Matt Schmitz/ October 24, 2017

Back in 2011 I picked up a Synology DS411 NAS, which has proved to be one of the most beneficial parts of my home lab. When I purchased it, I filled it with 4x 3TB drives for a total of 12TB of storage (~8TB usable with RAID5). I use the NAS as an iSCSI datastore for my home ESX hosts, which has helped me to run many more test virtual machines than I could have otherwise. I’ve also been using the NAS as a media server, file server, and a general backup location for everything I do.

The only problem with the DS411 is that the device is now over six years old – which means its processing power just doesn’t keep up with what I need it for today. The device is also reaching its end of life state, so I needed to replace it anyways. For reference, the device only came with a single-core 1.6Ghz processor and 512Mb of RAM.

Synology just recently released their new 2018 models, so I opted to pick up the DS918+. I could have upgraded to an equivalent model(DS418) of what I already have, but I was really interested in some of the additional features offered by the plus-series model. The DS918+ supports docker containers and Synology’s own virtualization hypervisor – along with the ability to add extra RAM modules later if I need them. As sad as I am to see my DS411 go, it was definitely time for an upgrade!

Anyways, I just completed the migration from my old DS411 NAS to a new DS918+. The whole process was much easier than I had anticipated, but I figured I would write up a quick summary of what I did:

  1. First thing – Update the current NAS to the latest version of Synology DSM
    1. Control Panel > Update & Restore > Click Update if one is available
  2. Take a backup of the DSM configuration
    1. Control Panel > Update & Restore > Configuration Backup > Click Backup Configuration
  3. Power off the old NAS – in my case, my DS411
  4. Unplug the old NAS and remove the drives
    1. For the DS411, this requires disassembling the chassis
    2. MAKE SURE YOU KEEP THE DRIVES IN ORDER (I actually printed labels to put on mine)
      1. For the DS411, the drive numbers start top to bottom (Disk 1 is top, Disk 4 is bottom)
  5. Install the drives into the new NAS – in my case, a DS918+
    1. Again, these drives must be replaced in the same order!
      1. The DS918+ numbers left to right (Disk 1 is the first slot on the left, Disk 4 is last slot on the right)
  6. Once all of the drives have been inserted – Plug in the new NAS and power it on
  7. Download the Synology Assistant application
    1. This is necessary because the new NAS will not retain the previous IP configuration of the old NAS
  8. Once the new NAS is booted up – Open Synology Assistant and click Search
    1. It should locate the NAS, and the status should be Migratable
    2. In my case, it shows both network adapters for the NAS
  9. Select the NAS and click Connect – This will launch the Web UI of the NAS
  10. The WebUI should show something similar to the screenshot below, with the button to Migrate
    1. If the WebUI does not show you a migrate option, DO NOT CONTINUE. You may need to double-check that the drives have been inserted in the correct order. 
  11. Click Migrate, then you will be prompted to select whether you would like to migrate all settings or perform a clean install of DSM
    1. Performing a clean install will still retain all of the data on the NAS, but all DSM settings will be lost
    2. I selected the option to retain all of my settings
  12. Next, Click through the prompts to install the newest version of DSM
  13. Wait for the system to download and install DSM
  14. Once complete – you will be brought to your DSM login screen and the migration is complete!
    1. If you selected to keep the DSM settings, everything should still be there – with the exception of your IP/network configuration.

After all that is complete – you’re ready to enjoy your new Synology NAS! The migration was significantly easier than I had expected it to be. The longest part for me was just removing the drives from the DS411 – since it requires disassembling the chassis and removing multiple screws to free the drives from the drive sleds. So far the DS918+ is fantastic – and I would highly recommend purchasing one to anyone who is interested.

Hope this quick tutorial helps out – Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe below!

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About Matt Schmitz

CCIE #63461. Herding packets since 2007. Perpetually trying to automate myself out of a job. I believe that all problems can be solved by implementing more IPv6. Disclaimer: All opinions posted here are my own, and do not represent any vendor or current/former employer.


  1. I wanted to do the migration process however my old synology died (ds411slim). So I was hoping that I could buy the DS418 since it supports both 2.5″ and 3.5″ drives and then I can put my 2.5″ drives in the same order and access my Raid 5 again. I wasn’t able to back up the data prior to the unit dying.
    Do you know if this is possible?? because you mention powering on the old unit to do the “backup configuration” .
    I can live with having to reconfigure the new one, but i cant live without the data.

  2. Hey Shaun,
    In my experience this should still work. It’s certainly better to get a configuration backup before doing the migration, but it isn’t necessary. I didn’t need to use the backup file, since the DS918+ was able to import all of my settings with no issues.

    That being said – just make sure you keep drives in the exact same order like you mentioned. Once you boot the new Synology, please confirm that it gives you the prompt to “Migrate”. If it doesn’t give you that prompt, then the new Synology isn’t able to pick up on the previous RAID5 config (usually because of incorrect drive order).

    Good luck with the migration though – I hope you like the DS418! Let me know if I can do anything else to help.

  3. I trying to migrate from a synology 409+ to 418J with RAID 1 diskes at each 2TB, but power LED have been blinking now for 10 hours? How long time did your migration take?

    1. Hey there,
      10 hours is far too long. Is just the power and/or network LED blinking? If so, you might be hitting the same weird behavior I’ve seen with my Synology devices.

      When you start up the NAS, all of the drive lights should blink orange for a second when the device first starts. If not, it seems like the Synology gets hung and never boots. Usually what I did to fix this, is simply unplug, wait a few seconds, then plug it back in and try starting it again. This happened all the time with my DS411, and sometimes would take several attempts before it would start properly.

      I would recommend that you try power cycling the device again, and watch for the drive lights to blink orange right after you press the power button.

  4. Hey Matt; thanks for taking the time to put the post together. I’m in a similar boat: 411j and long ago ran out of CPU (likely gonna go with a 418play if I can work it into the family budget).

    Anyway, it was helpful to read about someone’s experience in doing the migration; really helpful to know that the experience was smooth.


    1. Thanks John! Glad to know it helped!

  5. Hi all. I have a DS212 where i would migrate all data to the new ds918 with 4 disk installed. How to do that – I can’t remove disks from the DS918? Any suggestions ?


  6. Matt – thanks for that.. expecting my new 918+ to arrive this afternoon (moving from 218+ … Two slots. What was I thinking?)

    Your description is MUCH easier to take in at a glance than the KB article(s) that try and cover all possible instances.

    I have enough data backed up to be able to recover my video etc in worst case… so my plan is

    – use your appoach… move my two existing drives from 218+ to 918+
    – if it all goes as well as you, then, rejig my network on new NAS
    – add the two new drives and expand the volume.

    I’ll report back!

    1. Awesome! Glad it helped – and I hope you enjoy your new DS918+!!

  7. Hi Matt,

    After the migration did you need to install any existing package you had on the old system in the 918+? Wondering if I need to do that or if all packages in used will show up after the migration.

    1. Hey there! It’s been a while since I did the migration… But if I remember correctly it did keep some packages. To be safe, I would back up all of the configurations just in case

  8. Thanks for the blog post, I wasn’t sure the order of the disks and was searching for the answer and came across your post, this has worked a treat, since commissioning my DS411 many years ago I had no idea about the Synology Assistant, this was a really useful tip!

    1. Hey George! Thanks for the comment and glad to hear this helped you!

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