Questions on a LAN and RAID - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 09-15-2013, 11:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok, so I've been using a HTPC for years. Just have a dedicated PC for my main tv with about 12TB or storage.
In the living room where my daughter watches most of her tv there is a WDTV with its own external HDD.

I'm thinking about getting a NAS and using all of the HDD's from my current HTPC
I would like to use this for media for the HTPC/ WDTV/ as well as streaming music and video to a desktop, a laptop and a couple tablets.

I don't really know much about LAN's

I was thinking of Synologys DS1513. It has 5 bays so I can get 20TB of storage if I fill this up.
More than enough at the moment.

#1 One of my main questions is every time I see mention of a NAS the user seems to always run the setup in a RAID configuration. I have never used one. I understand the concept but I don't think (at least in my situation) that they are really any good.
It seems to me that a backup of each hard drive would be a better option. I have an external backup of every hard drive in my HTPC stored in a fireproof safe.
This way if a drive fails I can simply replace it and copy the data from the backup. Also since its stored in another location if the NAS get blasted with a power surge or something then it would wipe everything out. Also my backup in my safe never runs so it is not subject to normal wear and tear.
So am I missing something here? Is there any reason I would run a raid setup instead of just keeping full backups?

#2 Do NAS have to run 24/7 or can they be setup to just run when needed. If I pull up a movie on my HTPC it wakes up the LAN.....
If it is going to run 24/7 should I replace my drives with ones that are made more specifically for them like the WD reds?
Right now mine are all WD green or Samsung.

#3 Why do these cost so much? $850 seems like a lot of cash for something that does not even have any drives.... I'm assuming this is for the most part like a standard PC... mobo, ram etc.

>>>edit.... looking at some others. I see a 5 bay Drobo for only $450 with very good reviews if the Amazon reviews can be trusted.
What would make the Synology worth almost double the price?
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post #2 of 10 Old 09-15-2013, 02:00 PM
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Well, you're going about it the right way if you want to centralize all your data and share it among your LAN clients. This is it the only serious way of going about this as home networks become bigger with more clients. In answer to your questions;

1. A device like the Synology will walk you through this during setup, and make recommendations. If you've a fully loaded DS1513, it will default to a RAID5-like setup. With RAID5, all the disks are put into one large 'pool', with parity (essentially recovery) information written in stripes through all the disks. This parity information takes up space, so you end up losing the capacity of one of the disks in the RAID array (you'd end up with about 15TB formatted once RAID5 is up and running). With RAID5, you can lose an entire disk, and the system will keep running. You just replace the disk, and the system will rebuild the lost information from the parity data. Downsides of RAID5 are; losing the capacity of one disk, slow create/rebuild times, processing overhead to calculate parity information which means slower writes and generally RAID5 is looked at as overkill for home use, but, for simplicities sake for someone not sure on all this, it does make things simple.

2. NAS's do not have to run 24x7. Many bespoke NAS devices (Synology, Thecus, Drobo etc) have built in power saving modes, so the NAS itself will spin down the disks when not in use, and go to sleep if necessary. It will automatically wake-up when someone tries to access the data. These devices are low(ish) power anyway, and small, so can be tucked away. All management is done via a web console, so can be done from anywhere on your LAN. Generally, NAS devices of this type will have loads of other features as well, which you may, or may not, use.

3. You've found the biggest down-side, namely price. These NAS devices are (usually) very, very expensive, and yes, you do need to add the drives yourself, which in your case would push the price up to way over $1500 for the Synology. That's an awful lot of money, but if you want ease of use, discreet size and support, it's an option. Many here though build there own storage devices with different hardware, software and config. There's lots of choices, but you do need some knowledge to put all this together. It would generally work out cheaper as well, if you're prepared to put the work in.

Drobo's are meant to be pretty good, but I've never used one. I've used Synology's in the past, and they were ok, but I soon outgrew the one I had. Looking up the latest Drobo information, I think this would be a better choice than the Synology. The technology in a Drobo is very good, and pretty much everything is handled for you. Install the drives, switch it on, run through the wizard, and let it do its thing.
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post #3 of 10 Old 09-16-2013, 04:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply.

Well putting the hardware together should not really be an issue. I've built many PC's over the years... but never a lan server.

Let me ask you this. Is there any reason why I cannot simply use my HTPC to double as my LAN server? I can set it wake up on LAN, correct?
Now it is running Win7 of course and not a geared down LAN type OS.... would that be an issue?
Would I be able to have the HTPC automatically go back to sleep after not being used for X amount of time?

My hardware is
Asus LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX P6X58D-E
Intel Core i7 3.06GHz
Ram= 6Gb Corsair DDR3
Video= Radeon HD5770 1GB

If this is an option to use the HTPC should I use the RED WD drives?.... actually after reading a little more while typing this. Aside from price why would I ever buy a green drive again? It seems like red would be the way to go for desktop or lan....
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post #4 of 10 Old 09-16-2013, 05:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordhutt View Post

Thanks for the reply.

Well putting the hardware together should not really be an issue. I've built many PC's over the years... but never a lan server.

Let me ask you this. Is there any reason why I cannot simply use my HTPC to double as my LAN server? I can set it wake up on LAN, correct?
Now it is running Win7 of course and not a geared down LAN type OS.... would that be an issue?
Would I be able to have the HTPC automatically go back to sleep after not being used for X amount of time?

My hardware is
Asus LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX P6X58D-E
Intel Core i7 3.06GHz
Ram= 6Gb Corsair DDR3
Video= Radeon HD5770 1GB

If this is an option to use the HTPC should I use the RED WD drives?.... actually after reading a little more while typing this. Aside from price why would I ever buy a green drive again? It seems like red would be the way to go for desktop or lan....

If you feel comfortable with using your HTPC as a media server on your LAN, then Windows 7 is perfectly capable of this. Many don't like to overload their HTPC's with storage though, and separate this out into a dedicated media server (big, ugly box, but can be put wherever). If your HTPC is doing other things though (HD recording, gaming, encoding etc) AND serving files to other LAN clients, you might get some latency issues, but that's not certain.

Windows 7's built in power management features should be able to handle the sleep/resume features, and most NIC drivers/motherboard's now support WoL. As you imply your totally comfortable with building PC's then this is all possible. I would seriously consider the dedicated media server route though, especially with all that storage. It would make everything easier in the long run.
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post #5 of 10 Old 09-16-2013, 09:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tman247 View Post

If you feel comfortable with using your HTPC as a media server on your LAN, then Windows 7 is perfectly capable of this. Many don't like to overload their HTPC's with storage though, and separate this out into a dedicated media server (big, ugly box, but can be put wherever). If your HTPC is doing other things though (HD recording, gaming, encoding etc) AND serving files to other LAN clients, you might get some latency issues, but that's not certain.

Windows 7's built in power management features should be able to handle the sleep/resume features, and most NIC drivers/motherboard's now support WoL. As you imply your totally comfortable with building PC's then this is all possible. I would seriously consider the dedicated media server route though, especially with all that storage. It would make everything easier in the long run.

Well, let me ask you this. As far as using my HTPC is concerned.

You say people don't like to overload their HTPC's with storage... can you explain why? I pretty much assumed that more people stored their media in their HTPC as opposed to a LAN.

As for the tasks of my HTPC that is it. It is dedicated to that purpose only.... watching movies and tv shows. No other programs running... no gaming... and no video ripping/encoding (I do that on another pc and then just send the files over when ready)
Also the ugly box issue... All of my equipment from the HTPC to my receiver, PS3 etc., is in a separate room so it is totally out of sight.

So considering these points would that still be your recommendation?

I'm not opposed to getting a dedicated LAN but if I don't have to.....
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post #6 of 10 Old 09-16-2013, 09:56 AM
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There is no problem with using the HTPC as your media storage. Just when you get beyond a couple discs you start adding in more heat which needs more cooling and then you have more noise from extra drives and additional cooling fans. Some HTPC cases are smaller form factors so you won't be able to fit many drives into your nice compact HTPC case. If all this stuff is in a media closet anyway then it doesn't matter much where the media sits.

I like have a very simple HTPC where tasks are only playback related and the only storage is a SSD for the OS and programs and another disc for RecordedTV. The RecordedTV disc is an extra 2TB disc from when I upgraded my server storage to 3TB discs.

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post #7 of 10 Old 09-16-2013, 10:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Well its an Antec 300 gaming case I used so there is plenty of room. I think it holds 6 drives very comfortably. And like you mention since its in a media closet noise is not an issue.
As of yet I've had no problems with heat (its a couple years old at least)... but wouldn't a smaller NAS case have any similar heat concerns?

I guess I really need to just test it out. Start up a 1080p movie and then try to access a couple other video files from the WDTV and a laptop and see how it handles it.

If I didn't already have a giant beast of a HTPC built and was starting fresh then the NAS decision wouldn't be as hard....
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post #8 of 10 Old 09-16-2013, 01:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordhutt View Post

Well, let me ask you this. As far as using my HTPC is concerned.

You say people don't like to overload their HTPC's with storage... can you explain why? I pretty much assumed that more people stored their media in their HTPC as opposed to a LAN.

As for the tasks of my HTPC that is it. It is dedicated to that purpose only.... watching movies and tv shows. No other programs running... no gaming... and no video ripping/encoding (I do that on another pc and then just send the files over when ready)
Also the ugly box issue... All of my equipment from the HTPC to my receiver, PS3 etc., is in a separate room so it is totally out of sight.

So considering these points would that still be your recommendation?

I'm not opposed to getting a dedicated LAN but if I don't have to.....
Quote:
Originally Posted by lordhutt View Post

Well its an Antec 300 gaming case I used so there is plenty of room. I think it holds 6 drives very comfortably. And like you mention since its in a media closet noise is not an issue.
As of yet I've had no problems with heat (its a couple years old at least)... but wouldn't a smaller NAS case have any similar heat concerns?

I guess I really need to just test it out. Start up a 1080p movie and then try to access a couple other video files from the WDTV and a laptop and see how it handles it.

If I didn't already have a giant beast of a HTPC built and was starting fresh then the NAS decision wouldn't be as hard....

In which case, if you're happy doing it this way, then go ahead. I'm sure it will work fine. I was merely stating that for large amounts of local storage (read: many TB's) with multiple LAN clients it has its advantages to go with a separate media server. It might be something you could consider for the future.
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post #9 of 10 Old 09-16-2013, 01:40 PM - Thread Starter
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That's the thing. If I knew then what I know now... or if I was just starting now I would definitely go the LAN route. And at the same time wouldn't have overbuilt the PC like I did... way more than it needs to be for what it is used for.

I want to upgrade (combine) a couple drives so I will go with the reds for these. From everything I've been reading that seems to be the better option.... especially for only $20 more for a 4TB.

Thanks for the help :-)
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post #10 of 10 Old 09-16-2013, 02:18 PM
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In my case I kept adding roles to the HTPC so I decided to break them out into a server. I had nightly onsite backups, offsite backups with CrashPlan, lighting control with Homeseer, download clients, and whatever else at the time. Now my server does all those tasks and I can log in to it and manage things without interrupting media playback on the HTPC. Also, my HTPC sits in the same room under the TV so quiet is important.

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