I’m looking for advice on how to get started with a NAS, probably Synology since it’s beginner friendly and often well recommended. I’m thinking of a 2 bay case with 2x4TB HDDs in RAID1 setup. What do I have to look out for in a device to get the best bang for my bucks?

My use case:

I have various documents, software projects, family pictures, videos that I want to store on something more reliable than a bunch of internal/external HDDs or USB sticks. I have a full *arr stack and jellyfin but I want to move these to my “server” laptop and docker once NAS is setup, and then host the files on it. For projects I might want to self-host gitea down the line.

Some more specific questions:

  1. if I go with a 2 bay NAS case, can i also connect my old external drive to it as a separate drive, can they handle USB3 drives? Will it require reformatting since it was used on windows so far?
  2. are there any issues with connecting docker drives volumes to a NAS?
  3. noise issues - does the NAS itself make a noticeable amount of noise or is it just the drives?
  4. whats the life expectancy of a NAS? if it dies, can I just plug the drives into a new one?
  5. does syncthing work well with a NAS or is there a better way of syncing local files to the NAS for backup?

Sorry for the question dump, just wanted to cover as many possible issues as possible 😅

  • @RotaryKeyboard
    3 months ago

    First things first: Synology as a beginner NAS is perfect! It’s what I recommend to everyone that is getting started out. So good move there.

    I think you should get a four-bay NAS. You don’t have to put four drives in it; you can put two drives in it and have an upgrade path for later. Plus the drives are far easier to install and remove. The processor will also be better in a four-bay NAS, which will give you more options if you want to play around with a docker container or run a VM.

    To answer your questions:

    1. If the NAS you choose has a USB port on it, you will be able to connect things like external hard drives, thumb drives, etc. NASes with USB3 connectors support USB 3 drives. Just be sure to use a file system that is not proprietary. So NTFS is out, but exFat is fine.
    2. I have connected to volumes on the NAS and have connected the NAS to other volumes without issues. It will work fine.
    3. I had two NASes sitting right next to my head in my office at ear level — probably the worst case scenario for noise. I barely noticed them. I could hear them crunching away during backups, but it wasn’t bad. I never heard a fan running — just the internal drives making their read/write noises.
    4. The drives fail before the NASes do. Synology had some issues with bult-in power supplies going bad after a few years. Their modern NASes now have plugs with a power brick on the cable, which I assume was in response to this issue. It’s a lot less expensive to replace a power cable than a whole NAS! But beyond that one issue (which affected one NAS of mine), the NASes I’ve been using have lasted for … oh, 8 years now.
    5. There are many choices for syncing data with your synology NAS. They provide Synology Drive, which gives you a local drop-box-like folder syncing option. They support rsync, and they provide HyperBackup, which is a block-level backup utility. You can choose a Synology shared drive as the destination for a Time Machine backup on a Mac. (I assume you can do this with Windows’ backup solution, but I’ve never personally used it.)
    • /home/pineapplelover
      13 months ago

      I have a 2 bay synology nas as well. I fucking love how easy it was to set up following guides online like from Marius Hosting (I gotta donate to that guy). Everything works perfectly from Adguard, Jellyfin, syno photos, etc. As I progress, the next nas I might make it myself but for now, the Synology nas is amazing.