Seagate 10TB IronWolf hard disk and Synology DiskStation DS916+ (8GB)
– Is this the right storage system for you?
Most of us (photographers) use an insane amount of storage space. While many have invested heavily in camera bodies and lenses, some have missed out on the importance of a good and reliable storage system.
20th March 2017, Singapore – For professional photographers, a problem that we commonly face is the lack of storage space. We are always on the lookout for safe and reliable systems that give us peace of mind. Having said that, allow me to share with you my preferred data storage solution combo – Seagate 10TB IronWolf hard disk and Synology DiskStation DS916+.
Before I go into the technical aspects, let me share how this combo will benefit you as a photographer/ videographer. Although there are many functions that comes with this set up, let me get straight to the most important point that resulted in my buying decision.
I’m sure everybody is aware of how much emphasis I place on backing up data. This is the result of many expensive and unforgettable lessons I’ve learnt in the past. One of the most memorable incident was when my hard disk broke down, causing me to lose months’ worth of work that was due for submission. This episode not only created a negative impact on my reputation, but also resulted in financial loss as I was required to compensate the client for the delay. I am sure some of you out there have experienced similar situations, and know how painful it is to lose images or have your backup data corrupted due to hardware fault. What’s worse, very often we buy these hardware with the hope that our data will be securely stored. Sounds familiar?
Image: The Synology DS916+ has a Zen-like and compact design. It is sleek looking, with LED lights indicating that the bay is in use (or warning), 3 USB 3.0 ports in total and a power button!
I had enough of these incidents, and after much research, I found that having a NAS system is the ideal solution to provide me with a safety net for my data. Now let me tell you more about what I’ve learnt. How does having a backup system that ensures your data will always be safe and retrievable sound? Have you heard of using RAID for data redundancy and/or performance improvement? Now listen to this, I’ll attempt to explain what RAID means in layman’s terms. RAID is a mechanism that protects your data from hard drive failure. That is when one or two of your hard drives fail, your data can still remain intact with a RAID protection. Find it simply explained in the below graphs.
To make things even simpler, Synology provides an online RAID calculator to help you find out the RAID configuration that best suits your need. https://www.synology.com/en-us/support/RAID_calculator
If RAID sounds unfamiliar and challenging, then you can opt for Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR) which is available in all Synology NAS systems. This is an automated RAID management system built for users with little technical background but seek data storage protection. 1-disk or 2-disk worth of redundancy is allowed with SHR, this means that the SHR volume can suffer up to two disks lost, and the data volume will still be available for use. For those who are familiar with RAID, another option for data protection can be a RAID 10 configuration, and this is what I am using.
Another reason why you should choose Synology NAS is because of their operating system. They even have a cool name for it, Synology DiskStation Manager(DSM) 6.1. It is very easy to use, and allows you to download any application you need. Personally, I’ve downloaded the Photo Station and Video Station package. This allows me to access my photos and videos anywhere, on both my laptop and mobile devices. Whenever I need to share specific photos or videos with my client remotely, all I need to do is simply enable the “public sharing” option, and share the file links with them. This is useful especially with Government stat boards and large MNCs. These organizations usually restrict their employees from using popular online-based data-transfer sites like Dropbox, Google Drive and WeTransfer due to strict file-sharing policies. Before using Synology NAS, be it sharing my portfolio or delivering the final work to clients, it’s always been very manual – copying data into a portable hard disk or burning CDs, thereafter delivering it to the clients in person. This is time-consuming and certainly counter-productive. With the DS916+, the workflow process is very much streamlined and efficient.
Do you also know that the DS916+ can also transcode videos in 4K Ultra HD? I’ve tested it out and I was extremely impressed that the lag time is greatly reduced during playback and while doing the (usually) painful video editing work for high definition videos. The transcoding capabilities also makes streaming video a silky-smooth experience for me. If you have ever done video-editing for weddings especially the “actual-day videos” you will understand the pain when the video files take forever to load and you need the edited videos in a couple of hours. I should also highlight that video-editing is a lot faster when I paired DS916+ with the 10TB IronWolf hard disk.
Looking at the Synology DiskStation DS916+, it comes with an Intel Pentium Quad-Core CPU and AES-NI hardware encryption engine. You can expand it further (up to 9 bay) by adding an expansion unit like the Synology DX513. If you are using a 10TB hard disk, you basically have up to 90TB of storage solution. This is insane!
Now that I’ve shared the benefits of having an amazing NAS setup, it’s time to talk about the hard disk that needs to go into it. I choose the Seagate 10TB IronWolf hard disk because they are available in multiple storage capacities (up to 10TB) thus offering me different options that best fits my needs and budget. The one I’m currently using, is a 10TB IronWolf hard disk designed specifically for NAS system. It is equipped with multi—user technology that supports user workload rate of up to 180 TB/year. In addition to that, what sets apart the IronWolf hard disk from the rest, is the incorporation of the AgileArray technology. AgileArray is a set of hardware, firmware, and software features that gives you the best NAS performance. I would like to highlight two things that I’ve noticed while using this IronWolf hard disk. Firstly, reading and writing speed have increased quite substantially compared to my old hard disk. Secondly, it is a lot quieter. This was due to the dual plane balancing which brought about less vibration in the hard disk thus leading to quieter operation. Coupled with advanced power management features, I would say that the IronWolf hard disk operates well in 24×7 conditions.
If you ever experienced hard disk failures, you would understand how expensive data recovery services can be! Seagate offers a data Rescue plan that protects your data for up to 3 years, and it will only cost you a fraction of the price that you are paying to 3rd party data recovery services. They also have an in-lab data retrieval success rate of 90%. That’s pretty impressive! Moreover, data recovery by the Seagate’s team is conducted in a secured in-house lab, so you don’t have to worry about stolen data or identity theft. On top of that, Seagate also offers a hassle-free recovery process. Simply call the Seagate Rescue plan customer service line and send your device to the nearest collection point.
Best of all, Seagate has partnered with Synology to launch IronWolf Health Management (IHM). It is a feature that effectively monitors the health status of your IronWolf hard disks in a Synology NAS system. It monitors drive health status and provides suggested actions, and offers a higher accuracy in predicting drive failure. Now, you don’t have to worry about a hard disk failure as the system will prompt you if it detects any abnormalities. Cool right?
As such, I find this combo, Synology DS916+ and 10TB IronWolf hard disk well-suited for the visual arts & creative industry due to its scalability, reliability and accessibility. For myself, I’m fully utilizing the remote access capability which has made client meetings a lot easier as it allows me to access my full archive at the touch of my fingertips. In short, with 24×7 remote access, instant backups and the ability to share your files anyway, life is so much easier when you want to share ideas and concepts!
Seagate is the global leader in data storage solutions, developing amazing products that enable people and businesses around the world to create, share and preserve their most critical memories and business data.
IronWolf Quick Specs:
- Capacity: 1T, 2TB, 3TB, 4TB, 6TB, 8TB, 10TB
- RV Sensors (selected capacities): Consistent performance in multi-bay environment
- Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) (hours): 1M
- Non-recoverable Read Errors per Bits Read, Max: 1 per 10E15
- Rescue Services: Optional
- Spindle Speed (RPM): 7200 RPM
- Max Sustained Transfer Rate OD (MB/s): 210 MB/s
- 3-years warranty
*For full specifications, please visit here.
Founded in 2000, Synology is dedicated to develop high-performance, reliable, versatile, and environmentally-friendly NAS servers. Our goal is to deliver agile and cost-effective solutions, solid customer service, and ultimately to ensure individuals and business the versatility of choices.
Synology DS916+ Quick Specs:
- CPU Model: Intel Pentium N3710
- CPU Architecture: 64-bit
- CPU Frequency: Quad Core 1.6 burst up to 2.56 GHz
- Floating Point
- Hardware Encryption Engine (AES-NI)
- Hardware Transcoding Engine: H.264 (AVC), H.265 (HEVC), MPEG-2 and VC-1; maximum resolution: 4K (4096 x 2160); maximum frame rate per second (FPS): 30
- System Memory: 2 / 8 GB DDR3
- Drive Bay(s): 4
- Maximum Drive Bays with Expansion Unit: 9
- Compatible Drive Type:
- 5″ SATA III / SATA II HDD
- 5″ SATA III / SATA II HDD
- 5″ SATA III / SATA II SSD
For full specifications, please visit here.