Posts Tagged Symform

My thoughts about Symform

I exchanged emails with a reader, and during the exchange, he asked me my thoughts about Symform, especially about running it on a Synology NAS. Here is a copy of my response.

Overall symform is an affordable, new approach on the cloud storage concept, albeit with its shortcomings.

The synology symform client is extremely resource intensive, and would really drag down my DS211j for several minutes when the service started up. The need for having to manually having to set the port number is a shortsighted issue that Symform should address in an update.

The desktop client has no apparent indicator that it’s working either, so that’s another simple user experience issue.
From a security standpoint, Symform encrypts data with its own keys, and there’s no option (yet) to use your own. This comes down to how much one can “trust” symform and their protocols.

From a data integrity standpoint, their 50% parity is a good thing, but I’d be concerned if its enough. And since you’re placing your data in the hands of others, you’re relying on their upstream bandwidth (something that’s in short supply on a typical Internet connection) to get your data back. The more you store, the longer it will take, since there’s no individual file restore option — only whole folders.

Overall? It’s “good”, but not great. I’d use it for non-critical, non-sensitive data that wouldn’t need urgent restoration.

What are your thoughts on Symform? Please feel free to comment below. Thanks!



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How to move the SymformContribution directory from one volume to another on a Synology NAS

So you’ve got Symform all set up and running on your Synology NAS, and you’ve been contributing space, but now the volume that has your contribution folder is getting full, adn you’d like to move it without disrupting the data that other Symform users like yourself have trusted you with. How to do it? Easily.

In this example, I’ll show you how to move it from volume1 to volume2.

First, stop the Symform service from Package Center.


Next, SSH into your Synology box and move the target directory to it’s new location, in this case, /volume2/SymformContribution

mv /volume1/SymformContribution/ /volume2

Next, edit the /volume1/@symform/lib/node.config file using vi and update the location by finding the line similiar to the following…

<contribution enabled="True" fragmentStorePath="/volume1/SymformContribution" port="53432" />

… and changing volume1 to volume2.

(Note, this is the same file that’s used to update the incoming port, see this post for more information.)

Save the file, and restart the Symform service.


That’s it!

Questions or comments are welcome in the comments section below. Thank you for reading!

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How to manually change the Symform contribution port on a Synology NAS

Symform is a cloud-based backup solution which allows you to have 10 GB of backup space free, and get additional free space, as well as support, by contributing space.

In order to contribute, you need to have a port forwarded to your Synology device. However, in my experience, I wasn’t able to choose the port (as it’s chosen randomly during installation). If the port number that the Symform service chooses is already taken, or you prefer to assign another port number, here’s how to do it.

To do this, you will already need to know how to set up port forwarding on your router, and install and set up the Symform service on your Synology NAS, as well as be familiar with how to SSH into your Synology NAS. This only shows you how to manually edit the contribution port number chosen by the Symform service.

Make sure the Symform service is stopped

Do this by logging into your Synology on the admin port (usually 5000 or 5001) and going to Package Center. Under Installed, you can stop the Symform service by clicking the stop button. Once the service is stopped (as shown below), you can continue.


SSH into your Synology NAS

If you haven’t already, turn on the SSH (or telnet) service by going to Control Panel > Terminal, and enabling the desired service. Next, SSH (or telnet) into your Synology NAS box. Once logged in, go to the Symform configuration directory by typing:

cd /volume1/@symform/lib

Next, open node.config with the vi editor:

vi node.config

Locate a line starting with <contribution enabled="True" fragmentStorePath= and scroll to the right of that line, and you will see port="43100" (or another port number). If you’re not familiar with the vi editor, carefully follow the following commands to edit the file in-place:

  • Press the a key to enter append (editor) mode
  • Cursor to the value and use the keyboard to edit it
  • Press the ESC key to exit editing mode
  • Type :w followed by enter to save the file
  • Type :q followed by enter to quit the editor

Now go back to Package Center and start the Symform service.

You will be able to see the updated port number in your Symform control panel.

If you have any questions, comments, or thoughts to share, please do so in the comments below. Thank you!

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