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13315 posts

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# 142961 30-Mar-2014 11:29
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Hi

I am looking for a recommendation for a NAS unit for our home/small business network.

The network is Mac based, if that is relevant.

4-6 drives, simple to use and set up. Reliable.

Probably Ethernet attachment assuming that is the fastest option.

There are loads of brands and I figured that you guys will know which are Chinese junk and which are useful tools!





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425 posts

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  # 1015328 30-Mar-2014 11:46
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IMO you can't beat QNAP.  I've installed several of these and found them to be very reliable and easy to set up.

The TS-669L or TS-669 Pro will meet your stated requirements.  Be sure not to skimp on the drives, it's very important to use good quality drives.

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  # 1015329 30-Mar-2014 11:50
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2nd vote for QNap and use the Western Digital Red drives.


 
 
 
 




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  # 1015336 30-Mar-2014 12:08
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They look good although pretty costly.

Is there a less expensive option?





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Ultimate Geek

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  # 1015338 30-Mar-2014 12:12
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If you want quality, simplicity and reliability you will have to pay for it.

If you want poor quality and unreliability, you can find plenty of cheap options.

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  # 1015340 30-Mar-2014 12:20
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I wouldnt buy a NAS drive myself from my experiences. Given transfer rates are that of 5MBp/s...
I would be running a cheap little AMD rig with tonnes of drives.

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  # 1015360 30-Mar-2014 12:39
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I "built" my own one. What I did was I bought just an HP workstation PC that came with 4GB DDR2 ECC memory, C2D E6700 CPU, 2x 160GB hard drives and this Nvidia Quadro GPU, which sounds a bit overkilling, given that it'll be a NAS system after all and it doesn't have on-board memory. I then upgraded the storage space by adding a 2TB WD Red and that required some trick to get it installed; I slipped it into an empty external 3.5" bay. OS is FreeNAS. Storage configuration goes as this: 2x 160GB drives have been configured as mirrored drives (one is being used, while the other acts as a shadow drive just in case the main drive fails) and the 2TB is independently used. Been running non-stop for over a month.

So that's my definition of an uneasy way to setup a NAS but getting most of the customisable options, best performance and paying less for it.

But otherwise, there are more ways to get a smaller setup than mine (as what the others said), even though both of these options can have more drives.



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  # 1015366 30-Mar-2014 13:11
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Let's bear in mind that I am a photographer, not an IT guru.

I guess I have 'above average' IT smarts but by no means am I any kind of expert.

Just so you can see what we have now:

iMac 27" i7
Mac Mini i5
Macbook Air

Drobo Gen 1 with 5Tb in 2 volumes
OWC USB3 external with 2Tb
Iosafe USB3 external 3 Tb
Apple Airport Time Capsule 

The Drobo is fine (but blooming noisy!) although old tech now and at age 5 or 6, in need of planned replacement I think.





 
 
 
 


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  # 1015367 30-Mar-2014 13:12
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Lol we got a mac fan boy in here. Why not spend your life savings and get one of those apple air ports with 3TB on it?
Otherwise get a little old PC and load it with drives and run xp or 7 on it and just basically share them on the network.
I am not sure if you need fast read and writes off the NAS? If so your going to be out of luck unless you are spending a decent dollar on a NAS drive. otherwise for under $500 you can get a little PC and run it that way and get the performance of a $1000 NAS drive.

'That VDSL Cat'
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  # 1015372 30-Mar-2014 13:22
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for simplicity, ild just go with a nas implantation, QNAP, Synology etc..


if your wanting to go with something extra, or wanna get your hands dirty, absolutely build a file server yourself, depending on the operating system you choose to run on it and the implantation of the SW raid, it could be far faster, or even simply more power efficient (arguable due to power increase in a desktop cpu ofcourse.) and easier to recover from a dropout than a hardware raid.


personally, i run a unRAID machine it sleeps in the corner of the lounge and is woken up over LAN whenever it is needed, then it goes back to sleep on its own after use has finished.




#include <std_disclaimer>

 

Any comments made are personal opinion and do not reflect directly on the position my current or past employers may have.


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Ultimate Geek


  # 1015375 30-Mar-2014 13:31
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I'm a Qnap owner. I wouldn't touch them personally. Too many issues that have been ignored and unfixed for far too long. Go with Synology.

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  # 1015404 30-Mar-2014 14:15
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Synology.
Beautifully built, good user interface, totally reliable, quiet, runs cool, very fast gigabit ethernet.
Not cheap.
I have 2 x 4-bay ones at work and an 8-bay one at home.
I suggest a 4-bay SYNOLOGY DISKSTATION DS413 with 4 x 4TB WD Red HDDs.




Sideface


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Ultimate Geek


  # 1015406 30-Mar-2014 14:24
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has been discussed before - but self-built nas/servers can be done on the cheap if you have spare hw lying around (could even be "free" depending on no of hdds you require)

i went with unraid and it has been pretty darn good since boot-up 18 months ago.

there are also other options freenas etc


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Master Geek


  # 1015407 30-Mar-2014 14:28
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Everyone should remember that OP is not quite of a IT person so something that works from OOB to HDD installation and setup is what he wants. Unless any of you would build one for him and do the setup.

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  # 1015434 30-Mar-2014 16:23
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Synology. I am using it on a network with 3 Macs and all are set up with Time machine for backups and also with access to user accounts on the NAS.

No matter which one you choose, make sure that the account you back up to have a quota (so a max storage) set, so that Time machine doesn't end up eating your whole NAS (It will happily use all the storage capacity you have given half a chance).

Make sure that the NAS you choose has support for Apple File Services (AFP) to make your life easier.

My Synology NAS showes up as a share in finder and has been very stable and reliable, and its got a nice web interface for managing it.

I am also using it as a Plex server connected to my smart-tv. AND it has an iTunes server so I have access to all the music that is on the NAS from any iOS device.




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  # 1015442 30-Mar-2014 16:40
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I'm in the same zone, and looking for a NAS. I have a small single bay one, which is full, and want to upgrade to a bigger one with RAID to provide some fault tolerance etc. A full refitting of my creaking IT setup, including desktop and a new NAS (and possibly a HTPC as well) looks like it will be this years Christmas project.

I was looking at QNAP, but their models seem to be either underpowered or (for the larger ones) overpriced. The pricing on most NAS units in NZ seems broadly comparable to what you pay for the same unit in Oz etc, except for QNAP where the difference seems huge.

For what it's worth, on my looking around, I'm currently tossing up between a Thecus unit (the N7700 pro) or an Asustor (either the 606T or the 608T), both of which seem to be reasonable value for money and review well. Plan is to populate with 4x4 WD Red drives in RAID5 (for 12TB usable with some fault tolerance). The extra bays will be left empty initially, but will be populated with drives and expanded in a year or two as my storage needs grow over time.

For your home/small business network key considerations are how much data do you need to store, what size are the files, what type are the files, and how many concurrent users may try to access it at any point in time. Quantity of data will impact how many bays you need and what size drives you put in them. If the files are small and simple (spreadsheets, word documents etc) and there aren't many concurrent users, then you can probably get away with a cheaper unit with an ARM processor and 1GB (or even less) of RAM. On the other hand, if you have many users, huge files and/or want to serve/transcode media files on the fly etc, then you should look for a better processor and more RAM.

Just remember, while RAID allows for some fault tolerance with drive failures - it isn't a backup strategy on its own! If you are storing business/irreplaceable files then you need a NAS with backup capability and a good backup strategy, and ensure that you stick to that strategy. I would suggest a minimum of at least two backup sets, on rotation using either USB drives or tape, with one of the sets kept offsite.

Personally, I'm looking at the 608T with two 500GB usb drives for my rotating backup of data that changes frequently, and 3TB USB drives plus 50GB BD-R disks for archived data that won't change (media files etc).

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