My first post... New here. Question on Synology Disk Station

Hey everyone,

I found this site a week or so ago and I’ve been hooked. I currently has a Raspberry Pi3 running open HAB, but the synology disk station seems like more permanent reliable way to setup a system.

Is there a thread somewhere I missed that covers the best Synology disk station to use? If I purchase a used one… recommendations for processor, ram, etc?

I know nothing about the OS… and the only thing I’ve been able to pick up on is that perhaps an ARM CPU is required?

Also - anyone else use synology with mac to do backups, etc?
Sorry for the broad range of questions, I’m like a kid in a candy store trying to get everything hooked up. It’s awesome.

The docs discuss prerequisites and other gotchas.

Personally, given the number of strange errors and difficulties I see people posting about getting OH to run on Synology and QNAP, I’d recommend running OH on an RPi and remote NFS mount the important bits (conf, userdata, logs) from the SAN.

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I do have a Synlogy for my files. After using openHAB for a time, I use the Synology for:

  • MQTT Broker
  • persistence (MySQL/MariaDB)
  • backup-Location

What I never came across was to use it for openHAB direclty. As Rich already pointed out, the Linux-based SynologyOS is a bit strange in regards of user and rights and therefore you have to be very considerate and seasoned Linux-Expert to get it running stable.

If you have concerns on running OH2 off a SD-Card you could either Mount the logs and stuff to the Synology - or like many here in the forum use an external USB-SSD.

aaaaand finally: for a beginner running OH2 on a RPi is the best choice - as you have the broadest community-support available here.

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Thank you very much sir! I appreciate the response. I may try that. I’d just read that people who start tend to use the Raspberry Pi and then quickly move to something more stable. The memory card definitely being a concern, but I made an assumption many people needed more processor power/ram…

I’m a Ruby on Rails guy… luckily my business partner, who’s got a couple decades on me is a pretty big Linux guy…

But I may try the SSD option.

The goal is to hookup sprinklers, lighting, appliances, quite a bit of IFTT chains, Alexa, etc…

PS… if you guys haven’t done this manually… There’s a kickstarter project I backed called Konnected that allows older homes with older security systems installed to integrate into samsung smart things… and probably with some dev work, any other system.

I think that might be a slightly false impression. By far the most common deployment is on an RPi or other SBC. A minority of those users run into problems but because their population is so large it looks like everyone runs into problems and moves off the RPi. And I’d say even a minority of those users who run into problems move off of RPi entirely and instead adjust their setup to minimize writes to make their SD cards last longer or move to a medium connected to the RPi that doesn’t have the same wearing out problems.

I think a more realistic view is that most people start on and remain happily running on an RPi. An RPi 2 is plenty powerful enough to run almost any OH deployment and an RPi 3 is even better. Some people run modest OH deployments on RPi 1s RPi Zeros.

The problem most people run into is a combination of cheap SD cards and/or excessive writes to the SD card. This will eventually cause the SD card to wear out.

There are lots of ways to deal with this including:

  1. attach a USB HDD or SSD to the RPi and run off of that
  2. move the heavy writes (logs, persistence) to non-SD card media (RAM disk, network mounted file system, etc)
  3. rock-solid backup and restore procedure

Since you need 3 anyway no matter what media you are running on, I and others recommend just focusing on that and plan for replacing and restoring your system to a new SD card periodically.

There is nothing inherently unreliable about a RPi or most other SBCs. Here is the status that I print everytime I log into one of my RPis (a RPi Zero W in this case).

Granted, this RPi ZW is not running OH but a service I wrote that reports sensor readings and BT scans to OH. But if the writes are not too much (this machine is configured to log to a tempfs volume so very little gets written to the SD card) the machine can stay running as long as almost any other server.

I should send a nice note to my power company. This machine is not on an UPS so this means it has been almost five months since we’ve had a power outage.

Literally the only reason I don’t run OH on an RPi myself is that I have a ton of other services I run (Plex, Gogs, Calibre, Alfresco, InfluxDB, Grafana, Mosquitto, OpenMediaVault, pfSense, ZoneMinder, etc) so I’ve gone with a server running ESXi instead of lots of RPis.

eh, i run it on a synology and it was pretty painless. i started on a pi3 but felt the synology was a more permanent solution. everyone has a different experience.

two thumbs up for synology in my opinion

I have tried both (RPi with a usb-hdd and Synology). I think there is a difference is if you have z-wave devices that needs to be controlled. To go from Synology, a USB-based z-wave controller is needed, while a RPi can use either USB Z-wave controller or the GPIO-daughterboard (Z-way).

Thanks Scott, what model of synology do you have, if you don’t mind me asking?

not a specific model… there’s an unsupported method of running it on basically any working intel-based hardware and that’s what i’m using (also not particularly difficult). the underlying hardware is a 4th gen core i5 on some motherboard that i don’t remember at this point.

something like the DS918+
or DS218+ would do nicely.

Higher-tiered NAS of several manufacturers also allow to run docker images. I find that a very clean way to run extra software on a NAS. No messing around with the OS of the NAS, and encapsulated so that flaws in Openhab can’t act as a gateway to everything on your NAS. Ready made docker images are also pretty easy to install, once you know what the logic behind it is.

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That sounds like a very solid solution - basically, a docker image serves as a container so to speak, correct? I believe I read Qnap and Synology both support docker images… I will do some more research on this. I’m a big fan of keeping things separate as much as possible, and this sounds like a good solution.

Thank you sir!

I think if I was starting from scratch I would go the docker route. Syno does use docker and I’m using influxdb/grafana and unifi all out of docker and it all works great

You can test run the Synology operating system here:

Unfortunately, docker is not offered on the live demo. Normally, you can install it via the package manager as an add-on.

correct my if I’m wrong, but does the docker get easily hold of external wired bindings which come with USB, RS232, …? If you’re only using wireless/LAN connected bindings it’s of no concern, but if you’re running appliances through USB and stuff?

i haven’t had a need to do it but it doesn’t look hard

Just a little caution on this statement. Indeed containers do encapsulate your system and isolate it from other things running on that host and from the host. However, with containers, everything is running on the same kernel so an attacker is able to attack a kernel-level vulnerability and break out of the container. So using containers is not a panacea for security.

Some limitations you will have running OH in Docker include:

  • the Docker Image is pretty limited so the exec binding is not going to be all that useful for you
  • to use the Dash button binding you must run as root

You can do USB passthrough. I run OH in a Docker container and pass the zwave dongle through into the container using the --device option to docker run.

The problem I see from most Synology and Qnap users on this forum do revolve around getting this passthrough to work though. It is usually problems with permissions on the devices and the like.

No matter what you run on, if it is more than a special purpose RPi (in which case I recommend openHABian) I encourage the use of Docker. Even with its limitations the isolation and ability to configure deployments are worth it.

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