How do you configure a Synology DS218+ NAS for automated media storage and access from multiple devices?

12 June 2024

Storing and managing data in today's digital world is crucial as our reliance on technology continues to grow. One way to ensure secure and efficient data storage is by using a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device, such as the Synology DS218+. Not only does this device provide a centralized location for your data, but it also enables automated data backup and accessibility from multiple devices.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the configuration of a Synology DS218+ NAS for automated media storage and access from various devices.

Setting Up Your Synology NAS

Before you can utilize the full functionality of your Synology NAS, you need to complete the initial setup. The DiskStation Manager (DSM) is the operating system that powers every Synology NAS. To set up your Synology DS218+ NAS, begin by installing DSM, and then continue with the initial server setup.

Start by connecting your Synology NAS to your router using an Ethernet cable. Power on the device and download the Synology Assistant from the official Synology website on your computer. This tool will identify the NAS on your network. Run the program, and it will locate your NAS. Click 'Connect,' and it will open a new browser window with the DSM installation wizard. Follow the instructions, accept the terms and conditions, and then click on 'Setup.'

During the setup process, you'll be prompted to install the latest version of DSM. The installer will download and install the latest DSM version automatically. Once the DSM is installed, you'll be guided to create an 'admin' account. This account will have all the rights to manage the NAS. Remember to create a strong password for this account.

Configuring RAID Storage

Next, you need to configure the RAID storage setup for your NAS. RAID, or Redundant Array of Independent Disks, is a method of storing the same data in different places on multiple hard disks to protect data in the case of a drive failure.

To set up the RAID, go to the 'Storage Manager' on your DSM interface. Click 'Volume' and then 'Create.' The DSM will guide you through the steps to create a new volume. For a DS218+ NAS, you can opt for either SHR (Synology Hybrid RAID) or Basic/JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Disks). The SHR is recommended because it provides one-disk fault tolerance.

Setting Up Automated Backups

With the RAID set up, the next step is setting up automated backups. Regular backups are crucial to prevent data loss, and with Synology NAS, you can automate this process.

To set up automated backups, navigate to the 'Package Center' on the DSM and install the 'Hyper Backup' application. Launch the app once installed, click on 'Plus' to create a new data backup task, and select 'Data backup task.' You will be prompted to select the backup destination, which could be an external device, another Synology NAS, or a cloud service.

After setting the backup destination, select the files or folders you wish to backup automatically. You can also schedule the backup frequency.

Enabling Access from Multiple Devices

An advantage of Synology NAS is the ability to access your data from multiple devices. To set this up, you need to enable file sharing services on your DSM.

Go to 'Control Panel,' then 'File Services.' Under the 'File Service' tab, enable the services that correspond to the operating systems of your devices, such as Windows (SMB), Mac (AFP), or Linux (NFS). With these services enabled, you can now access your NAS files from any device on your network.

Managing Media Files and Streaming

Lastly, to manage and stream your media files, install the 'Media Server' package from the Package Center. Once installed, go to 'Media Indexing' under the 'Control Panel' to select the folders you want to index for media streaming.

Now your Synology DS218+ NAS is fully configured for automated media storage and access from multiple devices. With this setup, you can create a secure, efficient, and accessible data storage solution. Whether you're streaming movies, sharing files, or backing up critical data, your NAS is ready to handle all your storage needs.

Advanced Features and Control Panel

The Control Panel is the central hub for managing your Synology NAS. Once you have done the basic configuration setup, you can make changes to your NAS server from here, depending on your preferences.

In the Control Panel, you'll find a variety of settings and features that you can enable or disable. For instance, you can manage user accounts, shared folders, and network settings. You can also set access permissions, monitor the system's health, and enable two-factor authentication for added security.

You can create shared folders on your NAS to be accessed by multiple people. To set up shared folders, go to the Control Panel, and click 'Shared Folder.' Here, you can create new shared folders, set permissions, enable encryption, and more.

Your Synology NAS also supports 'File Station,' a feature that allows you to manage files and folders on your NAS directly from your computer. File Station supports various file operations like creating folders, moving files, deleting files, renaming files, and more.

The NAS server also supports 'Active Backup,' a feature that consolidates backup tasks for different devices into one single platform. To set up Active Backup, navigate to 'Active Backup for Business' in the Package Center and click 'Install.' After installation, you can create backup tasks for your devices.

Another important feature is 'Hardware Transcoding,' which converts media files to a format that can be played back smoothly on your devices. To enable hardware transcoding, navigate to the 'Video Station' or 'DS video' settings on your DSM, and enable the 'Hardware Transcoding' option.

Setting up and configuring a Synology DS218+ NAS server might seem complicated initially, but with this guide, it should be a straightforward task. From installing DSM to configuring RAID storage, setting up automated backups, enabling access from multiple devices, and managing media files and streaming, the process is systematic and user-friendly.

Remember that your NAS is not just a storage space but a versatile device capable of doing much more. Explore the control panel to find out all the features it offers and customize your NAS to best suit your requirements.

Whether you are a business looking for a robust data management solution or an individual wanting a centralized storage system accessible from multiple devices, a Synology DS218+ NAS serves as a powerful tool. With its robust features and functionality, it is a worthwhile investment for managing your digital world.

By following this guide, you're now ready to take full advantage of your Synology NAS, making your data management more secure, efficient, and accessible. Whether it's streaming media, sharing files, or ensuring your data is always backed up, your Synology NAS is set up to handle all your needs.

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