Carter Hargrave Blog

Second generation Bruce Lee School instructor Carter Hargrave writes about current events, technology reviews, culture, martial arts, and becoming a master of life.

Synology Diskstation 5 Bay Network Attached Storage NAS DS1512+ Review 2013

Ok here we go. As you can see if you research there are a bunch of glowing reviews on this Nas on Amazon. I can see why there are. Now I will tell you my experience, and you can judge for yourself if this is what you want to try for your storage needs.
I really wanted to like the Synology 1512+. I have waited two months to let the experience settle in my mind, and to compose my thoughts on what happened. Dealing with this unit is like dealing with a beautiful woman with PMS. You love her, she is great in so many ways, but she is unpredictable, you dont know when something bad is going to come from her directed at you for no apparent reason, and some things just dont make any sense at all, and you just cant trust anything that comes out of her mouth, but you know you will be glad when its over.

The user interface software is awesome. Its the best, period. The freenas stuff that keeps coming up as suggestions in various places…. well its like comparing a moped to a Bentley.

The synology is not a backup system. It is a storage system. It is hot swapable if you suspend the standard usage of the term. That is what I found on alot of the claims as to what the nas does or can do. It almost does so many things. When it does things you keep waiting for it to get there but never quite meets the expected result. You will be going wait for it….. wait for it….. oh thats it, its done?

Also the success you have with the nas is directly related with your experience with computers, networks, and programming.

It will work with macs and pcs, although it takes a bit of tweaking to get the mac network to play nice with it. Macs do the dynamic IP and you must program everything to be static IP or no go. Most of the master geeks will have no problem doing this. Im a mini geek so it took me four hours or so to get the proper info. I really did not want to learn how to do this, i just wanted to plug it in and it work, so that is four hours of my life I will never get back. Youtube is a wonderful thing. Don’t waste your time looking for any help on the Synology website, it aint there. I whined at them about that and they said they would look into putting some more videos on the website. They do have some tutorials but again leave you going “Is that it.”

Finally got the Synology communicating on the network, YAY. Got all the disks in and waited for the setup to complete as the nas puts software on them and configures for what raid method you wish.

Raid 5 failed no matter how many times it was initiated. Synology support is helpful but they are in a land far far away and 24 hours is the response time for USA. When contacting them put EVERYTHING you can think of in your email otherwise you are looking at a week to fix your problem. They are nice, but wow time lag. Gave up on raid 5 and went with the Synology hybrid which is pretty much the same thing, kind of. (meanaing when you have a problem and need to have a recovery company remove your data off a disk it is problematic, I researched this, and its expensive).

Ok all done formating and what not after about four hours. Loading pictures and files was slower than crap. Checked all the settings, all ok. I mean sloooooow. We are talking dial up modem speeds. Thought about contacting Synology, hmmm I could be dead by the time they get back to me. So I re formatted all disks and re did the raid. That fixed the PMS no reason slow has problem.

Note: I did a few tests to make sure I could trust her after what I was seeing in her behavior, and it wast pretty. I dont reccomend you doing these test if you want to be a happy sane person keeping your Synology NAS. Warning given.
Never let anyone ever pull out a disk for any reason. Use the locks. ONce a disk is removed you cannot re insert into the has without all data being lost, period. The site speaks of mystical methods for the nas to accept this now foreign entity, but its pure bs and NOTHING will ever allow it to be accepted back into the hive. Even if you remove your last disk and try to insert just one in the same order (yes mark all disks one two three four five or you will never get your data back without the recovery company extracting it for you. Mark the number on the disk with a sharpie NOW as you place it in the nas, not later, she doesnt like that, you dont take things back once you give them to her.

If you are upgrading to another synology and want to use your current disks and move them there is no problem you just re insert into new nas and loose all your shi*. Great.
If you are a professional programmer you can us linux to run some scripts to get it to work with ubuntu, but who the hell has that kind of time. So again its almost there.
The only way to stay sane and not loose what hair you have left is to put both synologies on the same network and do a transfer that way (This is where some Mr. Helper will comment “just use the usb’s or the e sata on the back of the nas and connect the two that way and drag it over no big deal.”) That doesnt work either, nor will a direct connect to your computer to those mythical connections on the back, NOPE. Those are only for external storage drives to expand the nas storage space, no communication to the nas allowed. Where does it tell you that anywhere. Ok it doesnt but I had to say it out loud.

Get a ups battery backup. Get a ups battery backup. Get a ups battery backup. The nas, she doesnt like being turned off. She is after all in perpetual PMS mode and you never know if you can turn her back on. She responds better if you power her down with the switch / button and wait and wait for her do do the wind down thing. But an abrupt turn off outage. Oh my god. Do you feel the sweat starting yet. Lights turn blue (not good for non synology people). Now we pray. Lord please let the blue light stop and turn green. Ten minutes, twenty, two hours. Im screwed.

Yes you are feeling good about your 200 gigs of pictures, 220 gigs of tunes, and mutiple files. What have I done to myself. You are thankful as you think about the backup you have in the cloud, but dread the week it will take to re download and restore.

After several attempts to restart she finally decided that I had suffered enough and that she would be my friend again and turn back on. Also the disks, not really hot swappable . You can do it but then you must shut the unit off (oh noooooooo) and hope it reboots and sees the new disk so it can format it. No it wont just start formatting it like we know what hot swappable means. Many things kind of like that are common.

When it works it works well. Dont jack with it ever. Keep it powered at all times. Drives locked in. And hope. I cant count all the reviews I read that had the line “keeping my fingers crossed”. Well thats bs and I need some security after forking out fourteen hundred on this nas and drives. Didnt get what I was looking for.

I have returned the nas from whence it came. I will most likely try a less costly and less advanced synology in the future like a few of the two bays. The 1512 has many features, but just kept falling short, and for what you pay it should be almost perfect.
So I am thinking one of the simpler units will be more reliable with less PMS. I will keep using the more reliable but dumb external drives for now for storage.

On a side note, I buy a load of stuff from Amazon. But for this purchase I strayed and went for a sale at Newegg. I should have known better. Neweggs customer service has plummeted, check the reviews. They were not helpful and fought the return at every step. You cant beat Amazon for customer service.

In the end I wanted to keep her, I just couldnt trust her. When it comes to your digital possessions you need some peace knowing that it will be there

Carter Hargrave

Author: Carter Hargrave

Carter Hargrave Carter Hargrave is a Martial Arts Grandmaster and the founder of American Combat Kempo. He is the President of the World Kempo Association and the World Jeet Kune Do Federation. Carter Hargrave is aSecond Generation Bruce Lee School Instructor. Find us on Google+

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