Synology DiskStation DS1019+

DiskStation 01I first came across Synology at The Head On Photo Festival in Sydney two-years ago. The company had some of its products on display at the Festival hub. I am not exactly a tech head but what I saw peaked my interest. Classic me, when the Festival was over, I got busy working, and my mind drifted on to other things.

The following year I returned to Sydney as an exhibitor at the Festival. Coincidentally, a friend of mine, photographer Anthony McKee, gave a talk sponsored by Synology titled: Protecting your work, digital filing & archiving, copyright and moral rights’ as a Head On event.

As part of Anthony’s talk, he described how he used Synology’s NAS System as a main part of his own workflow. In my mind, this is no small endorsement as I respect Anthony and value his opinion. The timing was perfect. Add to that, a chat with another friend and colleague, photographer Brian Cassey, who told me he also used the system, and once again I was interested.

In order to be totally transparent, Anthony mentioned that there was an initiative in place, during Head On, where if a photographer got in touch with the company and introduced him or her self, there was a chance a unit (sans hard drives) could be sent out for trial in exchange for an honest review. I did exactly that and was offered the chance to give the unit a go.

I was in search of the best possible method to preserve and safely archive my body of work. (I have been a working photographer for 35 years, and the risk of hard drive failure has long been a worry).

The Synology System’s RAID Solution means that even if a drive goes down, add another and the system weaves it’s magic with no data lost.

In other words: “In an appropriately configured RAID array, a single bad block on a single drive can be recovered completely via the redundancy encoded across the RAID set.” — Thank you Wikipedia.

I also wanted to create a secure service in order to upload and provide hi-res images to my clients – to ‘share’ quickly, from wherever I happen to have Internet access.

Synology’s customer service is solid, and looking into the kind of work I have done in the past Synology’s Tony Chu offered up some useful suggestions as to what would be of most use to me in regards to the machine itself and appropriate software.

Setting up the system is easy enough. Logging in via my MacBook Pro, I kept things simple by following the recommended prompts, one cautious step at a time. Once the drives were properly installed and shown to be ‘healthy’, I copied my work across from my external drives via USB and let the unit chug away slowly, and somewhat noisily, in the background.

Before:

Hard Drives A

As I chose to do it slowly, and steadily, it did take a few days for all the data to be copied and ‘converted’ (whatever that means). Once all tasks are completed the machine itself is quiet.

I have five bays, three loaded with WD Red NAS 8TB Drives. Most of the work I want to protect for now is there. I’ll no doubt need to add the other two drives when the time comes.

After:

Synology 1

For file sharing and remote access it was suggested I start with Synology’s Photo Station 6, a software package that automatically creates share folders and albums. Looking at Synology’s Package Center, there seems to be many options for many different uses. I am pretty much sticking to what I need for now, to avoid confusion. What I have in place now pretty much satisfies my workflow needs.

Photo Station 6

All in all, a NAS system is much like having your own personal cloud service that can be accessed from wherever and whenever you have access to the net. To be able to upload, download and share data remotely, from my very own, secure, server is a major plus. To know that if one drive fails, all I have to do is add another and all is as good as before — that’s a game changer for me.

At some stage I intend to have another system off site. It’s all still a work in progress. Backup, backup and backup!

This is the only NAS system I have had experience with. The DS1019+ is easy to set up. It provides me safe and secure access to my body of work — from any place I can be online. My decision to work with Synology was helped by the fact that they came highly recommended to me by two colleagues that I know and trust.

I am happy that my experience with the unit is a positive one.  The Synology DiskStation DS1019+ delivers peace of mind. It really is a great piece of kit.