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Home Assistant Operating System (OS) on Synology NAS

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Home Assistant offers four different installation methods, from which the following two are recommended (by the creators):

  • Home Assistant Operating System (OS): Minimal Operating System optimized to power Home Assistant. It comes with Supervisor to manage Home Assistant Core and Add-ons. Recommended installation method.
  • Home Assistant Container: Standalone container-based installation of Home Assistant Core (e.g. Docker).

Over the years I have tried both methods, and I finally settled with the first option, to install Home Assistant Operating System. The main reason is the "all batteries included" approach, you install the OS and everything is taken care off.

The second reason is support for addons, which are "single click" applications to extend the Home Assistant experience. At the moment of writing I have installed several addons like ESPHome, Mosquitto Broker, Zigbee2MQTT, Tailscale, Samba backup and File editor. Which took only minutes to install and configure.

And the final reason is out of the box support for USB devices (like a P1 cable to my smart energy meter and a Zigbee USB stick). When using Docker you (might) need to modify system files on your NAS for connected USB devices to show up in Home Assistant. By using Home Assistant OS running in a virtual machine this all just works!

Tip: I purchased a basic Anker USB hub to connect multiple USB devices to my NAS

Requirements for running Home Assistant OS

Your Synology NAS needs support for running virtual machines to be able to install Home Assistant OS. Have a look in the Package Center and install Virtual Machine Manager. I personally own a Synology DS918+ with 8GB of ram.

If your NAS does not support running virtual machines, you are out of luck. You can however still install Home Assistant using the second installation option (by using Docker).

Install Home Assistant OS

The Home Assistant website has a pretty good installation guide for Home Assistant OS. Follow these steps and keep the following in mind when using Synology Virtual Machine Manager:

  • Download the VMware ESXi/vSphere image.
  • In Virtual Machine Manager click the arrow besides the "create" button and import the downloaded image.
  • Assign the amount of CPU's, memory and disk space you can spare (I assigned 2 CPU's, 2GB of memory and 32GB of disk space).
  • Make sure to set "Firmware" to "UEFI" (using default value "Legacy BIOS" resulted in Home Assistant not starting).
  • I would advice to set "autostart" to "yes" to make sure Home Assistant starts when the NAS is started.
  • Configure the "Virtual USB Controller" and connect all devices you want to use in Home Assistant (e.g. Zigbee USB stick, P1 cable to smart energy meter).

Enjoy Home Assistant!

After setting up the virtual machine you can start using Home Assistant! Make sure to have a look at settings -> add-ons to see if there are add-ons that are useful for you.