Saturday 26 September 2020

Home NAS Part 3: Encryption

 The Synology DSM supports creating encrypted file shares and I want to use this for backups as these can contain personal files. Initial setup seems pretty flexible as you can create a share with encryption or enable encryption on an existing share and you can use key files or pass phrases and there's a feature called a Key Manager with good documentation for DSM for all of these.

My setup is to use a removable device as a key store. 

It starts with setting up the Key Manager from the Control Panel under Shared Folders. From here you initialize the Key Manager and pick the USB device (otherwise internal) and set a passphrase for the Key Manager. 

Then start creating shared folders that use encryption and you can pick the key manager. This also lets you pick if you want encrypted folders to be enabled automatically on boot which would require leaving your external key manager device connected.

After that, you need to keep copies of your key store and keys somewhere safe in case you lose key store device.

Once all setup you can start using that file share and it is pretty much seamless. In Windows I removed the old file history backup target and re-added the new encrypted share. On the Synology I removed the cloud backup targets, moving the files to the new location, and re-adding the cloud targets using the new location. 

Stay safe 🔐

Saturday 5 September 2020

Home NAS part 2: No Regrets? Let's Get Setup

 Following actually picking and buying a NAS in Home NAS Part 1 the initial setup of the Synology is of course very easy. If you don't get distracted by all the buttons and spend days and days with "what's it do? what's this do? what's this do?" 

First of all I should have gotten one of these 2 bay NAS *ages* ago and even the cheapest model would be fine. So I'll start with the list of things that are overkill in my setup.

  • Dual-LAN. I just don't have enough concurrent devices to ever possibly saturate my network and since everything is WiFi even if I did, that would still be below 1 Gb that a single link would do. But it does afford a backup in case of failing cable or network port so I'm still using it.
  • NVMe cache. If I can't even fill up the WiFis how could I possibly saturate the drives? I at least held back from the 2xNVMe which would add write caching as well as read caching. Current reported cache usage on the 500 GB NVMe? ~350 MB. While theoretically possible I might one day get a performance boost, does seem unlikely, don't it? It does reduce drive activity so I'll keep it in the theory that maybe the drives themselves will last longer.

  • 4 TB drives. Okay so I just went with a drive size I had in budget. After copying all the data I wanted on there, usage is ~450 GB (are we seeing a pattern yet?). Truthfully, the bottom-end purchase price isn't that far off and it does forestall having to ever buy new drives except as replacements. Of all the overkill things, this is the least controversial under the heading "storage is cheap"

  • Memory upgrade. Basically like the storage, I was building the spec and saw "oh, can upgrade memory, that sounds cool" and bought a DIMM for it. I think in theory I might eventually use some of that memory and the computing power in the device if I run Plex from there. Mostly I was paranoid that I wouldn't be able to get a compatible part in the future.
  • The DS720+ itself comes with a 4 core CPU. I... Well it's just faster okay? We are not taking any further questions at this time. 
This is to say this NAS is a miniature powerhouse relative to its task and purpose. I setup a couple initial shares, a couple accounts, and transferred all my files over. 

Right away file share was far more stable than either the USB drive I'd tried attached to the ASUS router and far more reasonable than running a full sized desktop to be running all the time. Also really so much better to consolidate storage from many places.

The DS Finder app on mobile is used during initial setup and for general admin. Its been great so far, which I kind of expect for modern devices (like ASUS routers). One tidbit is that during setup you setup an account and the first account is a general admin which I went back in later to add a separated admin user and demoted my own "normal" account. 

One awesome app on the Synology is Cloud Sync basically to pull down files from OneDrive and Google drive, and any number of accounts which gives me a real backup of all that data.

The photos stuff I'm not 100% keen on as it looks like Synology has been trying different things over the years and that's the one thing that's really long term retention so not too confident there yet. It's not like the files go away so I am trying the Moments app which is scooping pictures from my phone and uploading them to the NAS. I went through the Google Takeout process to harvest all my photos that are up there and copy them to the NAS, plus the computer, plus the laptop, etc. 

That's about as far as I've gotten so once I do start setting more up on there whether external access like to get files from mobile device while remote or Plex Server and dumping more multimedia on there, all kinds of cool stuff on there eventually.


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