My first NAS was a Synology DS109. Apart from the fact that it didn’t have redundant disks (I actually bought a DS109j as well, to give to my parents and act as a replica, but in practice, I’ve never set up the replication), I really liked it. Synology’s support is outstanding, their latest firmware release is from 2017, 8 years after the device came to the market . But in 2015 support officially ended, still an impressive 6 years.

So, around that time, I was looking for a replacement, and getting a new Synology would be a logical choice. There were a few reasons not to go that route:

  • Synology DSM seemed as a risky attack vector. With cryptolockers gaining popularity, and given that these would probably target ’the obvious’ (Synology / QNAP), my estimate was that a plain Linux machine would be less receptive to these attacks.
  • Synology started to add more and more features. Did I really need this, or would just SMB shares be enough? And if I needed those features, did I want to combine this into one machine?
  • Although 6 years support was more than I hoped for, in essence, a NAS is nothing more than a Linux distribution. I would probably get even longer support if I would go self-built.

These points combined, together with a very attractive price-point of an HP Microserver Gen8 were for me the reasons to go for a self-built machine. For just over 200 Euro, I could get a Microserver with an x86 Celeron CPU, 4 GB memory, and 4 slots for drives, in a really nice package. A DS416 that was way less powerful would cost double the price. So, at that moment, definetely the best choice for me.

7 years later, I think the points above are still valid - maybe the second a bit different nowadays: maybe you do want to combine these, but in a way that you control.

So, my new NAS will be self-built again…