Greta is a RHEL Sysadmin at Red Hat. She keeps hearing about Synology, but she doesn't know what it is. Please use the term "Free Software" vice "open source in your answers as you answer the following questions.

  1. What is Synology and what problem does it solve?
  2. What is the history of Synology?
  3. What are the best use cases for Synology?
  4. What are the strengths and weaknesses of Synology?
  5. Please show and explain the detailed step-by-step process of installing and setting up Synology on a modern GNU/Linux computer system.

What is Synology?

Synology is a company known for its Network Attached Storage (NAS) products. A NAS is a storage device connected to a network that allows the storage and retrieval of data from a central location for authorized network users and varied clients. Synology devices run on DiskStation Manager (DSM), a Linux-based operating system specifically designed for their NAS products.

Problem Synology Solves:

  1. Centralized Storage: Provides a centralized location for storing files, making them accessible to users across the network.
  2. Data Backup and Recovery: Offers solutions for data backup and disaster recovery.
  3. Multimedia and Personal Cloud: Allows users to set up their own cloud storage for multimedia and personal data.
  4. Surveillance: Some models support surveillance systems with camera feeds.
  5. File Sharing and Collaboration: Facilitates easy file sharing and collaboration within and outside an organization.

History of Synology

Synology was founded in 2000 with a focus on NAS and RAID technologies. Over the years, it expanded its product line to include NAS devices suitable for both home and business use, emphasizing user-friendly interfaces and a wide range of applications.

Best Use Cases for Synology

  1. Small to Medium-sized Businesses: For centralized file management, backup, and collaboration tools.
  2. Home Users: Media streaming, personal cloud storage, and home surveillance.
  3. IT Environments: Backup solutions, virtualization storage, and as a file server.
  4. Creative Professionals: As a centralized storage for large multimedia files and projects.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Synology


  1. User-Friendly Interface: DSM is known for its ease of use.
  2. Versatility: Wide range of applications and services.
  3. Reliability and Quality: Generally high build quality and reliable performance.
  4. Community and Support: Strong community and good customer support.


  1. Cost: Can be more expensive compared to DIY solutions.
  2. Hardware Limitations: Some models may have limitations in terms of hardware upgradeability.
  3. Proprietary Nature: While DSM is based on Linux, it's a proprietary system, which might limit certain customizations and uses.

Installing and Setting Up Synology on a Modern GNU/Linux Computer System

Synology NAS devices are standalone hardware products; you don't install DSM (the operating system used by Synology) on a separate GNU/Linux system. However, if you want to access a Synology NAS from a GNU/Linux system, you would typically do the following:

  1. Connect the Synology NAS to Your Network: Unbox the NAS, install the hard drives (if not pre-installed), and connect it to your network via Ethernet.

  2. Initial Setup:

    • Power on the Synology NAS.
    • From your GNU/Linux computer, open a web browser and go to or the IP address of the NAS if you know it. This will open the Synology Web Assistant.
    • Follow the on-screen instructions to install the DSM operating system on the NAS. This will include setting up an administrator account, updating DSM to the latest version, and configuring basic network settings.
  3. Configuring Storage:

    • In DSM, open the Storage Manager.
    • Set up a Storage Pool and create a volume. This involves choosing the type of RAID (if applicable), and formatting the drives.
  4. Creating Shared Folders and Users:

    • Create shared folders on the NAS using the Control Panel.
    • Add users and set permissions for each shared folder.
  5. Accessing the NAS from GNU/Linux:

    • Install NFS or Samba client on your GNU/Linux system if not already present.
    • Mount the NAS shared folders on your GNU/Linux system using NFS or SMB/CIFS protocols.
  6. Additional Configurations:

    • Set up backup tasks, media servers, or other applications through the DSM interface based on your needs.
    • Configure network settings, such as port forwarding if remote access is required.
  7. Regular Maintenance:

    • Regularly check for DSM updates for security and new features.
    • Monitor the health of your disks and backups.

Please note that Synology NAS is more of a plug-and-play solution with its own dedicated hardware and does not involve installing its operating system on a separate GNU/Linux system. The interaction with a GNU/Linux system is primarily for accessing and managing the data stored on the NAS.