How to: Migrating to a New Synology NAS

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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!