I’ve thrown my lot in with Synology in regards to my data management. On the whole, my Synology user experience has been good. I originally bought a 918+ back in 2018. It’s been running my business in the intervening years, not without any stress.

From all the offerings in the NAS world there is no denying how much Synology haven gotten right. The DSM OS really is the leader in the field as far as I can tell. It hasn’t let me down once in terms of features, ease of use or configurability. It really is a powerhouse of tools and features.

Fridays Woes – A Synology User Experience

It turns out that my DS918+ was built on a Friday afternoon. In a rush.

Within the first 3 months I’d had quite a ride, a couple of drives had dropped off the volume, often miraculously reconnecting and allowing a rebuild. 1 drive was actually dead but a pattern emerged with bay 1. The volume would get degraded if you so much a breathed wrong near it. Always bay 1. If you left it alone it would happily sit there for days running things.

Synology support weren’t very helpful. Since it was such an intermitted problem, every time they looked at the device it was running fine. Even though you could see in the logs the drives dropping and reappearing they didn’t accept there was a problem. Fast forward to just after the warranty expired and they then, 3 weeks out of warranty, admitted the device hardware had a problem.

They even had the gall to tell me that a repair would be near the cost of the new device …

This element of my experience is understandably dreadful. But like any company supplying complex devices to end users, often inexperienced, is difficult and I can see from their perspective how many times things are user error.

In Too Deep

By this time, I was knee-deep in Synology land. I had a DS918+, a C2 subscription for off-site backups, 3rd party RAM upgrade from Crucial and a CyberPower UPS. All in, around £1500 invested.

But even given this rocky road. I had not been let down. My data was safe, I use a 2 drive redundancy and I have C2. It’s a really, good package for disaster recovery and local redundancy and availability, there’s no denying it.

The Next Steps

However, towards the end of 2022 I’d had another round of drive issues in the DS918+. This time I wasn’t really prepared to carry on with the DS918+, I need reliability and availability over everything else. My Synology user experience had been a good one overall, despite the issues.

So I opted to upgrade, run the two in parallel for a while and migrate to the new device.

Welcome DS923+

I opted for sticking with Synology and going for the newly released DS923+. It’s a vastly different beast to the DS918+. The main difference being the use of an AMD CPU without integrated graphics. Meh. I used mine mainly for business and running my source code repositories. For this, with the DS923+ using ECC ram, this is a great proposition.

I don’t use the devices for media much and if I really want to, the DS918+ is still perfectly fine for any non mission critical things.

My beef with Synology is their mindless addition to pushing their own hardware. Chiefly RAM upgrades.

I’ve also purchased the extended warranty and so wanted to fully adhere to their terms and conditions. I had used a 3rd party Crucial RAM upgrade in the DS918+ which had worked flawlessly. This time I was gonna do it by the book.

So, now with the replacement all bought and running, my investment now adds:

  • DS923+
  • 3 x Toshiba 4TB N300 256MB Internal HDD
  • 1 x WD 4TB Red Pro
  • 2 x Samsung 980 250GB (read-cache)
  • D4ES01-8GB RAM Upgrade
  • Extended Warranty
  • Cyberpower VALUE2200EILCD Value Series UPS

A total of £1,498.51. Not an insignificant investment. But then it’s protecting years of my professional output in software and media. Family videos and photos … what price can you put on keep those?

Yikes. So …

Synology RAM Tax

The RAM module I wanted and Synology list as “compatible” – the D4ES02-8GB – is entirely unobtainable for me here in the UK. None of my usual suppliers have it. I spoke with Ballicom, Box, EBuyer and CCL. None of them have any and non of them have any idea when they will.

Synology are famously fickle about RAM, support and warranties, so it’s not a trivial issue. Use their RAM, all is fine. Use the same RAM with a different label on it, oh no you don’t … stupid.

So I have a device where I literally cannot buy the RAM they specify. The only place that listed this module in stock was the Synology Amazon US site, with a 4-6 week lead time on despatch but they don’t ship to UK businesses.

Add to that the cost of £174.99 vs £43.71 FOR THE SAME RAM and it’s basically an exercise is gouging as much cash out of your customers as possible.

I could forgive a “Synology mark up” … 30% say. But over 4 times the price? Really? A 300% mark up.

I would love to hear the Synology marketing department attempt to justify that. Its disgraceful frankly. Make your warranty dependant on upgrades your customers cannot buy and when they can, MAKE THEM PAY. Also, they D4ES02-8GB is in fact EXACTLY the same as their own D4ES01-8GB … the only difference is the part number.

Synology, stop being mind-numbingly stupid. Please. You’re insulting your customers.

Do I recommened Synology? Yes, I do. But good grief they do some dumb shit.

The DS923+

It has caused a bit of a stir in the NAS community due to dropping the Intel CPU with integrated graphics. To be fair, it does depart from the 9xx+ family tree quite significantly. It’s a bit of an add choice as nothing was stopping them from just making a business focussed 9xx variant.

Either way, the device is killer for my use as a business focussed user. The ECC ram was actually a major driver in my decision. Ideal for a server and my primary use case of software development.

I still couldn’t justify going all SSD due to the still relatively high prices of 4TB SSDs. One day …

I have loaded it with a mixture of 4TB Toshiba and WD Red drives from different shops and, hopefully, batches of drives. I have two Samsung NVMe 980s in an SSD Read Cache and a 2 drive fail-over SHR array. also installed a D4ES01-8GB RAM module taking the device to 12GB of RAM. This is quietly sat behind me running a RAM test right now.

The performance is well above my DS918+ running GitLab and various other services.

Migrating all the data from the DS918+ to the DS923+ was simple, all I have left to do is migrate the C2 service to the new device.

Great device. Get one!!


Whilst my experience with the DS918+ wasn’t problem free it has been a joy to use and has performed it’s task in what could be described as adverse conditions. Whatever the root cause is, it suffered multiple drive failures and soldiered on.

Isn’t that the point?

You could argue that I had multiple disasters forced upon me and I came out victorious … just both actors were the DS918+ … LOL.

So my Synology user experience has been a good one. Just more expensive than it should have been.

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