Professional Photographer looking for best way to set up Synology NAS?

Good afternoon,

Have a question about the best way forward with acquiring a Synology NAS…

I am currently looking at the 1821+

So I am a professional photographer and I currently have over 50TB worth of images saved on multiple external G-drives.

My images are sorted in folders by years, and then by the type of events (Sports, Portraits, Client, etc)…

If/when I purchase the 1821+ …what is the best configuration? In my mind, I am thinking installing the 16TB hard drives…8 of them, then likely upgrade the memory and maybe cache to SSDs…

Couple questions:

What is the best way to transfer my images from the G-drives to the NAS?

I do not think I want to use Synology Photos for my images but I am not sure…

Wanted to ask the community and get your thoughts on the best way forward.


So the easiest way to transfer is going to be to hook up your drives to your computer and transfer them via SMB (either windows file explorer or macOS finder).

If I were you I would enable shared space on Synology Photos and copy all of your .jpg exports to the /photo folder. Then copy all of your RAW files to the NAS in a separate folder.

I have a video coming out on May 8th that goes over the whole workflow!

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Got it, thanks Will.

Do you think the set I described will be a solid set up and allow me to expand…any suggestions on the configuration of the 1821+?

Looking forward to your video on the 8th


So the setup I would go with with your NAS would be 8x 16 drives in a RAID6 volume (SHR2 is fine as well [same thing]). This would give you

16TB x (8-2)drives = 96TB (useable)

Which should be more than enough for you short term. Then if you end up needing even more space you can buy an expansion unit for it, and use that to archive some of your years to that unit

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If you are doing bulk transfers from the external drives then plugging them directly into the synology 1821+ could work to suck the files onto the nas using filestation if you are planning to retain your organizational structures (assuming they are in a compatible filesystem). Otherwise as @Will suggested you can move the files over smb if they are not in a compatible filesystem.

The ram upgrade might speed up interface a bit for such a large dataset, but your biggest bang for the buck is going to come from pinning your metadata to the ssd cache. For some inexpensive and durable nvme’s look at the intel optane p1600x 118GB nvme drives (newegg etc… have them pretty reasonably priced so you can get a pair of them for under $200)

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Using the drive plugged directly into the NAS is an absolutely awesome setup, when it works. You get ~3x time the speeds of wired ethernet where you are capping out the speed of the external drive, plus you can leave it running and close your laptop / computer.

The problem: in my experience, ExFAT is the only file system that I have not run into any issues with doing this. Even though the Synology can read HFS+ and NTFS as well. Both these formats I have found issues with not all the files getting transferred for one reason or another

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I’m curious if this is still an issue?

I’m currently copying my files to my new NAS from a WD external drive plugged into my NAS 1522+. I think my WD is using NTFS.
Seems to be working great, but now I wonder if I’ll find missing files later?

NTFS does seem to work really well.

I still generally avoid it, just because I have seen issues. But they were all with MacOS formatted drives which are their own beast. So as long as you do a check up you should be fine

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Thanks Will! So far, my number of files has been accurate between the source and the new destination.