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NASty Deeds

First, a bit of an “oopsie”. As mentioned previously in my “series” on setting up my network (, we don’t have Ethernet wiring in the house, nor do I have dedicated circuits set aside for my Ubiquiti gear. Instead, I have a UDM (UniFi Dream Machine Pro) and a UniFi Switch 8 (150W) on the floor behind me, and over 100 feet of Cat6a cabling strung around the house.

Incidentally, my list for future upgrades includes (once we decide to get someone in to do a bunch of electrical work – this is NOT something I want to try and do myself):

  1. Ethernet wiring throughout house. (I have plans drafted for location of jacks and so on, and briefly toyed with the idea of doing this myself, but no)

  2. Dedicated circuit(s) for network gear (definitely need an electrician for this), along with a UPS of some sort (definitely need a lot of research on this)

  3. Direct Attach Copper Cable, SFP+, 10Gbps, 0.5 meter ( – I tried to get one when I ordered my Ubiquiti gear originally, but they were out of stock and I haven’t taken the time to follow up. (Also, my ISP bandwidth is currently low enough I wouldn’t notice any difference from the current Cat6a. Sigh...)

  4. Dedicated network rack for all this gear

When the Synology NAS came, I realized that the Ethernet cables were too short to reach to where I wanted to (temporarily) place the NAS. As it happens, I had one of the 10’ cables connecting the UDM and the Switch 8. Perfect! Just remove the jack from the Switch 8, remove the jack from the UDM, plug in the cable that came with the NAS, and everything will be -

Eek! Wrong plug on the UDM! I just unplugged the uplink to the ISP router.


On the one hand, I fixed it almost immediately. On the other, no one even noticed. There was a log entry on the UniFi dashboard when the switch disconnected and almost-immediately reconnected, but everything else just shrugged and recovered. Whew! I think I love Ubiquiti!

If a LAN connection falls in the network, and no one notices, did it really happen?

So, back to the NAS.

Assembling the case and installing the drives was ridiculously easy – the hardest parts were figuring out how the front-plate comes off, and taking the drives out of their anti-static bags. (I was wondering about the screws included with the NAS, but they’re only needed if you’re using 2.5” drives. Yay!)

The installation process was pretty much as expected, though I did something most people never do... I actually read the EULA! (End User License Agreement) And, I read (well, er... skimmed) the Privacy Statement. This is actually something we should all do more often, but it can be quite a challenge. Legal language is usually quite challenging for non-lawyers, and documents like these usually include references to other documents. That said, it’s useful to highlight things like the jurisdiction of the company in question – for Synology, it’s Taiwan, for example.

The main challenge, as a first-time user, was trying to understand what some of the settings were for, but I went with the default/recommended in most cases. There were two posts (among many) that I found helpful. The first was a GizArena article by Satwik (, and the other was a set of videos from the NASCompares channel (

Once I had the basics set up, I started peeking down the rabbit-hole of network-based storage – you know, that thing that people spend entire careers on? Whew! I’m sure this will be something I go back to a number of times, and future-me will probably hate current-me for some of the decisions I will have made, but that’s the way learning works.

Next, I started down several other rabbit-holes...

First was to update my Linux machine. I, uh, accidentally mapped the NAS to my home directory for a bit, but was able to fix that without too much pain (though I procrastinated restarting my machine for several days – out of worry that I might have missed something and a reboot would <<EXPLETIVE>> my machine...)

But then, a notification came up to remind me again about an available upgrade. I said “YOLO” (, and hit the button to upgrade to “Focal Fossa” (ie, Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS). While I’ve had a few minor issues, the overall experience was clean and easy. (Have I mentioned that I love Ubuntu?) Now comes a lot of learning about new features, new tools, and so on, but that should also be a lot of fun. More to come on this machine - for example, I still need to migrate all my VM images over to the NAS – but there’s lots of time for that.

Next, I moved on to the Raspberry Pi and the Pi-hole. First thing was to set up the NAS share, and then move the Pi-hole logs over. That appears to have gone well enough, though I want to monitor the daily log rotation, to make sure it’s working properly.

While I was doing all of this, I noticed that there were upgrades available there as well, so I updated both the Pi-hole and the OS to the latest available versions, and backed up the Raspberry Pi (ie, exported an image of the entire machine, and dropped it on the NAS - SOOO nice to be able to do this so easily...).

That’s enough for now, but I'm sure there will be a lot coming.



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