What are the steps to install and configure a RAID 1 array on a Synology DS218+ for data redundancy?

12 June 2024

Data redundancy is crucial for anyone who values their digital information, and creating a RAID 1 array on a Synology DS218+ NAS (Network Attached Storage) device can significantly bolster your data protection strategy. In this article, we will walk you through the complete process of installing and configuring a RAID 1 array, ensuring your data is safe and accessible.

Understanding the Basics of Synology NAS and RAID 1

Before delving into the setup, let's clarify the essential concepts. Synology NAS devices, such as the DS218+, provide a centralized storage solution that allows multiple users to store and access data securely. A RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) setup, particularly RAID 1, mirrors your data across two or more drives, ensuring data redundancy and fault tolerance.

RAID 1 is ideal for users who prioritize data protection over storage capacity. In this configuration, data is duplicated on each disk, meaning that if one disk fails, your data remains safe on the other. Now, let’s move on to the practical steps.

Preparing Your Synology DS218+ and Drives

To begin this journey, you need to have your Synology DS218+ and at least two compatible hard drives. Ensure the drives are of the same capacity for optimal performance. Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Unbox and Assemble: Carefully unbox your Synology DS218+ and install the two drives in the drive bays. Secure them properly to avoid any physical damage.
  2. Connect and Power On: Connect the NAS device to your network using an Ethernet cable, then connect the power supply and turn on the NAS.
  3. Access the DSM: Synology’s DiskStation Manager (DSM) is the operating system for your NAS. Open a web browser and enter "find.synology.com" to locate your NAS device. Follow the on-screen instructions to set up your DSM.

With your NAS powered on and connected to the network, it's time to configure the storage.

Configuring Your RAID 1 Setup

Creating a Storage Pool

The first step in setting up your RAID 1 array is to create a storage pool. A storage pool is a collection of disks that allows you to manage the storage space effectively. In DSM, go to the Storage Manager:

  1. Click on Storage Manager: On the left-hand menu of the DSM interface, click on Storage Manager to open the storage configuration settings.
  2. Create a New Storage Pool: Click on "Create" and select "Create Storage Pool". Choose RAID 1 from the available RAID types.
  3. Select Your Drives: Select the two drives you installed earlier. It will warn you that this action will erase all data on the drives, so make sure you have backup copies if necessary.
  4. Confirm and Create: Confirm your selection, name the storage pool, and click "Apply" to create the RAID 1 storage pool. The system will take a few minutes to build the RAID array.

Setting Up the Volume

Once the storage pool is created, you need to set up a volume to use the storage space:

  1. Create Volume: In Storage Manager, go to the Volume tab and click on "Create".
  2. Select Storage Pool: Choose the storage pool you just created.
  3. Configure Volume: Follow the prompts to configure the volume settings, including the file system (typically Btrfs for its advanced features).
  4. Finalize: Click "Apply" to create the volume. This may take some time as the system formats the drives and sets up the file system.

Creating Shared Folders and Managing Data

Creating a Shared Folder

Shared folders are the primary way to manage your data within the NAS. Here’s how to create one:

  1. Go to Control Panel: In DSM, navigate to the Control Panel and select "Shared Folder".
  2. Create New Folder: Click "Create" and follow the prompts to name your shared folder and select the storage volume.
  3. Set Permissions: Configure access permissions for users and groups. This step ensures that only authorized users can access the data.
  4. Apply Settings: Click "Apply" to create the shared folder.

Accessing Your Data

To access your data, you can map the shared folder as a network drive on your computer. For Windows users:

  1. Open File Explorer: Right-click on "This PC" and select "Map network drive".
  2. Enter Network Path: Enter the path to your shared folder (e.g., [yourNASname][sharedfoldername]).
  3. Authenticate: Provide your NAS username and password.
  4. Access: Click "Finish" to map the network drive, which will now appear in your File Explorer.

For mobile operating systems like system Android or Windows Mobile, you can install the Synology apps such as DS File to access your data on-the-go.

Ensuring Data Protection and Backup

Configuring Data Backup

Even with RAID 1's data protection, it’s prudent to have additional backup strategies:

  1. Hyper Backup: Use Synology’s Hyper Backup to back up your data to an external drive, remote NAS, or cloud service.
  2. Scheduled Backups: Set up regular backup schedules to ensure your data is continuously protected.

Monitoring and Maintenance

Regularly monitor the health of your drives through Storage Manager:

  1. SMART Tests: Run SMART tests to check the health status of your drives.
  2. Notifications: Configure email or mobile notifications for drive failures or other critical issues.

Expanding Storage Capacity

If you ever need to expand storage capacity, Synology makes it straightforward:

  1. Add Drive: If your NAS model supports it, you can add additional drives. For the DS218+, you can replace existing drives with higher-capacity ones.
  2. Click Expand: In Storage Manager, select "Manage" and "Expand" to utilize the new capacity.

By following the steps outlined in this article, you've successfully installed and configured a RAID 1 array on your Synology DS218+. This setup enhances data redundancy and ensures that your critical information is safeguarded against unexpected drive failures. Your Synology DiskStation now stands as a robust storage solution, ready to handle your data storage needs with reliability and efficiency.

Remember, regular backup and maintenance are key to maintaining the integrity of your data protection strategy. With these precautions in place, you can rest assured that your data is secure and readily accessible, whether you are at home or on the go.

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