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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm wondering if any Synology owners can chime in on how suitable Synology has been as a content server and storage server for their home network and media streaming needs.


I currently have a WHS that is doing this job fairly well, but I do have some issues with integration of my Macs to WHS as well as the irritation of losing 50% of the disk space I put into the WHS to disk duplication. I would probably be willing to live with this if the demigrator process did not result in stuttering video playback (I currently enable/disable demigrator via automated task).


So now, I'm considering starting to farm out some of the tasks from my WHS to a separate storage unit. The front runners right now are the Drobo FS and the Synology 1010+ (or its 2011 replacement unit).


The Synology units appear to be noticeably more expensive than the Drobo, but does have MUCH faster performance and seems to have better support from the manufacturer for things like added applications.


One question I have not been able to get answered, to date, is if the Synology has the ability to hot plug in a new drive to replace an old one and have it automatically rebuild the array to take advantage of this new disk. From my understanding Synology uses a Linux Flex-RAID technology that is supposed to handle disks of different sizes/speeds but I'm not clear on whether or not you get the Drobo simplicity of getting warned that a small disk is full and that you need to replace it with a larger one.


One big advantage of Synology is that the DS1010+ can handle an additional Synology 5-bay expansion unit, so, it can go up to 20TB pretty easily (apparently the new 2011 model will actually support two expansion bays for up to 15 sleds).


Any insight from Synology owners is welcome.
 

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I have the DS1010+, 5x204UI in raid 6 and it interacts without any problems with Boxee and NTV550. Write/read speeds are good but Im running Ecogreens and raid 6 so I don't get max speed. It maxes out my 100Mbit connection when downloading something stressful like multiple torrents, which has been a problem with most other NAS I tried. Network performance is also good for my needs.

I can not answer your techinal questions. I have had no need to replace a disk yet. Have a look at the Synology Forum...

I also looked at Drobo FS but I found that the DS1010+ was a better choice. I connect 4 usb docks and run 4x2TB extra as backup and you also have the DX510 as an option.

Buying 5 new 2TB disks is pretty cheap so I wouldn't bother fiddling around with different sizes when setting it up at least.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply Bozzeta, I have posted some questions in the Synology forums but no responses yet.


I'm definitely concerned with the ease of volume expansion and disk replacement with the Synology product. This is where the Drobo does very well.


On the whole the Synology gets rave reviews from owners, who swear by it and say it's a tank. I would want to know more about it though before spending the money.


There is a new 2011 model which has even higher throughput than the 2010 model and also has two ESATA ports so that you have support for up to 2 expansion bays or you can use an expansion bay and use a separate ESATA device for manual backups, etc.


I do have a question you might be able to answer. Do you get a recycle bin option with the Synology if you delete files? My understanding is that they have an option for recovering your deleted folders/files with CIFS but I'm not familiar with how that works or if it would work when my Macs connect to the shares.
 

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I believe that CIFS bin is SMB only. There is no option in DSM3 under AFP for that I think... but I don't have any Mac so I can not confirm it.

Under SMB it worked, but to empty the bin I had to login to DSM3 panel. I turned it off because it was hard keeping track of what I had deleted and was taking up space.

I would go with the new 2011 model
 

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Hey Jason, talk about timely, I just asked about Synology in the WHS thread. What confuses me about NAS-es is whether can you attach a USB tower (like the Sans Digital TR8U) and have it be part of the RAID setup along with the internal disks in the NAS? Can you stream 1:1 BD rips off the USB drives w/o issues over Cat5e to a media streamer? Or, as with the 1010+, do you need to buy the DX510 type expansion unit and connect via eSata?


What about server apps like those for Squeezebox or Air Video for iPad? Can you run those on a NAS?


Bozzeta mentions RAID6. Not knowing much about RAID, I see RAID5 mentioned as the most commonly used. This is where one drive can go bad and you can recover right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brajesh /forum/post/19608622


Hey Jason, talk about timely, I just asked about Synology in the WHS thread. What confuses me about NAS-es is whether can you attach a USB tower (like the Sans Digital TR8U) and have it be part of the RAID setup along with the internal disks in the NAS? Can you stream 1:1 BD rips off the USB drives w/o issues over Cat5e to a media streamer? Or, as with the 1010+, do you need to buy the DX510 type expansion unit and connect via eSata?


What about server apps like those for Squeezebox or Air Video for iPad? Can you run those on a NAS?


Bozzeta mentions RAID6. Not knowing much about RAID, I see RAID5 mentioned as the most commonly used. This is where one drive can go bad and you can recover right?

I'm not sure what the Synology supports, but I suspect that you cannot add disks from USB attached storage into the array, it would seriously impact the performance so you probably would not want to do it anyway.


It might be possible though to connect a cheaper SATA enclosure to it and pool those drives as the speeds should be about the same whether you used a cheapo generic SATA JBOB enclosure or bought the Synology one.


For me, cost is getting less important than having flexibility, performance, and not sacrificing so much disk space to duplication. Drives might be cheap, but eventually needing mucho enclosures and the associated power bill makes it an unwise decision long term.


RAID6 is extremely similar to RAID5 but with the addition of an extra parity block for further data redundancy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_RAID_levels


I'm still trying to get an answer on the Synology forum about how disks can be added/upgraded on a Synology NAS. I have run vanilla RAID setups in the past and found it an incredible hassle to have to back up all data and then rebuild the array and reload, when I finally wanted to upgrade the amount of storage I had.


Ideally with the Synology you would be able to manually add/remove disks from the array, even if they are of different sizes. I don't mind doing this manually, although obviously the Drobo method of complete automation is ideal for most home users... I could literally call my wife at home and walk her through hot plugging a replacement disk into something like a Drobo if I got notification of a failure, whereas the Synology would have to wait until I was home to handle it myself since it requires using their non-tooless sleds.
 

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I can confirm that Syno works very well. The DSM (diskstation manager) 3.0 software provides all of the home functionality I could want. (torrents, Email server, photostation, audio station, NFS, web server, remote access, sleep/powerdown, UPS networking support) All of this can be remotely accessed - and easily configured for security. I use mine as a front-end to my unRAID setup (mounted through NFS).


The cost and expandability is a downside. Only the top-end models allow any type of (horizontal) volume expansion. And limited to the DX510 type solution.


Synology Hybrid Raid
http://forum.synology.com/wiki/index...Hybrid_RAID%3F
http://forum.synology.com/enu/viewto...1021&hilit=SHR


Expansion and Management of the Raid Volume:
http://forum.synology.com/wiki/index...gy_RAID_Volume


Integrated Time Machine Support: http://www.synology.com/us/solutions...me_machine.php
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by mbryanr /forum/post/19608942


I can confirm that Syno works very well. The DSM (diskstation manager) 3.0 software provides all of the home functionality I could want. (torrents, Email server, photostation, audio station, NFS, web server, remote access, sleep/powerdown, UPS networking support) All of this can be remotely accessed - and easily configured for security. I use mine as a front-end to my unRAID setup (mounted through NFS).


The cost and expandability is a downside. Only the top-end models allow any type of (horizontal) volume expansion. And limited to the DX510 type solution.


Synology Hybrid Raid
http://forum.synology.com/wiki/index...Hybrid_RAID%3F
http://forum.synology.com/enu/viewto...1021&hilit=SHR


Expansion and Management of the Raid Volume:
http://forum.synology.com/wiki/index...gy_RAID_Volume


Integrated Time Machine Support: http://www.synology.com/us/solutions...me_machine.php

That is some awesome information, thanks! It looks like while horizontal and vertical expansion are a little bit of a headache, it is doable with the 1010+ that I have been looking at.


I will have to dig a little bit to see if it will mess the volume up if you only swap one or more disks for a larger capacity unit and try to expand the volume size. I would not want to have to upgrade all of my 2TB drives to 3TB in one shot to realize the added capacity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brajesh /forum/post/19609268


To answer my own question, Synology does support Squeezebox Server for use with Logitech's Squeezebox Radio and Touch devices.


I'm seriously considering the DS1010+ w/a DX510 later. I wonder how easy/intuitive it is to use coming from a WHS?

I am viewing it from the position of doing a staged migration. The standalone NAS products cannot do everything that the WHS can do. For example, I have a DC++ client and a pretty robust set of tools that I use to monitor my security cameras from my iPhone, iPad or any web browser. Also, I'm sure that Squeezebox Server will perform quite a bit better on the higher powered WHS box with its faster dual core CPU than it will on the NAS with its paltry Atom CPU.


I would likely continue allowing the WHS to carry out these duties and simply schedule it to shut down at certain times of day.


Over time NAS units will gain more and more functionality but they will likely not get the flexibility of a complete standalone 'pc'.


Another option would be to adapt something like a pogo plug or other low powered net-top type solution to overtake other functions of WHS, then this device can deliver those WHS-type solutions but can be backed up to the NAS for quick recovery if there is an outage.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brajesh /forum/post/19609191


Any issues with the DS1010+ only having 1GB of RAM? I see it's expandable to 3GB however.

Depends on what apps you want running.

I'm streaming 1 BD-ISO, 1 MKV 720p and downloading a torrent at 8MB/s all at once... it uses 12% of 1GB

But I guess if you want to run ftp, webserver, ip camera and other apps you will need more than 1GB. But for normal use... seems overkill.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yes, this box is climbing up to the top of my radar. While expensive, it is VERY expandable, to a ludicrous amount of storage.


I still need to find some first hand accounts of people expanding the volume via disk swapouts to see how easy/hard that is.
 

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I use the Drobo FS and love it. It's plenty fast for all my media streaming needs. I've never had an issue with it and adding/removing/replacing drives is EASY EASY EASY.


I don't want/need a ton of apps for the unit but there are a fair share of them out there if you so desire. I have never used a Synology unit so I can't compare. but for media streaming/backups/data storage the Drobo FS has been a dream.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by NavySeal /forum/post/19610277


I use the Drobo FS and love it. It's plenty fast for all my media streaming needs. I've never had an issue with it and adding/removing/replacing drives is EASY EASY EASY.


I don't want/need a ton of apps for the unit but there are a fair share of them out there if you so desire. I have never used a Synology unit so I can't compare. but for media streaming/backups/data storage the Drobo FS has been a dream.

Thank you for providing that, it's very valuable to me in the decision making process.


I'm still considering a Drobo, especially if they pull out the 2TB limit, this would make it easy to have a reasonable amount of storage today and then beef it up with 3TB drives over time to eventually hit 12TB of useable space, which would be more than enough to hold me until the next 'big thing' comes along in storage technology.


Out of curiosity how many BD type streams have you been able to pull from the Drobo simultaneously? Also, it appears that some have reported that as Drobo approaches full capacity the performance goes in the toilet... do you have any comments on that?
 

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I was an early adapter, and got burned by the Synology.


I bought the CS-406, and started with two drives in RAID-1. I later bought two more drives, but could not get it to expand to RAID 5, although it was advertised as "easy". I ended up using the two new drives as a second "volume" of RAID-1. So now I have two RAID-1 arrays in one four-drive box.


Unfortunately, many of the advertised features did not yet work. Even worse, they dropped support for it after only a year and a half. So it only partially works.


On the plus side, the hardware has been trouble-free. We were able to circumvent some of the bugs by going in with Telnet and working at the Linux level. Hopefully, that is no longer necessary, but at least it's available. Network performance is good and backup performance is fast. We're using the EXT3 filesystem. Backup drives can be EXT3, or FAT32 if you need windows compatibility. My unit had only two USB ports, and did not support a USB hub, so I am limited to two USB backup drives. That may have been fixed by now.


Also on the plus side, it has a lot of features. But most of those features did not yet work on our unit, so I can't comment on them. We did get to see what they were supposed to look like.


One feature we tried to use was the third-party-integration. We wanted to get Asterisk and VLC onto the CS-406, but failed. In most cases (maybe all), you need to compile the application specifically for the Synology, so you might need full sources.


Tech-Support was always prompt and courteous, even though most of the replies were "We're sorry".


As soon as I find a NAS that can run Sage-Server, the Synology will be history.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmpage2 /forum/post/19610299


Out of curiosity how many BD type streams have you been able to pull from the Drobo simultaneously? Also, it appears that some have reported that as Drobo approaches full capacity the performance goes in the toilet... do you have any comments on that?

With my current setup I am running one 46" Samsung(wired) and (2) wireless PC's. While I am watching a movie with my wife (~15GB 1080p MKV) and two rugrats on the wireless PC's streaming a TV show or movie (mostly always MKV's) there is no issue. I have NOT done any extensive tests, but I do know that I have not seen nor heard any complaining of stuttering.

The max I have had capacity wise on the Drobo FS is about 88% and I did not hit any type of critical slowdown. One thing I havent learned about the Drobo units on the web is: you usually only hear the squeaky wheels when it comes to the units. When you see a negative post regarding Drobo you'll only then see people saying "I have no issue and love it".


3TB drives are fairly new and not widely adopted yet. I'm sure a forthcoming firmware update will solve the capacity issue. Why would Drobo NOT want you to use higher capacity drives in their unit. I can safely say from my own PERSONAL use, the unit just works.
 

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I have a new 1010+ and really like it. I have 5 1TB drives in a Raid5 setup connected to a gigabit switch with a linux box and a mac mini. That all is then connected to the rest of my network with 10/100mb switches where needed. For torrents I've installed Transmission onto the synology box. Not very easy but I got it working. I do not like the built in download manager at all. Also I do not like the built in media server. So i'm using the synology box for storage and a torrent box only while currently having Playback run on the mac to serve out media files to my xbox360. Hoping to get a boxee box soon to eliminate the need for Playback and to have the mac on all the time. Have not had any issues with speed or memory.


The mac mini is using it as a time machine backup and I am going to eventually attach an external USB drive to use as backup that'll get swapped out quarterly and sent off to a safety deposit box or mailed to a family member, but for now I'm using mozy on the mac for offsite backups for important things (pictures, videos, etc).


As far as speed I really like it and have zero problems. If you are going to use the built in DLNA server I would find something else, it isn't very good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bozzeta /forum/post/19608547


I believe that CIFS bin is SMB only. There is no option in DSM3 under AFP for that I think... but I don't have any Mac so I can not confirm it.

Under SMB it worked, but to empty the bin I had to login to DSM3 panel. I turned it off because it was hard keeping track of what I had deleted and was taking up space.

I would go with the new 2011 model

Okay thanks. So, I would probably have to make the shares SMB anyways since I would want to access them from the Macs as well as the SMB only devices in the home... so if I understand correctly if I deleted something on a share and had the recycle bin turned on, then it would wind up in the recycle bin on the Synology regardless of which client deleted it?


I really like this functionality even if it means I cannot do advance Apple kind of things like index all of my shares in the Finder.


My wife has blown away stuff on more than one occasion but I am reluctant to give her read only access to things like photos that she might want to add to.
 
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