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Replace TimeCapsule with AirPort Extreme+Synology?

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I currently have a TimeCapsule (old 1st gen upgraded to 2TB) backing up an iMac via WiFi and performing the duties of a wireless router. It also provides temporary space for exchanging files with an old MacBook, and its USB port shares a printer over WiFi. The iMac itself is getting a bit full, so I'd like to move my large photo library externally, while ensuring it (and everything else) is still backed up.

I'm anxious to avoid spaghetti and having too many appliances to administer & maintain. Looking for a clean and simple solution. How about perhaps:

- Replace old TimeCapsule with a modern Airport Extreme (simultaneous dual band wi-fi and guest networking is appealing)

- Hook a Synology DS213/4 NAS to the Airport Extreme (2 disks mirrored)

- Have a 3rd spare disk to rotate weekly with one of the two Synology disks.

The idea is that the Synology will take over TimeMachine duties, and also provide space for the (external) photo library, while the spare 3rd disk will provide a cold backup.

Is a Synology NAS robust enough to simply hot swap one of its two disks with a cold spare weekly? Will it update the out-of-date spare automatically as soon as I rotate them?

Redundancy isn't that important to me, but an offline cold backup of everything is (e.g. in case I delete a photo accidentally), together with minimum 'set it and forget it' administration.

Even this seems over-complicated - is there a simpler solution? (Perhaps if I wish hard enough a Synology DS214Air with 802.11ac/simultaneous dual-band/guest networking/hot swap will appear :) )

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I use a 712+ for Time Machine and family photo/music archive. I think what you want to do is about the same as what I do, but instead of the complexity of a third disk, which I think will grow to be a PITA, I use a 2TB portable USB drive that I have the Synology back up to. It's easier to rotate one of those as a pseudo third disk than to rotate disks into the Synology. You could also use cloud backup services if you're real worried about it.

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Simple question, multiple answers:

1- Asuming you're not too savy on infotech, I suggest you 1:

  • Get an Asus router (ac68u or newr) by far more powerful,and feature rich (Apple's Ariport extreme dont have AC68u's: Range, bitorrent client, Port Forwarding (for efficient p2p links) and a large etc, no comparision),
  • Get any 2 or 4 bay Synology NAS, best overall and easy to use NAS.

Alternative: Wait for Synology DS215air is an sort of AirportExtreme TimeMachine shaped as cube with 3 lan 1 wan plus 2 USB 2 HDD, maybe not big range but promises.

This setup will cost you about 220 for the Router plus 300~ for an empty 2 Bay Synology NAS ( I suggest DS214Play -upto 5TB on Raid1- with outstanding multimedia transcoding or DS414slim minimalist with 4 bats for 2.5 inh laptop HDD -upto 4.5/3 TB on Raid5/6-. both 350$ empty)

2- If you are a bit more saavy on tech:

  • Get an Asus ac68u/Netgear R7000 Router and load custom firmware (as Kong DD-WRT) you'll get the most poerful solid router solution (besides special commercial products as Mikrotik).
  • A 4+ Bay NAS for 3.5" HDD as Sinology DS414 with storage configured as RAID 6.
  • Consider DIY an 4-7 Bay Server with Nas4Free or FreeNas software capable to have a Raidz2 pool, it expensive (rq lots ECC RAM) and requires being careful selecting the hardware

A Raidz2 Pool provides unparalell DATA INTEGRITy PROTECTION plus DUAL SIMULTANEOUS HDD FAILURE RESILENCE, FILE SYSTEM SNAPSHOT (a sort of industrial timemachine), and DATA DEDUPLICATION (if you fit it with expesive SSD, dont care about having N redudant unexpeted copies of file X, only a single file is stored, then other have an checksum link block by block, so you can mod a block on a duplicate and keep only this block different), features years away for soho nas (while actually Synology and others support dual hdd failure thr Raid6, do not provides data integrity protecction as RaidZ2), expensive about 1000$ for a decent 4 bay (empty) server, you won solid mission critical stability and security, Nas4free and Freenas OSs are not complicated, not as simple as Synology but you dont need to learn command line, etc.

As RULE, CHOOSE an EMPTY NAS, then Purchase ENTERPRISE-GRADE HDD FROM HGST by far the most reliable HDD you can buy, and if you o for an 2.5" format HDD, then also Choose HGST or WD RED -2.5" only- .

Most pre-filled NAS dont have the best HDD, as much you'll find WD RED on this, while WD RED are good, HGST triplicates reliability on 3.5" HDD, something to consider.

Edited by AcostaJA

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