Synology alternative

I am extremely dissapointed with some stuff synology has been doing or hasnt been doing that I need to look at alternatives going forward.

  1. They started to lock down third party drives, the prices of synology branded HDDs are ridicolous.

  2. Their rack-mount offerings are stupid, they are always extremely loud and have not enough expension - its usually 10Gbit OR ssd cache, also the CPUs in the 16 bay rack units are from 2021, so 2 generations old by now.

  • but they dont make desktop systems with more than 12 drive bays.

The problem is i am VERY happy with DSM and synology drive , no update has ever broken anything and synology drive has been rock solid for me and freelancers and such - I really like it a lot. thats worth a ton of course.

So now I am rocking around 60T useable storage in a 8 bay, actually 2 of them for redundancy. but I need to at-least double that in 2024 due to feature&longform demanding that, I try to keep a tidy NAS with quick LTO offloads after project completion.

So I have naturally been looking at qnap, my experience with their os has been… difficult, but maybe its better now… their hardware is sooo much better on paper, so much more flexible with qtier storage and such, it just is something my inner hardware nerd would rather invest money than into a boring synology.

The biggest feature for me is still a solid and fast sync client for remote artist, so it has to be just as good as synology drive with 2FA and everything …

maybe something like truenas or whatever can be my saviour?

You can get up to 24 drives on a desktop unit, if you use an expansion chassis. I have that one an older unit and has worked seamlessly.

Use this as base unit:
Use this as expansion unit:

Regarding the drive lockdown, I want to say there’s a work around. The product manager from Synology was on a LogikLive a few months ago and that topic came up. Not sure what the answer is though. I think there may be an override (at your own risk).

Regarding noisy rack mount units - that’s a shame, but nothing new. Most 2U rack mount units use very small fans to move a lot of air and are noisy. I guess they’re meant for machine rooms. My Nexis has a noise level of 78dB SPL on the back. Took a lot of work to make that acceptable in the office.

While Synology is a bit boring in the hardware department, it sure the feck is amazing in the software department.

Doesn’t Synology typically upgrade their machines every 3 years? As in, looks like the RS series ought to receive a 2024 update?

I believe the last 2 digits in the model number are the year (per the LogikLive discussion). So these models would be '22 vintage and if Randy is right, due for an upgrade soon.

QNap is a bit tarnished by their security incident a few years ago, though they seem to have taken the at pretty serious since they’re regularly emailing security advisories now. Seems a bit of a coin toss.

I personally run truenas and have found it to be completely rock solid but it definitely isn’t as immediately feature rich as synology’s offering.

I’m not sure how advisable it is, particularly in a production environment, but it is possible to run DSM in a VM. Could be a win/win!

thanks everyone.

So yea idk expension chassis depend on the base model and are either some propretary port or sometimes (in my case) just esata which… is meh.

I guess I am kinda stuck with the big 16bay rack unit, maybe ill just hold off for 2024…’ they sre from 2021 after all.

I would really love to see more storsge tiering snd jusr generally more performance, nvme prices beign so low i would love to just throw in 8x 4tb 990pro in raid0 as a storage tier or whatever else…

wouldn’t it be rad if they fit Highpoints?

Kind of all depends on how you tier your hot, warm, and cold storage.

There is the part where you have too many other things to worry about, and so you just all make it NVMe for ok money. But in many cases, if you have decent direct attached hot storage, then a medium speed NAS for the warm stuff is good enough for bulk.

So an extension unit with esata connector and a good NAS OS that doesn’t take days to setup can make sense. Truenas sounds good, but I’m tired of more IT projects to worry about.

I generally use direct attached or onboard NVMe for the active jobs, the Synology as the medium tier for all the files, combined with some direct attached faster RAID. And LTO for archive, with LucidLink for the overnight offsite backups.

Id rather have onboard pciE bifurcation and onboard slots / less stuff to worry about but yea basically that.

For me having a PC run ubuntu for a local file server that i can throw whatever hardware i like in it, NVME, PCIE cards, Raid HDD, its just so cost effective, so upgradeable, and so easy to manage i love it. I feel not cornered into one vendor and then getting disappointed at some point as i invested down a path. i still have Synology NAS but at this point its a backup and surveillance system - yes love love the software but performance is pretty poor to use as my main server - i do have a on older unit. @finnjaeger what do you use to share files with artists on synology? just a remote login to the file server using synology’s file sharing or something else?

I manily use synology drive as a dropbox replacement that I self host, no stupid monthly bills, no limits, and i have great controll over permissions and such, where I want to mount it on the client side and best of all i can sync multiple synologies that way, so freelancers that have a synology can mount a shared folder on their side and its like we sit in the same office.

We run these or the older version in some cases

Native app for backup to B2 - behaves well these days. Upload about 600GB per night.

Fibre SAS to LTO deck and runs Archiware for backup and archive. Runs about 400MB/s

Filled the rear SSD bays for some faster shares on larger jobs or a cache area.

yea i dont like QTS as much as DSM but honestly I wouldnt even want to have a disk based nas in 2024.

this peaks my interest, lots of PCIe slots for many network cards and very flexible expansion and general POWER compared to that pesky synology.

the biggest issue is they are locking drives now that one you linked you HAVE to buy synology HDDs they only supporrt a few weird 4TB drives from other companies, very odd.

and then for third party SSDs there is no TRIMM support e.t.c .e.t.c the list of them hating their customers just goes on and on and on and on

its a big thing they are starting to use dsm tomlock stuff down… nor something i like to invest a lot of money in, especially with flash

its more that newer units and right now the larger units just refuse the drives untill you bypass the whitelist from what I understand, many peopke are angry.

thats my main issue and why I am looking at qnap as well.

And then synology does not offer a Full All-NVME solution and going woth sata seems stupid

we are not using vpn due to performance overheads, but yes tailscale will do this for free.

So this whole drive issue got covered at length in the LogikLive. At the link below I queued it where he initially talked about it.

But in the Patreon’s chat the goes into a lot more detail (if you have access to the recording). I just checked it it’s at 11:20 in that recording.

In short, they bucket drives into 3 groups - ‘unsupported’, which they know don’t work with DSM, ‘3rd party’ which will work, but may not have been tested, and ‘official’ which have actually custom firmware for stability and are fully tested.

The use case they describe that got them there, wasn’t as much making money, but that they had some Enterprise environments where when drives got replaced with drives with newer firmware from WD, suddenly they had issues, causing support escalations. As you can’t control easily what new drive gets put in when you have to swap one in a really big install, that’s not an unreasonable thing. So their drives are white label Toshiba drives with custom firmware they know will work.

Seems like if you buy some 3rd party drives, bypass the test, and make sure you buy one or two hot/cold spares, so they’re from the same vintage/firmware, you should be totally fine, and they don’t seem to have an issue with that.

In a prior live I was in the middle of such a situation between HP and Walmart, where we had to make a change to drive, but didn’t break the serial number to identify a hardware change in a drive. So our service supply pipeline was mixed and when a tech replaced a drive it could be with or without that fix. Well, Walmart needed to only use ones with a fix and I got into a long argument with their IT director on why the way we did it, I couldn’t guarantee that, and he yelled at me that he knows how many pencils each of his guys had, so that I had no valid excuse, and the local HP team made hand signals that I shouldn’t argue with him about it, so we left it and tried to pre-screen drives just on that data center. So yes, that can be an issue for big shops. Doesn’t really apply to most of our use cases.

In short, I think we need to let this drive lock thing go. It’s not a conspiracy theory.

its all fine I get it froma enterprise standpoint , they just shouldnt disable TRIM on SSDs and while I would totally aknowledge a slight price increase… its not a slight one. their SSD prices are completely insane. its just kicks them out of the scope for me, they are just not competitive at the storage and prerformance amounts that we need.

I cant sleep well knowing that a firmware update might break my janky test bypass or whatever…

qnap comes with ZFS wear leveling etc much more friendly proposition for a full NVME array.

That‘s precisely why I try to avoid Synology, Qnap an the likes entirely. They are tempting at first, because they seem easy to administer. But you never know what changes/limitations they might introduce t their software.

Setting up your own linux file server isn‘t that difficult, Pick whichever distro you feel comfortable with. For me, that’s Rocky or Arch, but Ubuntu/Debian seems to be the most widely supported one.

An old Z840 will probably fit all the hdd/ssd/nvme you need, without limitations like missing trim support.

Finding a replacement for Synology Drive is probably the real problem. Maybe Resilio Sync, SyncThing or even nextcloud fit the bill?