Maintaining huge amounts of data

I have around 50 external hard drives, 20 internal ones (form old PCs since 1994 and until today), floppy disks, CDs, DVDs and thumb drives. After purchasing the best NAS I could find – Synology Diskstation 2415+

I started looking for NAS (Red) hard drives to fill it up. I purchased 12 x 6TB ones but recently began replacing them with 10TB each (having the potential storage size of 120TB !

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Synology offers Hybrid RAID, which allows the safety of having the data backed up in several places in case of a failure. The “price” for that is 1/3 of the storage space which is used to provide the necessary tolerance to faults and loss of data. Each drive of the 12 is part of a group of 3 (“Volume”) and you can take out and throw away one drive of the three, and yet the data will be preserved.

That doesn’t come instead of backing up the entire data, which wasn’t an easy task due to the huge amount of data to back up. Typical Cloud services allow up to 1TB (for example: Dropbox). More professional services such as Amazon allows unlimited data to be backed up for a quite expensive monthly cost per each MB.

Speaking of Dropbox, one of the advantages of using a NAS is that it can entirely replace services such as Dropbox, Google Docs, etc. You have your own cloud. You can give access to specific documents or folders, run your in-house Chat service (instead of using WhatsApp), host web sites, create your own Emailing system, FTP, etc.

Costs:

NAS                                                       $1,313.71

12 x 10TB Drives                                  $4,775.88

Total (before Tax)                               $6,089.59

You can then organize your files based on subjects, themes, types and dates.

For example, organizing all photos (or videos) by year and then by month.

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Since Synology gives you the ability to create your own Cloud and avoid using external Cloud services, it is quite easy to back up all photos from your cellphone automatically. You can of course insert external USB drives and purge their data to the NAS.

I travel a lot and since my wife is a photographer, there are many camera files to back up. I carry a 4TB external drives when I travel and first backup the memory cards to the drive. Then, I upload the contents of the drive to my NAS remotely from anywhere.

Add to that tools to keep your PCs backed up, access the NAS from an iPhone and so on.

Finding data is also an important consideration. Synology provides a quite fast mechanism for finding files, including from the iPhone App. Searching for files based on a criteria can take hours, especially in my case where I have millions of files. For example, an open query for all .doc files (Word) can take 1 hour to run (found already  310,000 files and still searching…).

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One of the advantages of Synology NAS is the ability to remotely connect to surveillance cameras, but in addition there are many possible add-on’s to use.

For example, the Video Station scans all videos stored and provide easy access from a Smart TV. Please note that there are many issues with Samsung Start TV which we own. This TV is very impressing with the curve style but has many connectivity issues. Our Surface Pro‘s can’t be projected to the TV. Other streamers such as Roku have similar issues, some of which have been resolved since. In many cases we had problems with service providers such as Netflix, HBO, CBS, NBC, etc. and in most cases they were specific to our Samsung… However when it comes to projecting videos form the NAS to our TV, that works excellent.

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As for protecting your NAS from outside hacking, here are some guidelines:

  • Use SSL (I purchased an SSL certificate for my NAS)
  • Use Two Factor Authentication – its impossible to log in (even if the password is known) without operating an hardware device which generate a one-time code. Banks use it (in the US) and it can be applied to other accounts such as NAS, Gmail, Facebook, etc.
  • Other security measures such as an internal Firewall running on the NAS (which has its own OS), blocking certain ports and protocols, etc.
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