New to Synology: Which one fits my needs?

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barddzen
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New to Synology: Which one fits my needs?

Postby barddzen » Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:32 pm

Hello,

I found Synology quite by accident and have been doing some research the past few weeks and I would like to move to become a customer, however, going through the picker it tells me a DS216Play or DS715, but with this kind of investment I really can't afford to pick the wrong one. I've done a rather detailed write-up (shown below). I was hoping the community of current customers and potential experts could confirm the DS216Play or DS715 would truly suffice or recommend other product versions.

My main concern is I am not that familiar with all of the versions, options, what's important for my needs or not to make a rational decision. For example, I don't want to pick DS216Play then find out immediately after setup that I should have gone with the DS715 because of one small checkbox I missed.

Appreciate any feedback you may have.


PROBLEM STATEMENT
- Managing our large library of photos, videos and other media is completely out of control. Apple’s products are overwhelmed and I have resorted to multiple repositories. At this point I have ~15 older and current repositories to keep things somewhat under control, but I feel like it’s a huge mess.
- AppleTV is only on 1 TV and I don’t have a good way to play movies and other media on the other TV’s or devices, so I find myself moving media to our various devices, USB thumb drives, etc and it all seems like a huge hack to do the simplest thing.
- I have a MacBook Pro laptop as our main computer and I have every port filled. We used to have a desktop iMac. Yes, we should have gone with another desktop, but we wanted some portability which is now forcing a redesign of our current home setup/architecture. Hopefully moving to a Synology solution will remove many of the direct attached devices (moved to the network).

CURRENT STATE
- 24 port GB ethernet wired with Cat6
- FIOS Quantum wireless router 85/85
- Netgear Nighthawk R8000 wireless router
- I have several VirtualBox VM that I use for Work related activities
- We are generally happy with the basic services from Apple: Shared Calendar, individual Email, Notes, Contacts, reminders, iMessage, etc.
- Devices
- Living Room: Sharp Aquos 60” TV (wired), AppleTV (wired), LG 3D DVD Player (wired), supports DLNA
- Boys Room: 55” LG TV, Xbox 360 (wireless)
- Office: Work laptop (wired), personal laptop (wired), Drobo 5D (5x1TB drives), dockable 2.5” USB 3.0 Hub 2.5” 1 TB SSD (laptop backup and local legacy archive)
- Upstairs: Samsung SmarTV 42” (wireless)
- 3xiPhones (2x6, 1x6+) (wireless)
- 2xiPad 2 (wireless)
- IP Cameras (this hasn’t been added yet, but soon)
- Media
- 40k + (estimated, I have a lot of repositories that may or may not have duplicates or additional photos)
- 5000+ home videos (3k+ uncatalogued)
- Sync ~555GB to Dropbox
- Two iCloud upgrades 50GB and 200GB (my iPhone and wife’s)
- I have an AWS account I use for various things
- Also have a OneDrive where I keep mainly work related documents (OneNote repositories, resumes, etc)

DESIRED STATE
- I would like to have a central appliance/device that manages our entire household. My thought was to build from scratch a media server (MacMini or similar) and then share everything over the network. After hearing Synology on MGG, I went to the site and at first glance it appears to be what I need, however, there are so many options I don’t know which one is right for me.
- However, this only gets me so far: I would still have to manage my photos in the same way, even though the storage may be centrally located and this doesn’t solve the media sharing to other devices like TV’s, Xbox, iPhones, etc.
- Using DLNA or other options (apps) share my media across devices, including TV’s.
- Backup laptop across network (via Carbon Copy Cloner for a bootable backup) or Time Machine for basic file versioning or recovery. My issue here is I recently had a computer fail and was unable to use my Drobo Mini via TimeMachine for recovery because I had a Thunderbolt hookup vs USB 3.0 (apparently this is a limitation of the iMac I had).
- Ideally, I would like to have TM backup over the network and have a secondary drive connected to a device that CCC can also create a bootable backup. This gives me multiple recovery options.
- I need to be able to share photos, videos and other media with friends and family across as well as devices on my internal network.
- All of this has to pass the “wife” test, meaning it can’t just work for me (the IT guy) and nobody else understand it. My family is fairly technical but not much more than the average non-IT user.

QUESTIONS (for Synology)
- With my Drobo 5D, I have 5x1TB drives and can lose up to 2 before I lose any sort of data. How does Synology handle this scenario of drive failure? From the site it appears I can just load up on drives, but this seems to be a singular approach and doesn’t do much to protect me from drive failure. Would I have to setup the RAID myself or is that included in the setup?
- From the site, I understand and have looked at the various mobile apps. My understanding is instead of the default Apple apps, I would use these instead to interact with my private network. Instead of iCloud Drive we would use DS Files (as an example), Is this correct? Any more info I could read to understand how these apps work with each other?
- I don’t have a need for collaborative apps, we are happy with Apple’s Pages, Numbers and sync with iCloud
- Do you have any examples of a typical photo/video workflow? For example:
- We are out and about and take a bunch of photos and videos on two iPhones.
- How do these media items get into the Synology environment? Do I still sync with Photos then export? Do the apps grab and upload thru wireless once we get home (kind of like the Dropbox auto upload).
- Instead of using Apple’s photo streams, how would we share photos with friends and family? Do they also have to have the Synology apps? Can they interact with comments, etc?
- The recommendation engine suggests the DS216Play or DS715, but I don’t think it asks the right questions. For example, I have no idea what Web Station is?
barddzen
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Re: New to Synology: Which one fits my needs?

Postby barddzen » Thu Apr 07, 2016 2:25 pm

I purchased a DS216+, supposed to arrive today.
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HarryPotter
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Re: New to Synology: Which one fits my needs?

Postby HarryPotter » Thu Apr 07, 2016 3:25 pm

Good choice, have fun with it :D
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extracampine
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Re: New to Synology: Which one fits my needs?

Postby extracampine » Wed May 25, 2016 10:50 am

Um....how do the 2 comments above address in any way what was asked by the OP?
BigTex
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Re: New to Synology: Which one fits my needs?

Postby BigTex » Wed Jun 08, 2016 3:39 pm

I love how you have laid out your needs and concerns. Curious as to why you have zero'd in on the those 2 models (DS216play and DS715). The DS715 offers to add the DX-513. Is this a requirement?
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Re: New to Synology: Which one fits my needs?

Postby BigTex » Wed Jun 08, 2016 3:53 pm

BigTex wrote:I love how you have laid out your needs and concerns. Curious as to why you have zero'd in on the those 2 models (DS216play and DS715). The DS715 offers to add the DX-513. Is this a requirement?



Sorry, I see that you used the Synology tool to determine which one is best for you.

From what I can tell, the DS7xx offers these features over the DS2xx models.

Quad Core vs Dual Core processor

2GB Ram vs 1GB or 512M

eSATA external drive capability (DS216+) has this too

You might want to take a look at the DS216+ comparison to the DS715. https://www.synology.com/en-us/products/compare/DS216+/DS715

The DS216+ is $300 to $380.

Also, you can play with the a live demo of the software though it probably won't answer some of your app questions. https://www.synology.com/en-us/dsm/live_demo
barddzen
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Re: New to Synology: Which one fits my needs?

Postby barddzen » Wed Jun 08, 2016 4:24 pm

Hello, the main factor for me wasn't the money. When I looked at the two products my primary concern was purchasing far more than I really needed. Given that this was the first Synology product I had owned I went for less knowing that I could expand later if I really needed more.

To help mitigate this, I determined what were my critical needs, such as compute (for encoding or hosting) vs storage. I decided that storage was more critical and opted for 2x5TB with a DS216+. If I exceeded the compute at some point, I could then later move to the 715+ if needed that then gave me even more extensibility.

Having used the DS216+ for several weeks, I am very comfortable with my decision. The only bump I've hit is indeed the compute. When streaming movies via DLNA using automatic encoding (the movie is encoded using the CPU of the DS216+ "while streaming" live) I find that it gets bogged down with certain formats to the point I can't watch the movie and have to stop it. Interesting though I can use the mobile app and play thru Airplay to an Apple TV no problem the same movie in the same format (I'm guessing the encoding is off-loaded somehow). This is expected given the CPU/memory of the device where the 715+ with the dual core would probably not even blink.

Another item that gets the device bogged down is the experimental facial recognition. This obviously taxes the CPU considerably but my observation is that it never ends, it's a constant drain. I would like the ability to schedule this usage such as 11pm thru 6 am, then go to sleep. I would also like to see some sort of detail on the status of how far it's made it thru my library, % complete vs count, etc.

Again, these are highly complex processes that hit the CPU directly so if these aren't critical to your needs, then the 216+ works perfectly.

For every other feature, app, function, I have had zero issues on my network or with my Mac or other devices.

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