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Old 21.09.2020, 17:07
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Setting up home server and network

Hi EFin’ Hive Mind

As my family gets older, I am thinking about how to set up a home network. Now, when I say that, I mean a network that allows files to be shared centrally.

I have internet access across multiple devices - so that is not the issue.

I want a non-cloud based option (although cloud back up is OK) that allows us to save pictures, files and media centrally, which can then be accessed from whichever home pc is on the network.

The internet is full of technical stuff, but for someone like me who isn’t computer-minded, it’s a minefield to really know “what’s the best option”.

So I thought - EFin’ ‘ell, which EFers will know what to do... and here I am. I figure someone here will be able to share their wisdom and point me to some cast iron reviews and that meaningful vs. just a sales pitch...

Thanks!
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Old 21.09.2020, 18:04
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Re: Setting up home server and network

Unix, Mac, or that other guy ... ?
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Old 21.09.2020, 18:28
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Re: Setting up home server and network

My solution is primitive, but works.
I have a Western Digital My Cloud EX2. Software is very easy to use. Set up shares (once you set up the storage, again simple), set up a couple of accounts.

Then you can map drives to it. On Apple/Android products download the app. I back it up occasionally to Google Drive, which is more of a folder drag and drop.

In hindsight I woud have got a 3 or more disk NAS, and proper backup software.

Last edited by CodPeace; 21.09.2020 at 18:28. Reason: more
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Old 21.09.2020, 18:45
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Re: Setting up home server and network

We are running a QNAP NAS (8 Bay) and they have quite the large range of 'pro' apps for it but equally it is quite easy to use for personal home use. In particular it is very easy to drop files onto it from a mac/pc on your home network (discovery apps for MacOS and Windows) and then read these off from your smart tv/appleTV or mobile device using either the built in DLNA server or using VLC on any of the devices you can find the SMB server which is my preferred as the folder structure is a little easier to navigate at the start.

Another benefit to QNAP is the ability to have your (apple) Timemachine backups directed there so no need for apple storage or a plug in drive.

Depending on the importance of your files being stored, a 2 bay should do you nicely and fill it with some readily available (and these days pretty cheap) 8TB drives and then you can fill it up with every movie you've ever watched along with all the photos/videos from everyone's devices. If you really need to get a bit more serious the 4 Bay versions will let you run a Raid config of your choosing. You can also set the QNAP up to backup to cloud if this is your preference.

A note on any NAS if you decide to go down that route - make sure it has good ventilation and can keep relatively cool. The newer ones also have a green feature which lets the drives spin down when not being explicitly accessed and you can even put it to sleep if needed.
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Old 21.09.2020, 21:21
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Re: Setting up home server and network

What you want is a NAS - network attached storage.

Basically these are servers on which you install your own hard-drives and on which you can set up everything - storing files and multimedia, streaming files to your TV, backing up laptops, phones, tablets, etc. The server is visible only in your local network but you can make it visible via some cloud services so you can access your files from work or while away from home. And then you can have all kinds of productivity apps.

The big names are Synlogy and QNAP. And some others. Prices range from 300-ish without drives to 600-1k to a fully specced machine with drives. You can have 1,2,4 or more drives, etc.

Give us a budget and we can make some recommendations. But the web and youtube are full of reviews.
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Old 21.09.2020, 22:34
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Re: Setting up home server and network

So first, you want to excavate an extra basement where the datacenter will be located...
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Old 22.09.2020, 09:45
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Re: Setting up home server and network

just a friendly reminder:
NAS is not a backup


NAS is storage, even one with one of more disk in reserve. It does not help you in case of:
- cryptoviruses
- failure of hardware
- theft / fire / flooding etc

Some hardware demands high level of expertise to retrieve data in case of failure of controllers. WD My Book used to be one of those.
Even when hardware is getting more robust, we collect bigger amount of data, so actually hardware failures happens in shorter interval.
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Old 22.09.2020, 11:24
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Re: Setting up home server and network

Look for an NAS that has an easily-configurable cloud backup option. That way, you have all of your files locally as well as an off-site backup for when disaster hits.
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Old 22.09.2020, 11:51
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Re: Setting up home server and network

I have Synolology NAS and pretty happy with it, it comes with many simple to use apps which can be used to backup photos from phone/ipad/tablet etc , Also can use it for central store of movies / music .

Digitec has Synology DS220+ starting at 339 without hard disk, price would increase as you add more disks .
Remember that when you buy 2 bay 8 TB , it does not mean you get 16 TB, it basically means that second disk is used for backup.

You can also then use a cloud provider like amazon for cold backup from synology and access it in case your NAS is compromised.
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Old 22.09.2020, 13:25
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Re: Setting up home server and network

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just a friendly reminder:
NAS is not a backup
Very important advice!

My backup strategy is a little old fashioned. I use a "large-enough" external hard drive which I sync every now and then. I keep it in a different place than the main server.

Whatever your backup strategy is, remember to test a recovery from time to time. You don't want to be in need of recovering a backup and find out that for the past 6 months you've been writing on a silently degrading backup drive...
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Old 22.09.2020, 13:33
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Re: Setting up home server and network

NAS is not backup. But a NAS with a RAID 6 is (it protects data even with two HD failures)
I have a windows 10 PC with RAID 6 that also serves as a homeserver streaming live TV, local music, photos and local movies to various home devices (Roon for music and Kodi for live TV and movies). Some of the backup folders are linked to OneDrive and sync automatically with the cloud.
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Old 22.09.2020, 14:03
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Re: Setting up home server and network

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NAS is not backup. But a NAS with a RAID 6 is
No. Not even close

If you have a power surge on the NAS and catches fire, no RAID can save you.
If your furniture fails badly, no RAID can save you*.
If your NAS is stolen while on vacation, no RAID can save you.
If a friend of your child plays with magnets close to your NAS, no RAID can save you.
If... well, you got the point.

NAS is not a backup a real backup would give your data back in all these cases.


* and this happened to a friend of mine, the shelf with the NAS collapsed. My friend was in IT and believed in RAID. And then cried, and cried. Dumb position? Probably. But it is for these cases that you need a backup, not just for single disk failures!


NAS is not a backup
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Old 22.09.2020, 14:07
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Re: Setting up home server and network

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Remember that when you buy 2 bay 8 TB , it does not mean you get 16 TB, it basically means that second disk is used for backup.
Not necessarily - depends on how you setup the drives. I personally choose to use all the space, and only have one particular folder that I use for the important files be replicated on both drives. There's little benefit to waste disk space to replicate your multimedia library

Then there's more complex setups using various versions of RAID but for home usage two disks with some replication is typically enough.

And, of course, an external backup - a cloud solution being the easiest.
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Old 22.09.2020, 14:15
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Re: Setting up home server and network

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No. Not even close
Thank you for not reading carefully. Select folders that are worth backing up are synced to OneDrive.
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Old 22.09.2020, 14:20
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Re: Setting up home server and network

I read carefully. You wrote:
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NAS is not backup. But a NAS with a RAID 6 is (it protects data even with two HD failures)
which is false. RAID 6 is not backup. And that's why you do real backup on the cloud
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Old 22.09.2020, 14:25
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Re: Setting up home server and network

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I read carefully. You wrote:

which is false. RAID 6 is not backup. And that's why you do real backup on the cloud
Thank you for not reading fully. Again. A NAS with RAID 6 and OneDrive is my solution as already explained in my earlier post, but in good EF fashion we have selective reading just to prove you're right. Twist any way you want if that makes you happy.
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Old 22.09.2020, 14:29
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Re: Setting up home server and network

Oh.. Boy. NAS is (or can be) a backup! Absolutely.
What a LOCAL NAS isn't is a OFFSITE backup. but it totally is a local backup (as long as files are stored there in addition to computer / laptop / mobile).


The same is true for a memory stick stored at home with a copy of data.
Now we can discuss security differences between various backup solutions (onsite and offsite etc) but again, they are all backups.
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Old 22.09.2020, 14:34
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Re: Setting up home server and network

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NAS is not a backup
In my case, NAS is the backup.

Primary is on the computer in RAID1 for redundancy.

Backups are stored on the NAS which sits in a cabinet in the basement bolted to the concrete wall above any potential flood level.
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Old 22.09.2020, 14:34
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Re: Setting up home server and network

...edited, never mind.
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Old 22.09.2020, 14:36
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Re: Setting up home server and network

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...edited, never mind.
Repeat after me: NAS + Cloud = backup. Maybe once more?
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