Two NAS systems working together

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Two NAS systems working together

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NAS
DS214play
Operating system
  1. Windows
Mobile operating system
  1. iOS
I have one DS-214play with a pair of WD Red drives, and it's been working great for about 8 years. But it's now above 75% full, and now I'm also piling my manufacturing business files into the same drive as personal files, not ideal.

Our basic setup is nothing special, just favoring redundancy:

  1. NAS is configured RAID-1 redundant, with two drives.
  2. Many personal and quick-access files reside on individual computers. Many shared files reside on NAS.
  3. Individual computers back up daily to NAS.
  4. NAS backs up daily to B2 Backblaze.

Getting the business and personal files separated would be nice, easing my job on setting up permissions between family and contractors, but the primary goal in any reconfiguration should be ensuring I'm never more than a day without access to my business files if an NAS fails.

Presently, losing a drive is a non-issue, been there done that... more than once. But losing the motherboard or cooling fan on my present NAS could essentially lock us out of all shared files for several days or a week, while we order and configure a replacement. Not good.

I think it's time to buy a second NAS, for better redundancy of business files, rather than just adding more capacity by swapping to larger drives. I'm leaning toward putting all personal stuff on one NAS and all business stuff on the other, but would also like the business stuff to keep a near-live duplicate on the second unit for emergency access. For example:

1. Old NAS contains only business files, and backs up only to new NAS. Any employees contractors would receive rights only on this device.
2. New NAS contains personal files, plus near-live backup of business files, and this backs up both file sets to B2 Backblaze.

Questions:
  1. Is this plan reasonable or stupid? I'm planning that if the business NAS fails, I can just switch to using copies of the same files on the personal NAS for a few days, while I work out a repair or replacement. If personal NAS fails, I'm fine being without that for a few days, until I can repair.
  2. What application would you use to facilitate backing up business files on business NAS to personal NAS, in a way that they'd remain accessible as a single live copy? No need for redundancy/history there, as B2 Backblaze is providing file history.
  3. Which NAS to buy? Business content is presently 725 GB after 2 years in business, so growing roughly 360 GB per year, but nearly 700 GB of that is workstation backup. I could probably cut back a bit on file history, and shave that down by half. Personal content is presently 3 TB, and growing at a slower rate, maybe only 200 GB per year. Again, much of this is personal computer backup files.
 
Your plan looks good to me, well thought out, with the right factors to decide upon.
1) looks fine to me.
2) Hyper backup is the preferred tool here, (simple file backup)
3 Here I would go for a 4 bay model like 423+ as it gives you more expansion possibilities. DS224+ should do as well

Two personal remarks:
  • Your DS214 is EOL and maybe 10 years old, you might upgrade that one for eg a DS224+ also to remain mainstream for security and DS features.
  • why not stop local pc storage completely and store all data on the NAS? saves some hassle and ensures quick PC restores.
 
Thanks for the thoughts and reply. In response to your final two points:

  • Your DS214 is EOL and maybe 10 years old, you might upgrade that one for eg a DS224+ also to remain mainstream for security and DS features.
Yes, it is almost 9 years old, although I think the disks are newer. I really loathe new "features", I'm using these things mostly for dumb storage, but I suppose security is a valid concern.

  • why not stop local pc storage completely and store all data on the NAS? saves some hassle and ensures quick PC restores.
There are only three types of files stored locally, and backed up to NAS:

1. Outlook .pst or .ost files, due to potential corruption issues with storing them on network shares.
2. Files used in 3D simulation software, due to access speed severely affecting simulation time.
3. Personal files that I may want to bring with me on laptop, etc. Yes, I could use Offline files, but storing locally and using Windows File History to backup to NAS actually causes less headaches than the constant synch issues associated with Windows Offline Files.
 
Your plan looks good to me, well thought out, with the right factors to decide upon.
...
3 Here I would go for a 4 bay model like 423+ as it gives you more expansion possibilities. DS224+ should do as well
Just getting back to this, busy life of a small business owner.

You state preference for 4 bay, citing expansion possibility. Are you indicating it's possible to initially populate a 4-bay chassis with two drives in RAID-1 (redundant), and then later add drives to the pool? How would this be handled without wiping and reconfiguring the RAID?

I had a DS that appeared inaccessible for awhile this morning, started worrying the CPU or network card in it had died, but then it eventually appeared on the network. Made me realize how vulnerable I am to losing critical days of work, by having local data on just one NAS. Redundant drives are no longer sufficient, I think I really need redundant NAS's, to carry me through an NAS CPU failure without interruption.
 
Are you indicating it's possible to initially populate a 4-bay chassis with two drives in RAID-1 (redundant), and then later add drives to the pool?
Correct. You can expand the array from raid1 to raid5 for example by adding more drives.

How would this be handled without wiping and reconfiguring the RAID?
DSM can sort this out as long as its an expansion of the existing array. Shrinking it would no be possible without wiping the pool and starting fresh.
 
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I've been doing a deep dive into what's on my drive, how space is being utilized, etc.

  • The current DS214play has two WD Red 4TB drives for 3.6 TB useable, and is sitting around 75% full.
  • Business files & backups consume 866 GB, and growing faster than 500 GB per year
  • Personal files & backups consume 1853 GB, but growing much more slowly
My plan is to have one NAS for business, and a second that's for personal, with the "personal" NAS also serving as a live backup for the business files. That way, if the business NAS ever goes kaput, I'm not shut down waiting for a new NAS to ship, or a cloud backup to download.

Capacity and features would favor keeping the old DS214play for the business files, and moving the personal + business backup to a newer larger unit. I guess the updated/new AI photo sorting and media services would be appreciated more on the personal stuff, as well. The business really only needs a "dumb" file server with backup.

That said, if thinking in terms of failure avoidance, this DS214play is getting awful long in the tooth. Things tend to fail when new or very old, classic bathtub curve. I'm thinking I should buy a new 4-bay for personal files + business backup, and then once that is all stabilized and proven reliable, also upgrade the DS214play.

Thoughts?

I'll start a separate thread about 2-bay vs. 4-bay, as I have a few thoughts on that.
 
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Been doing my research, and I'm pretty well set on a 4-bay unit with two 8TB drives in RAID-1, to start. That still leaves open a few questions:

1. DS423+ vs DS923+. I'll honestly never expand to 9 drives, but the cost difference is minimal, and it looks like the 923 may offer better performance in any configuration?

2. NVMe's and SSD's? I'm leaning toward 2x 8TB HDD's for primary storage, but I hate the way large directories of photos are slow to low... it's my single biggest gripe with our present DS214play populated with WD Red's. It looks like 423+ and 923+ can both carry 1 or 2 NVMe's for cache, which might really help, depending on how that could be configured. Of course, I know SSD's would be better all-across, so maybe I just need to consider that, but then I'd probably be starting off with all four bays populated to hit my 8 TB target size.

3. Plus vs. Enterprise drives. Looks like the plus have MTTF > 100 years and workload ratings > 180 TB/yr. I can't imagine needing more than that. My WD Red's presently have 8.5 years of continuous use on them, with no trouble, so I'd also be happy to go with them.

I'll keep the old DS214play as primary storage for business files only, after moving all personal stuff to the new NAS. The old DS214play will run Hyperbackup (to B2 cloud), and I'll have to figure out to keep live replication of business files over to the new DS423+ or 923+, but other than those basic functions it's just dumb file storage.
 
That said, if thinking in terms of failure avoidance, this DS214play is getting awful long in the tooth. Things tend to fail when new or very old, classic bathtub curve. I'm thinking I should buy a new 4-bay for personal files + business backup, and then once that is all stabilized and proven reliable, also upgrade the DS214play.

Thoughts?
I would support this thought if nothing else then because of the fact that x14 models will remain on DSM 7.1.1, so no DSM 7.2. The fact is that Syno has already started to push certain package updates that depend on the DSM version, and some apps have 7.2 as a prerequisite. So not just the HW, but the SW support end is also a good driver for a more up-to-date model.

1. DS423+ vs DS923+. I'll honestly never expand to 9 drives, but the cost difference is minimal, and it looks like the 923 may offer better performance in any configuration?
True. Personally I would take 923 for several reason. Its more powerful, it has 10G potential capabilities but on the other end if there will be a need for some on device media transcoding the 423 with Intel CPU will be i na much better position then AMD in the 923. So, if the idea behind it all is to push for performance, better package support, on device editing option, and 10G, 923 will for sure offer a better experience. But, 423+ is non the less an excellent all around model that still support all of that with a few exceptions here and there that might not even be in your scope.

2. NVMe's and SSD's? I'm leaning toward 2x 8TB HDD's for primary storage, but I hate the way large directories of photos are slow to low... it's my single biggest gripe with our present DS214play populated with WD Red's. It looks like 423+ and 923+ can both carry 1 or 2 NVMe's for cache, which might really help, depending on how that could be configured. Of course, I know SSD's would be better all-across, so maybe I just need to consider that, but then I'd probably be starting off with all four bays populated to hit my 8 TB target size.
NVMe on top of the HDDs will indeed provide a better experience in scenarios that you are mentioning. If you will be going the SSD route, then having NVMes on top of those SSDs would be a waste. One popular way of having best of both worlds is having a pair of SSDs and another pair of HDDs. SSDs would be running the apps and content that would benefit it (like working with photos for example), and HDDs as pure storage.

Ofc that will depends just how much space would you need on the SSD array now, and over the coming period.

Going with full HDDs with NVMes as cache will for sure help out, but not as fast as dedicated SSD volume.

3. Plus vs. Enterprise drives. Looks like the plus have MTTF > 100 years and workload ratings > 180 TB/yr. I can't imagine needing more than that. My WD Red's presently have 8.5 years of continuous use on them, with no trouble, so I'd also be happy to go with them.
Considering the NAS models in question, I would suggest sticking to the officially supported HDD list be it 3rd party or Syno drives. On the topic of PRO vs ENT, depending what drive vendor will be housing those NAS units, you might go with ENT for a cheaper price then official Syno drives. Saying this, if Syno drives are in scope, the 3310 line will be more then enough in terms of speed.

As an example the HAT3310 8TB are 7200RPM drives, and even HAT3300 8TB that are 5400 will be able to get well over 6G of speed in terms of network transfers. So with 4x3310 drives in RAID5 (all drives in a single volume) will for sure give excellent performance.
 
Wow… thanks for all this great information, Rusty. I’ll try to comment, below.

I would support this thought if nothing else then because of the fact that x14 models will remain on DSM 7.1.1, so no DSM 7.2. The fact is that Syno has already started to push certain package updates that depend on the DSM version, and some apps have 7.2 as a prerequisite. So not just the HW, but the SW support end is also a good driver for a more up-to-date model.
My original inclination to move the business to a separate NAS from personal was based on thinking that eventually I’ll want to give contractors and subordinates access to the business stuff, but not my personal. However, there’s really no need for that yet, and I can buy another NAS when that happens.

So, now knowing the DS214play is no longer supported, I’m leaning toward just putting all of my business + personal on the new NAS for now, and making the DS214play a dumb mirror of the business content, for emergency use only (eg. CPU failure in new NAS). Heck, if I skip mirroring the backup folders, the content on the 214 would be only 50% of its capacity. This would also mean I don’t have to compromise on speed, by using the 214 for primary access of any files.

True. Personally I would take 923 for several reason. Its more powerful, it has 10G potential capabilities but on the other end if there will be a need for some on device media transcoding the 423 with Intel CPU will be i na much better position then AMD in the 923. So, if the idea behind it all is to push for performance, better package support, on device editing option, and 10G, 923 will for sure offer a better experience. But, 423+ is non the less an excellent all around model that still support all of that with a few exceptions here and there that might not even be in your scope.
We do occasionally use the DS214play to stream video to iPads or TV, but it’s really not its primary use. It works okay from the 214play, so even if the 923+ is below the 423+ in this regard, I can’t imagine it’s worse. And it appears the 923+ is better in every other way, for less than $100 more.

NVMe on top of the HDDs will indeed provide a better experience in scenarios that you are mentioning. If you will be going the SSD route, then having NVMes on top of those SSDs would be a waste. One popular way of having best of both worlds is having a pair of SSDs and another pair of HDDs. SSDs would be running the apps and content that would benefit it (like working with photos for example), and HDDs as pure storage.
Yeah, I love the idea of HDD + SSD + NVMe, and appears to be a popular choice with other brand NAS’s, but I’ve seen more than one review video stating that Synology can’t support this.

That aside, I’d have to learn how you segregate the data to choose what goes on which drive, whether you set them up as separate volumes, or what. Probably beyond my needs, if I can set the NVMe read cache to favor the directories holding photos, even if less frequently opened than some other files.

I guess I need to look at what level of control we have over that NVMe cache priority, to know if it’s really a good solution. There are some files I open more often, but where a few seconds lag is not a huge deal. But when browsing folders containing hundreds or thousands of photos, waiting for those stupid thumbnails to load is almost crippling. That is probably our number one gripe with the current NAS.

Considering the NAS models in question, I would suggest sticking to the officially supported HDD list be it 3rd party or Syno drives.
Definitely. I only mentioned WD Red because they were a supported drive, back when I bought the DS214play. Today, I’d probably just buy the Synology drives, unless there was a huge price gap to another supported drive of equal reliability.

On the topic of PRO vs ENT, depending what drive vendor will be housing those NAS units, you might go with ENT for a cheaper price then official Syno drives. Saying this, if Syno drives are in scope, the 3310 line will be more then enough in terms of speed.
I’ll have to go back and check, but I thought the Syno Pro’s were all 7200 RPM, whereas Plus was only 5400 RPM, which would make a big difference in random access speed. Both are only 6G SATA, so probably similar contiguous speed.

As an example the HAT3310 8TB are 7200RPM drives, and even HAT3300 8TB that are 5400 will be able to get well over 6G of speed in terms of network transfers. So with 4x3310 drives in RAID5 (all drives in a single volume) will for sure give excellent performance.
I think you mean 5310 vs. 3310? The 3310’s are only 5400 RPM up to something like 12GB, but I think all the 5310’s are 7200 RPM. Price jump is 50% between the two, essentially $300 vs $200 at 8GB.
 
My original inclination to move the business to a separate NAS from personal was based on thinking that eventually I’ll want to give contractors and subordinates access to the business stuff, but not my personal. However, there’s really no need for that yet, and I can buy another NAS when that happens.

So, now knowing the DS214play is no longer supported, I’m leaning toward just putting all of my business + personal on the new NAS for now, and making the DS214play a dumb mirror of the business content, for emergency use only (eg. CPU failure in new NAS). Heck, if I skip mirroring the backup folders, the content on the 214 would be only 50% of its capacity.
Makes sense. Also having it all on the same NAS can be used while still separating business and personal. It is just having it all on the single NAS that is a risk, but with a backup in place it is a perfectly working setup.

We do occasionally use the DS214play to stream video to iPads or TV, but it’s really not its primary use. It works okay from the 214play, so even if the 923+ is below the 423+ in this regard, I can’t imagine it’s worse. And it appears the 923+ is better in every other way, for less than $100 more.
My point exactly. Also if streaming/transcoding will at any point become very important you can sort it with a additional device like the Shield or Apple TV or something else that will not come near the price of a capable NAS. Sure, it would mean one device less, but at the end of the day it will be your decision. It is still better to use the NAS as a NAS then to try and turn it "by force" into something that its not.

whether you set them up as separate volumes, or what.
Correct

I guess I need to look at what level of control we have over that NVMe cache priority, to know if it’s really a good solution.
You have no control over it to put it plainly. You will either set it as read or read/write cache and the rest is essentially "magic".

But when browsing folders containing hundreds or thousands of photos, waiting for those stupid thumbnails to load is almost crippling. That is probably our number one gripe with the current NAS.
Exactly what I mean. You have a case and tbh expecting the play model to do it is a bit extreme, but hey, now you know you need more horsepower and more IOPS. Personally, having a "working SSD" volume would most likely be the best option for you, but depending on the size of the drives and space needed you will have to choose.

Today, I’d probably just buy the Synology drives, unless there was a huge price gap to another supported drive of equal reliability.
HAT3300/3310 are Seagate/Toshiba drives and while those are a bit more expensive under the Syno label they are at most (depending on the market ofc) 10% more then those same drives under their original brand. Long-term, stick to the official list of the device to avoid any issue down the road in terms of support and warranty.

I’ll have to go back and check, but I thought the Syno Pro’s were all 7200 RPM, whereas Plus was only 5400 RPM, which would make a big difference in random access speed. Both are only 6G SATA, so probably similar contiguous speed.
The HAT5300 series (ENT) are all 7200, but I am talking about the PRO series, the HAT3310. Those are (8,12,16TB) all 7200 as well, while the HAT3300 (4,6TB) are 5400RPM.

I think you mean 5310 vs. 3310? The 3310’s are only 5400 RPM up to something like 12GB, but I think all the 5310’s are 7200 RPM. Price jump is 50% between the two, essentially $300 vs $200 at 8GB.
Correct. I was not focusing on the ENT models for your setup as there is no need. The previous answer is the current setup and speeds. So 3310 are 7200RPM (8,12,16TB).
 
Thanks again, Rusty! This is really helpful.

The SSD's are tempting, particularly for that photo storage. I presently have about 3 TB on the NAS, but growing quickly enough that it'd be silly to set up a new NAS with less than 6 - 8 GB total storage. The space required for photos is presently only 650 GB, so I really wouldn't need a large SSD for photos, but it's not like I can have any redundancy with just a single SSD.

Before jumping to 2 HDD's + 2 SSD's, and lessening my expansion options, it probably makes sense to consider just going all SSD. I've seen a few mentions that the NVMe read cache really doesn't give much or any noticeable improvement in an SSD-configured NAS, so dropping the NVMe's covers at least part of the cost difference in jumping HDD to SSD.

I see people mentioning the compatibility list, and I remember Synology used to provide this. But when I check their site today, it only shows Synology brand drives, nothing from Toshiba, Seagate, WD. It appears Synology has no SSD's 6-8 TB (for > 6 TB total with 2 drives), other than one 7 TB Enterprise series, which run near $3k/pair.

edit: Nevermind! Just saw the "3rd party" dropdown, but still... no SSD's other than Synology brand! It looks like I'm stuck with HDD's if I want ~8TB at less than $3500 total cost, with some ability to expand?

 
Synology has indeed cut SSDs on the lower end of their product line as the higher tier does still support SSDs. This is exactly what I meant when I said stick to the list. This only means that in case of an ssd setup you will be able to use 3rd party models knowing that support will be an issue down the line. From a working DSM side, custom scripts can be used to make the drives appear compatible but it’s a bit of a slippery slope so use at your own risk.

Looks like HDDs all the way atm but as I said before, even the 5400 models will be able to satisfy even very high network transfers (up to 10G) if needed.
 
Cool. Thanks. Sounds like 2x 8TB HDD's + some NVMe's in an 923+ is the ticket. I started another thread to ask about NVMe options.

So, if I'm going to host business + personal on this new 923+, and just use the old DS214play as a live duplicate for emergency change-out, what's the best utility / setup to get that done? Ideally, this should be done in a way such that if the CPU or network adapter dies on the new 923+, I can switch over to the DS214play without loss of recent file changes, and without restoring from an archive. I don't mind losing an hour or two, but can't lose days of work while waiting for a new part to ship on the 923+ repair.
 
can switch over to the DS214play without loss of recent file changes, and without restoring from an archive
As Coop already suggested that is one way for sure. Keep in mind that what you want is to have near zero data loss. To make that happen you will have to combine just to make sure you don’t lose anything. Sync and backup combination would be my personal suggestion.

As said Hyper Backup is the tool to backup data that is already on the NAS. Native backup format is a proprietary archive that you can access even if the NAS is completely down but you have access to the archive on the secondary NAS. using that same NAS you can access the archive and restore.

Considering you said you don’t want that (still think you should have some type of proper backup such as that one) you can use folder sync.

In Control Panel you will find a system wide functionality that will allow for a shared folder sync to another destination.


The combination of the two will be the safe bet to have an archive like backup of data (maybe proper archive/cold data) and the sync content can be a working folder of an ongoing project. Just an example.
 
Thanks, guys. Yes, I need a sync tool for this purpose, not backup, as I want a near-live replica of the directory and file structure, not an archive file. The idea is that if the primary NAS CPU or network adaptor takes a dump, I can just unplug it and run on the secondary NAS while waiting for parts to repair the primary. Maybe I lose an hour's worth of file changes, but not days. Nor do I need to wait days for a multi-TB cloud backup to download.

I also have backup, the whole NAS gets backed up to B2 Backblaze using Hyperbackup with local encryption, with a massive amount of file history. Right now, that's happening from the sole DS214play. After changing to the DS923+ as primary NAS, I'll run Hyperbackup from that, instead. No need to backup the secondary NAS, if it's only a synch'd replica of the primary.

My reason for B2 Backblaze, even with two NAS's, is in case the hardware is ever lost to burglary or fire, or if I'm ever hit with a ransomeware attack.
 
Please let me know if you like this configuration, or if you see any problems:

(1) Synology DS923+ ($630)
(2) Synology HAT3310 8TB Plus Series ($210/ea)
(1) Seagate FireCuda 530 ZP1000GM3A013 1 TB NVMe ($115)
(2) Kingston KSM26SED8/16HD 16GB SODIMM DDR4 2666MHz ECC ($80/ea)

Total comes in around $1320.

I suspect the memory may be way more than I need, feel free to make any recommendations on that or the NVMe. I won't pull the trigger on this cart until tomorrow.
 
(1) Seagate FireCuda 530 ZP1000GM3A013 1 TB NVMe ($115)
(2) Kingston KSM26SED8/16HD 16GB SODIMM DDR4 2666MHz ECC ($80/ea)
While the NAS and drives are not an issue at all, you have to be prepared that these unofficial elements might cause issues. I say might, because 3rd party RAM can work with 0 issue but it can also here and there cause issues.

Ofc in those cases, asking for Syno assistance they will tell you that 3rd party RAM is detected and "we are sorry but get rid of it and we will then help out". So, using 3rd party RAM (in some of my boxes I use it as well), is always a risk but you are knowingly moving forward with it, so just know the risk.

Now in regards will this RAM module work with 923 at all is another case altogether. I can see that reddit users are reporting it as working, so nothing more then to trust that info and give it a go.

Same rules apply with the NVMe.

Worse case, you will replace those 2 pieces if needed but the setup looks excellent, and extra RAM will always come in handy!
 
Ofc in those cases, asking for Syno assistance they will tell you that 3rd party RAM is detected and "we are sorry but get rid of it and we will then help out". So, using 3rd party RAM (in some of my boxes I use it as well), is always a risk but you are knowingly moving forward with it, so just know the risk.
... And presuming you retain the original RAM, before contacting Synology, you can return the unit to stock with its original RAM, to see if the issue requiring assistance remains, and if so, contact Synology support without risk.
 

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