Synology DiskStation Migration

Performing a Synology DiskStation Migration – A How To Guide

I recently added a DS1815+ to my home lab environment and wanted to migrate my DS1512+ RAID6 configuration to this new DiskStation.

I wanted to do this without a lot of hassle and without losing any of my data on this array.

So, I set out to perform a Synology DiskStation Migration.  Synology has a very basic knowledge base article on this topic but the lack of detail doesn’t exactly instill a lot of confidence that it’s going to work.  I recommend looking it over mostly for the 1.5 – Can I perform a migration with my DiskStation section – as only certain migration directions are supported. (ie you can’t go from a 5-bay model to a 2-bay model)

You can check out the knowledge base article here: How to Migrate Between Synology DiskStations

Using the info I gathered from that I performed the following 13 steps to complete my Synology DiskStation Migration.

1. Make a full backup of any critical data

Remember, RAID is not a backup.  If you can’t stand to lose something, back it up first!  Use an external drive, another Synology unit – whatever you can.  I didn’t lose any data on my migration, but things can and do sometimes go wrong.  Use the Backup & Replication section of the DSM to perform a backup of any data you can’t live without!

Synology DSM Backup & Replication

Synology DSM Backup & Replication

2. Ensure you are running the latest available version of DSM

When you load up your new DiskStation, it will be on the latest version of DSM. So, you need to make sure your current DiskStation is also on the latest version of DSM to ensure a silky smooth DiskStation migration!  Use the DSM Update section of the Control Panel to make sure you are running the latest version of DSM.

You can get the latest version of DSM for you DiskStation from the Synology Download Center.

Synology DSM - DSM Update

Synology DSM – DSM Update

3. Backup your DSM configuration

If you’re like me, you likely have your DiskStation tweaked with a lot of settings to suit your environment.  Use the Configuration Backup section of the Control Panel to back these up to an external location.

Synology DSM - Control Panel - Configuration Backup

Synology DSM – Control Panel – Configuration Backup

4. Shutdown your DiskStation

OK, our data is backed up, our configuration is backed up, and we are running the latest version of DSM.  Time to shut our old DiskStation off!

Synology DSM - Shutdown

Synology DSM – Shutdown

5. Prep work area for old DiskStation and new DiskStation

You’re going to need some workspace to get these drives transferred, so get your orginal DiskStation and new DiskStation together.  Both units should be powered off and disconnected for this.

DS1512+ and DS1815+

DS1512+ and DS1815+

6. Identify drive order – IMPORTANT!

You must migrate the drives to the same drive location bays.  They can be hard to see so I’ve highligted them with red circles in the picture below.  So, when you pull a drive out of bay #1 on the original unit, it must go into bay #1 of the new unit!


7. Migrate hard drives from old DiskStation to new DiskStation

Grab a screwdriver and start swapping.  In my case, the drive caddies were not interchangeable so I had to dismount and remount the drives into the new caddies.

Hard drive migration from DS1512+ to DS1815+

Hard drive migration from DS1512+ to DS1815+

8. Connect up new DiskStation and locate with Synology Assistant

OK, connect up and turn on your new DiskStation.  Then, from your PC fire up the Synology Assistant which will find your new DiskStation.  If everything went well you should see your new NICs displaying Status: Migratable

If you don’t have Synology Assistant installed you can get it from the Synology Download Center.

Synology Assistant - Migratable Status

Synology Assistant – Migratable Status

9. Initiate the DSM setup wizard

Double-click on one of your migratable DiskStation links. (Note in the example I have four because the DS1815+ has four NICs – it doesn’t matter which one you double-click).  The Welcome to your DiskStation wizard for DSM setup will open.

Synology DSM - Migration Setup

Synology DSM – Migration Setup

10. Ensure you select the appropriate installation type

There are two choices, one of which can result in potential loss.  Make sure you choose the appropriate one.  In my case, I wanted to keep everything exactly the same.

Synology DSM - Migration Setup Selection

Synology DSM – Migration Setup Selection

11. Install the latest DSM version for your new DiskStation model

If you haven’t already downloaded the DSM for your new DiskStation you should do so now.  You will need to reference it on this part of the install.  You can get the appropriate DSM from the Synology Download Center.

Synology DSM - Migration Setup - DSM Install

Synology DSM – Migration Setup – DSM Install

12. Configure admin password

Synology DSM - Migration Setup

Synology DSM – Migration Setup

13. Complete DSM install and enjoy your new DiskStation!

Synology DSM - Migration Setup - DSM Installation

Synology DSM – Migration Setup – DSM Installation

In my experience this worked perfectly.  My RAID6 was completely intact and all Synology settings were identical.  I had to setup the new NICs and I was done.

Synology advises that certain features are not able to transfer like Auto-Block settings and Mail Station settings.  So, make sure to review the knowledge base article here: How to Migrate Between Synology DiskStations for all the limitations.

5 Responses

  1. Chris says:

    I’ve seen around the web that Photo Station database will probably not carry over. This causes loss of metadata that is not saved directly to image files, as well as Smart Albums. Did you have PhotoStation set up and did you have any issues with it after the migration? I use it extensively.

    • Jake says:

      That appears to be true:

      2.2 Migrating between different Synology NAS models

      This section explains how to migrate data between different Synology NAS models. However, this method requires reinstalling DSM and all packages on the target Synology NAS, which will result in losing the following data:

      Directory Server database
      Photo Station/blog content

  2. Tchirou says:

    I am planning going from a ds414j to a ds418
    I have a lot of packages like sabnzbd, couchpotato, MySQL databases with MariaDB
    The tutorial for dsm 6 says all packages should be reinstalled and is not clear about if the settings for these packages would be lost
    With your post, I understand the tutorial is wrong and that everything should be exactly the same : packages still intact and running with previous settings
    Is it right ?
    Thanks a lot

  3. Curt says:

    I followed this procedure to migrate from a DS212j to a DS218+. Worked very well. I had a few minor irregularities. Synology Assistant initially couldn’t find the NAS. I had it search again and it found it. When I got to the DSM update step, I just let it perform the update rather than do a manual update. I had downloaded the latest version of the DSM for the DS218+, and could have done it manually. Once the NAS was done migrating, I checked and it had the latest version but not the latest update (DSM 6.1.4-15217 Update 1, instead of Update 5). So the first thing I did after migration was perform another DSM update. Not sure whether the first update didn’t happen, or it didn’t grab the latest update. Might have been better to do the manual update process. Then I went into Package Center and did a “Repair All” on all of my installed applications. Everything seems to be working as before. Surveillance Station looks like it needs to be setup again, but I hadn’t updated it before the migration, and it had been turned off for a while, so I’m not positive that everybody would have to set it up again.

    I added an additional step. After powering off the original NAS, I went into my Router and changed the name and IP address of the old NAS in the “DHCP reservation” table. Then I set up a new DHCP reservation so the new NAS would have the same name and IP address. Probably not necessary, but I minimize any changes that other devices or software would be exposed to.

    • Curt says:

      I just recalled that the NAS did reboot after updating, so I am pretty sure it did grab a version of the DSM, just not the latest version.

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