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NAS Newbie -can I believe all I read?

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Hi all! Having at last decided in a post-Christmas flush, to get a NAS implemented, I looked at the Drobo DRDS4A31 5N 5 Bay Desktop NAS Enclosure to take my "JBODs".Looking at various reviews on Amazon I had to stop and think a bit - Several comments about unit failures after 2-3 years with unretrievable data.


So I looked at the Synology DS416 4 Bay Desktop Enclosure and their specs leave me confused viz:

DS416 External Drives:



HFS+ is read only, max 2TB volume size.

exFAT Access is purchased separately in Package Center.

The DS416 Play does not appear to have that restriction.


OK - I'm naive and untrained but am I getting this wrong? Does anyone out there have any reflections on my caution, or recommendations to make? You can ge a feel for how much I am prepared tos spend on this nod I wanted to go for the Dropbox 'cos I'd heard in various podcasts that it is good and takes a mix of drives - I currently have 5 of varying capacities.


Help please!


TerryB, Northumberland, England

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I've never specifically used a Synology, but it should just using whatever it wants for the internal drives. The external that you listed is if you want / need to connect an external hard drive. At least that's how it is my with QNAPs.

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I'm late to this party, but @TerryB what did you end up doing? I have both Drobo's and a Synology and can say both work great, but are different. Both should be able to handle various size drive. Synology calls it Synology Hybrid RAID for Drobo it's default and called "Beyond RAID".

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I use a Synology DS213J obviously quite old now (I purchased it in 2014) I have 2 x 3TB WD Red drives in it and a Wireless adapter connected. I never had any issues, I've heard that Synology can be more geeky to set up than Drobo but I had no problems (found it quite easy). If your drives are external you can add them via USB to the Synology to give extra storage, you can also share the attached USB drive. Don't if this helps but hope it does.

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Well everyone - I did (eventually) succumb and bought a Synology DS416 back in mid-August.  As of this date I'm still struggling with it.

Read on and learn!

I have:

my old MBP (2009 - non upgradeable) (500GB) and 4GB Ram under OSX El Capitan

a Mac mini server (late 2012) (2* 1GB) , 4GB Ram, under High Sierra - running that headless using Screen Sharing through the MBP.

First of all I thought that I might be able to populate the DS416 with the miscellany of 2 & 3TB Seagate & WD drives that I have built up over the last couple of years. Wrong!  

Amber warning lights after 3 weeks so back to the drawing board!  Synogy support was quick to point out my error there - desktop drives are (apparently) not up to it for use in a server.

I bought  a couple of WD Red 4TB drives to run under SRM (took me a while to understand (to some extent) what all that was about!  That worked OK and I started moving over all of my music, movie, podcast, audiobook etc. files for iTunes. 

Running everything through a Synology RT1900ac with various TP-Link switches to accommodate Apple TV 4, and various other gadgets around the place.  Now I am a virgin with anything to do with networks but I'm up for a challenge!

Now this was where I started to suffer.  I've thought for some time that iTunes is ageing and past it, and so it proved!  I had more trouble working out libraries, duplicate files and ever-decreasing disc space than even I would have thought possible; Thank the people at Tidy Up for help in sorting that lot out - even using a NAS; it's amazing what sort of mess one can get into.  

That doesn't include the fact that iTunes really likes to play in its own sandpit of a home drive for everything and at the slightest network hiccup will lose its library address and present a blank where that should be!

Meanwhile, I added  2 more WD Red 4TB drives (this was getting expensive!) and created 2 volumes of 4 Tb each (2*4 AND 2*4) ; I had visions of doing backups of  the the mini, the MBP and for Time Machine as well. Huh! Read on!

Over the last couple of weeks trying to add everything to iTunes on Volume 1, now I've sorted out what to keep, I've progressively deleted files after loading through iTunes to the iTunes Library to maximise the NAS  storage space. 

Now, if you bother to do a search through the Synology forum data-base for items on e.g. "volume disk space decreasing" you will encounter items from 2009 or later on this issue: whatever you do to 

make disk space available by deleting files and emptying recycle bins, the available disk space continually decreases!  I've tried  every suggestion that I've found to no avail and am still waiting for a response from Synology tech support on this.  A basic question might be -  why are users still posting this as a problem after 8 years?


Right now I'm shuffling data around to clear Volume 1 so that I can (in desperation) re-initialise the volume. to clear the space - I reckon about 800GB.


So that's where I am at the moment folks - read, take pity and (even better) if you know what to do to clear up the Synology NAS disk space issue PLEASE give me a shout!



Northumberland, England

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seven years ago I built a 10T server for under $2K. if I was going to do a build like  it today I would make a few changes. the first would be to find a case that let me more easily swap the hard drives. as I built this box primarily for backups I would have to make sure that TiME MACHiNE would work better than it did with NAS4FREE. there were issues with write speed that degraded slowly over time and I never figured out why.

finally I would make the split my servers up into backups, music, and file serving rather than try to make one do all three tasks.


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