slide the tray out. Although tray screws are included with all the models (some of the more than economical models in the Synology line don’t take bulldoze trays and require direct mounting of drives via screws), y’all don’t need to use them on the hot-swap trays. While you tin exercise and then if y’all’re really fix in your ways, it’due south much better to use 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 so snapping the side guards back into place. (The only exception for the utilize of screws on the hot-swap trays is with the employ of two.five″ drives—you accept to screw mountain them to go on them from sliding effectually.)

The difficult drives are held very firmly in place thank you to rubber grommets in the side of the trays, and the lack of hard contact between the drive and the tray (thanks to the prophylactic buffer) does an amazing job minimizing vibration. Once you lot’ve trayed all your drives, slide them dorsum into the NAS.

Where to Park Your NAS

With the drives in your NAS, it’s 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 place information technology in your home. Offset, here’south the backside.

On this particular model you’ll find a power jack, two LAN ports, an eSATA port, ii USB ports (which tin can be used both for storage expansion and backup as well as using your Synology as 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 surroundings (e.m. your Synology is the file server for a large household or organization that is accessing the NAS simultaneously) you can use both LAN connections for a pregnant throughput boost. This kind of system shines when multiple people are all streaming HD video at once but is less of import if you’re the only one streaming video to a single destination.

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With that in mind let’southward talk about NAS placement. Wherever you place the NAS it should be, ideally, a libation area of your domicile (basis floor and basements are great, stuffy cranium guestrooms are non) with hardline admission to your router or network switch. If yous’re a by and large-wireless household, this means you may be limited to placing your NAS adjacent to wherever the router is installed.

Outset Boot Setup: Configuring Your NAS

Once you’ve found the correct spot for your NAS and wired it all up, it’s time to boot it upward for the kickoff time. Unlike a traditional figurer, at that place won’t be a mouse, keyboard, and monitor attached. When you press the power push, it will boot upwardly quickly and and so just sit in that location (don’t be alarmed if you don’t hear a thing, we can’t hear the fans on our unit of measurement unless we take our ear a few inches from the back of it).

Afterward powering it on, head to whatsoever reckoner that’s on your local network (Ethernet or Wi-Fi connection is fine, so long as it’southward on the same network as the NAS). Open your spider web browser and head to, this will pull upward the Spider web Assistant startup magician, seen beneath. Click “Connect” to showtime the process of configuring your Synology NAS.

The first stride is the naming of your server and the cosmos of the administration business relationship. There’southward a couple things to consider on this stride. Start, your server proper name is how your NAS will appear on your network and will be listed in various applications. A compact proper name that is easy to type out like, say, “blackbox” or “diskstation” is preferable to longer names with spaces similar “Miltons Magic Download Fun Fourth dimension Box”.


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Your username and password tin exist anything you want, but here’s a pro tip for Windows users: if yous make the username and password for the assistants account of your NAS the same the username and password of your Windows PC, so you’ll be able to seamlessly access all the network shares on the NAS from your Windows PC without entering a password or username.

In the next pace, you lot can create a Synology business relationship and a Quick Connect ID. This pace is not required,notwithstanding, if you plan on accessing your Synology NAS outside your network for any purpose (and there are a diverseness of reasons you lot may wish to do then similar accessing your files while away from domicile, backing up vacation photos, or sharing files with friends) this is a handy way to skip fiddling with configuration settings later. QuickConnect is Synology’s free included-with-your-NAS Dynamic DNS service that allows you to always dial home to your NAS with an piece of cake to think addresses like
instead of your dwelling IP accost.

After setting up (or skipping) the Quick Connect footstep, you’ll exist prompted to install some core application packages. You can also skip this step and pick them one by one later, only given the utility of the core packages, we propose installing them all (they take up a trivial amount of space when installed).

In one case you install (or skip), you lot’re done with the basic setup procedure and the magician will shut.

Getting Around DiskStation Manager: The Basics

Later on this final step, yous’ll exist prompted to take a very cursory tour of the DiskStation Manager interface. Allow’due south expect at a few of those key areas at present. Here’southward what the “desktop” of the DiskStation Manager looks like. There’s admission to applications with a shortcut and menu system, notifications in the upper right corner, and a system health and resource monitor in the lower correct corner.

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On the left hand side, y’all have a main menu and desktop shortcuts. The Kickoff Menu-like button at the top of the screen will pull up all your apps, just in that location’due south direct access to four frequently used apps right on the desktop: Package Heart, Control Panel, File Station, and DSM Assistance, as seen below.

The Package Eye is where you can install, update, and remove applications. If you run into notifications from the Parcel Center, this indicates that i or more of your installed applications needs updating.

The File Station is file manager that allows you to easily create and browse folders on your NAS with support for file manipulation (similar cut, paste, move, and delete) built right into the right-click context menu.

The Control Console is similar to the control console on other operating systems, and includes settings for everything from the network configuration to usergroup management. The Control Panel is a great terminal finish for a setup tutorial, as it allows usa to show y’all how to update the operating organization of your NAS earlier sending you lot off to play around with information technology. Once you’ve opened the Control Panel past clicking on it, click on the “Update & Restore” icon in the “Arrangement” section.

Hither you’ll find any available cadre updates. Click “Download” to catch the update and then once it has downloaded click “Install”.

Your NAS volition reboot and you’ll be running the virtually up-to-the-infinitesimal version of DiskStation Manager.

What At present?

At this bespeak, you’ve got your new Synology NAS upwards and running. You may be asking yourself “But what about deejay configuration? Formatting? Network shares? Why aren’t we setting that upward?” Well, we aren’t setting it up because DiskStation Managing director set information technology upwardly automatically in the background for you lot. 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 withal retaining redundancy with RAID). You tin go into the settings menu and mess around with the configuration to classify the disks differently, but unless you accept a stiff demand to exercise then, we’d encourage you lot to stick with the space/redundancy optimized default.

In add-on, there are already network shares set up with the administrator account of your NAS every bit the default user. Further, if you lot installed the application packages, in that location are default directories for many of those packages already in place. You can scan these directories either in the File Station app seen in the previous department of the tutorial, or just by pointing the file explorer on your PC to the proper noun of the network share. Nosotros named our Synology NAS “blackbox” so information technology’s accessible at \\blackbox\ in Windows, as seen beneath.

With this bones setup out of the way you’re fix to utilise you’re fix to start exploring the installed packages (and the available packages) in the Package Center, likewise equally filling up your available storage with all that’s fit to back upwards.

Synology Configuration and Network Design