Building a homelab, you need to store data. Own a home with kids, you need to store data.
I have a homelab, so my storage needs are a little bigger, but no matter what, if you need to store data, you need a solution. You have 3 choices. Build your own, buy a QNAP, or buy a Synology.
- Build your own is cheap, can be done with FreeNAS, will likely be a pain in the ass in some way. I don’t recommend this for anyone unless you know what the fuck you are doing.
- Buy QNAP. This is a “good” solution. It will work. You can do whatever you want to fucking do with it, but you need to click a bunch of buttons, and install some shit, and configure that thing. If your phone is Android, this is the NAS you want.
- Buy Synology. This will just work for 95% of the things you need with 2-3 mouse clicks. If your phone is an iPhone, this is the NAS you want.
So knowing the above, I went Synology. Did I pay a Synology Tax? Yes. But time is also money, Synology made my family and homelab needs easy.
Picked a platform, now to figure out the size, and growth. This is where I failed. I bought a DS218+ instead of a DS718. Maybe at first I didn’t understand or realize why, but most certainly I should of plucked down the few extra bucks and got the 718. I say this because I will be upgrading soon.
Silver lining: my homelab aspirations have grown since I bought the NAS, and I would much prefer an RS819 instead… something I wouldn’t have considered 6 months ago. So all is not a wash, and soon I will move up to a rack mount NAS chassis.
So why don’t I care about the upgrade? More of the Synology magic. Some people call this the Synology tax, but it’s a reason why you drop a few extra dollars on your setup. In my case, my setup is done using Synology SHR across the drives. This allows me to add additional capacity without needing to match drive size. I can grow my RAID cluster without having to keep my drives the same, as my budget allows. With this, I can slowly eliminate smaller drives while growing the entire footprint, without having to take a shock to my budget so I can do a new RAID setup.
With Synology, I get a bunch of easy to use out of the box features, but more importantly, I can go from small, to whatever the fuck size I want, without the need to redo my setup. Just keep adding drives, of any size I want, and like the rest of the Synology experience… it will just work.