How Should I Partition my Synology? A Cry for Help

Hey all,

I was very fortunate this year to have the means to do something that I have always wanted to do: go big on a Synology and I did!

However, I have no idea how I should set it up.

I have about 75TB at my disposal, and currently it is all together in one volume. However, I don’t think this is ideal, as it doesn’t allow for any backup. My goal is to move absolutely everything on to it, and I probably have 15-20 TB of total data now.

How many partitions should I set up? Other than 1) Main bucket volume 2) Backup Volume should I add any others? I would love some advice. I don’t want to do this over again, so I would love to know your thoughts!


Congratulations and welcome to the Synology club!!

Can you adopt me? I would love to have that much at my disposal! Haha.

If you can share more about your setup, needs, etc, that might help out.
Personally, I have the DS1213+ with 5 bays (3TB Red Drives) - I have about 1 TB left.

I only have 2 volumes, the main volume, and the backup volume.

I set it up a few years ago, but I think if memory serves correct, I can survive if 2 drives crashed at the same time.

Depending on your setup and what information you are storing in, I always vote on having the ability to fully recover from loss.

Allocate one drive as a “hot spare” and set the raid in dual disk redundancy.

The more drives in one cluster the faster and less wear on individual drives.

Other tips:

  • SSD cash drives wear out pretty fast.
  • If your network is capable consider a 10Gb pci card.
  • Dual link aggregation is only useful with multiple active users.

Don’t forget to connect it to a battery powmer backup and connect it to the NAS so it can shutdown safely within the parameters of your choice!

1 Like

One more thing: create an online backup with backblaze. (Need a paid business account)


I would not count a backup volume on the same physical device as a backup. It would be a second copy on the same device. Having the synology set to the raid option you want should be enough to keep the data safe for single drive failures. Any other incident will most probably affect all drives, including the backup partition.

I’d recommend also having an off site backup.


Excellent timing! I got my parents a Synology for Christmas (DS218, two 4TB drives which will be mirrored). The advice in this thread is good and echos my plans for when I set it up in just under 2 weeks!

A couple of thoughts:

First: volumes are easy to expand, but must be destroyed and recreated to decrease their size.

Second: don’t let others distrust of RAID dissuade your use of it.

1 Like

A few thoughts, although probably not adding much… I have used Synologys in the past, still have one in the office, and actually have one arriving today (although I went with a much cheaper version this time, a DS417Play 4 bay unit, since it will be used exclusively as a destination for clone backups and for SynologyDrive, so I don’t need all that much power in this unit.

I agree that creating a “working” and a “backup” volume on the same set of hard drives is not really the way to go, since drive failures then affect both the working and backup drives. If I were using a very large drive-capacity unit (say 8 or 12 or 24 drives) I would create one volume on a subset of the drives and the second backup volume on another subset of the drives, but in general I think either a RAID5 with 1 or a RAID6 with 2 parity drives makes the most sense, with the backup on a completely separate volume.

Remember that RAID is NOT a backup. RAID protects from a single drive (or 2 drive in RAID 6) failure, but DOES not protect against data corruption or accidental deletion. For that, I strongly favor versioned backups.

I also feel strongly that the 3-2-1 principle makes sense for backups: 3 copies, on 2 different media, one offsite.

With a Synology, there are a few approaches to backups. Most, if not all, Synology units around today have USB ports and support connecting an external USB drive which can be used as a target for backups, using for instance Synology’s HyperBackup package. For you, with 15-20 TB of data, that isn’t really going to work, however; short of a hardware raid USB drive (I think WD has one that can go to 24TB using 2 x 12TB drives in RAID 0) you aren’t going to have sufficient capacity. Other hardware raid solutions are also very expensive, although I believe OWC is presently having a sale on some older hardware raid 4-bay units that support hardware raid.

A second option is a second Synology as a target for HyperBackup, but once again, you are talking some real dollars here.

One thing to consider is how much of the data you have truly needs backup, and is there a subset that you cannot afford to lose, and some that you would not care about? If the amount needing backup is small enough, an external USB drive might do the trick, especially with 12TB drives on sale this week at Best Buy! (You can, btw, attach several external USB drives and have Synology build them into a RAID volume, but I don’t advise this, as if one is disconnected accidentally the entire RAID array will fail.

Some people have bought Drobo units and connected them to Synology, and they do allow for creation of very large pools of data, but I have not been confident that the current Drobo models work well unless connected to Windows or Mac systems where there is a kernel-level extension that controls their operation. Others may know more about this that I do.

For offsite backup, unfortunately that is an expensive proposition using only the Synology, which natively supports Elephant Drive, HyperDrive to various targets (but, as far as I know, not BackBlaze B2), Glacier, and Synology’s own C2 backup system. The problem is that all of these are pay-as-you-use backend storage which means that with 20TB and growing, you are looking at again some significant spending.

@MacExpert suggested BackBlaze, and while BackBlaze does provide unlimited storage at a great price (and now allows you to pay extra to extent storage for deleted files and older versions to 1 year or permanent for an extra cost for each service), it does not provide backup for NAS units or for network mounted shares as part of the standard BackBlaze unlimited service.

One approach is to make a clone of the Synology data to a Mac and have BackBlaze then backup the clone, which will work, but in your situation that is not going to be feasible as you would need enough space (20TB or more) on the Mac for the clone.

Backing up such large amounts of data is a very difficult problem to achieve at low cost! I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has found a solution to this problem.


Agree, except one point. Backblaze business does backup a Synology raid.

1 Like

Synology supports B2. Looks like a recent addition.

A Raspberry Pi-based NAS might make a good backup system.
Cost of drives + maybe $100.

I am running it on my own and on a couple of my clients. No problem.


I backup my Synology using Backblaze B2 and I also backup with another service called Wasabi.

1 Like

All good stuff, some general guidance is that
separate volumes are used to accommodate
different drive sizes, and provide for different
RAID levels.

Think through your RAID level choices, Synology
offers their own SHR and SHR2 which CAN be
expanded, as well as standard “industry” levels
which cannot as @JohnAtl mentioned.

SHR and SHR2 volumes may only be recovered
with Synology hardware (sometimes) :-(, while
standard industry level RAID are “easier” :frowning:

Data corruption should be considered as well
(to be clear on ANY volatile storage medium)
so choose your file system wisely.

Again this is where separate volumes could
be used, a RAID 6 btrfs volume for mission
critical data, and a RAID 5 ext4 for general.

It is spindles that make iops, so network bonding
is your friend, assuming your switch supports it.

Synology supports 802.3ad dynamic or static.

If we knew hardware specifics it would help.

@JohnAtl: Synology supports B2 for BackBlaze’s cloud sync service. That is not, strictly speaking, a backup strategy however, as it really provides folder syncing between the Synology and a B2 store, and as far as I know does not provide versioning. The other big issue there again would be cost - putting 20TB into B2 going to run $100/month. Of course, it’s a question of value vs cost. If the data is video for one’s production company, $1,200/year is a worthwhile business expense and one that you would presumably roll into your cost-to-client anyway. If it’s your personal photo albums, but they are worth that much to you, of course you would also pay it. My preference would be for HyperBackup to be able to use B2, but as far as I know it does not at this point in time.

As far as a Pi for a backup server, that is also a great idea. I have a Pi myself which I use for various syncing and backup purposes. The problem the OP @bodiequirk has, I believe, is the sheer size of his data set. Once you get to having 20TB (or more) of data, there are few on-site solutions that do not require more “enterprise grade” storage solutions. You just cannot buy an off-the-shelf 50TB USB drive (yet!) to allow for versioned backups with archiving of deleted data and so forth.

I myself have about 2TB of data, which does go to BackBlaze. Clones are made daily (about to move to the Synology if it does get delivered today!). I can also use a 5TB bus-powered USB drive for TimeMachine. The clones use Carbon Copy Cloner and all deleted or changed files go into the safety net folders that CCC maintains. That has saved me more than once when a file got corrupted and I searched back to find the changes and restored the last uncorrupted version.

1 Like

Yes, they can be expanded, but I was pointing out that volumes cannot be reduced in size without backing up, nuking, and restoring.

Good one! (with the caveat @MacExpert mentioned)

For backup: I would also look at the Synology C2 option, or any other big data bucket the synology built in Hyperbackup option. (as @nlippman says)
This works very well for me.

Backblaze is not the only option, and in my view still the most insecure one as you have to send them the password to restore large sets of data last time I looked. (correct me if I’m wrong, but their support documents still say so.)