Mister_Boy

Prominent
Feb 6, 2020
5
0
510
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Hi all,

I've been considering a NAS for the last 5 year and actively planning to get one for the last 2 but every time I look seriously I end up bewildered what to go with, and end up doing nothing. I just can't seem to figure out which manufacturer to go with as you can find people advocating and criticising everything.
It's something I don't look forward to doing either as I hate sysadmin stuff, but I've just got a new Mac and maybe it's time to use the momentum I've got migrating it to get this done.

We're a household of two, my wife uses her laptop to run her small business and I'm a freelance software developer. We use cloud services like Google Drive and Github for our critical files (yes I know NAS isn't backup!) so I'm looking at a NAS for the following:

  1. Time Machine/Windows backups in case a Mac/PC dies
  2. Central store for all our photos, right now they are strewn across multiple PCs, SD cards, USB drives, etc. I want the NAS able to link to a cloud service (not sure which) to manage backups automatically.
  3. We want to rip all our CDs and DVDs (some BR but no 4K) simply because none of our devices have optical drives now. We are not film bufs looking to buy and rip 4k movies, we want to sort out our legacy media - new content we just stream. I do need the easy ability to stream music/video to our TVs, Chromecasts, etc.
  4. I'm not sure if it's possible, but if the NAS can be used to cast Spotify, Amazon music, etc I would much prefer that than doing so from my phone which is often flaky
  5. When we get security cameras I'd like to use the NAS as storage hub for them
  6. As a developer having a low-spec always on PC is handy. Maybe for custom smart-home stuff, or basic web-server, etc.
So, I have established that:
  • I probably want an Intel-based system, like a micro-PC CPU rather than ARM.
  • I want a mirrored drive setup but only the minimum to protect me if one disk fails, so I think a 2-drive NAS is sufficient. I am interested in flexibility so ability to resize RAID volumes sounds good (I know of SHR not sure if others exist), I'd probably prefer a NAS that supports additional enclosure than buying a 4/6 drive NAS.
  • The only content that will only be stored on the NAS and nowhere else will be video/music which will also me a lot of data. I don't ever want to have to re-rip DVDs but this data is static so I would probably use an external drive to backup this content - store it in the car or something. Maybe even put a super-cheap NAS in my garage and setup a sync between them.
  • Ease of use software is valuable to me, and a system with good support/community.
  • I don't want to spend a fortune.
  • I am expecting it to live in my office or hidden away, so it doesn't need to be silent.
IIRC I was looking initially at WD before hearing bad things, then at Synology, then someone recommended QNAP. All offer hardware of similar levels so it probably seems to come down to software/support I reckon. Everyone seems to offer 2/4 bay Celeron enclosures, some allow easy RAM upgrade.

Any recommendations on specific devices or ecosystem are welcome. Thanks for reading all this guff...
 

punkncat

Dignified
Ambassador
I have a Synology 2 bay NAS. Picked it up a few months back, maybe longer...who knows with this time warp year and a half we have had, lol.
It works pretty well for local shares, backup and such. It has all manner of "cloud" features that I don't specifically use.
I would say the only hangup/drawback is that it uses a Linux format for the drives (EST 3 IIRC). It sort of concerns me in that, if this unit goes bad then I have a backup on disks I can't read.
I do like it's small footprint, low power/heat, got a fan for when you are doing sustained writes and reads. Overall a likable unit once you get used to how it works. Admittedly I am barely scratching the surface of it's potential.

I have heard good recommends for the QNAP model(s) as well.

In my own world of familiarity, I actually prefer utilizing a Windows PC for storage as I am so much more well versed in it's use.
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Hi all,

I've been considering a NAS for the last 5 year and actively planning to get one for the last 2 but every time I look seriously I end up bewildered what to go with, and end up doing nothing. I just can't seem to figure out which manufacturer to go with as you can find people advocating and criticising everything.
It's something I don't look forward to doing either as I hate sysadmin stuff, but I've just got a new Mac and maybe it's time to use the momentum I've got migrating it to get this done.

We're a household of two, my wife uses her laptop to run her small business and I'm a freelance software developer. We use cloud services like Google Drive and Github for our critical files (yes I know NAS isn't backup!) so I'm looking at a NAS for the following:

  1. Time Machine/Windows backups in case a Mac/PC dies
  2. Central store for all our photos, right now they are strewn across multiple PCs, SD cards, USB drives, etc. I want the NAS able to link to a cloud service (not sure which) to manage backups automatically.
  3. We want to rip all our CDs and DVDs (some BR but no 4K) simply because none of our devices have optical drives now. We are not film bufs looking to buy and rip 4k movies, we want to sort out our legacy media - new content we just stream. I do need the easy ability to stream music/video to our TVs, Chromecasts, etc.
  4. I'm not sure if it's possible, but if the NAS can be used to cast Spotify, Amazon music, etc I would much prefer that than doing so from my phone which is often flaky
  5. When we get security cameras I'd like to use the NAS as storage hub for them
  6. As a developer having a low-spec always on PC is handy. Maybe for custom smart-home stuff, or basic web-server, etc.
So, I have established that:
  • I probably want an Intel-based system, like a micro-PC CPU rather than ARM.
  • I want a mirrored drive setup but only the minimum to protect me if one disk fails, so I think a 2-drive NAS is sufficient. I am interested in flexibility so ability to resize RAID volumes sounds good (I know of SHR not sure if others exist), I'd probably prefer a NAS that supports additional enclosure than buying a 4/6 drive NAS.
  • The only content that will only be stored on the NAS and nowhere else will be video/music which will also me a lot of data. I don't ever want to have to re-rip DVDs but this data is static so I would probably use an external drive to backup this content - store it in the car or something. Maybe even put a super-cheap NAS in my garage and setup a sync between them.
  • Ease of use software is valuable to me, and a system with good support/community.
  • I don't want to spend a fortune.
  • I am expecting it to live in my office or hidden away, so it doesn't need to be silent.
IIRC I was looking initially at WD before hearing bad things, then at Synology, then someone recommended QNAP. All offer hardware of similar levels so it probably seems to come down to software/support I reckon. Everyone seems to offer 2/4 bay Celeron enclosures, some allow easy RAM upgrade.

Any recommendations on specific devices or ecosystem are welcome. Thanks for reading all this guff...
One copy of any data is never a good idea. Especially if "I don't ever want to have to re-rip DVDs". You have to have more than one INDEPENDENT copy.
Synology, QNAP, and Thecus are the "big 3" for small NAS. Asustor is the lower priced alternative.
Check out the simulated NAS units that each of the vendors make available through their website. That lets you test drive the software.
 

Mister_Boy

Prominent
Feb 6, 2020
5
0
510
0
One copy of any data is never a good idea. Especially if "I don't ever want to have to re-rip DVDs". You have to have more than one INDEPENDENT copy.
Synology, QNAP, and Thecus are the "big 3" for small NAS. Asustor is the lower priced alternative.
Check out the simulated NAS units that each of the vendors make available through their website. That lets you test drive the software.
Somehow I never came across Thecus. Or that they provide the ability to test-drive, that sounds useful.

And yes I'm aware you need at least one backup. But for content I rip once something like a weekly sync to an external drive would be enough. Maybe have two drives and rotate them so one always lives outside the house. This is also content that would be annoying rather than devastating to lose. You'd be losing time not data :)
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Somehow I never came across Thecus. Or that they provide the ability to test-drive, that sounds useful.

And yes I'm aware you need at least one backup. But for content I rip once something like a weekly sync to an external drive would be enough. Maybe have two drives and rotate them so one always lives outside the house. This is also content that would be annoying rather than devastating to lose. You'd be losing time not data :)
Even a two drive commercial NAS has options for cloud backup and for USB drives.
If you want an Intel CPU, then the "+" series of Synology is what I recommend. I have a DS720+. I upgraded the RAM and added the NVMe SSD for caching.
 
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Mister_Boy

Prominent
Feb 6, 2020
5
0
510
0
I do remember looking at the + range. I wanted to like the WD equivalent as it's often on offer on Amazon but I saw complaints the software wasn't the easiest. IIRC I was looking at the 220+ which is probably adequate but the 420/720 are not only better specced but more flexible for upgrades - so for the extra £100 probably worth it.

If you're not bored of it, I'd love to hear your 30s pitches why you prefer Synology/Qnap
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
I do remember looking at the + range. I wanted to like the WD equivalent as it's often on offer on Amazon but I saw complaints the software wasn't the easiest. IIRC I was looking at the 220+ which is probably adequate but the 420/720 are not only better specced but more flexible for upgrades - so for the extra £100 probably worth it.

If you're not bored of it, I'd love to hear your 30s pitches why you prefer Synology/Qnap
It is all about the software. That is why I recommend using the test drive options.
 

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