What is Synology Raid Calculator and How to Use it?


What is a Synology Disktation?

Most people have heard about a NAS (Network Attached Storage) unit, but not everyone knows what it is. The Synology Diskstation is a computer appliance that provides file sharing and centralized data storage.

Synology’s Disktations are powerful machines designed to do much more than store and share files. They also include their operating system and software suite, which allows them to be used as network servers for all sorts of applications.

These applications can be accessed by connecting to your Diskstation from other computers on your local area network, or through the Internet if you wish using Synology’s QuickConnect. For example, I manage my home music library with Plex Media Server running on one of my units because it has an iTunes-compatible interface and lets me stream my music to any device with a web browser.

The application suite is improved regularly by Synology, so the best way to see what your system could do for you would be to take a look at their website from time to time.

This setup works well because I always have multiple copies of my files, which was also one of the main advantages of using RAID in the first place – redundancy. If you only have one copy of all your files then backing up that single set is a lot more important than it would otherwise be if you had multiple copies. All it takes is one disk to fail and you lose your important data.

What happens if a disk fails in the Synology Diskstation?

The RAID will be degraded, which means it will still function but one disk is down so you won’t be able to add any files or remove any files from this NAS until the RAID has been repaired. This option is available from the DiskStation Manager (DSM) web interface under ‘Storage’.

Synology manufactures network-attached storage devices running Synology DiskStation Manager, an operating system based on the Linux kernel. The raid calculator is a Web application allowing users to select between different RAID types when building a RAID set with their NAS device.


The Synology Raid Calculator

The RAID calculator will automatically determine the number of hard disks needed for a particular RAID type. If any disks are removed from the set, the calculator will recalculate how these changes alter the capacity and performance of each RAID type, allowing users to easily choose between different disk configurations.

Recently, Synology released DSM 5.0 beta 2 which allows users to expand storage volumes without having to reformat. This means that one can change disk configurations on the fly, which is made possible by creating multiple volume copies in DSM 4.3 or later.

The RAID Calculator is available here: https://www.synology.com/en-au/support/RAID_calculator

Synology’s RAID Calculator is a simple web-based utility that lets users easily calculate the most suitable RAID type to suit their storage needs. With this tool, users can choose from various options to instantly see which RAID configuration provides optimal performance as well as capacity for the disks chosen. In addition, users can also perform advanced calculations using decimal values (e.g., 10.25 TB), which is not supported by other similar tools found on the Internet.

Synology has recently released new updates for their DiskStation Manager (DSM) software with exciting new features catering to businesses

The Synology raid calculator requires only two inputs:

  • Number of disks in the array
  • Purpose of usage for the array

On the results page, the user can read about how safety is increased through redundancy and they can view any additional information they need about each level including write penalty.

How to use the Synology Raid Calculator?

The first step to adding a new array is choosing the number of disks from the list.

Once this is complete, users can select what type of usage they will have for their array from the drop-down menu. The calculator takes into consideration what RAID level best fits each desired usage scenario and shows exactly how safety is increased through redundancy as well as any additional information users may find helpful.

For example, if someone’s going to be storing video files on an array, which requires heavy writing capability, it might be wise to opt for higher redundancy settings such as RAID 6 or 10 instead of a lower redundancy setting like RAID 5. Should a drive fail, the method of redundancy with a RAID 5 array would mean that one data drive is lost while all other drives still function properly. With RAID 6 or 10, two drives could theoretically be lost before the entire array fails.

While this information may seem complicated to someone who has never used a RAID before, tools like these are designed to help ease the fear of working with important data by providing proper calculations and offering helpful advice where possible. It’s something every NAS owner should look at before ever creating an array.

It is also worth noting that there are scenarios where users might find it beneficial to simply leave their disks as JBOD (which Synology refers to as single disk mode) instead of using any form of redundancy to protect their storage. It all depends on the use case for each system.

While I do recommend using some kind of redundancy with your disks to protect against data loss, it’s important to understand that you shouldn’t rely solely on RAID arrays or other forms of protection to make sure your data is always safe and sound. Proper backups are a must for maintaining peace of mind when working with large amounts of data in any situation.

Some additional FAQs:

Can I lose data if my entire array fails?

Some data can be lost before the entire array fails. While this information may seem complicated to someone who has never used a RAID before, tools like these are designed to help ease the fear of data loss by showing users exactly what’s happening, and what they need to do to get everything back up and running.

What if both my drives aren’t the same size?

The larger of the two will be used for parity, while the smaller will function as a well-sized cache drive that can be upgraded at any point.

I’ve never used RAID before; is it simple to set up?

Of course! The Synology system is easy to use because it has preset for every common RAID setting. Everything is controlled by drop-down menus and simple text fields, so there’s no need to stare at cryptic numbers or settings when configuring things like striping and mirroring.

Do I need to worry about backups?

Backups are performed automatically to ensure everything is safe at all times; this includes real-time replicas which make sure items are backed up instantly after they’re modified on either disk.

We provide IT Support to small businesses in Melbourne so if you’ve got an issue with your NAS, get in touch with us!

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...