A NAS is a very handy backup solution for your home network. But how do you actually set up such a thing? Most manufacturers ship their products without disks or pre-installed operating system. In addition, you have to choose the right settings. In this practical article you can read how you can build your own cloud by setting up a complete NAS.
Tip 01: Synology NAS
In the previous edition of Tips & Tricks we already paid extensive attention to the functions of a NAS in the Checklist section. In addition, we gave you some buying suggestions. Maybe you already have your eye on a copy or you have already bought one. In particular, the desired number of disks is an important choice, although most home users will suffice with two. Synology is the market leader in NAS in the Netherlands. Products from this manufacturer can therefore be found in almost every (online) electronics store. For that reason, we describe all steps based on a Synology NAS. The Taiwanese brand made the DS718+ available for this article.
Tip 02: Select Discs
Both 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives fit in almost every NAS. Unfortunately, most manufacturers do not supply hard disks themselves. You may have some lost storage media that you want to use for the backup device. You can of course also purchase new discs. Some drives are specially designed for a NAS. Such products are quiet and consume little energy, making them suitable for months or even years of sessions. To ensure a long service life, manufacturers of NAS drives try to limit heat production and vibration. Do you have drives in mind and would you like to know whether your Synology NAS is suitable for this? Surf here and select at Find your Synology product the correct model number. Bee Select category do you choose HDD/SSD. Through Find devices a laundry list with suitable storage media appears. Verify that the targeted drives are listed. You may use the filters at the top of the columns to sort by brand and capacity.One or more 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch drives will fit in almost every NAS
Tip 03: Installing drives
With older NAS you had to unscrew the housing first and mount the disks in a special holder. Nowadays this is no longer necessary with most models. For example, the widely sold Synology DS218+ has a front panel that you can gently pry off. You then remove the disk trays and mounting panels, after which you can attach 3.5-inch hard disks. After you've reattached the mounting panels, put the drive trays back into the case. If you opt for 2.5-inch disks, you must screw the storage carriers onto the disk tray. The manufacturer supplies small screws for this. With more expensive NASs, the disk trays are directly accessible, as in the case of the DS718+. You then press the release button to open the disc tray. After mounting the disc, plug in the power supply. You can also connect a network cable from a router or switch to the Ethernet port on the back of your NAS.
Tip 04: Start installation
It's high time to get started with your Synology NAS. You will first install the DiskStation Manager (DSM) operating system. You need this operating system to operate the NAS. Turn on the NAS by pressing the power button. A light will now flash. After a while you will hear a short beep. The NAS is now fully booted. On any computer within your home network, open a browser and type in the address //find.synology.com. A blue page will appear with an image of your Synology NAS and its IP address. click on To connect and agree to the terms and conditions on the next page. Through OK choose successively Install / Install Now. A warning appears that this action will delete all existing data from the drives. Place a checkmark and confirm with OK. It will take a few minutes for DSM to install.
Tip 05: Administrator
In short, the administrator is the boss of the NAS: the one who determines, among other things, which other users have access to the data and which folders are available in the network. Before you can use the NAS, you must first create an administrator account for that reason. After the installation, DSM will ask about this itself. Think of a recognizable server name. This name appears, among other things, when other devices want to connect. Then you make up a username and password for the administrator account. click on Next one.If you often turn off the NAS, choose to be informed about DSM updates
Tip 06: Update Management
You decide whether you want to install updates to the operating system automatically or manually. If you opt for automatic updates, you set an installation schedule for this. Enter the desired day(s) and time. This function is only useful when the NAS is continuously on. Do you use this network device at varying times? In that case you choose the best Notify me of DSM updates and let me install manually. Indicate when you want to receive the notifications. Finally put a check in front of Run regular S.M.A.R.T. tests to verify the integrity of my hard drives. With this, the NAS periodically checks the reliability of the hard drives, so that you receive a warning in the event of upcoming problems. Finally click on Next one.
Tip 07: QuickConnect ID
In the next step, Synology asks you to create a so-called QuickConnect ID. This feature is especially useful when you want to connect to your NAS outdoors. Handy when, for example, you want to show a family photo to a travel companion with your smartphone on the road or when you need a home document at work. To access your NAS outdoors, you normally need to set an exception at the router level. This can be done by opening ports, but you can also activate QuickConnect ID as an alternative. The latter option gives you access to your NAS anytime and anywhere by surfing to a custom web address. Enter an email address and password. Bee QuickConnect ID type a unique name that you want to use for the web address. Through Next one you agree to the terms and conditions. The web address with which you can reach your nas will now appear on the screen. This address always starts with //QuickConnect.to followed by the name you entered when creating the QuickConnect ID. Click Next. Indicate that you want to share the network location of your NAS and click Start to open the main DSM window. Finally, open your e-mail box to activate the account you just created.
Tip 08: Using DSM
First of all, DSM asks if you want to enable the Device Analysis option. Synology then collects data in order to improve the user environment in its own words. Choose Yes or To skip. DSM is now giving a short tour of all components. In the main menu at the top you will find all functions, while you Package Center used to install specific applications. Furthermore, you can find all settings within the Control Panel. At the bottom right you check the status of the system, such as the processor and memory load. You use the icons at the top right, among other things, to request new notifications, open the search function and close the system neatly.
Just like you are used to in Windows, you can easily add shortcuts to the desktop in DSM. Handy if you often use certain applications. Open the main menu and right-click on an item. Then choose Add to desktop.
Tip 09: Set Raid
Before you can store files on the NAS, it is necessary to create so-called volumes. That can be done in different ways. Earlier we discussed the importance of a raid configuration. This protects stored files against disk failure. For a NAS with two disks, always choose raid1. This copies the contents of disk 1 to disk 2, so that you are in effect managing a mirrored backup. This way your data is very safe, because the chance that two disks fail at the same time is virtually nil. In the main menu go to Storage Management and choose left for Volume. Through To make you can choose between Quick and Custom. Through Amended activate the desired raid version yourself. A number of advanced settings also appear on the screen. If you are not waiting for that, then choose Fast. When using two or more disks, DSM then activates data protection itself. Click Next three times and confirm with OK to create the new volumes. As a file system you can choose between btrfs and ext4. Btrfs offers slightly more functionality, while ext4 places less demands on the hardware. Make a choice and close the wizard with Next / Apply off. Afterwards, DSM performs a check of the disks. This may take a while.With a raid configuration you protect the files against disk failure
Tip 10: Share folders
It is wise to set up at least one shared folder on your NAS. This makes the network location accessible to other devices, such as a PC, tablet or smartphone. Open the part File Station. DSM indicates that no shared folder is available yet. Through OK a wizard appears. Think of a name and enter a description if necessary. click on Next one and optionally protect the folder by specifying an encryption key. More advanced features will pop up in the next step. For example, you can set a data limit for the shared folder. Through Next one and To apply permanently add the shared file location to your NAS. A window will appear where you can specify permissions. As an administrator you automatically have read and write permissions, so you don't have to change anything. Close the window with OK.
Tip 11: Windows Access
Now that the shared folder is set up, you naturally want to be able to access it on any device. On a Windows machine, use the Windows Explorer utility to do this. In the address bar of Windows Explorer, type a double backslash followed by the server name you entered in tip 05, for example \NASvanMaikel. Once you confirm with Enter, a window will appear in which you enter the username and password of the Synology NAS. Tick the option Remember my references on and click OK. An overview with all shared folders will then appear. You can open its contents and add files as you are used to within Windows. It is smart to make a shortcut of a frequently used shared folder, so that you have easy access. To do this, right-click on the folder name and choose Create shortcut. You use a specific backup program or standard Windows functions to periodically write backups to the shared folder.
Do you want access to all data on your NAS with a smartphone? Synology developed the DS File app for this. Download this application to your iOS, Android or Windows Phone device and launch the app. At the top, type the address of the previously created QuickConnect ID, for example //Quickconnect.to/NASvanMaikel. After entering your login details, tap To register. You are now viewing the contents of all shared folders of your NAS on the mobile device. Conveniently, you can share the files with others if you wish. For example, you give family members permission to view family photos on your nas.
Tip 12: Synchronization (1)
In practice, setting up backup tasks between a NAS and a computer is a hassle. You can set time schedules, but this requires both devices to be turned on. For example, if a backup program is active on your laptop, copying actions will not succeed when the NAS is switched off. It is therefore easier to synchronize a specific folder between your NAS and your computer(s). Any files you put in this folder will be automatically copied to all registered devices. If a device is turned off, the copy action is automatically postponed to a time when this machine is active. You need to install an application on both the NAS and the PC for this. Within DSM, open the Package Center section on your nas. At the application Cloud Station Server click on Install / Yes. Choose To open and navigate to Institutions. You now click on a shared folder that you want to sync, after which you choose Enable / OK.
Tip 13: Synchronization (2)
You are now going to install a synchronization tool on the computer. Surf here and select your Synology NAS from the drop-down menu. All available software packages appear on the screen. The Cloud Station Drive program is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. After installation, click Start now. The program connects to the NAS via the QuickConnect ID and your login details. Change the folder locations via the pencil icon and start the synchronization task with Completed.