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Pancakes

Why even buy a NAS?

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FiLiNuX

I am confused.  Isn't DS available on source forge under the GPL license?  I've never used DS but I am pretty sure I have seen it there.  On my phone or I would check and type a better post.

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fonix232
 

Putting DSM on an N54L does seem a good way to go compared to the cost of any of the Synology boxes with more than one drive in it. Just saw a 2bay Synology posted in the deals section for more than a N54L goes for. What is the advantage? Did Synology do anything to prevent newer versions of DSM from being loaded on non Synology hardware?

 

No, Synology did not stop loading their OS on different hardware, though a good set of functions does not work.

Let me explain. DSM is a proprietary OS, based on Linux. Meaning, they have to release the GPL-covered kernel source, but nothing else. Even like this, they have some kernel modules (synobios.ko anyone?) that are non-GPL, and thus the source is closed. That makes it HARD to port, but not impossible. A lot of emulation is required, etcetera., to make it work. For example, it cannot "just work" after installation, it needs a boot USB stick, and DSM constantly overwrites the BIOS (as it is used to have access to the Synology BIOS stuff, to set different settings in CMOS). This causes nuisance, to speak lightly of it, on systems without a WP_BIOS switch.

So basically, when you buy a Synology NAS, you buy the hardware, the software (alongside with many cool features us XPenology users cannot access, such as a free, Synology-provided DDNS service, and so on), the updates, support, and most importantly the insurance that it will work fine on your computer. While buying a barebone server, such as the N54L saves you a few bucks, and gets rid of the extra features, support, and official usability of the software. If you were ever raided by the police, you'd get a few extra years for using Synology's DSM, though they are not likely to press charges. However your collection of ripped movies might cause some annoyance.

 

 

I've wondered the same thing. Is Synology upset about this 'trick' that allows its OS to be installed on home brew systems, or are they supportive? I have to admit, when I first read about it, it sounded as though Synology was actually supportive, but what I've heard since then seems to counter that.

 

I haven't found that there is any advantage to Synology hardware. I found it overpriced and underpowered. The OS is nice; it would be good if they would sell it for a reasonable price as a standalone item. I suspect they would actually make more money.

 

Synology is the Apple of NAS systems, you pay for quality stuff, software, and support. So while you are right with underpowered and overpriced, you forget that these devices will perfectly do what you've bought them for. They won't have problems, and if they do, you get premium quality support (had the chance of talking with Synology support people multiple times, they were really helpful than HP's support ever was. They gave me information on a level I think it kinda went against some NDA, plus my case was said to be priority (about some GPL sources that they still failed to release though)). So if you want a simple NAS, that "just works", get a Synology. You pay a lot, but you get quality stuff.

 

I've always heard synology owners say(defensively) "you're paying for the software". I would imagine Synology would not be supportive of this 'trick'. You are probably right about selling the OS, but it might come with compatability headaches with different hardware?

 

I'm not a Synology user (well, hardware and support wise), but I agree with them. The software is top quality, well updated, the support as I said is also great, even if you're not a customer.

 

I am confused.  Isn't DS available on source forge under the GPL license?  I've never used DS but I am pretty sure I have seen it there.  On my phone or I would check and type a better post.

 

No, only the kernel source is GPL, everything else is proprietary. That's why it is so hard to port it, because the synology-specific stuff is separate from the main kernel blob, and is not covered by GPL.

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timekills

Then they grow and realise they wasted the money on the NAS as they need a server anyway

 

Not to sound too rude, but do you work in IT?

You realize the purpose of a NAS and a server are completely different, correct? Typically you wouldn't want your server to also be the host for your file storage. You asked why anyone would want a NAS, and then go on to say they can't do some things like transcoding. I just stated mine can, and many others can as well, However the purpose of a NAS is to have file storage that is accessible by multiple devices (often even as iSCSI attached drives) ans not worry when your single use server and file storage goes down that you've lost access to all your files.

 

What I'm saying is, hard as this may be to believe, you can actually use a server AND a NAS.

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KydDynoMyte

Therein lies the rub. I've only ever heard peopl say "I turned my N54L into a high performance Synoloy multi-bay NAS." Never heard one say "I turned my N54L into a high performance multi-bay crippled Synology NAS."

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fonix232

Not to sound too rude, but do you work in IT?

You realize the purpose of a NAS and a server are completely different, correct? Typically you wouldn't want your server to also be the host for your file storage. You asked why anyone would want a NAS, and then go on to say they can't do some things like transcoding. I just stated mine can, and many others can as well, However the purpose of a NAS is to have file storage that is accessible by multiple devices (often even as iSCSI attached drives) ans not worry when your single use server and file storage goes down that you've lost access to all your files.

 

What I'm saying is, hard as this may be to believe, you can actually use a server AND a NAS.

 

Except that today's NAS systems are much much more than the original "Network Attached Storage" definitions. People want more and more functionality from that one box, including file storage, download clients, backup system, transcoding, streaming, etc. That is the reason people buy a NAS, not because they just want to store stuff on the network. It makes life easier.

My point is, that today the line between a NAS and a server is completely blurred, and the field is not just black and white any more. We got more shades of grey that the book, and we have devices called NAS that are closer to the definiton of server, and vice versa.

 

Therein lies the rub. I've only ever heard peopl say "I turned my N54L into a high performance Synoloy multi-bay NAS." Never heard one say "I turned my N54L into a high performance multi-bay crippled Synology NAS."

 

I do not understand why would anyone say "crippled" about turning their device into a Synology station. While yes, indeed, it has a fancy web interface, and easy-to-use features and all that crap that comes with, if you are savvy enough to use Google and know a few terms of Linux, you can find a lot of tutorials regarding how to install given services, programs, packages, whatever you want, that is not supported "officially". Even Synology itself encourages the modification of the servers, see their Wiki where they post non-official tutorials that work (e.g. the bootstrapping part).

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Pancakes

Exactly, most "NAS" drives are just low power servers now... So if you rely on the new NAS features and then got lots of poeple using them, it might not work as well as having a dedicated File Server

 

And timekills, you do know what a FILESERVER is right?... And yes I do

Edited by Pancakes

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timekills

Yes. But best practice is to separate your files from your file server. Regardless, I also realize that due to improvements in low-cost CPUs many NAS systems do double duty with application usage. That's not best practice, just as running those apps on your server isn't a good idea from an availability perspective.

 

Again - the question is why even buy a NAS. If you are putting everything in one box, so be it. I prefer to put my NAS in a low traffic area in the house and use it as a backup device. Just so happens that it was easier to carry with me while deployed than my full tower server or even any of my 1 or 2U servers (which don't have room for many SAS drives anyway - and therefore attach to my NAS) and can do many of the simple tasks that otherwise I'd keep a higher powered computer on for.

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KydDynoMyte

...

 

I do not understand why would anyone say "crippled" about turning their device into a Synology station. While yes, indeed, it has a fancy web interface, and easy-to-use features and all that crap that comes with, if you are savvy enough to use Google and know a few terms of Linux, you can find a lot of tutorials regarding how to install given services, programs, packages, whatever you want, that is not supported "officially". Even Synology itself encourages the modification of the servers, see their Wiki where they post non-official tutorials that work (e.g. the bootstrapping part).

 

I said crippled because I misread your post, woops. When you said "DDNS Service , and so on" I just thought no access to all the add ons. My fault, my reading comprehention could be better. Reading your post again, slower this time, I don't see much downside to it now. A while back I saved some money and went with a ReadyNAS with better specs instead of Synology because I knew I could get the services I wanted on there like you're talking about. Couldn't be happier with it. But today it'd be hard to consider anything but putting DSM on a microserver if I wanted another NAS.

 

You said Synology did not stop the loading their OS on different hardware, but you say you loose access to updates(I assume updates of the OS). I was trying to understand if newer versions of their OS are able to be ported over also.

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ikon

So while you are right with underpowered and overpriced, you forget that these devices will perfectly do what you've bought them for. They won't have problems,

 

I disagree. The very statement 'underpowered' says that they're not up to the task. I have a Syno box, which I don't use any more. The biggest problem I had with it is that it was simply too slow if I tried to enable too many of the features. A properly powered box would handle any and all of the features DSM provides -- mine could not. I had to pick and choose which features were most important to me, and there was no way I could enable as many as I wanted.

 

Except that today's NAS systems are much much more than the original "Network Attached Storage" definitions. People want more and more functionality from that one box, including file storage, download clients, backup system, transcoding, streaming, etc. That is the reason people buy a NAS, not because they just want to store stuff on the network. It makes life easier.

My point is, that today the line between a NAS and a server is completely blurred, and the field is not just black and white any more. We got more shades of grey that the book, and we have devices called NAS that are closer to the definiton of server, and vice versa.

Exactly, most "NAS" drives are just low power servers now... So if you rely on the new NAS features and then got lots of poeple using them, it might not work as well as having a dedicated File Server

 

Exactly; which is why I think WHS2011 makes a good 'NAS'. It can easily act as a dedicated file server, if that's what you want, but it can also do all kinds of other things, if you want it to. This is why I don't believe the Syno boxes are a great value -- the boxes are too pricey for what you get IMHO.

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Pancakes

And this also ties into what KydDynoMyte was saying about sticking Linux onto network hard drives, even those now have enough power to run a full ARM distro of Linux

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