Does anyone here use a Synology NAS? I need help.

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by mollyc, Mar 22, 2017.

  1. mollyc macrumors 65816

    Aug 18, 2016
    I have a lot of questions about how best to use one, and searching both here, on the Synology site, and general web searches have me more confused than when I started. =(

    Is there anyone here who could help sort me out?
  2. Chiily macrumors newbie

    Jul 28, 2016
    I have a DS216play and I think it is fantastic.

    What questions do you have?
  3. jetsam macrumors 6502

    Jul 28, 2015
    I have had a Synology DS212+ for several years. I will try to help if I can. However, your best best is to visit the dedicated Synology Community forum, at:

    The people there are way smarter than me. ;)
  4. mollyc thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 18, 2016
    I don't understand most of what they are talking about on the Synology forums, although I've searched there. Also posted a message, but got no response.

    My husband recently purchased me a DS216+II and two WD Red 4T drives to go with it. I am an amateur photographer with a lot of photos and use a late 2012 iMac running Sierra. I have been using a 6TB LaCie (connected via thunderbolt) that I have partitioned as one half for data storage and the other for Time Machine backup.

    I would like to use the NAS as an external drive, using it for working files. My LaCie has a lot of lag, and testing opening files through Bridge/PS/LR, the files coming from the NAS open way faster. The LaCie tends to sleep at odd times, so it just always lags.

    Anyway, I would like to then turn the LaCie drive into a backup drive for the NAS. But I cannot figure out how I do that. Time Machine doesn't acknowledge the NAS as a source, only a destination. So while I can set up Time Machine on the NAS, it only backs up the iMac, not my user folder on the NAS.

    Today I downloaded several synology packages, including HyperDrive (which I think is basically like Time Machine?). But then I discovered that while you can back up to the NAS, it has to be connected directly to the NAS and not at my computer? Which then requires me to find different cables and adapters, because my existing drives are not USB drives, they are firewire or thunderbolt.

    I am thinking the only way to make this work for me is to use the NAS as the backup destination only, rather than trying to use it for source files. But it is *so much faster* and my husband spent a lot of money on this for me that I am just so frustrated that I can't figure out a local solution to back it up.
  5. kschendel macrumors 6502a

    Dec 9, 2014
    The Backup and Replication service add-in might do the job, perhaps? Failing that, drives are not that expensive in the big picture; I see USB connected 3 Tb drives for $100 or so. Is there no USB port on that LaCie drive? If there is, just move everything off, re-partition it, and connect it to the Synology as a backup drive.
  6. jetsam macrumors 6502

    Jul 28, 2015
    I think your problems may begin with the way you're thinking about the NAS. Don't think of it as an external drive - it's much more than that. It's a networked Linux computer dedicated mainly - but not exclusively - to file management.

    This is the basic getting started tutorial:
    Is that any help at all?

    I use my NAS to store about 25 GB of photos. I use Photoshop Essentials, and have all my photos on the NAS in the Photos volume. This makes them accessible from my PC, my Mac, my iPhone, and anybody I want to give access to my photos. I back them up nightly to Amazon S3 using Hyper Backup. Once set up, it's all pretty transparent.
    --- Post Merged, Mar 22, 2017 ---
    Backup and Replication was replaced last year by Hyper Backup, which the OP has already installed. (She referred to it as HyperDrive, but I think that's only for starships. ;) )
  7. mollyc thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 18, 2016
    No, my LaCie drive is Thunderbolt only, so I cannot plug it into the NAS. A new drive might be inexpensive in the big picture, but my husband just spent nearly $800 or so getting this setup for me, and it seems kind of ludicrous that I have to ask for *another* drive to back this up when I have an otherwise perfectly good 6TB drive sitting here willing to do the job. I guess I can get an adapter for it if I need to. But it seems kind of ridiculous that I can't point the NAS to a drive that is currently connected to my computer that is on the network.

    I do understand that the NAS is plenty more capable than regular external. My primary need is just for storage and access (local) to my photos and files. At present I don't really care about personal cloud access, although I do see that as a potentially large benefit. But right now I have files sitting on the NAS with no apparent way to back them up unless I start paying a per MB charge to Amazon/Blackblaze/etc. And so I feel paralyzed to use the NAS if I can't back it up locally in anyway. I've got 1.5TB sitting out there right now, and even though everything is brand new, there's nothing to say a drive won't fail or some wacky power surge kills everything. (Which recently happened to our Verizon FIOS board.) I really wanted to use an external drive in my house but on a different circuit to help minimize the risk of drive damage if something goes wrong. For the past few weeks I have tried not to create any new documents, and then when I do to save them to both the LaCie and the NAS because I don't know anything else to do.

    I guess the only way I will make this work for me is to see if I can get a Thunderbolt to USB adapter and put everything in the basement. My other alternative is to use the NAS exclusively for backup and just stick to the LaCie as my main working drive but it is sooooo slow. I don't know why, as a Thunderbolt drive it should be faster, but I have never had any external drive plugged into an iMac that is very snappy.

    PS - It's too bad HyperDrive is only for starships.
  8. kschendel macrumors 6502a

    Dec 9, 2014
    One other idea is to take the LaCie apart and see what sort of drive connection is in it. If it's a SATA drive you can very likely buy a USB enclosure for it that will almost certainly be cheaper than a T-bolt to USB adapter, which will likely set you back some $80 or so. In fact, for the price of an adapter, I think I'd reiterate buying a new USB drive. Backups should not be relegated to a single device, anyway; you SHOULD have another backup drive that gets used at least occasionally.

    Sata connector:

    Also, if the LaCie is that slow, it might be on the way to failing. How old is it? and what model, exactly?

    I think it would be a big mistake to relegate the NAS to backup-only duties, especially if it works better than the LaCie. If Hyper Backup won't do the job (and I have no idea about that one way or the other), I think you'd be much MUCH better off to put a little more money into it and get it right.

    (You almost certainly could come up with a homebrew solution that would back up the NAS to a local drive. The "rsync" command would likely be a starting point. I don't recommend that unless you have command line tool experience and are really good at testing your concoction.)
  9. mollyc thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 18, 2016
    The LaCie is a 2big. The issue isn't really the drive speed, it's the fact that it sleeps and wakes up and sleeps and wakes up. It's the wake up time that drives me crazy, and it has always done that from day 1. I think it's only about 2 years old. I pulled out my previous backup drive (only 2TB) and it had TM backups from 2015 on it. I guess I can uncheck the "put hard disks to sleep when possible" but then the LaCie spins all the time and the noise drives me crazy. I like that the NAS is in the basement.

    I am finding it hard to come to grips with the fact that a two year old drive is already obsolete in terms of ports. Hyper Backup allegedly will backup to an external, but only if it's connected directly to the NAS - I can't find a way to get it to read to an external connected through a computer. Even though it's on the same network.

    I do not have that much knowledge.
  10. kschendel macrumors 6502a

    Dec 9, 2014
    The lacie page you linked to claims that it has a USB port. I suspect you have a 2big thunderbolt 1, not 2. In any case those are just SATA drives inside, and as I said, you can buy a USB enclosure and swap the drive out of the LaCie. You might have to fiddle with some screws but it should be simple. Just one of many enclosure possibilities:
    (I have never used this particular one but it looks reasonable from the description.) Or, since you likely have 2 x 3 Gb drives in the LaCie, perhaps a basic two-bay RAID unit like this one:
    which would let you stripe / concatenate the two drives into one logical 6 Gb drive, basically what the LaCie does but with a USB port instead of Thunderbolt.

    Your two year old drive isn't "obsolete in terms of ports", exactly. I don't know its history but I suspect it fell into a fairly narrow time gap after Thunderbolt came out but before USB-3 was available. There was a period when some vendors (Apple probably one) hoped that Thunderbolt would take over all of the high speed interconnect duties, but USB-3 turned out to be a lot easier, cheaper, and more compatible. Had the LaCie included a USB interface, I bet all that was available at the time was USB 2, which would have been a perfect dog compared to Thunderbolt, so apparently not worth doing.
  11. mollyc thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 18, 2016
    Yes, you are right, I must have the first generation, because I definitely only have 2 thunderbolt ports on the back of mine. And I do have two 3TB drives in the existing enclosure.

    Getting a new enclosure is a good option to think about. Thanks for the links. :)
  12. kschendel macrumors 6502a

    Dec 9, 2014
    Just keep in mind that those links are just examples, not recommendations. There may be better choices. You'll want to read the reviews, shop other vendors and stores, etc. But at least I hope they give you a starting point. The RAID style enclosures will present the two drives as if they were one, which would probably simplify matters for you, for a (modest) cost. (because I'm assuming that ultimately you'll want to use the full 6 Tb as backup and not just half of it.) If you decide to go el cheapo and use individual enclosures, the main thing I'd suggest is to make sure that they are AC powered, not USB bus powered. All but the cheapest / most portable are likely to be AC powered. You want 3.5 inch enclosures, not 2.5 inch. Good luck...

    Oh, and one more thing (and some may disagree with me on this): after you have it all set up and working, start budgeting for a pair of replacement drives for the backup unit. Give it a year or so, buy new drives, and stick the old ones in a drawer or even offsite for safe keeping. HDD's don't last forever and if you run them too far into their service life, Murphy says that they will die as soon as you actually try to use the backup to rebuild a dead NAS.
  13. mollyc thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 18, 2016
  14. steve23094 macrumors 68020


    Apr 23, 2013
    You can achieve what you want by using Chronosync. Use the Diskstation as your working drive, and then having that backup up to the external drive. I do something similar.
  15. boast macrumors 65816


    Nov 12, 2007
    If you only want the Lacie as an emergency backup, maybe just have lightroom do imports into the NAS network share and do a secondary import into the Lacie drive ("Make A Second Copy To").

    You can also have the lightroom db backups go to both the NAS and the Lacie drive.

    If you have Amazon Prime, remember you have free unlimited cloud storage for photos so you can use Cloud Sync on the Synology to backup JPGs to Amazon Drive (RAW files aren't unlimited, though)
  16. mollyc thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 18, 2016
    Thanks, I will look into that!

    I shoot raw and generate a lot of psd files so Amazon doesn't work for the bulk of my storage needs. I also already have an account with Zenfolio where I keep finished jpegs. But losing RAW and PSD files would be devastating. Of course, they are also the most expensive to back up in the cloud!
  17. Kanders78 macrumors member

    Apr 26, 2015
    I have a synology D916+ with 3TB Red drives. I am an amateur photographer as well and I have photos on the NAS and I back up my pictures to two places, an on site 4TB drive via hyper back up utility on the synology and then also to an Amazon S3 cloud storage. I set up a time machine folder and user on the synology and logged in for my MacBook, my wife's and our kids Mac mini and the time machine backs up everything seamlessly.
  18. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    I think steve23094 has the best solution. Just use a software app to perform backups from your Mac. It should be very simple.
  19. mollyc thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 18, 2016
    Yes, I got Chronosync and everything works just like I want it to now. :)
  20. seismick macrumors member

    Oct 14, 2013
    I used to do something similar to what Steve proposed and what you've set up, except that I used Carbon Copy Cloner to back up the photos folder on my NAS to a USB drive connected to my Mac mini. Never had a problem with it.

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