Building A Personal Cloud With Seagate 12TB Hard Drives And Synology DS918+ NAS

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The Synology DS918+ Network Attached Server

With the drive details and performance out of the way, we've shown you want individual Seagate 12TB Barracuda Pro and IronWolf drives can do. But single-drive configurations aren't really what the IronWolf is intended for. The IronWolf is meant to be use in multi-drive arrays inside a file server, so we also set up a quartet of IronWolf drives inside a Synology DiskStation DS918+ Network-Attached Server to evaluate performance and to use the IronWolf drives as Seagate envisioned.

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The Synology DiskStation DS918+ is a 4-bay devices that targets pro-sumer and small-business applications. It's a sleek, little box only a few inches wider and taller than four hard drives stacked side-by-side, but packs in some relatively powerful hardware and unique features for a device of its class. Take a look at its specs and then we'll walk through some of the main features and setup...
Synology DiskStation DS918+ NAS
Specifications & Features

synology specs

The Synology DiskStation DS918+ is built around an Intel Celeron J3455, low-power, quad-core processor with a base clock of 1.5GHz and that can boost up to 2.3GHz. It also features 4GB of RAM (expandable to 8GB) and a hardware transcoding engine that supports H.264 (AVC), H.265 (HEVC), MPEG-2 and VC-1; at a maximum resolution of 4K (4096 x 2160) and maximum frame rate of 30FPS.
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The matte black enclosure is mostly bare, on all sides, save for some Synology branding. The font and back are home to the four, vertically-mounted drive bays (front) and various connectors and ports (back). Out of the box, the DS918+ supports up to 4, 3.5” hard drives in addition to two M.2 solid state drives. Although a typical M.2 SSD’s performance will far exceed the bandwidth offered by a Gigabit Ethernet connection, the SSDs can be used a low-latency cache for the most commonly accessed bits of data. We should note, there is also an expansion module available that increases the maximum drive capacity up to 9.

The DS918+ support a maximum single volume of up to 108TB. With four 12TB drives, the maximum capacity will be 48TB, but when in a RAID mode that employs redundancy, the max capacity will be reduced. For example, we configured a RAID 5 array. With RAID 5, the maximum capacity is reduced by the capacity of one drive – so our setup topped out at 36TB. Internally, Btrfs and EXT4 Linux files systems are supported, but externally attached drives can use a wide array of file systems, including FAT, NTFS, etc.
synology back

The front of the DS918+ is home to a group of status indicator LEDs for drive health, power, and network status, a USB 3.0 port, the power button, and the four drive bays.

Around the back, there are a pair of Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 ports, a lock port, a hardware reset button, a pair of fans which exhaust warm air, a SATA port, power port, and another USB 3.0 port. On the bottom of the device is a small removable panel, which reveals the dual M.2 ports.
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Physically setting up the Synology DS918+ is extremely easy doesn’t require any tools. Simply press the unlock button on the drive trays and they slide ride out. They’re made of a rigid, though somewhat flexible composite material and have small pins, with rubber grommets that hold the drives in place.

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Mounting the drives in the trays is simply a matter of pushing the small pins out slightly and wrapping the tray around the drives, with the connectors facing the rear. Then push the pins and grommets in tightly and you’re done. Once the drives are mounted into the trays, they need to be slid into the open bays on the DS918+, and that’s it. Setting up the software and RAID array is the more difficult part, but Synology makes that quick and painless as well…

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