Oh sheesh, this post is way too long. My apologies. Here's the TL;DR:
I have an old WD "MyBook" but it's slow and under-capacitized for my needs, so I want to set up a better NAS in my home. I want to "cloud" some things and "simple-synchronize" others. I think I want to set up a Synology device, but I'm not sure where to start.
I currently have two Windows 10 machines (laptop and desktop) and two iOS devices. No Android devices at this time, but anything I implement should be able to accommodate Android too.
I can categorize my "NASable" files into 2 main groups, "documents" and "libraries" (not necessarily like Windows libraries). Documents include anything I might want to edit or read and they'll need to be kept up-to-date across my cloud reasonably quickly. Libraries include plugins and objects that get "loaded" into a project. Libraries are bigger and should be synced, but that can happen over time.
1. "My Documents"
As mentioned above, "documents" refers to any file (or project) that I might want to open for editing or reading. So this would include office documents, pictures, videos, 2D, 3D, or animated art projects, website source files, and music projects, such as for Ableton or Cubase.
I need to be able to access my data documents with any of my devices even when I'm not at home, and they should update on my cloud within moments of having been edited by any of my devices.
Currently I have almost 100 GB worth of documents; most of them being larger picture or video files.
I have two main types of libraries; "downloads" and "content".
-- Downloads --
My desktop computer has its "Downloads" folder on one of its local drives (not "C" drive; that would make my OS drive way too huge to manage). My laptop computer doesn't currently have room on its local/internal drives, so I use an external USB 3.0 drive for the laptop's downloads folder. I sync the two manually by moving the drive from the laptop to the desktop with a USB 3.0 cable and running a sync tool. This is a bit of a hassle, but the file transfer of only changed files is very fast with USB 3.0, and it allows me to only download stuff once. That's handy for big files like ISOs and music library downloads, etc.
I want to use a NAS to somehow synchronize the download file folders between the two Windows machines. When I finally add a 3rd machine one day in the future, I'd want to set that one up to join the sync family too. I am concerned with the amount of time it would take to launch a large installer file across my network which would be even worse if I'm using the laptop away from home, so I think I still need local access for downloads. I'm thinking that the laptop probably still needs to have an attached hard drive that gets synced with the home cloud, and probably only when I'm within range of my home WIFI.
I usually have 800-900 GB of downloads. Synchronization doesn't have to happen immediately, but I should be able to start it on demand if I want, and it shouldn't get confused if my laptop goes to sleep during a sync session. It should just stop and retry at a later time.
-- Content Libraries --
My content libraries include about 3 TB of VSTi (Virtual Instruments) libraries, and the desktop and laptop have virtually duplicate copies of libraries, so that I don't have to leave the bassoons and hurley-gurleys at home. These libraries are huge and they're on 4 different drive partitions on each machine. For backup, antivirus, and other management purposes, I've limited each partition to around 1TB of capacity. It still takes 4 evenings to take a full backup, but at least they're logically separated by partition, which makes restores reliable. And yes, I did have to restore one when a hard drive went bad about a month ago. God bless the folks at Macrium!
I also have a few hundred GB of other libraries, such as for 3D objects, Photoshop brushes and plugins, and other such stuff. These libraries are scattered across multiple drive partitions and I want to consolidate and organize them better. For all intents and purposes, they can be treated the same as the VSTi libraries above.
Due to load times of large files, I think I need to continue maintaining local copies of these libraries on each machine that needs access to them. I'll still host a central library on my cloud for synchronization or backup purposes (if that's the right way to go), but it would just be too slow to use the central library to load into projects, and even worse for any projects that might need to dynamically read library files while the project is running. Response times would be too slow.
But that's okay. I just need to figure out a workable sync, backup, and antivirus policy that doesn't waste time backing up or scanning libraries that are duplicates of each other.
In the next post, I'll ask some technical questions.