Synology DS416 Newbie Setup Shares

PQRoots

Novice Member
Pleading ignorance here... as a non-techie newbie. I have a DS416 with 4-4Tb drives. In addition to movies and music, I want to use it to back up my PC files and/or use it as a file server when I travel away from home. BUT, the DS416 is not designed to be a "file server".

First, do I need to have separate "shares" for each (ie; music, photos, movies, documents, etc.) OR can I use a single share (parent directory) with all of the file folders in that share. I'm trying to avoid multiple drive mapping in Windows 10 on my desktop.

Second, I was hoping to use the NAS to schedule a daily backup of my desktop BUT also to automatically sync the files if they get changed on either the NAS or the PC, like if I VPN into the NAS, work on a file then come home and work on my PC. Not sure if that makes sense but I'd like to have both desktop and NAS files backed up and synchronized when a scheduled backup of my desktop comes up OR when I get home and do a manual file sync? I'm unsure if this is making sense but maybe someone can just point me in the right direction.

I once used "team-viewer" to make sure my documents were always consistent (when working away from home) but haven't used that in quite some time. Most recently using "free file sync" from my desktop to a portable external hard drive, then working directly from the portable drive while I'm away. When I get back home, I just sync again to make sure my desktop is once again current.

Somehow I'm not comfortable keeping ALL my files on the NAS rather than on my desktop SSD. Maybe my fears are unwarranted? Using VPN when I travel to access the NAS makes sense, but how do I keep my desktop files current? AND, is there a "best practice" for drive mapping from Windows 10 to the DS416?

I'll take advice or guidance from anyone willing to provide it and thanks in advance.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
An NAS is a file server: They are a computer, just like any other, but are stripped down (both in terms of hardware and operating system) to do the bear minimum to serve files which made them simple and cheap. Over time there's been a lot of "function creep" as features have been "added back in" that were originally omitted to make them simple and cheap.

You should be able to store any file type on any share - "photos" "videos" etc are (usually) just names for human convenience (though some NAS OS's may have "special" apps behind them to do "other" stuff, like scrape you movie meta data off the Internet, but it is by no means mandatory.) Test it if you like, mount your shares and try dropping something like an Excel Spreadsheet in them - it's an odds on bet that it'll be just fine.

You can map a single share at the root of the file structure, though it's not best practice as it might expose the operating system files.

It's best not to replicate files any more than necessary - the more replica's there are, the more headache you have keeping it all synchronised. In company IT we keep one copy of all the data in a single central point - the file servers - and everyone accesses them there. Synchronising with road warriors and their laptops is a real pain. Microsoft used to offer something called ActiveSync to synchronise files between PC's, but there are others also.

Others here can speak to the specifics of your NAS and what backup agents it may or may not have - but from what I've read here, plenty do.

If your NAS has the capability for redundant storage technology such as RAID, the data stored there is arguably safer (note saf-ER not safe) than on a desktop SSD which by definition is a single point of failure.

Whether or not your NAS has RAID and/or you have replicated copies, you should be implementing a backup regime - at least for any important data. Backup means periodically duplicating your (important data) somewhere else. And is a whole debate all of it's own. There's lots of risks that RAID and replication do not save you from. In business, even with state of the art SAN's with redundant hardware, snapshots and replications up the wazzoo - we still make separate backups every day.

Mapping drives with drive handles (F: G: L: etc.) are still possible, but have been largly superseeded by something called UNC paths. So to mount storage you just open up a Windows Explorer and drive to \\NASNAME\SHARENAME - there's probably ways to make that permanent if needbe - for example make "shortcuts" and drop them on your desktop.

TeamViewer is still around, though I've only ever used it for remote support (of the relatives) though IIRC it has some file transfer abilities. It's nice because it saves you having to mess about with VPN's, port forwards on your router, dynamic DNS names and so forth - though those are all still possible too.
 
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maf1970

Well-known Member
First thing you need to do is get your thinking on the right path. To do what you want to do, you will need a single place to put all the files and in this case this should be the NAS box. WHY? The NAS has the capability to configure the drives to provide more resilience before having to resort to a backup. It is not a substitute for backups. You should still have a backup strategy. Synology also have a host of apps available that should cover what you want to do. e,g, VPN Server, Video Station, USB copy, Media Server to name a few. I suggest you have a look at Synology's web site to see what maybe of use to you.

Pleading ignorance here... as a non-techie newbie
As you are a newbie I would suggest the following as a sort of task list -

1. If the NAS is not currently being used look at re-configuring it to use RAID or Synology's own RAID-style setup(SHR). If in use you will need to backup the contents first or transfer them back to your desktop.

2. Once done got to Synology's website and start looking at their app list to see what will be of use to you. I would suggest you start with File Station then move on to looking at Audio Station, Photo Station and Video Station as these do the basics. You could then move on to look at more complex offerings like Plex server etc. The thing to do in each case is to install it and test it with a small amount of data to see if it fits your needs.

3. Install Anti-virus on the NAS. You can use Synology's own or McAfee. Better to be safe than sorry especially if you intent to access it from the internet.

4. Setup a backup regime. This can be to a local USB drive or to the Cloud. Yes, Synology offer that option. Thing to note is that backups take time so best to set them to run at night when you are asleep.

5. Internet access. This will probably be the hardest part to get to work especially if you are a newbie. The thing is you can set it up and then use it as a excuse to nip to a mate's to test it. You can also come back here as well.:thumbsup:

Hope this will be of some help alongside with what Mickevh has said as well.:smashin:
 
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