As a dedicated music listener, I care about my media library. I run a Synology DS411+ NAS which has been excellent at serving large amounts of media, but their audio apps (Audio Station on the browser, DS audio on mobile) inevitably have missing features that I wish I could use while trying to locate and play music. I’ve submitted a few bug reports and feature requests to Synology, and I am happy to report that at least one bug I filed was fixed, and quite promptly too. As a maintainer of production software myself, I say kudos (and many thanks) to the Synology team!

However, I can go a little further to scratch my own itch. Today, I decided to start exploring the inner workings of the Synology media server. I hypothesized that there must be some kind of database that allows the various apps (audio, video, etc.) to search and locate the media on the NAS. A little googling led me to a Stack Exchange post that showed a PostgreSQL server containing databases such as mediaserver, photo, video_metadata. Bingo!

Here’s what I did to load mediaserver onto my laptop:

Get the database dump

  • ssh rokanan to get into the NAS (I like Ursula Le Guin)
  • sudo su - postgres to become the Postgres user
  • pg_dump mediaserver | bzip2 > mediaserver.sql.bz2 to dump the desired database
  • exit to return to your account
  • sudo mv /var/services/pgsql/mediaserver.sql.bz2 . to move the file to your home
  • exit the NAS
  • scp rokanan:~/mediaserver.sql.bz2 . to get the file locally

Load the database locally

I used a Postgres Docker image to avoid running Postgres server locally. To spin it up, I used Docker Compose with the following Compose file:

version: '3'
    image: postgres:9.5
      - mediaserver:/var/lib/postgresql/data
      - 5432:5432
      - POSTGRES_DB=mediaserver
      - POSTGRES_USER=MediaIndex
      - POSTGRES_PASSWORD=MediaIndex
  • docker-compose up will create a new, blank database mediaserver or reload the existing one
  • bzip2 -dc mediaserver.sql.bz2 | docker-compose exec -T postgres psql -U MediaIndex mediaserver to load the database dump into Postgres

Deleting stale tracks from the database

In some cases, tracks and folders that are moved or removed on the NAS filesystem (especially from CIFS/Samba) are not reflected in the Audio Station app - this is because the stale paths are not removed from the mediaserver database.

Here is a recipe to clean them up - I’ll show the live steps but please practice standard backup procedure before doing so:

  • ssh your-nas-hostname to get into the NAS
  • sudo su - postgres to become the Postgres user
  • psql mediaserver to connect to the media database
  • select * from track where path like '%path/to/old/files%'; to identify the tracks that you want to remove - make sure you get that right!
  • delete from track where path like '%path/to/old/files%'; to remove those entries and their children records in related tables
  • Repeat the above select and delete instructions for tables music and directory with the same path condition
  • Refresh your audio app: the files and folders should be gone!

That’s it! Don’t nuke your data :scream: