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Topic # 109243 16-Sep-2012 09:54 Send private message

I’m about to buy a NAS for my home setup, but I wanted to run my idea by the Geekzoners and see if what I’m proposing is do-able, and makes sense.

There are two main computers that would be served by this NAS – my desktop, and my wife’s laptop.  What I’m imagining is creating a folder on the NAS for each of us, within which I would create folders for Documents, Videos, Music, and Photos.  These folders would be mirrored (possibly using Synctoys or something similar?) so that a copy is stored locally on the computer’s HDD, and is effectively “backed up” on the NAS.  The NAS would also have a Shared folder, with sub folders for documents, videos, music, and photos, which would be linked to the relevant libraries on each computer (linked, meaning they are streamed over the network rather than stored locally on the computer’s HDD).  This would allow for each computer to have “personal” files which are portable (in the case of the laptop) and access to the shared files while on the network.  There are a couple of reasons for this approach:

- It allows for a measure of “backup” so that in the event of a computer failing, the core data is not lost.

- It makes transition to new hardware simpler – the core data is not solely located on the device being replaced, so it can be migrated to a new device relatively simply.

- It ensures shared files are stored centrally, rather than duplicated over different devices.

- Video files stored on the NAS should “stream” to the TV without stuttering (because both the TV and the NAS would be wired to the router).

I’m also thinking that if I have a 2-bay NAS, and all the files are stored on a single 2TB HDD, I could use a second HDD to create a mirrored copy of the first HDD, and then store that second HDD off-site as a secure backup of all the data.  This would create essentially 2 levels of backup for personal files (from the computer to the NAS, and from the NAS to the second HDD), and 1 level of backup for the shared files (from the NAS to the second HDD).

My questions are:

- What NAS device do you recommend?  My budget (including drives) is about $600, so I’ve been looking at the Netgear ReadyNAS duo  ($239) plus 2x2TB WD Red drives.  As far as I can tell, this NAS allows for RAID 1 and something called X-RAID, which I think means I can hot-plug a second drive and it will mirror the first.  This sounds ideal for what I’m planning – have I understood this right?  The NAS will also be in the lounge, so how quiet is the Netgear NAS?

- Will Synctoys allow me to synchronise the user folders from the NAS to the user folders on the computer, and can it be setup to do this at a set time (or when Windows starts) each day?  Is this a good way to go?

- Are there any significant limitations to what I’ve proposed?  The main one I’ve identified is that by mirroring (from User Folders to the NAS, and then mirroring the drives within the NAS), it means that accidentally deleted files can’t easily be recovered.  Also, the Netgear ReadyNAS seems to have a drive capacity ceiling of 6TB (which I think is 2x3TB drives).  Can you think of any other limitations?

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 686626 16-Sep-2012 11:32 Send private message

I have a Synology and it does everything.

$600 is a bit tight (if not very tight). The DSM software that comes with it will do everything you mention above and more. They do 2 bay drives but I lasted about 4 months on one before upgrading to a 4 bay one. It is more acceptable but these days I would go for at least 5 bay or 8 bay.

check out www.synology.com

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  Reply # 686631 16-Sep-2012 11:58 Send private message

With a $600 budget the best you could do is build a box using a mini iTX board with onboard Atom and install ubuntu server on it.

Synology boxes are hard to beat though,

http://forum.synology.com/wiki/index.php/Overview_on_modifying_the_Synology_Server,_bootstrap,_ipkg_etc#How_to_install_ipkg

http://ipkg.nslu2-linux.org/feeds/optware/syno-i686/cross/unstable/




Ross
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  Reply # 686640 16-Sep-2012 12:56 Send private message

Hi, I have installed a modest number of Synology units in both small business and small schools, plus residential and to be honest they are hard to beat. $600 is a bit tight. Other option is build your own atom based machine or some old hardware that support SATA and run either freeNAS or a flavour of NasLite.

At home I run Naslite with an old 486 with 64Mbyte of RAM and old IDE drives of which I have a couple of spanker IDE's that will keep it in business for some years yet, it boots of a Live CD and uses a floppy for writable disc for the OS. Other than stopping for a CPU fan failure (came home to find Fur Elise eminating from the stair closet) its run non stop for years except for when I moved.

Cyril

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  Reply # 686664 16-Sep-2012 14:02 Send private message

Personally for that budget I'd got for DIY comp build (using an old comp maybe) with something like FreeNAS. Your plan for taking a HDD offsite as backup "may" work but not really suggested. Most of the better NAS' have sync capability so could sync accross VDSL2 or something?







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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 686675 16-Sep-2012 14:27 Send private message

Thanks for the replies so far.  I looked at the Synology units, and they do look good.  The things which steered me away from them though were the price and the inability to hot-swap (on the DS212J at least).  I was taken by the Netgear's ability to hotswap, which I took to mean that I could keep one drive off-site, and then load it into the NAS once a week for mirroring, giving me a reasonably secure, off-site backup of all my files.  From what I've read, the DS212J doesn't support hotswapping, and requires some dismantling to remove/insert drives, which makes storing a mirrored copy off-site impractical.

While I appreciate the support for Synology, is there anything in particular about the Netgear ReadyNAS which counts against it?  From what I can see, it matches or beats the Synology on most things.  From Computer Lounge, the Netgear plus 2x2TB WD Red drives would be $639 (which is pretty close to my budget), while the Synology DS212J would be at least $100 more expensive, and doesn't support hotswap.

@ Zeon and Cyril - I like building computers, but I'm skeptical about being able to build a good NAS server for less than the Netgear ReadyNAS.  A quick check of Pricespy suggests that I'd struggle to pick up a mini-ITX motherboard, 4GB of RAM, and a small case for under $200.  The only old hardware I've got lying around is too bulky and noisy to be a good solution, and it would probably cost a similar amount to modify it to a suitable size and noise level.  What does a homebuild offer that the ReadyNAS doesnt, if the cost is about the same?

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 686695 16-Sep-2012 15:19 Send private message

So, it's me again with a voice from the other side. (Why is it me that seems to have the other view point??)

One could consider a QNAP TS-112 NAS.

It's not big, but it is smart.

Here's my thinking.

It'll do everything you're suggesting and then more.

I've had a QNAP TS-112 for over a year and it's never let me down.

QNAP TS-112 Specs.


1 x Gigabit Ethernet
3 x USB 2.0
1 x eSATA
1 x 3TB HDD Maximum [purchased separately]
1.2GHz singe core CPU
256MB DDRII RAM
16MB Flash Memory

It's only a one HDD box and the max HDD you can have is 3TB, which may be quite nice with a WD Red 3TB HDD.

The SATA HDD will normally have faster access than the 'shared' 1Gibit Ethernet connection.

You can get a TS-112 for around $260 and then approx $300 for a 3TB disk.
Then you can use any SATA disk in a eSATA dock or as you suggested the PC HDD (You'd need to check that service is provided by QNAP, but remote replication looks promising) for backups.

On my TS-112 I use the eSATA to an external remote eSATA removable dock.
In the days when a 2TB disk was less than $200 I bought a couple and use them for backup.

I have a 10/100Mb Ethernet Android box under the TV which I use the NAS to stream 720p mkv/mp4 movies (no problem at 100Mbits)

My Android phone uses the NAS as a remote storage device .. for just about everything
I have IPerf installed for benchmarking and there are a lot of good QNAP android applications now.

My Desktop is connected on a 1Gbit LAN to the NAS and all my Windows 7 libraries are 'linked' to the NAS using Win7 library tools from Zorn Software.

My Notebook runs the same Win7 library setup for data and streaming music and movies over 2.4GHz WiFi at approx 15metres and 60Mbps from the NAS is never a problem.

I can even stream 720p mkv movies to my phone at 15metres from my NAS too (via Linksys E4200v1 router).

One of the USB ports is connected to a Cannon printer and thus (powered on) always accessible to the network including Android which also works,

My router has OpenVPN and PPTP servers so my NAS is accessible from my notebook and phone when I'm not at home. You can use the QNAP NAS as a PPTP or/and OpenVPN server too.

I have a D-Link WiFi adapter which gives a second interface/IP network via USB 2.0  into the NAS and I use this for access to my guest network (which is routed on a separate network)

My NAS is running Apache, MySQL, PHP, Perl and a local web server, and yes you guessed it, there is much more.

The software on a QNAP NAS mostly follows closely to that on the Synology NAS,

All the above is a budget solution as that's the kind of guy I am but it does all work and I've had no dramas.

And here's a picture girls and boys.



I wouldn't buy a QNAP TS-112 now myself, I'd buy a QNAP TS-269L because it's favourable priced, has two Gigbit interfaces, 1.8GHz dual core processor, USB 3.0 and the list goes on...

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  Reply # 686766 16-Sep-2012 18:54 Send private message

I'm looking at at NAS as well - couple of months away from doing anything though.

My thoughts - don't go 1-bay since it's a critical file store at the core of your network. Go either 2-bay (RAID-1) or 4-bay (RAID-5), to cope with disk failures. Also, your budget is a little on the light side. Ascent will do a 2-bay Synology box with 2x2TB drives installed for $720, and I doubt you will be able to do it much cheaper than either that or the Netgear at $639.

There seems to be quite a leap between 4-bay and larger units so, much as khull's suggestion of 5-bay-bay is attractive, that's probably what I will go with. Have tentatively settled on the QNAP TS-412 which I will populate with 3TB drives - as it has 2xeSATA connectors that appear (am still finishing research) to be compatible with port multipliers. So, my thinking was that I can add a cheap 5-Bay eSATA drive enclosure (or two) over time, it it turns out I need more than 9TB.

The NAS is cheap enough, but the cost of 4 good 3TB disks is still a bit eye-watering though.......



625 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 686770 16-Sep-2012 18:57 Send private message

Wow, that is a complex setup!

Thanks for the alternative point of view - that's why I come to Geekzone, because there's always good discussion!

I took a look at the Qnap NAS, and they seem similar to the Synology devices. Unfortunately, the dual-bay models are about the same price range as the Synology, and they look like they also require dismantling to swap out the drives.

Zeon - you mentioned that "your plan for taking a HDD offsite as backup "may" work but not really suggested." Why not? I did look into backing up to the cloud, but I had some issues with that approach - ongoing data storage costs, questions around security of the data store, plus my current ADSL2 data plan wouldn't take a hammering. I figured an off-site copy was a good plan against data loss on-site (either through hardware failure, or fire, theft, etc. Is there a problem with the method of using a NAS to mirror a copy of the NAS HDD?




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  Reply # 686817 16-Sep-2012 20:14 Send private message

Lizard1977:

Zeon - you mentioned that "your plan for taking a HDD offsite as backup "may" work but not really suggested." Why not? I did look into backing up to the cloud, but I had some issues with that approach - ongoing data storage costs, questions around security of the data store, plus my current ADSL2 data plan wouldn't take a hammering. I figured an off-site copy was a good plan against data loss on-site (either through hardware failure, or fire, theft, etc. Is there a problem with the method of using a NAS to mirror a copy of the NAS HDD?





Good idea to have an offsite backup. But i think what Zeon is getting at is that most NAS devices use RAID for drive mirror and depending on the type of RAID taking a drive out of the array can cause big problems. You mention X-RAID, allowing you to take a drive away, which must be some sort of proprietary thing as it isn't your standard RAID 0,1,5,10. I think your best bet would be use an external USB that you can just run  monthly backups to or something like that.



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 686827 16-Sep-2012 20:29 Send private message

Thanks for explaining that Chevrolux. From what I understand of X-RAID, it is a proprietary system developed by Netgear. They describe it as a gradual expansion process for RAID. The first drive is used normally, adding a second adds redundancy, whilst adding a third and fourth adds capacity. I was only planning on a dual bay NAS, so it seemed to me that I could add the first drive, which stores the data, and then add a second, which makes a redundant copy of the first disk. But because it's hot swappable, I figured it could be removed without problem for a week, and when re-inserted would just bring itself "up to date."

If that approach is likely to cause problems, then I guess an alternative would be a NAS with either USB3 or e-Sata that could take an external HDD dock, where I could plug in a SATA HDD for backup purposes. I was hoping for something reasonably automated (hence the idea of a hot swappable RAID NAS). How would the Synology or Q-NAP work with backing up to an external HDD dock?

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  Reply # 686831 16-Sep-2012 20:42 Send private message

I too am considering something along these lines, so am interested to read all the opinions! Though I think I'll more likely go more the home server route than just a NAS; currently running a p4 system with Amahi on it and it's working great, but the hardware gets a wee bit warm and seems a bit power hungry.

I'm probably a little way away from actually buying anything, but have been looking at the proliant microservers with interest:

http://www.elive.co.nz/hp-proliant-n40l-micro-server-t20310.php

The price looks pretty good.

EDIT:  Geez, even cheaper, $377: http://www.itexpress.co.nz/epages/shop.sf/?ObjectPath=/Shops/itexpress/Products/QZ160A

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  Reply # 686843 16-Sep-2012 21:07 Send private message

sidefx: I too am considering something along these lines, so am interested to read all the opinions! Though I think I'll more likely go more the home server route than just a NAS; currently running a p4 system with Amahi on it and it's working great, but the hardware gets a wee bit warm and seems a bit power hungry.

I'm probably a little way away from actually buying anything, but have been looking at the proliant microservers with interest:

http://www.elive.co.nz/hp-proliant-n40l-micro-server-t20310.php

The price looks pretty good.

EDIT:  Geez, even cheaper, $377: http://www.itexpress.co.nz/epages/shop.sf/?ObjectPath=/Shops/itexpress/Products/QZ160A


Was going to mention this, I was in the exact position to replace my aging ReadyNAS NV+
You cant beat the N40L at that price and I picked one up a few weeks back and I am tempted to get another.
They are slightly bigger than a Netgear/QNAP, but they are very quiet and have alot of options for which ever solution you want.




625 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 686850 16-Sep-2012 21:24 Send private message

I'm starting to lean towards the QNAP TS-112.  I've been reading up about Q-RAID, which allows for an external drive to be connected and mirrored.  I figured I could go for the QNAP + a 2TB HDD as a starting point, and then add an e-Sata dock in a couple of months (about $60 from Jaycar) plus another 2TB HDD.  That would give me effective redundancy by providing an exact copy whenever I plug in the external HDD, and it sounds like Q-RAID is designed to accomodate frequent (e.g. weekly) removal/insertion of a second drive.

Anyone have any thoughts on this approach?

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  Reply # 686852 16-Sep-2012 21:30 Send private message

eluSiveNZ: 
Was going to mention this, I was in the exact position to replace my aging ReadyNAS NV+
You cant beat the N40L at that price and I picked one up a few weeks back and I am tempted to get another.
They are slightly bigger than a Netgear/QNAP, but they are very quiet and have alot of options for which ever solution you want.


Great, good to know!  Where did you buy yours and what drives have you got in it?   Also what are you running on it?  I'm quite keen to put ESX or similar on it and host a couple of servers on there; don't suppose you've tried anything along those lines?

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  Reply # 686875 16-Sep-2012 22:27 Send private message

sidefx: Great, good to know!  Where did you buy yours and what drives have you got in it?   Also what are you running on it?  I'm quite keen to put ESX or similar on it and host a couple of servers on there; don't suppose you've tried anything along those lines?


Got mine from www.aquilatech.co.nz/
Currently only have 1 500GB. (explain below)
I'm running ESXi 5 and it works really well, installed it to a 16GB USB stick on the internal USB port.
Few gotchas however:
2GB wont cut it, installer will fail.
ESX wont use the onboard RAID, so I've ordered a DELL PERC 5/i off eBay, will start with 2x500GB and start adding 2TBs over the new few months.
The onboard NIC doesn't do jumbo frames :( I'm using a dual port gigabit Intel nic, but when PERC card arrives, this wont fit into the x1 PCIE slot (card needs to be butchered, guides online on how to do this)
N40L actually works with 16GB (2x8) but only certain sticks working. (found from another site)

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