GoodBye Drobo, hello Synology


I had a Drobo 5N for a while and was not really satisfied. It did is job (host files, Time Machine target) OK, but had it’s flaws:

  • Slow. Very slow.
  • Not really flexible. Yes, Drobo Apps are there and through some nifty tricks you can run some stuff on it, but the limitations are there.
  • Not encrypted.
    That’s why I decided to move on and got a Synology DS1019+. My first impressions:
  • Fast! While the RAID was syncing, the Mac mini was uploading a huge pile of data, folder/file access was still very snappy. Not a scientific test, but the Drobo felt like crawling in such a situation.
  • Flexibility! A little overwhelmed by the possibilities right now and trying to figure out what to do.
  • Encryption!!!
    The speed was impressive, but there were still some improvements. So:
  • I put 2 256GB NVMe SSDs into the device to use as a read/write cache (RAID1).
  • I replaced my switch (Netgear whatever GbE) for a HP Enterprise 1820 switch. Main reason: the Synology has 2 GbE ports and the 1820 supports port trunking. I’m not ready to move to 10GbE yet, but 2x1GbE is nice to have. I did some random tests (several computers pulling data) and the throughput is great!

I am still figuring out what to do with it. Already done:

  • Plex server
  • iTunes media
  • Backups
  • A lot of data
  • Set up a Debian VM (hosting HomeBridge and other stuff)
  • Snapshot plan


I’m considering hosting media files for Plex on a Synology and using a Mac Mini to run Plex Media Server, curious if it’s powerful enough to just run on the Synology.


I would recommend adding functions if you really need them. It’s hard to undo them once they’re installed. A clean synology install is also deleting all data on disk… :slight_smile:


After initial tests, especially looking at CPU load on the DS1019+, I moved Plex Media Server from my Mac mini to it.

The Mini has four remaining tasks:

  • ScanSnap host
  • Backblaze upload
  • Hazel
  • ITunes Match sync

I moved everything else to the DS (HomeBridge, Backup tasks, Plex, Git, …).


Curious if

  1. You’re planning to back up your diskstation (maybe an attached USB drive?)
  2. I’ll assume you set up the DS with btrfs. Will you be versioning that “lot of data”?


Working on 1 (backup):

  • USB drive attached to the Mac mini uploads vital (not media files) data to Backblaze.
  • I will reuse the Drobo 5N as a backup device. Still wondering if I can get encryption working. Depending on that, it’s either just the media files or also personal data
    On 2 (BTRFS):
  • BTRFS is a great file system
  • when moving data to the DS, I created several shares depending on content. MP3s are on their own share, made a snapshot of the “clean” state and will move on from that. I I run a rename tool on them and wreak havoc, I can get back to the clean state. Same goes for photos, media, etc. RIght now pondering over an automated snapshot scheme.


I use my Synology as a Plex server and also as a VPN server.


Ah cool, I decided to cross post my question about running Plex to the Plex Discourse forums to see what they say. I like the use of your Mac Mini for those tasks.


I have a ds218+ and got an mkv 4 k movie and try to transcribe it using the Synology and I could not. However, I use the option Optimize and re create a version for TV and this created a mp4 with 1080p (since at this moment I still do not have a 4K tv) and then it worked fine. The optimize I did it from my mbp because it was going to take days with the nas.