Photo Storage Solution

Mass Storage Solution

  • 20 October 2018
  • Author: TrueToad
  • Number of views: 2487
Photo Storage Solution

I highly recommend you move to a highly reliable and dependable backup solution - now. When set-up you have a very dependable and reliable backup solution for your once in a lifetime media. Although I set up a massive storage solution - Synology offers many sizes, and you get 85% benefits from the smaller systems.  My solution includes using the built-in Synology NAS software to seamlessly back up ALL my media to Amazon Glacier services. 

The Cost for me to store 6TB in Glacier is about $7.00 per month.  Amazon Glacier is for archival use only for emergency recovery if case your home burns down taking your Synology with it  - forbid.  This setup allows me to work, store and backup with local RAID recovery and geographic recovery from Amazon if the situation occurs.  Imagine the data losses following hurricanes and the fires in California when people try to skimp on recovery services. 

One day my main PC suffered an internal drive failure - which so happened where my most recent source images were stored along with some other important data. What did I say - I said oh well, I have my trusty external USB drive backup and other backups, which I could use to make a full recovery.  No worries! So, I ordered a new drive to go inside my main PC and upon arrival, I was all set to install and recover from the LOCAL backup.   Then Things started to turn bad with the reality and the laziness I fell into over the last couple of years.

First, I realized my backups were spread across several external sources and not one had a full master copy, It was a puzzle to "remember" where all the bits were at. I had most of the files, but I was having trouble pulling everything together, and to realize my crashed drive was fried, which left me my local backup - So, technically I only needed to recover my local files. But then,

In my haste as I was opening my PC side compartment I needed to move the external drive out of the way, taking a shortcut, I just moved the external over to the side.  I then slide open the PC, I learned the side cover against the wall,  then tilted the PC over slightly to get access to the bad drive, but at the same time I knocked over the cover with my elbow, which in turn knocked the external drive, down to the floor about 3 feet. Upon impact it made a weird noise, at this point I was like, this can not be happening but it did, I just dropped my only good backup to the floor.  

I went ahead and installed the new drive, formatted the drive, reapplied power to the external drive and of course - blinky blue light.  I tried and tried to access the drive but to no avail - in the last hope attempt I downloaded recovery software from the mfg. all recovery attempts failed. I turned the drive upside down and gave it another try - luck was with me, very slowly the recovery bar made it's way across the screen, I left the room and did a prayer.  The recovery did not finish and stopped at about 80%, with a failed report. At least now I could mount the drive and access almost all my photography files along with some of the most recent folders still on my desktop - I had recovered them.  Some files were lost, but not my images. Many lessons learned here.  

So, what did I do to future proof ?  I purchased a Synology DiskStation 2415+ with a set of six 10 Terabytes of Pro NAS and six 10TB Surveillance drives, for a total of 12 10TB drives, and in a RAID setup you get about have the full volume size.  The Skyhawk is set up as two volumes to support continuous IP camera recording and a secondary backup of certain data from the main NAS which ensures I have 3 full copies of my most important data. While the IronWolfPros are set up to support the mass storage needs along with a wake on demand 20 terabytes of additional backups. I am covered.

What is my workflow and setup now:  The Mass Storage Synology DS2415+ is set up in a redundant raid configuration, My PC is still my main work area due to its local (now SDD) disk connection - really fast and the source for most of my files.  All data is backed up to the DS2415+ with secondary backups going to attached storage - backups of backups now.   The only concern is a local hazard like a flood or fire.  I now sleep without worry about my data, but dream about an off-site solution for full protection - it is coming.

Learn More about This System:

Synology IronWolf Pro SkyHawk

So where do I store my long term archives - the offsite storage?: I keep a copy of my data on Amazon Glacier, low cost solution for protection of your data  - do it for your protection!  Stuff happens, be prepared.  I have 8 TB on glacier, and at night rest assured my data is recoverable - fires, floods, or or otherwise.

HOW DO YOU SET UP YOUR OWN SYNOLOGY? Here are the highlights of the setup checksheet.

First, decide on your local storage needs how much data storage do you need.  Storage size is something I can not recommend for you as everyone's storage needs are different. However, I recommend if you determine you need 25TB I recommend you add 10additional TB to the number.

Second, buy a Synology Diskstation with as many storage bays as you can afford, you will appreciate the flexibility to expand on the fly. Many of the Synology Diskstations have expansion ports that support both external USB drives or special Synology expansion solutions.

--Buy recommended hard drives/SDDs that are recommended by Synology for the Diskstation you choose - the link is here.  The size of your hard drives will depend on how much storage you require - 8TB hard drives seem to be a good choice and are more economical to replace over time as they age out. Keep in mind when setting up your Diskstation you will most likely choose to have RAID - meaning you can lose one hard drive and recover by simply removing the bad drive and replace it. Synology supports many different RAID configurations. Synology has a RAID that supports lose of one drive and your still able to recover - this RAID maximizes your storage. Normal RAIDs require one hard drive to mirror data backup for every drive you add - 3 hard drives = 3 RAID drives, leaving you only the storage capacity of 3 drives, the Synology RAID maximizes your storage while allowing one drive failure and be able to recover.

Setting up a Synology Diskstation is very simple - if you can slide a hard drive into a slot and plug in an Ethernet cable you are 85% there. Synology has built-in support for backups and Amazon Glacier support to send any data you identify upstream off site for archival purposes.

More Information

Update on Setup:  I am very pleased with the ease which Synology has developed to make backups effortless.  This is beyond a basic NAS it is more like a full blown NAS system with many available applications.

The Synology offers seamless integration with Amazon backup services, such as Amazon Glacier.

Performance Boost:

  1. I used link aggeration to increase overall bandwidth, this particular unit supports 4 giga ethernet ports which can be bonded to form 2x. 
  2. I added a 256gb SDD as a Cache read, which speeds up the overall system, on a heavy backup load the cache shows about 100gb usage.


  1. In addition, I set up my IP Cameras with the Surveillance Station, although the software is free the license beyond the 2 free license, additional ones have a one-time cost, about 60.00 per, or you can buy them in bulk at a reduced cost. Surveillance Station is a very useful tool, featuring analysis, and motion detection.  With the analysis, you can set it to send emails when a package is dropped on your doorstep, or someone approaches for that matter. Also, features timeline video recording/playback..


 Time To Buy
12 Bay Synology Diskstation  IronWolf
Disk Station DS418  SkyHawk Drive  


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I live at the edge of the forest in semi-moist locations, I enjoy larva, and other delights. Although I am toothless and mostly warty, I am a sight to see.

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