A few years back, I got turned on to the world of Synology by networking pals who employ these impressive devices in their home setups (though Synology has it’s share of devices out there in business settings as well). I’m far from a “power user” in NASland, but I continue to learn more about Synology’s NAS capabilities as I go. Let me share a bit on my recent goings on.
One Big, One Small
I’m currently using two NAS devices. One is the low-end two-bay DS218j, and the other is the more beefy DS1618+. I’ve set mine up as 4 TB and 10 TB with decent disk resiliency, but you van go much bigger on either.
Why two? The little guy is primarily a repository for decades of family pictures, videos and such. I went this path after some frustration with online repositories. It’s easy to add to the drive whether on the LAN or out on the Internet, with multiple user accounts and home spaces. The larger unit is an important part of Wirednot, LLC, where endless drone footage, documents, proposals, white papers, software etc are stored and frequently accessed.
Each is a “private cloud”, if you buy into that notion.
Wake on LAN is a Must
Every now and then our local power company causes us some grief during a thunderstorm or some such. When power comes back, it’s nice to leverage Wake on LAN to not have to remember to go downstairs to the Command Center to power up these units. I highly recommend it
It’s Not Just Storage Here… Let’s Whip Up Some CCTV
Though “NAS” is network attached storage, there are so many cool features you *could* do with Synology. There are dozens upon dozens of “packages” that can be installed, making this NAS morph into a many different servers and appliances all at the same time. I haven’t leveraged much beyond storage and file services, until recently.
I bought a low-end IP camera for a specific purpose (weather station companion camera) that it failed miserably at. I can’t tell you all the ways that JideTech cameras are cheap Chinese junk with horribly built software sides, but I was able to turn disappointment into a productive experiment using my Synology NAS and it’s Surveillance Station application.
I have installed, used, and continue to support a handful of different CCTV systems. Synology’s free surveillance system kicks ass versus the likes of Hikevision, accommodates a decent variety of cameras (including generic configs like I used to get El Cheapo to work) so has that advantage over closed systems like Ubiquiti’s Protect (which I love), and has a powerful range of features on par with upper-end enterprise systems like Genetec. You get two camera licenses included out of the box, then need to pay as you grow. But it’s really a nice feature you can simply enable on your NAS, and it makes my Chinese shitcam look good. Retrieving past recordings is a snap, and the UI is just shweet.
Add Some RAM- If You Can
I read somewhere that added RAM can make your Synology more snappy, and have felt some lag on occasion when interacting with both of my drives… little things like slow-feeling logins and population of file menus kinda stuff. So, for the first time in years and years I found myself adding RAM cards to a computing device- but in the case only the 1618+ was eligible.
Synology models ending in “j”, like my little 218j, are out of luck when it comes to RAM expansion. Here’s where you have to be careful, as Synology has a 218+ and a 218j. Plus models can do RAM upgrades, J models cannot and so I will live with 512 MB of DDR3 on my small drive. I expanded the 4 GB that came on the 1618+ to 16 GB, and the result was impressive. EVERYTHING I do on bigger drive is peppier.
That’s it for now. Nothing remarkable going on here, but if you are contemplating buying a NAS, Synology has served me well so far and has a lot to offer. Definitely spend a bit more and get yourself a + model.
If you are doing anything cool with your Synology, I’d love to hear about it. These things are so versatile, it can be hard to know what to do with them beyond storage/file stuff.