Advice for mostly Mac - Less setup for photo, media, etc

Looking for advice on my current setup and possible changes.

Currently, I am pretty much Mac-less with a 2018 iPad Pro 12.9. I use the iPad for some work, but mostly around the house and travel. I am looking for options based on the current equipment I have or possible changes to hardware. I keep an old 2011 MBP around for the very rare times I need a “computer”. To upload photos to a Synology NAS, server adjustments, and rare sites that just don’t play well with iOS.


  • 2011 MBP 13” w/SSD 128GB

  • iPad Pro 12.9 lte 256GB

  • 34” monitor - mainly for work PC, also iPad mirror

  • Synology NAS DS 216+II - 8TB

    • 57,000 + photos
    • Backup to BackBlaze B2
    • Backup to Amazon Cloud Drive
    • USB Copy once a week to an external drive
    • HDHomeRun content with DVR
    • Plex - lightly used, but would like to use it more.
  • Drobo Mini - not in use

I have heard and read horror stories of Synology units going bad. Of course any HD can crash. We have lost about 2 years worth of picture in the past due to 2 HD crashes.

So, I am wondering if I should just leave everything along and stop thinking about it. Or, do I get maybe a Mac Mini and use the Drobo or the Synology. Then if I want, the Mini becomes the Plex server as well as photo default with back up to BackBlaze and a second external HD to store off site. I would also have a way too view/edit pictures on a large screen with a mini and current monitor.

Or, as I said just leave well enough alone and if the MBP eventually dies make a change as I barely use it.

I know several people who had serious problems with their Drobos. Synology OTOH has been stable and steadfast. That said, I (who primarily uses a Mac) simply clone my files to backup drives, and I use regular BackBlaze too. If you already use BackBlaze and external backup and Synology I don’t see how you’re going to lose files.

If you want to spend money go ahead and buy new hardware. It seems like you’re already wearing belt and suspenders here for file storage, not sure what a new Mac is going to do for you if your life is ‘pretty much Mac-less’

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Your Synology is a 2 Drive bay unit, how did you configure it? do you have two 8 TB drive in SHR, which will result in 8 TB of data available? or do you have two 4TB in strip RAID or JBOD which will give you 8 TB but NO redundancy at all? If you have redundancy on your Synology, AND a backup to external USB, AND backup in the cloud you’re all good. If you don’t have redundancy on your synology it leaves the backup in the cloud which would be up to date since you backup to external once a week, assuming that you backup to the cloud in real time or close to it. You didn’t mention if you are using iCloud photo or something else for your photos either, if you do, then it’s one more place were your photos would be stored. Anyway, I don’t think you need a new mac, but if you’re looking for a way to justify it, go for it;-)

Jeff, Here is the Synology drives. I believe I set them up wrong last year when setting this up. So, they are two separate drives I guess. Volume 2 is holding the hdhomerun dvr and Plex.

@Porterw24 that’s weird, you said you had 8TB. I see that you have setup two volumes, you should have made 1 volume, two shared folder IN that volume. Normally, you want SHR with 2 disk, which will make two 4 TB essentially behave like a RAID 1 (mirroring). Since you don’t have much data on your drive you could easily back it up on an external drive or take what’s on your Volume 2 and put in on your volume 1, than delete volume 2, and add that drive to volume 1. That way you would have a more robust setup. Just my opinion:-)

Thanks, I was thinking about doing just that. Honestly, it was freaking me out a bit to think of reformatting the drives. LOL

I quickly realized a few weeks after I thought I had it set up correctly that it was in fact not correct.

But you’re already backing up twice (B2 and Amazon Cloud Drive) and doing your external USB copy, so aren’t you protected enough. That’s better than the standard 3-2-1 backup strategy.

Get a copy of FileBrowser on your iPad, BTW. Much better than the Synology Drive app.

I agree with you. Just paranoid having lost 2 years worth of photos in the past.

I’d like to hear how you happened to lose all those photos when you have multiple backups. Or was that before you had multiple backups?

Oh sorry, yes it was prior to the current back system. We had a WD and a Lacie(seagate) drive fail in the same week.

That’s terrible luck for sure. I’m currently working to backup my Photos and Archive drives to B2. It’ll be a process but I have local backups in the meantime.