Thursday, January 8, 2015

Entering the world of NAS (most probably Synology’s world)

Dear Matt and Mar,

No no no, please don’t confuse it with the church of scientology (lol), but we are going to join the world of Synology soon (well soon-ish... lol). Well. in 2015 it will be time to step up a notch in the exciting world of storage... haa haa haa, I can see you two yawning right now.

I can put a pc system together without blinking an eyelid, but when it comes to NAS I am as lost as a blind sheep with a limp on Pluto. Originally I wasn’t even looking for a NAS, all I wanted was a couple of hard disks, one to be my main (‘Live’ disk) and another for backup.

My current setup  is totally abysmal, literally my whole life can be found in 2 folders one named ‘001’ and the other ‘002’ (are you two thinking ‘very imaginative Dad!’ (in a really sarcastic voice)?). ‘002’ is one huge photo archive with lightroom library whilst ‘001’ is simply everything else.

I had to split my content into 2 folders because of hard disks issue, I just don’t have a single hard disk large enough to hold both 001 and 002 together. The current setup involves 4 (very old) hard disks, 1 hard disk is in the notebook and the remaining 3 are portable hard disks.

‘Live 001’ sits in the notebook, ‘Live 002’ sits in one of the portable hard disk, while ‘Backup 001’ and ‘Backup 002’ sits separately in each of the remaining 2 hard disks (1TB each). Ok, it isn’t as terrible as I had made it out to be, and the main tool to keep everything in sync is ‘Free File Sync’, for me it is as essential as the air that I breath, lol.

I am filling up at the rate of about 5 - 15 GB per month, and after looking at my setup’s capacity last evening, I think I have around 4 to 5 months left before the huge migration and I am absolutely dreading it.

Instead of simply going out and get a couple of larger hard disks and migrating all the data, the idea of investing in a good NAS came out of the left field. The promise land is not to have to sit down at the dining room table with all hard disks in front of me each time I had to backup.

Having a NAS means all backups or ‘Live 001 & 002’ could be done or accessed over the WIFI network :-) wow, what a beautiful promise land, lol. No need to physically manage 3 portable hard disks and a notebook each time... haa haa haa.


So why Synology? The other big player is QNAP, not to mention WD and others. As this will be my first NAS, I have no brand attachment, 3 influences made me go with Synology, firstly online reviews, whether it be youtube or reputable websites. Secondly, the hardware, I am knowledgeable enough to understand the key hardware ingredients.

Thirdly, and the most important for me was the ‘management software’ and this is the one that pushed me over to Synology, as a total newbie having something easy and pleasant to the eye to manage the NAS is the key. Synology’s Hybrid Raid (SHR) is another thing I was interested, with my limited knowledge, SHR is just a different way Synology handles RAID (although I am sure all the other competitors will probably have something that is similar to this).

We are not going to be an extreme user, so something more home or small office based would be sufficient, Synology DS415Play fits the bill almost perfectly, the price point is a little high (for me) at 500 USD, but looking at the long term it is more than worthwhile. I am aiming to populate all 4 bays, certainly 2 bays for now (or is SHR2 a better option?).

The next decision to make was the hard disk, most of the review I read and watched were using WD red drive, well ‘when in Rome...’, but how many and at what capacity? Originally I was looking at 2, 3 TB drives, but my guru said you might as well go with 6TB and be done with it... lol.
Based on the prices that is flying around the internet, we are talking about 1,400 USD for the whole project (at Thai prices), however if I was living in the US the DS415Play would have damaged me by about 500 USD, however in Thailand I’ve seen the starting price at around 700 USD (including 7% VAT). As for WD Red 6TB, it will be around 355 USD (including 7% VAT) while it the US it should be around 266 USD.

Oh dear... time to buy a new piggy bank and start saving for this project :-) lol, at least your mother had already given the green light to proceed... lol.

08.01.2015 Update

Looks like I had over estimated the costs just a tad, after walking the floor and visited a few retailers last evening, the costs had become much more reasonable, DS415Play is retailing around 18,700 THB (about 584 USD). Could only find WD 4TB Red at around 6,100 THB (191 USD).

So with 2 hard disks we are looking at around 30,900 THB (966 USD), and that is just about a price of the top spec iPhone 6 Plus in Thailand...

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