Register for the iXsystems Community to get an ad-free experience and exclusive discounts in our eBay Store.

Noob home user: migration from Synology to TrueNAS

kiriak

Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2020
Messages
65
After 4 years of using a Synology NAS I decided I had to bite the bullet and make the move.

The reason is the same one that made me leave from Qnap 4 years ago. The nonexistence of Linux clients, especially for my distro (Fedora). There were a few before, but Synology flushed them one after the other.

So, no more Notes client for linux, no more Cloudstation for backing up my Linux PC etc.

Off course there are many ways to achieve the same goal, but it is supposed Synology is a turnkey solution. If you must use alternative ways to accomplish things, then the convenience goes away or things may become impossible.

For example:

After their upgrade on a service, the legacy client to back up my Linux PC stopped working. I tried many solutions without success. Especially I spent many hours searching on the internet how to make SSH rsync to work (with the Back in Time program) without finding a solution. The same one was successful in a few minutes on a test TrueNAS I had set on an old PC.

Having said that, Synology is fine for novices, are small and relatively cheap. You can do a lot of different things quite easily if there are the clients, or the process has been foreseen in their operating system.

The migration will start in a few days and I’d like to share my experience and my setup for anyone interested.

I have a very limited experience with TrueNAS. The last year I spent a few hours every other weekend, using FreeNAS on a couple of old PCs I had in hand.

Any comments are welcome.
 

kiriak

Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2020
Messages
65
First,

I want to say a big Thank You,

to iXSystems for giving every user the ability to use such a superb NAS operating system

and

to the staff and members here for giving help and sharing their experience.

I made use of many advices and a couple os scripts from people here like

@danb35 , @Heracles , @morganL , @Jailer , @Arwen , @Samuel Tai , @Yorick , @Patrick M. Hausen , @Constantin , @jgreco , @anodos , @Basil Hendroff , @sretalla , @Ericloewe

and other too that do not come to my mind right now
 

kiriak

Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2020
Messages
65
Ok,

I have a small amount of data, about 1 TB.
Quite small amount for a NAS and especially for a TrueNAS one given the additional requirements.
The data are mostly archival and critical documents, family photos, videos and other documents.
There is also ripped music from my CDs that is used by an mpd player.
The NAS is also used to back up a few family PCs (Windows, Linux and OSX) and some data from a few smartphones.

I wouldn’t like to have all these data on cloud, and I don’t have an easy way to have these data encrypted on cloud and accessible from different clients.
Hence the need for a NAS.

In the past I came across corrupted files a few times. I don’t know the cause. But I wouldn’t use a NAS without a filesystem with data protection from corruption like BTRFS or ZFS.
I considered some different solutions and tried a few of them.
The conclusion was that for my needs either I’d stay with Synology or I’d go to TrueNAS, and here I am.
 

jgreco

Resident Grinch
Moderator
Joined
May 29, 2011
Messages
14,179
Well, sort-of in defense of Synology and QNAP, it is actually the "add-ons" that represent some of the more challenging bits. Basic network storage functionality is built into both FreeBSD and Linux, and the original goal of many NAS devices was simply to put a GUI on top of that to make it accessible to non-UNIX-commandline-wizards.

All of the add-ons tend to come at a significant cost of specialized engineering to shovel a bunch of complicated packages (Plex, Nextcloud, etc) into NAS-compatible forms, committing to keeping them updated, and this may be happening for a relatively small number of end users...

There's a lot of work between the bare metal of making it work, and making it USEFUL to end users. Not making excuses for Synology, but it's worth taking a moment to think about the amazing software ecosystems that support the services we all rely on.
 

kiriak

Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2020
Messages
65
You are right.
Both Synology and Qnap (as far I rememeber) offer complete and quality ecosystems,
making their NASes easy to be used from almost anyone with very basic understanding of shares etc.

My objection is that even if they rely on Linux for their OSes, they don't care to provide Linux versions of their basic client software.

The Synology ecosystem works well with my Windows PC but it is broken for my Fedora PC.
So, not only there is no backup client for my Fedora, but there also restrictions, that make it very hard or impossible to setup SSH rsync manually (many references on internet about this).
 

kiriak

Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2020
Messages
65
I wavered between Core and Scale,
However I had many difficulties with Scale and no luck with the apps or charts.
Even if apps are not critical for me, I decided to go with Core. I hope IXsystems will continue to evolve Core in the future.

For hardware my main criterion was small size and low consumption and as possible complience with the TrueNAS requirements (ECC RAM support is hard to be found in small PC boxes).
A 2 disk enclosure would be fine, but it was difficult to find one.
Some older SFF workstations could house two 3.5 disks with a little modification, but there are questions of the proper disk ventilation. Also used workstations' prices raised considerably the last couple of years (at least in Europe).
So, when the HP Microserver Gen 10 Plus was on sale for a couple of days here, I grabbed one.

The data Pool will be a mirror of the two 4 TB WD Reds I used in Synology for 18 months now. These are the old REDs with the small cache that they were CMR.

I'm split between using 2 USB Flash Drives or an external USB SSD for boot.
If I am not wrong, in worst case scenario that both flash drives will fail in the same time, I could make a new boot disk and restore from a configuration backup. The reason for USB flash drives is the minimal space and no cables required.
In this case I will have 2 spare slots for drives, and was thinking to have one or two small SSDs for any jails and the system dataset.
 

John45622

Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2020
Messages
34
One of the most glaring design issues on Synology that made me drop them after a day of reading the manual:

1) The drive encryption limits the filename length to around 11 or 13 characters (can't remember the exact number) which makes it practically unusable with modern OS clients. (unless they changed that now)
2) You can gain admin access to the box with just a pencil. (by pressing the reset button)

These two issues make the box unusable for anyone who is concerned about the box being stolen if your company is physically broken into.
 

kiriak

Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2020
Messages
65
Scheduled power on and power off

On feature I miss from Synology, is the built in clock, that enables the scheduled power on and off of the NAS.
The Microserver does not have this. I understand that the purpose of a NAS or a server is to be ON all the time.
Home users however, have different needs some times.

I had the Synology at ON for about 12 hours every day. The reason was to minimize consumption for enviromental reasons and also to minimize the (rare) possibility of an abrupt shutdown due to power loss (I have no UPS). During the power on hours the disks were on spinning continuously.
I am not sure if there is a definite impact in HDD longevity with one power cycle per day.

I have not decided yet what I'll do with my new NAS.

In case I want to have a power on-off based on schedule I found the following procedure that fulfills my needs 99.9% of time.

Power-off : with the built-in cron job (have to find the proper command).
Power-on : turned on the WOL in BIOS. A WOL app in my smartphone sends a WOL packet every morning at a specific time (before I leave for work). i use this already. The limitation is that it doesn't work from WAN (in case I am not at home at the programmed time).

I'll try to find if another device that I have, could send the magic packet at specific times (e.g. my router, switch etc. even if I doubt).
 

ChrisRJ

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2020
Messages
524
1) The drive encryption limits the filename length to around 11 or 13 characters (can't remember the exact number) which makes it practically unusable with modern OS clients. (unless they changed that now)
That is exactly the reason why it also kicked off my shortlist, funny
 
Top