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Old Nov 28, 2012, 08:15 PM   #1
mazuma
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Synology Media Server and Backups

Sorry to post another home media server thread, but I've not been able to piece together all the info out there into a definitive answer for what I'm looking for.

As most, I'm outgrowing my current storage setup. I've been storing all my music, photos and handbraked dvds to a 1 TB hard drive. It is getting close to full. I've also have been considering handbraking my blu-rays and adding them to the mix.

Currently I have been streaming my content from a 2008 mac pro to two different atv's. So far, this has been working pretty good. I also have a 1.66 Intel Core Duo mac mini with 2Gb of Ram. I was hoping to start using it at some point to relieve the mac pro. The mac pro is overkill and is more of work machine.

I think I've settled on a synology NAS server. Maybe the DS412+.

What is the best way to set this up for my needs mentioned above? And, how do you handle backups? This is the one item I'm confused on the most. Would I utilize the synology for this as well? Or, do I need a separate hard drive setup for that?

One other item I've read is that some people recommend running cat5e or cat6 to any room possible that has a tv. What is this for?

Thanks for any help or advice.
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Old Nov 28, 2012, 08:38 PM   #2
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I believe Synology has proprietary raid technology similar to Raid 5, where if 1 disk fails, you can swap the failed drive and the raid will rebuild itself without losing your data. However, raid 5 isn't a substitute for a backup. Meaning, it's fine to use raid 5 for your NAS, but you need a separate backup solution.

For myself, I used a 9 TB Raid 0 array in the Mac Pro as a server and then used an external Raid 5 to back it up. Alternatively, if your capacity needs are low now, you could just swap a 3 TB or 4 TB hard drive into your mac pro and use it to backup your Synology NAS until your storage needs increase.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 07:38 AM   #3
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I use an externally connected USB drive to back up my Synology NAS once a week using the built-in Synology backup software module.
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 08:14 PM   #4
mazuma
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Sorry late reply. Thanks for the help. Any other tips or hurdles I might encounter on path to a NAS solution?

Also, with the Synology raid 5 can I buy one drive today and as that fills add a second and third drive as needed? Or, do I need to buy enough drives to fill all the bays at the beginning?
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 08:38 AM   #5
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To do any type of RAID at all you need a minimum of two drives....to do RAID 5 you need at least three.
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 01:28 AM   #6
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1) synology acts as time machine, i.e you reserve a part of your diskvolume for this.

2) regarding cat 5 or6 that means 100mbit,1 gb network and the reason is to stream you HD movies with minimum latency.
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Old Dec 4, 2012, 07:14 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by mazuma View Post
Sorry late reply. Thanks for the help. Any other tips or hurdles I might encounter on path to a NAS solution?

Also, with the Synology raid 5 can I buy one drive today and as that fills add a second and third drive as needed? Or, do I need to buy enough drives to fill all the bays at the beginning?
With Synology's Hybrid Raid solution, you can start with one drive and work your way up. There is no minimum drive amount requirement, but there is a minimum drive SPACE requirement. With Synology Hybrid RAID, you can never put a smaller drive in the array than the current smallest drive.

For Example: If you have a 1TB drive you start with, you can NEVER put in a 750GB drive. You can, however, put in a 1.5TB drive. However, if you start with a 2TB drive, you can never put in a 1.5TB drive after. To emphasize, start with your smallest drive you have (or ever plan on using) and use that, then use same size or larger drives from then on.

Also, there is a major reason to fill up all drive slots beforehand if you don't like waiting, or if you are looking for both more space AND backup ability. First of all, building a RAID array takes a LONG LONG LONG TIME. I'm talking literally 2-3 days. If you add in 1TB of data onto those drive arrays that time increases to more like 1 week. So if you want to save yourself time in the long run, build the array now with all your drives, then you'll never have to worry about it again (unless a drive fails).

First of all, when installing a drive, it must be formatted completely before it will be usable within the server. This means ERASING EVERYTHING on your drive, so make sure to either A) buy a new one, or B) back up the data before putting the drive in there.

From there, you can set your drive(s) up as Synology Hybrid RAID, which will work under the following stipulations:
  • 1 drive - No RAID - No data parity. If the drive fails, you lose your data.
  • 2 Drives - RAID 1 (Mirroring) - This will make a direct copy of the drive. If one fails, the data is on the other. You can then replace the first drive with a new one and the RAID array will rebuild itself, causing you to have full data on both drives again. Keep in mind, if you have 2x1TB drives, you will only have 1TB of usable space because of the data backup, not 2TB.
  • 3 OR 4 drives - Raid 5 (Possible combination of RAID 1) - This is where the Synology Hybrid Raid comes into its own. I strongly recommend doing research on this method, as it is a complicated process I wont go into here, but suffice it to say, this is the best way to get the most data usage from your drives, and retain parity on your drives.

In terms of Time Machine: All you will have to do is set up time machine in the preferences of the Synology unit, then point your Time Machine to the specified folder from your iMac. It will work exactly the same as an external Hard Drive except you wont have to keep connecting it to backup.

I hope this post answers your questions, if not, PM me and Ill see what I can do. I'm a very proud owner of a Synology DS413j and should be able to answer most questions you'll have.
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Old Dec 4, 2012, 10:27 AM   #8
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I am a big fan of Synology and recommend them. However, when Mountain Lion came out Time Machine stopped working. They suggested I try the Release 4 Beta but heard others were having problems with that. So, I decided to get a Time Capsule for my Time Machine Backups.

How I use Synology.

I have the DS212+ with 2 x 2TB Drives (RAID 1 MIRROR). I have an exact duplicate at my home. We use the one at the office for all of our business files which supports APF and SMB File sharing with ease. It has a built in backup utility to mirror the DS212+ on the home unit. The home unit has an attached 3TB USB Drive. The home unit has what they call Timed Backup (works like Time Machine) for backing up the home unit so I have history of changes.

I just recently started using the built in VPN on the office unit for employee connections. Rock Solid.

It has numerous other Apps that run on the Synology Platform but I have not taken advantage of them.

Great Box....
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 03:16 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by d21mike View Post
I am a big fan of Synology and recommend them. However, when Mountain Lion came out Time Machine stopped working. They suggested I try the Release 4 Beta but heard others were having problems with that. So, I decided to get a Time Capsule for my Time Machine Backups.

How I use Synology.

I have the DS212+ with 2 x 2TB Drives (RAID 1 MIRROR). I have an exact duplicate at my home. We use the one at the office for all of our business files which supports APF and SMB File sharing with ease. It has a built in backup utility to mirror the DS212+ on the home unit. The home unit has an attached 3TB USB Drive. The home unit has what they call Timed Backup (works like Time Machine) for backing up the home unit so I have history of changes.

I just recently started using the built in VPN on the office unit for employee connections. Rock Solid.

It has numerous other Apps that run on the Synology Platform but I have not taken advantage of them.

Great Box....
So to be clear, you end up with 3 copies of your data. Correct?
Also the utility that makes the home unit mirror the office unit... is that complicated to set up? Secure going over the web?
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 03:21 PM   #10
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So to be clear, you end up with 3 copies of your data. Correct?
Also the utility that makes the home unit mirror the office unit... is that complicated to set up? Secure going over the web?
Yes. And the Timed Backup on the home side actually gives you a history of your changes. Works like Time Machine on the Mac. So if I make a change to a file last week and another change 2 weeks ago I would have those 2 copies and the current one.
These utilities are part of the Synology Applications and are easy to setup. The UI for Snology is Web Based (browser) and very friendly.
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 03:22 PM   #11
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So to be clear, you end up with 3 copies of your data. Correct?
Also the utility that makes the home unit mirror the office unit... is that complicated to set up? Secure going over the web?
It's very easy to setup. Just have to enter the server and login information. Harder part is getting your router opened up enough for it to work.
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 04:40 PM   #12
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It's very easy to setup. Just have to enter the server and login information. Harder part is getting your router opened up enough for it to work.
Right. Forgot about that. You simply need to Port Forward "TCP PORT 873" to your home Synology Server. I also have DHCP set a STATIC INTERNAL IP for my Synology Server. Actually do this at the office as well.
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 04:50 PM   #13
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Synology's GUI supports several routers including the AirPort Extreme. It can open required ports automatically when Router Configuration is used.
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 09:44 PM   #14
mazuma
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In terms of Time Machine: All you will have to do is set up time machine in the preferences of the Synology unit, then point your Time Machine to the specified folder from your iMac. It will work exactly the same as an external Hard Drive except you wont have to keep connecting it to backup.
Thanks for the info. I didn't even realize this thread was still getting posts. I will definitely look into the synology hybrid raid more and read up on it.

As far as a back up goes are you saying that the back up would also be stored on the same synolgy box? I would like to be able to back up my entire system plus all of the media on the synology. What is the best way to go about this?

One other question. Say I go ahead and fill up all 4 drives with 3TB drives and they get full. Can you swap in new larger drives? Or, is that impossible and it will time to move on to the new latest and greatest?

Thanks again for the help.
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 02:24 PM   #15
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I haven't tried it, but supposedly if you set up your unit using Synology's "hybrid" RAID, you can swap in larger drives later - one at a time until they all rebuild.
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 03:23 PM   #16
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I haven't tried it, but supposedly if you set up your unit using Synology's "hybrid" RAID, you can swap in larger drives later - one at a time until they all rebuild.
Yep. I've done this before. For example if you go from all 3s to all 4s, you'll have a net gain of just under 2TB because of redundancy and formatting loss.
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Old Dec 9, 2012, 01:10 AM   #17
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As far as a back up goes are you saying that the back up would also be stored on the same synolgy box? I would like to be able to back up my entire system plus all of the media on the synology. What is the best way to go about this?

One other question. Say I go ahead and fill up all 4 drives with 3TB drives and they get full. Can you swap in new larger drives? Or, is that impossible and it will time to move on to the new latest and greatest?

Thanks again for the help.
Both posters above me are correct. Also, technically the DS413j currently only supports 3TB drives according to the manufacturer, however I am pretty sure it will support larger drives in the future as they come to market. The Synology box itself and software can support up to 24TB as there are 8 bay NAS units that also support 3TB drives.

I'm sure, again, however, that there is no true limitation to drive size unless they go past some software block that could be easily updated by Synology.

To answer your question about backup, you are correct that time machine will update directly to the NAS unit. From there, there is a built in backup option on Synology NAS units in which you can back up all data on the NAS itself to an external drive. Keep in mind that you will need to have the same amount of drive space (not counting redundancy) as the NAS to make a full backup.
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