HDD, SDD · NAS server · Synology setup

Synology 2019 Configuration Guide Part 2: Configure your Hard Drives or Storage pool (RAID or SHR)

If you are still thinking about which synology to buy, check this guide instead: Synology 2019 Buying Guide, but if you are the happy owner of a new Synology, here is a guide on how to configure your brand new Synology!!

Here is the list of upcoming posts:

  1. Install DSM in your Synology (operating system)
  2. Part 2: Configure your hard drives: Storage pool configuration – This post
  3. Part 3: Upgrade your Synology RAM
  4. Part 4: Basic Security settings
  5. Part 5: Move/copy files between NASes


Synology Storage system

If you haven’t, I recommend you to read my blog post on Storage systems before you read this, to make sure that you understand all the basic concepts for storage systems.



Are you back now? Ok, let’s get to it.

Now that you have installed your drives in your brand new Synology, you need to configure them.

Let’s start doing that by configuring our Storage pool in the storage manager:

  1. Click on “Main Menu”
  2. Click on “Storage Manager”
Storage Manager on synology

And now:

  1. Click on Storage Pool
  2. and click on “Create”
1 create storage pool
Create a Storage Pool on Synology

…But wait a second, what is a Storage Pool?

A storage pool allows you to configure multiple drives into a single storage unit or pool. So in my case where i have 4 harddrives, I can combine all into one storage unit. Great right? You dont need to worry what to install where or which drive has what.

There is one limitation though, if you have bought a mix of soft and hard drives, you can not combine them into one unit.

Ok, so are you ready now to continue? Let’s do it!

When you continue with the set up, you will be prompted to select between:

  1. Better Performance (RAID) or
  2. Higher Flexibility (SHR),

so which one should you choose?

2 raid or shr
RAID vs SHR in synology


The main difference between SHR and RAID is that SHR allows you to use disks of mixed sizes but at cost of speed and with mixed sizes I mean that you can combine a 3TB disk with a 10TB ( for example if you are upgrading).

…and no, you can’t do that with RAID. 😦

Here is my thinking, I now have 4 10TB drives so I can choose RAID over SHR to get some gains in performance, but as I grow, I will need more space and having SHR I can expand with bigger drives as they become available in the market, so for me the choice of SHR is clear.

You can not move from RAID to SHR without formatting the disks, so think twice about this before deciding.

So choose between Performance or Flexibility and move on to the next part of the configuration:

raid 6
Screen if you choose raid.
shr configuration
Screen if you pick SHR

Now that you have chosen, the next step is to select how many disks you want in your storage pool.

I have all my disks in one storage pool.

Once you have that, it will warn you that your disks will be formatted.

4 format disks before raid configuration synology
Choose disks for your storage pool – Synology

Confirm you settings:

5 confirm raid settings

and when you think: -“I am finally at the end of the configuration steps”, Synology will tell you that you need to configure volumes before proceeding.

What? Havent I done that already?

7 create a volume synology
Create a volume in your Synology storage pool

One or multiple volumes?

That’s right, you can have multiple volumes in your storage pool.

I normally configure two: one for my cold storage and one for my hot storage. (there is no advantage on doing this, but I like the separation in my brain :))

There are other reasons why you might want to configure multiple volumes:

  1. For security reasons: e.g. users of volume #1 cannot absolutely access volume #2)
  2. For service reliability: to avoid that one application may (accidentally) use up all disk space and cause other applications that are storing data into a different folder of the same volume to fail due to lack of free space.

So, when you have decided how many volumes you want, go to:

  1. Volume
  2. Click create
8. crate a volumne ui synology
Create volumes in the storage manager – synology

As I was creating multiple volumes, I chose custom when configuring the volumes, but if you are going to configure only one, click on “Quick”

9 volumne mode synology
Volume modes -synology storage pools

10 choose a storage pool

Select the storage pool:

11 storage pool selected for volume
Select the storage pool for your synology volume

Allocate the volume capacity (if you are configuring multiple volumes):

12 allocate capacity

And you are finally done!!!

13 volumnes configured

It will take your Synology 1 or 2 days to configure everything, so be patient and in the meantime you can read more blog posts and configuration tips here 🙂

Soon you will get to enjoy your precious!!


24 thoughts on “Synology 2019 Configuration Guide Part 2: Configure your Hard Drives or Storage pool (RAID or SHR)

  1. Thank you so much for this guide. I absolutely love Synology and praise their efforts of making their NAS solutions as easy as they are robust. But they’ve could have warned/informed their new users about those first few decisions you have to make in the primair installation.

    Your guide explains it perfectly. Hope you’ll have a great day, ’cause you for sure made mine!


  2. Ruth, thank you for another meaningful, and well articulated artefact on Synology storage setup.
    Reassures as a gingerly tread down this pathway –


    Embarked on my NAS configuration/addiction. Opting for DS918+ and 2x 8TB WD Red NAS (+ 2x 500Gb HDD whilst waiting until later in year to procure more multi-TB HDD).

    Deployment somewhat disrupted by a misbehaving (new) WD Red NAS…
    RMA initiated.

    Yet compelling desire to start tinkering with my precious! ;o)
    so moving on for now with single 8TB WD with SHR and BTRFS.

    Acknowledge that this setup does not benefit from any (in-box) data protection. That will await replacement WD unit to add to the SHR/storage pool. During interim shall retain copy of data on multiple small HDD.

    Now for the fun to start: de-duplicating photo archive, deploying Plex media server, …and backing-up selective data from laptop + mobile devices.


  3. Thank you for your article! Hoping you can help me understand something….I bought a Synology DS1618+ and have 5 6T drives in it. I chose the SHR 2 and am configuring it now. But all of a sudden I realize that it says I only have 15T available. With 5 drives at 6T each I should have more than 15T available shouldn’t I? Can you help me understand what happened? If I chose the SHR and not the SHR2 (that can handle 2 drive failures) that would mean I could handle 1 drive failure, but that would mean I would have another 6T available, right? If so, can I stop the configuration and chose the SHR now? Just sad I lost the valuable space I need for archiving. I really don’t think 2 drives would go bad….Thanks for any help!


      1. Thanks for that link. Read it, but I still have a question: 5 drives at 6 TB each = 30 TB. SHR2 means 2 of those drives are allocated to redundancy. That means I should have 4 drives at 6 TB each = 18 TB available. In my DMS it says I have “Total Capacity: 15.71 TB / Used Capacity: 59.76 MB / Available Capacity: 15.71 TB” — where did those other approx 2 TB go? 🙂 –– I’m still setting this up and configuring — there is no data on the drives yet.


    1. Not sure where that is. Is that in “storage pool?” In that tab it says “Total Capacity: 16.36 TB / Used Capacity: 16.36 MB / Available Capacity: 0 B”. In the Overview tab it says I have 16.4 TB total capacity. But in storage allocation it still says my Volume only has 15.71 TB. Does this change as it is verifying drives in the background? So, sorry for all the questions –– just trying to figure out what is going on and if I did something wrong when I set it up this morning….In the HDD/SDD tab I see all 5 of my drives. Each one says 5.5 TB — but they are 6 TB drives. Hmmmmm. Perhaps my NAS needs .5 TB from each drive? For what?


      1. My experience is that based on the model NAS you have there are physical limits on the ultimate size of your storage pool. (look up “What is the maximum single volume size of my Synology NAS” for a breakdown by model number. Also, it appears that you are limited to one storage pool if you choose to use all the drives in your device. My expectation is that in order to create multiple storage pools using SHR you need to have a 6 drive or larger NAS as SHR requires a minimum of 3 drives.


      1. I don’t think your response is accurate; JBOD implies RAID0, striped disks. Loss of one disk causes loss of the entire array…at least that’s my understanding.


  4. Thanks for the article! On the CP Storage page, there is after default new setup on a DS218+, the display is Volume 1 (Healthy) SHR, btrfs 1.1 Gb/1.7 TB. But there are two X terabyte drives in the Hard Disks section. Will the value of 1.7TB ever be updated?


  5. You can have disks of different sizes and rpms on a RAID with Synology. The information that only SHR allows that is not correct. Thanks for explaining about volumes though.

    At this moment, I have a DS415+ with disk 1: WD Red 3TB 5400 RPM, disk 2: WD Red 3TB 5400 RPM, disk 3: Seagate IronWolf 10TB 7200 RPM, disk 4: WD Red 3TB 5400 RPM, on a RAID 5, working fine.


  6. Thanks for this Ruth. One question concerning two-bay DS215J with only one drive at this point: in order to expand storage capacity, should I aggregate them under one volume or should I keep them completely apart? Again, I’m looking for increase in storage, not RAID. Thanks in advance.


  7. Hi Ruth, thanks for the article. I recently suffered a volume crash on my DS415. pretty much all of the applications on the disk station stopped working, and prevented me copying to usb, although DSM still worked. I was able to recover my data via FTP but it was a pain! I am now going to buy a new disk station, most likely DS920+, and am considering how best to avoid a repeat. One option would be to create more than one volume, and set up hyperbackup to backup from one volume to another, or just leave the volume empty so in the case of a volume crash, I could simply copy data to the good volume. The other option is to set up 2 storage pools. Then even if the first storage pool crashes, I still have the second one hopefully functioning. What would be the pros a and cons of 2 storage pools versus 2 volumes? (Note I also do periodic backup via usb, but I have had problems with external disks corrupting so also want a backup inside the disk station.


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