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Old 03.01.2012, 12:38
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NAS - which to go for?

Hi all,

I've just been investigating the world of NAS storage, with a view to setting up a centralised file store at home. At the moment, I have about 3 or 4 different hard drives, running off different devices, all with different data, so my photos are on one, music another etc etc - not great!

I'd like to centralise my collections of everything, just so I can point all of my devices in one direction, and make sure i'm not missing stuff off one device etc etc.

So this device would be storage, a media server and ideally connectable to all my devices (apple laptops, Mac Mini, PS3) - it should have a lot of storage on it, 2TB plus would keep me going for a good while, especially if the Disks are swappable for larger volumes in the future, if needs be.

What setup are other people running, what would you recommend?

Many thanks in advance,
StirB

Last edited by StirB; 03.01.2012 at 12:39. Reason: TB not GB!
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Old 03.01.2012, 12:40
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Re: NAS - which to go for?

Did you mean 2TB ?

I use FREENAS

http://www.freenas.org/

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Old 03.01.2012, 12:44
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Re: NAS - which to go for?

I've just dumped my nas and use windows 7 instead running on my old pc

if you go the nas route then make sure you know what disc format it uses! a lot run on unix and don't support fat32 or ntfs so if anything happens to your nas your in for some pain trying to get your files back.
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Old 03.01.2012, 12:46
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Re: NAS - which to go for?

Can you go into more detail on that point BigBlue?
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Old 03.01.2012, 12:50
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Re: NAS - which to go for?

You might want to look at the Promise Technology storage units that make use of Thunderbolt.
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Old 03.01.2012, 12:50
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Re: NAS - which to go for?

NAS's usually run unix, and use a unix disc format, so you plug your disc's in, or your usb drive in etc and the first thing it does is format it into whatever format it uses, not good if all your files are already on a NTFS drive.

now a year down the line your NAS fails (for whatever reason) if you unplug your usb external drive and try to plug it into your windows PC it won't recognise it, there are ways round it (at least for my nas there was) where you install a unix disc reading utility and then windows will mount the drive.

so just be sure if you buy a nas that it uses a disc format you use.
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Old 03.01.2012, 12:58
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Re: NAS - which to go for?

Hi.

I am planning of buying a Synology 212 NAS with 2x2TB drives in Raid0 configuration. A friend recommended to me a Synology NAS (he's using it with his Apple iMac and AppleTV).

QNAP apparently have some good ones as well. I have an old LaCie at home which I need to ditch as the transfer/streaming rates are far too slow.

good luck.
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Old 03.01.2012, 13:01
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Re: NAS - which to go for?

I have Qnap with RAID-1 external disk. It's great and the latest firmware update provides great user interface and functionalities. I use it as will as Time Capsule for my imacs.
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Old 03.01.2012, 13:08
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Re: NAS - which to go for?

Hi,

I have a QNAP TS-210 with a 1.5TB Disk.

To date I am extremely happy with its performance. It holds my music collection - 23K items, films and photos. I regularly "borrow" stuff from the web via the inbuilt Bi**orrent interface. It's connected to my Panny TV where I watch (via the also inbuilt Twonky Server) films and occasionally photo slide-shows. It come with backup software so I occasionally attach another external drive and backup my photos or music (in FAT32 format).

We have hedgehogs that visit us on a regular basis so I'm currently looking for a waterproof WiFi webcam. There are dozens of cameras that are compatible with the QNAP and will record automatically onto the NAS when motion is detected.

There's also loads of other functionality that I've only partially or not at all used, e.g. inbuilt web server, FTP Server, remote admin.

I've activated the auto-update feature and get new firmware installed without problems on almost a monthly basis.

Cheers

Piv
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Old 03.01.2012, 13:11
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Re: NAS - which to go for?

I run the Synology DS1511+ , it supports NTFS on th externally attached RAID 5 array, and full iSCSI support for NTFS for clinets and supports FAT/exFAT/ext3-4 etc on the internal drives. The beauty of the Synology units is the os - DSM , based on BusyBox Linux, which means my NAS also an iSCSI server , Web/FTP/CIFS/SMTP (Mail) servers, and a very competant DLNA. It provides Web Admin and Telnet/SSH access , and you can add man many other packages. The iSCSI LUNS means I can backup my PC's at around 85MB/s , if I had dual NIC's on my clients , I could double that speed.

Leaving a PC on just to server Media etc is a pain, and consumes much more electricity. Getting the NAs means I can offload all my serving requirements to a quiet efficient box, as it supports OpenDNS , I can host my own web server and mail server, and it also acts as a PHP Development box running MySQL and Postgres.

If you have a bunch of diffrent sized disks, it still allows you to create a Hybrid RAID as opposed to JBOD, and with 4 USB ports and 2 eSATA ports, expansion is catered for. I simply unplugged my Lian-Li ex50 RAID array (5 bay external) and plugged it into the Synology which recognised it straight away.

You can get single / 2 / 4 bay units too.

My advice ? If you want to do more than NAS, i.e. DLNA/transcoding/ Web server etc, avoid any NAS with an ION or Atom or Marvell processor, it has to have a proper CPU to do anything decent.
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Old 03.01.2012, 13:17
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Re: NAS - which to go for?

I asked the same question on these forums not so long ago and someone gave a suggestion about going the "dumb" route, as NAS is a bit of an overkill for my use.

Seeing as I already have an iMac and an Airport extreme base station router, all I needed to do was to get a regular 1.5Tb External hard drive and connected it to the Airport Extreme. Voila. No problems streaming to my Apple TV2 for movie/music playback.
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Old 03.01.2012, 13:20
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Re: NAS - which to go for?

Quote:
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I asked the same question on these forums not so long ago and someone gave a suggestion about going the "dumb" route, as NAS is a bit of an overkill for my use.

Seeing as I already have an iMac and an Airport extreme base station router, all I needed to do was to get a regular 1.5Tb External hard drive and connected it to the Airport Extreme. Voila. No problems streaming to my Apple TV2 for movie/music playback.
can you explain how you managed to stream movies to your appleTV2 ?
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Old 03.01.2012, 13:26
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Re: NAS - which to go for?

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can you explain how you managed to stream movies to your appleTV2 ?
I should add that as I am using Apple TV2, my setup is very limited by the fact that I need to have iTunes running all the time (iMac is goes into sleep mode but is never off). Having to have iTunes running all the time means that having a NAS is not really worthwhile. So Hard Drive -> AExtreme > itunes (on iMac) > apple TV.
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Old 03.01.2012, 13:58
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Re: NAS - which to go for?

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I run the Synology DS1511+ , it supports NTFS on th externally attached RAID 5 array, and full iSCSI support for NTFS for clinets and supports FAT/exFAT/ext3-4 etc on the internal drives. The beauty of the Synology units is the os - DSM , based on BusyBox Linux, which means my NAS also an iSCSI server , Web/FTP/CIFS/SMTP (Mail) servers, and a very competant DLNA. It provides Web Admin and Telnet/SSH access , and you can add man many other packages. The iSCSI LUNS means I can backup my PC's at around 85MB/s , if I had dual NIC's on my clients , I could double that speed.

Leaving a PC on just to server Media etc is a pain, and consumes much more electricity. Getting the NAs means I can offload all my serving requirements to a quiet efficient box, as it supports OpenDNS , I can host my own web server and mail server, and it also acts as a PHP Development box running MySQL and Postgres.

If you have a bunch of diffrent sized disks, it still allows you to create a Hybrid RAID as opposed to JBOD, and with 4 USB ports and 2 eSATA ports, expansion is catered for. I simply unplugged my Lian-Li ex50 RAID array (5 bay external) and plugged it into the Synology which recognised it straight away.

You can get single / 2 / 4 bay units too.

My advice ? If you want to do more than NAS, i.e. DLNA/transcoding/ Web server etc, avoid any NAS with an ION or Atom or Marvell processor, it has to have a proper CPU to do anything decent.
Thanks everyone for the advice.

It might be nice to be able to host my website myself (would therefore need PHP and MySQL capability), would save a bit of money over the year perhaps.

Having said that, looking at prices, the Synology seems to start around 650chf, whereas a Western Digital equivalent will only come to around 250chf - I think I would have to host my own website for more than my lifetime to make up the difference!

Anyone used the WD NAS stuff? I did have trouble with their HDDs before, but I put it down to bad luck more than bad quality.
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Old 03.01.2012, 14:24
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Re: NAS - which to go for?

Hi,

The QNAPs have MySQL and PHP out of the box, see http://www.qnap.com/pro_detail_software.asp?p_id=135. I configured Joomla on my box and built a website for a friend before hosting it on a real ISP - oxito.ch.

Piv
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Old 03.01.2012, 14:44
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Re: NAS - which to go for?

Thanks Piv, am I right in thinking that the QNAP stuff comes without HDDs though?
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Old 03.01.2012, 14:45
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Re: NAS - which to go for?

The Windows NTFS file system demands royalties for use. Most NAS' will cough up for a read only license, allowing to read USB keys etc, and if you have a suitable Linux kernel you can hack/install a 3rd party NTFS driver that will allow you to write to an NTFS file system royalty-free. Native Linux file systems have ext3/ext4 which is a journalled efficient/fast file system far more suitable for RAID and iSCSI but lacks cross platform support. FAT32 is available throughout but has limitations.

My advice, pick 3 vendors and browse their forums for people trying to do what you want to do and see the issues you may face. Synology units lack proper MKV transcoding ability do most people end up using Serviio or other 3rd party DLNA servers. Other vendors have issues with MACS and some with Xboxes, so do your research thoroughly. Vendor sales blurb is attrociously misleading.
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Old 03.01.2012, 15:06
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Re: NAS - which to go for?

I have a HP Media Server for back up & media server.

Back up side (& restore) works well but I would not recommend the media server. The sales pitch is that it goes around your PCs (I currently have 5 working) & collects all the photos, videos & music automatically so after some days (or longer) you have everything copied to central server.

What they do not tell you is that it is very fussy about what it collects & if it finds a photo or tune or whatever that it does not like then it stops collecting from that PC. Also it does not give you a clue why; the only options are to try to guess what the problem is & try to fix it - or delete that piece of data - sometimes after deletion it starts up again.

Reminds me of my first programming job in 63; it was a system that read cards & just stopped if it did not like a card. My job was to programm it to print out all the information I could gather from the card & then give the operator the option to stop or skip. Now 50 years later I seem to face the same problem ........!

The other cute trick is if you have PCs with different languages (as I do) then it appears to be collecting OK from those PCs & reports what was collected but there is nothing saved on the server.....
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Old 03.01.2012, 15:14
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Re: NAS - which to go for?

it strikes me that some of these nas's people have been recommending are more like servers!


so what you after StirB? an all in one web server, media library, all singing all dancing server

or just some network attached storage?

I can't get my head round spending more then the price of a very decent pc on an all singing and dancing nas, when a pc is more flexible - and a hell of a lot easier to fix / upgrade / install
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Old 03.01.2012, 15:21
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Re: NAS - which to go for?

Exactly. Plus he seems to be a Mac user.

It sounds to me like has a Mac Mini as a little server of sorts in which case he can just use an external drive on it. What would be good is if it's a new Mac Mini with a Thunderbolt interface in which case he can install an external RAID stack with plenty of throughput.

Read this page StirB -
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