Synology NAS as external hard drive

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jshulman10, Mar 23, 2014.

  1. jshulman10 macrumors member

    jshulman10

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    #1
    I'm looking into a NAS system in order to backup my mac, boot windows, and possibly host a personal website at some point. Currently i'm in a dorm where access to the router is impossible, however next year i will be living in an apartment. So i've been thinking about buying a NAS now and using it as an external hard drive via a hardware connection for the time left in my dorm. Is this a possible route? Can i use the Synology DS214+ as a hard wired hard drive? If so how, ethernet or usb?
     
  2. pscl macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2013
    #2
    i got the 216j and trust me... this is the best storage device ive ever bought. im using 2x WD red 3TB and its just awesome. it works just perfect and has a great functionality...

    just the usb 2.0 direct connection (for usb sticks or to transfer files directly from another usb hdd) is very very slow... but i dont use it anyway.


    go for it!
     
  3. stempsons macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2014
    #3
    the synology systems are great, i use a 4bay raid system that uses 2.5" drives (super compact) and it backs up both bootcamp and time machine. even backs up windows through parallels while running osx. very cool systems. as far as i know, there's no direct connection to your computer, so only wifi for access.
     
  4. RIZZO124 macrumors member

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    Nov 15, 2013
    #4
    I've had a DS410 for many years and just upgraded to a rackstation RS814. Users connect via Ethernet. The DSM software features and user interface is really well put together and easy to use. Their tech support is excellent. I had an incident where I couldn't get access to the raid array due to corruption. Tech support responded same day, went in over the internet and restored everything with not one bit lost. I highly recommend them.
     
  5. chrfr macrumors 603

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    Jul 11, 2009
    #5
    No.
    NAS means "Network Attached Storage." It's not the same thing as an external RAID.
     
  6. TheDauterive macrumors newbie

    TheDauterive

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    #6
    Are you sure about that? I thought most Synology products could be used as either NAS or directly connected to your system via USB.
     
  7. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Boston
    #7
    I don't that the DSM is setup to allow the NAS to interact with the computer via USB.

    with that said, I saw this URL after a quick google and its possible, but still through the ethernet port, i.e., cross over cable.

    Personally, I'd just get a cheap router if you really want a NAS.
     
  8. r0k, Mar 24, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2014

    r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

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    Location:
    Detroit
    #8
    I have a Synology DS 212J. I don't remember seeing a usb port on it but I'm sure it can be used only via ethernet. You can connect an ethernet cable from your Mac to your NAS drive but you cannot use USB. Also a Synology drive runs Linux (called DSM software). So this means the drives are formatted for Linux not OSX or Windows. If you need a USB drive then get a USB drive. If you need an NAS then use it as an NAS. I would avoid the + series of Synology drives unless you require an Intel processor as they have higher power consumption.

    I also own a DS 112J and it only uses 18 watts when active and a mere 6 watts on standby.

    Thanks maflynn, you're right. There IS a USB port but it's for attaching an external USB drive to the NAS not for using the NAS as if it were a USB drive!
     
  9. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #9
    My qnap has a USB port, but its there only for the designed purpose of connecting a USB drive, in fact there's a one touch backup button to be used in conjunction with this, i.e., back up the NAS to the USB drive.
     
  10. chrfr macrumors 603

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    Jul 11, 2009
    #10
    Yes, I'm sure. the USB port is there to connect external disks to the NAS.
     
  11. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

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    #11
    Last week I picked up a Synology 412+ and compared to my earlier NAS boxes (a D-Link 323 from several years ago and an Iomega/EMS PX300d) -- well, there's no comparison.

    The UI is great. It's very fast. Management is easy.

    The old D-Link is just old, early design, and so on. Nothing against it, really.

    But the PX300d is a lot newer, and got good reviews a couple of years ago. And yet it never really liked being on a Mac network (I'm assuming I didn't misconfigure it). MS Office, for example, would sometimes be willing to save to it, sometimes not (all other apps behaved properly). Sometimes it appeared in Finder but wouldn't open up, or would open to the volume I wanted, but wouldn't show any contents. Basically it was a PITA.

    And firmware updates? I learned not to do them, because they effectively wreck the box. After I had the Synology running properly, and had moved everything over, I updated the PX300d and, no surprise, my group and users disappeared and (this was a surprise) admin was locked out of creating new users.

    I should have bought Synology in the first place. OP, if you buy a Synology box and connect it via gigabit ethernet, you'll likely be a happy camper. If you have to get an inexpensive gigabit switch or a different router to make it happen, do it anyway. It'll be worth it.
     
  12. DFWHD macrumors regular

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    Aug 6, 2011
    #12
    The Synology is a great choice, but it can't boot Windows, one of the requirements the OP mentioned... IF he can get past that, the Synology is a perfect fit.
     
  13. alecgold macrumors 6502a

    alecgold

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    NLD
    #13
    try to plug it in directly via ethernet, if that doesn't work buy a cheap switch that you can use. They cost next to nothing and it will work faster then anything else. via usb might or might not work but is slow as a snail on tar.
     
  14. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

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    #14
    I missed the "boot windows" part entirely.
     
  15. jshulman10 thread starter macrumors member

    jshulman10

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    #15
    Why is it that you can't install windows on it. If you can install an os on a external hard drive why can't it be done via a has drive?
     
  16. DFWHD macrumors regular

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    Aug 6, 2011
    #16
    The Synology NAS OS, Disk Station Manager (DSM) allows you to create volumes for windows file storage, but does not allow you to set one of those as a primary partition, which windows requires. It's just not designed to do this. If this is a deal killer for you, you might be able to buy a USB 3 SSD & external case and boot Windows from that, then store your files on the NAS.
     
  17. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

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    Toronto, Canada
    #17
    You can't boot an OS from a NAS, except if it's running as a TFTP server but that's not practical for anything but loading diagnostics or installers.

    Windows only likes to install on your primary drive. It won't easily install on an external drive.

    Why do you want Windows on an external drive?
     
  18. zorinlynx macrumors 601

    zorinlynx

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    May 31, 2007
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    #18
    Yeah, this is one of the big differences between a NAS and a SAN.

    A SAN emulates an actual disk volume at the block level attached to your machine over the network. You CAN boot off of these.

    A NAS is simply a filesystem accessible on a file level over the network. You can't boot off these normally; your BIOS would have to have extremely advanced support for SMB or AFP or whatever the NAS supports.

    In ancient times, UNIX systems *could* "boot off a fileserver"; they typically would download a tiny RAMdisk filesystem off the server, boot off *that*, then mount the rest of the system separately. It was a complicated and error-prone process, which is why we stopped doing it when local storage became even slightly affordable.
     
  19. shaunp macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2010
    #19
    Synology devices are NAS devices and are intended to be used via Ethernet. They can't be used as a 'boot' drive in the way you are thinking. The USB ports are so you can add new volumes to the NAS, for for backup purposes.

    If you wanted to use the NAS as a 'boot' device for windows then you could present an NFS volume from the NAS and persistently bind this to the Mac. Install Windows as a VM (using Fusion or Parallels) and have the files for the Windows VM located on the NFS volume. It will work, but don't expect ultra-fast performance. It will be okay for testing - i.e. a home lab - but don't expect it to compete with a physical PC.
     

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