In a previous post I told you about how I got a Synology DS920+ on loan to play around with.  The device comes with 4 drive bays so there is a wide range of combinations that you can do in terms of drives.

Since this is my first entrance into using the Synology line of products, and for data safety, I decided that I would purchase my own set of drives to use.  This ensures that if the device had to be returned I could keep the drives in my possession.  It’s my data after all and I want to keep it with me.   This also means that I could reuse the drives elsewhere if I wanted to, say maybe in a new external case.

After looking at various drive options and based on the suggestion from my Synology contact, I choose the following Seagate Ironwolf Pro drives.

  • 2 x 4TB 7200RPM Drives
  • 2 x 6TB 7200RPM Drives

The Ironwolf series of drives comes in a standard HDD and a Pro version.  The Pro version offers the higher rotation speed whereas the standard drive is 5900RPMs.   The price different for the higher speed was minimal so I decided to go with those speeds. I also was able to find the 6TB drives on for about the same price I found the 4TB drives on Amazon.

So, 6+6+4+4 equals 18TB of total storage.

Let’s talk storage pools

Now, I’m actually not going to have just 18TB sitting around waiting for me to do something with it.  I’m going to carve this up into different pools.  In my previous post, I had mentioned that I want to play around with things like VMWare, volumes, storage, pools, etc. but I also want to be able to backup my home machines.  This means that I want to carve things up so that I have a “production side”, which will hold my backups, file shares, etc, and then a “development side”.  The development side will be storage in which I can play around with without worrying about causing issues with the production side.

So, I’ve carved it out into two different storage pools.  The first pool, which will be production, will hold the two 6TB drives and one of the 4TB drives.  With Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR) doing the RAID for drive redundancy, this will give me a little less than 10TB of usable space.  This is calculated because one of the 6TB drive is used for the RAID redundancy which leaves 6+4 = 10TB of storage.

If I were to replace the 4TB with another 6TB drive, then I would get 6+6 = 12TB of usable storage.  Another benefit of the production pool is expandability.  With multiple drives in the pool, I can strategically expand the pool with newer and bigger drives if needed without having to recreate things.  The DS920+ supports hot-swapping drives (not all units do so make sure to verify) so there can be no downtime in switching drives.  In my case because I’m usually paranoid about causing damage, I always power down the unit just to be on the safe side.

The second 4TB is placed into a pool all by itself.  This will be the development side of things.  Since it’s development, I’m not concerned about data redundancy at this point so it won’t be in any type of RAID group. Unfortunately, if I wanted to expand that pool with a bigger hard drive, I would have to completely destroy that it and pretty much start over.  At this point, however, I don’t think that I’ll run out of space any time soon.  4TB is still a lot of space to consume, especially in a development type of setting.

After all said and done, I ended up with a little over 9TB and 3.6TB for Production and Development, respectively speaking.  That’s not bad at all!

You will notice that Synology isn’t shy about telling you that you don’t have data protection on a storage pool. Since this is just a single drive, there’s no way for me to get it into a RAID configuration.  Given that it’s development stuff, I’m ok with that.


If you are going to do something similar, take the time to put some thought into how you want things configured. The other thing that I did is ensure that I didn’t put anything on the array that was production right away.  By doing so it allowed me to mess around with the drives and experiment without worrying about destroying things.   Doing so will ensure that you have a good solid plan moving forward.

How would you have carved up the storage?  Let me know in the comments!


© 2021, John Morehouse. All rights reserved.

The post How I carved up 18TB of Storage first appeared on John Morehouse.


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