In a few words Synology DSM (DiskStation Manager) is “Basic, yet Beautiful.”
Initially I went with a Netgear ReadyNAS for my first ever NAS because I got a good deal on a 4-bay NAS at Fry’s that was already populated with 2x 2TB drives. Although this ReadyNAS was great for my first NAS, I eventually outgrew it and wanted something with more features and functionality.
After realizing I wanted more out of my next NAS, I initially created my own NAS using both FreeNAS & OpenMediaVault, and both seemed lacking in one way or another leaving more to be desired. I can’t remember what specifically turned me off about either, but I do remember the applications to be somewhat lacking for both (especially when compared to Synology & QNAP), installation and navigation to be somewhat “cludgey” OR “clunky,” and neither had a “refined” feeling I was seeking. Altogether they might be fine for the person that wants a NAS, but wants to spend little to no money on one… continue reading and you’ll see what made me opt for a Synology.
At this point I was over creating my own NAS and like most “pro-sumers” I had difficulty deciding between Synology, QNAP, ASUSTOR, Drobo, Buffalo, etc. and I continually checked Woot, SlickDeals, and Craigslist for a good deal and I was finally able to snag one.
I come across (actually built – “xpenology“) a Synology DS3617xs NAS that was well suited for my needs:
- Intel XEON D-1527 Quad-core processor
- 8GB of RAM
- I installed 4x 3TB SATA drives
After using my Netgear ReadyNAS, FreeNAS, and OpenMediaVault… I found exactly what I was looking for: A REFINED USER EXPERIENCE that was really intuitive and easy to use/navigate, which allowed me to install APPLICATIONS WITH 1-CLICK (more on that later).
Prior to being able to store anything, I had to initially create a RAID Group, and then create a Volume:
Afterwards you will want to install the Community Packages:
- Open Package Center
- Click Settings
- Choose Package Sources
- Click Add
- Choose a name SynoCommunity and add the following URL: http://packages.synocommunity.com/
There are a TON of applications available without the Community Packages, but in my opinion the “COOL” applications are included in the Community Packages for example: SabNZB, Sonarr, Radarr, NZBhydra, and GateOne.
If you aren’t into that kinda thing, and just want to stick with the stock applications provided by Synology there are plenty to keep you busy. After looking over ALL the applications that are available for this NAS you could easily be won over, right? But the BEST part of all is the ease of which you are able to install all of these applications…. it is as simple as 1-CLICK on the INSTALL button. Sure the Linux purists will have a field day with me promoting 1-CLICK INSTALL software applications, but for those that don’t have the time OR the energy to become a Linux Guru and want to get familiar with Docker, Plex, WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Redmine, etc. it doesn’t get much easier than this. Want to install WordPress? Click INSTALL, walk through the steps, and DONE.
I have tested out several apps and really like how easy they are to install. I have personally installed Cloud Sync (connects to multiple cloud providers: Google Drive & GCP, AWS & Amazon Drive, etc.) LXQt (awesome desktop environment), WordPress (super-easy install), and vTiger CRM to list a few.
There is so much more this NAS is capable of that I have failed to mention, but then again this is an “Intro – Synology DSM” post. For me, I am primarily using my Synology NAS as my PLEX server hosting my Movies & TV shows.