I have been working with Synology devices for last 10 years as a IT Manager and Software Developer.
This brand has been on the forefront of the Network Attached Storage. Their devices are so simple and intuitive to use that even basic user can set them up.
The question I see a lot lately is: “Which NAS should I buy?“
Synology has a tier system for their devices. Their PLUS(+) series is the mainstay of home and small office business.
These systems are capable of full office PC backups, transcoding Plex video, have NVME drives, have 10Gbe capability and are expandable with additional expansion units.
Here is a list of my favorites for Home and Small Office Use.
Beginner User with small amount of data
Uses: Homelab, Photo Backup, Video Storage, Basic Video Surveillance, Google Drive Replacement, Plex
I don’t often recommend 2-Bay NAS devices, but if you don’t have the need for a lot of data, DS220+ might be just enough for you.
This device will allow you up to 18TB in RAID 1 of storage. It will give you an opportunity to run Plex with basic transcoding. You can upgrade it to 6GB RAM (highly recommended).
It will allow you to run the best of the DSM OS on a tiny device (Photos, Video Station, Plex, Surveillance Station, Active Backup For Business). All this software is essential for home and small office use.
DS220+ will serve you for 2-4 years and then you will want to get something with more storage capability and network speeds. This leads you in Intermediate User devices.
Choices: DS423+ / DS923+ / DS920+
Uses: Homelab, Photo Backup, Video Storage, Basic Video Surveillance, Google Drive Replacement, Plex, Basic Video Production
There have been a lot of changes in this range. These devices are for large storage needs with a bit more advanced uses like Docker Containers / Virtualization / Active Backup For Business / Video Surveillance / Google Drive Replacement.
I like these devices, but they have a major flaw – all of them have 125Mb/s transfer speed out of the box. These devices sport 1Gbe Network Cards so their throughput is only 125Mb/s per stream.
I can no longer recommend a 1Gbe device in 2023 for Intermediate users. The only device in this range that is capable of 10Gbe is DS923+. This is achieved by adding a 10Gbe Network Card. This is an additional device you have to purchase to get 10Gbe capability.
At current prices, all-together, DS923+ and 10Gbe Network card come up to the next level devices, which is why I think you should skip this range for a small business until Synology starts adding 2.5Gbe Network Cards into their devices.
Choices: DS1621+ / DS1821+ / DS2422+
Uses: Mass Storage, Video Surveillance, Google Drive Replacement, Video Production, Photography Business Backup, Automated PC Backups
These are a perfect match for a small office with big needs. These are solid choices for managing data for an office / video production / graphic design studio / accounting firm / etc.
My favorite out of these is DS1821+. This device has a ton of storage capability and expansion (8 hard drive bays, 2 NVME drives, 2 Expansion eSATA ports). Its budget friendly (only $100 or so more than DS1621+) and still has all the good features from the lower level of devices like no annoying Synology Hard Drive warnings and SHR Raid.
If you need a solid workhorse for your office, get DS1821+ – its on budget and it has all the expandability options (NVME, 10Gbe PCIE Card, 2x eSATA Expansions).
PS: I do not go into XS series as I think those are made for Enterprise users.
XS series has a much higher price tag, these devices require Synology Branded hard drives and memory. They are overpowered for home and small office.
If you need that kind of power, you really should make a serious plan on how this power is going to be used, otherwise you would be overspending on your infrastructure.