Yesterday, I got a chance to have lunch with long-time friend Ryan Irelan and catch up. Over an incredibly great brunch at Tasty & Alder—quickly becoming one of my favorite restaurants—Ryan asked the same question in person that’s been asked online about the Synology DiskStation I’m setting up: Would I spend my own money on it?
I don’t have the long term experience to answer the question, but certainly an opinion is forming and it’s a favorable one.
My primary comparison point is the ReadyNAS Pioneer Pro I’ve been using as my primary archive drive for the last year or so. Before that, I’ve had Drobos as well as various other enclosures, RAID and otherwise. Both the ReadyNAS and Synology devices do the same basic thing: provide you expandable fault-tolerant storage that you can throw a bucket of drives at and continue to upgrade.
Both offer good performance. Both offer a ton of system plug-ins that will turn them into web servers, media servers, and so much more. Once you load them up with drives, the cost differences aren’t significant enough to be a decision driver.
At this point, two things really stand out:
- The Synology is quiet. So very quiet. The only time I notice it is when the disks spin up after they’ve spun down. Other than that, it doesn’t make its presence known. The ReadyNAS is loud enough that I almost immediately moved it into my back closet.
- With the Synology, I’ve got the option of adding another ten drives seamlessly to the current volume buy adding on up to two DX513 expansion units that connect to the main unit via eSATA. In other words, I can easily more than double the capacity of the unit without rebuilding volumes or moving a ton of data across the network.
Both of these points are important to me, but it’s that last one that really is nice. My data needs are only going up and my ReadyNAS is maxed out with 4TB drives and is 80% full, which means that I’ve already been looking at a data migration to a new device. I don’t want to have to do that yet again anytime soon if I can avoid it.
So, yah, while I don’t have enough experience to give an unqualified endorsement, the Synology DS1813+ is what I’d spend my own money on based on what I know so far.