World Backup Day: Getting started with Synology DS220J NAS 9to5Toys

Even with everything going on in the world, keeping your important files, family photos, and other content backed up is always something to have on your mind. In fact, having a reliable at-home backup might be even more relevant these days. So with today being World Backup Day, we’re taking a deep dive into how using Synology’s latest entry-level NAS, you can build a respective backup server, or upgrade an existing for off-site storage and more. Head below for all the details.

Best World Backup Day practices: 3-2-1 rules supreme

When it comes to actually backing up your data, there are far better solutions than just plugging in a USB hard drive, transferring over some files, and calling it a day. Arguably, the most famous and certainly one of the most comprehensive ways to keep files safe is known as the 3-2-1 plan. Adopting this strategy means you’ll need three total copies of your information, two of which being located on different mediums. So if you have a collection of family photos saved on your computer, duplicating them over to another drive or system gets you halfway towards meeting the criteria. 

Now that third copy of your files should be kept somewhere offsite, be it with a service as universally used as iCloud Drive, Dropbox, and BackBlaze, or even a NAS at your friend or parents’ house. We’ll circle back to that latter option in just a second. 

All of that is to say, implementing 3-2-1 in your own files is a sure-fire way to prevent losing important content and the like. So where does a NAS fit into the whole 3-2-1 solution? Actually, in nearly every aspect of the backup strategy. For one, having a dedicated server for backups removes forgetfulness from the equation. Plugging in a hard drive periodically is prone to being put off, with a NAS ensuring everything happens automatically with something like Time Machine.

There’s also the added benefit of being able to distribute content to several machines simultaneously, run additional software, and even act as a security system.

Enter Synology’s DS220J NAS

As Synology’s latest entry-level NAS, you’re looking at a 2-bay system backed by a 1.4GHz processor and 512MB of RAM. Connectivity is fairly standard in the always-on storage world, with a Gigabit Ethernet slot alongside dual USB 3.0 ports. Across the two bays, you’ll be able to achieve an upwards of 32TB storage pool when outfitting it with 16TB drives. All of these specs make the Synology DS220J a value-packed option that’s suitable for a variety of tasks. So whether you’re just foraying into the world of having always-on storage, or are a veteran data hoarder, there’s a lot to like. 

A great entry-level machine

Entering at the $170 retail price point, Synology’s latest NAS is about as value-focused as they come. The specs don’t scream comprehensive server the way that some of the more feature-packed 4- and 5-bay models do, but it’s still quite the capable always-on storage system. So if you’re just now thinking it’s time to make the step up from a USB hard drive into something more flexible for your home media distribution needs, the DS220J is worth a closer look. 

Since it is World Backup day and we’re already talking ways to be more conscious about your data’s security, that’s arguably one of the best use cases of something like Synology’s 2-bay NAS. Even if those two hard drive slots don’t seem that important, having that redundancy goes a long way towards preventing lost data. 

When you first setup the NAS, you’ll have to decide how to format the drives. Over on Synology’s website, there’s a helpful tool that lets you play around with a number of drives, capacities, and RAID type. For the DS220J, you’re looking at being able to choose between the company’s own Synology Hybrid RAID format, as well as more standard RAID configurations. In either case, you’re looking at a similar level of redundancy. SHR and RAID 1 leverage both of the hard drives to create a self-contained redundant piece of storage. So if you add in two 4TB drives, you’ll be left with a 4TB storage pool. Unless you’re pretty savvy with storage formats, going with SHR is an easy recommendation. It’s more flexible than RAID 1, and allows for easier expansion down the line if you decide to upgrade drives and the like. 

If you just want as much storage as possible, RAID 0 would give you 8TB in the aforementioned example. But keep in mind if one drive fails, you’ll lose the data, which isn’t in the spirit of World Backup Day.

Of course, Synology’s DS220J NAS is capable of handling more than just backups. You can easily run everything from smart home servers and more. Plus, if you won’t be doing any transcoding, the DS220J should be able to handle dishing out content from Plex. 

Perfect for expanding, offsite backups, and more

For those who have home servers already equipped with large storage pools, adding something like the Synology DS220J into the mix is a great way to free up some disk space, or lighten the load of your main NAS. While there’s something to be said for a single machine that handles all of your backup and media server needs, splitting the two can often lead to enhanced performance, let alone the ongoing theme of redundancy. And since it’s World Backup Day, we’re all about that. 

On the topic of backups, aside from just offering a local place to redundantly store important data, the Synology DS220J’s lower-end price point makes it a compelling solution for handling offsite storage. As we mentioned previously, having a copy of your files in a separate location is what makes the 3-2-1 ideology so foolproof. But if you don’t want to shell out a monthly fee to beam your data into the cloud, making an upfront investment will offer similar functionality. There’s also the security and privacy benefits of rolling your own server, as well.

This is how I took advantage of the DS220J. It’s currently being loaded up with some backups of all my machines and then will have a permanent home at my parent’s place. Synology’s QuickConnect feature allows for connecting over without having to worry about port-forwarding or anything of that nature. So I can easily access the system remotely for backups or to grab some files down the road.

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