I have been researching a NAS system for over a year. Being a photographer I have been purchasing a new external hard drive every time one gets close to filling up. The small systems they are now selling for home use were not enough and it seemed like the next jump was enterprise systems that were far to expensive. So I considered building a system myself. I figured I could get an old computer from work (one that we were probably just going to throw away anyway), put in a raid card, some software and a few disk drives and be good.
I did a test just with my work computer and a raid card. So there wouldn’t be any data loss I was using raid1 (one drive is an exact duplicate of the other). The raid card failed and I lost both hard drives. I don’t know if the total loss was completely the raid card or the fact that I wasn’t using NAS quality hard drives but just low end ones. This test made me a little bit leery of building my own system. Plus after doing some research on A class components I couldn’t really see any price savings in building my own system.
The past month when I purchased my 6th external hard drive I figured enough was enough and it was time to get a home multi-drive storage system. So I went back online and did some research. I narrowed my choice down to Synology. So I asked the IT guy at work if he had any experience with Synology. He explained that his friend has one and the features were great and the thing ran like a dream. That sealed the deal. Now the question was which model to choose. I needed at least a 4 drive system to backup what I already have on other hard drive plus give me the storage to get through another year of photography. It appeared that the biggest difference between the Synology models was the CPU and RAM. At this point I had to decide between the DS413j and DS412+. The price difference was about $250, or an extra hard drive and a half. Since I wasn’t going to really run any applications off the DiskStation I went with the DS413j.
I’ve had the Synology DiskStation up and running for about 2 weeks now. I have to admit that this was well worth the money and I should have invested in one a long time ago. The file transfer is incredibly fast, way faster than USB 3.0. I had read some reviews online that said the file transfer was slow – this just isn’t the case. I have the DiskStation connected to a gigabit router and the router is wired (not wireless) to my computer with a gigabit network card. After my experience with the raid disaster in my work computer I decided to only use WD Red NAS hard drives. It is my belief that anyone complaining about transfer speed is not connecting the unit to a fast network or using older slow hard drives.
There are a few issues though. I haven’t worked on the network side of computing for about 10 years so the setup was not intuitive and there are NO instructions. I tried finding blog posts and YouTube videos to help me just setup the system essentially as a big external hard drive and couldn’t really find any. Perhaps I’ll have to make a few myself. The longer I use the Synology NAS the more I realize that my initial setup was not optimal and I have gone in a tweaked the settings a few times.
Bottom line – totally worth it. If you are a photographer don’t rely on external hard drives get yourself one of these Synology NAS DiskStations.
A note of disclosure – I did not receive any compensation at all for writing and recommending this product. Everything here is personal opinion after purchasing the product through Amazon.