Synology DS1511+ first look (mini review) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 581 Old 01-11-2011, 04:20 PM - Thread Starter
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So I finally got home today to find all kinds of stuff going on. New firmware RC1 for Boxee Box and a couple of packages sitting on my front porch. One box had many warning labels but was pretty unexciting (CO2 canister for my sodastream) but the other box was super duper packaged up and had some size and weight to it. Could it be? My Synology DS1511+ has finally arrived? Yes, it is, oh joy!



So, naturally I put aside all other concerns and immediately tore in to messing around with the new toy (kudos to superbiiz.com for doing such a nice job with the packaging, you could have shipped this thing to Afghanistan and it would have gotten there okay).

Physically the box is very compact, just slightly smaller than an HP WHS for example, but laid on its side. It has five drive bays, two gigabit ethernet connections, two eSATA ports, four USB ports and a VGA connection so you can actually connect a full kb/mouse/monitor if you end up needing to do that for troubleshooting.

The disk trays are made of a sturdy plastic and have a basic locking mechanism to prevent them from being unlatched accidentally. Synology includes copious drive screws, a power cable and a pair of ethernet cables along with a setup CD.

Setup was REALLY easy. Basically you only need to install the Synology assistant from the included CD, and get the latest Synology DSM software from their website. The assistant immediately detects the Synology DS1511+ on the network and runs through a quick setup that consists of assigning an administrator account and then automatically begins building a volume with the available disks, installing the DSM software to those disks and then starting up. It takes about five minutes to do this.

Once the DSM software is installed, you are taken to a web page to log in to the box. Unlike most machines out there, when you log in to the web browser you get a full blown GUI to play with. It's nice that this is through a standard web interface since you require no special software to access the diskstation from anywhere.

For grins, I initially built the DSM with 4 2TB Seagate 5900 RPM LP drives. In the interest of time and to do as much testing as I could, I skipped the sector check (although normally I would do this) and simply created the volume with all available space. This took about 10 minutes and then I was free to build a share, create some user accounts, etc.

I created a 'movies' share and enabled the guest account on the box. I then pulled down an 18GB MKV off of my WHS box, at a speed of about 35-40 MB/s and then proceeded to write that same MKV out to the Synology. Even using the green drives I was able to get speeds on the DS1511+ of between 60MB/s and 70MB/s.... so, at least 50% faster than my WHS using exactly the same drives and a more power efficient processor.

Speaking of power, I put my kill-o-watt meter on the DS1511+ and with four drives going full bore it was using about 45 watts. I believe my EX495 was using about 65 watts when idling or doing file copies with the same number of drives installed.

I was able to connect my Boxee Box to the DS1511+ pretty easily. I just changed the default SMB client account on the Boxee to "guest". It picked up the name of the Diskstation and I was able to drill into my movies share, add it to the sources and start playing movies back.

No hiccups, pauses, buffering or other problems during a two hour high bitrate MKV file being streamed off of the Synology.

For fun, I then added my fifth Seagate 2TB drive, while all of this stuff was being done to test the box. I wanted to know if adding a drive would cause my movie to stall, etc. I am happy to report that everything continued to work fine, even when I went in and added the drive to the existing storage pool... as a matter of fact, while I am typing this, the box is building out that fifth drive, while still doing file copies AND streaming an MKV to a Boxee Box (power consumption during all of this with five drives now installed is a comfortable 52 watts).

I have only scratched the surface of what this box can do. It includes IP surveillance software, web server, file transfer server (so you can remotely access your files from anywhere), email server and a bunch of other things.

The thing that has me particularly excited is that the box appears to be VERY fast, and can handle the addition of a drive with no hiccups. Since I could eventually add two more shelves to it, theoretically it could eventually be taken up to over 40TB of useable storage.

The Synology cannot do EVERYTHING that my WHS does (primarily due to my reluctance to give up my DC++ client and preference for Blue Iris for IP surveillance recording).. I also think the WHS will be easier for me for Time Machine, although the DS1511+ supports that too, so I might eventually switch that over to the new machine.

Any way, sorry for the long ramble of initial impressions, hopefully I can write up a full review at some point in the next week or so and provide it to mediasmartserver.net, etc, for your viewing pleasure.
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post #2 of 581 Old 01-11-2011, 04:34 PM - Thread Starter
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One more quick set of comments. The question has come up previously why I opted out so to speak of continuing to expand and build on my HP Windows Home Server.

While the Windows Home Server is an excellent product (one of the best MS has in my opinion) I became troubled when drive extender features were removed from the product. This leaves the future of WHS in doubt.

My WHS setup has always had a few annoying little issues, such as periodic performance hiccups caused by the drive extender, the occasional reboot due to a service pack installation (resulting in interrupted movie playback) and just a general sense that there's a small amount of wonkiness with it. I had been hoping to see a lot of these things cured in the next big release (Vail) but when MS lost interest in providing an easily flexible storage system for their product, I lost interest in giving MS more of my money.

My existing WHS is close to topped out in storage capacity. I can squeeze a little more capacity out by adding a USB enclosure to the nearly full setup I already have (4x bays full in the main enclosure and another five discs in the TR5M eSATA bay)... but it has occurred to me that folder duplication on WHS is more trouble than it is worth. For every TB of disk space I wish to add I must add another TB of space on another entire power sucking hard drive just to make sure that the death of a disk does not render a bunch of my movies in need of a re-rip.

Sooooo... enter Synology. 5x2TB drives in Synology yields 7.3 TB of useable storage space, which is more than I had in my WHS with 10TB of drives (4.5TB useable). If I want more storage with this setup, I could add a 2nd enclosure (DX510) and another 5x2TB of cheap green drives and the useable storage would go up to 16.1TB. By comparison 20TB of 2TB drives in my WHS setup would only yield about 9.1TB of space.

After seeing how the Synology hybrid raid works I see that it will be easy to add disks to the array as time and finances permit.

Additionally the "OS" is Linux running on the multi-disk volume itself, so no worrying about having to reload the box if a single disk conks out (with WHS if you lose the system disk the box is down and you have to rebuild it).

If the entire Synology box craps out, the drives can be read in another Synology box and the data can be recovered.

For a quick backup system I am contemplating eventually hooking up either the Synology DX510 or a supported JBOD and simply building a small RAID-0 high capacity volume consisting of 2X3TB disks for my DVDs and Blu-rays. This disk pair can then be locked up in a safe at another location so that if anything happens to this box I can recover my data in a reasonable amount of time.
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post #3 of 581 Old 01-11-2011, 05:40 PM
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Nice writeup, and NAS. Thanks and congrats.

The eSATA ports are the deal clincher IMO that makes this greater than all other commercial SOHO NAS available today.

My home theater, 16 years and growing in the making (bought the main 5.5's new in 1995)
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post #4 of 581 Old 01-11-2011, 07:05 PM
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Thanks for your impressions Jason. The ease of use and transfer speeds sound good. I may end up getting it myself at some point.

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post #5 of 581 Old 01-11-2011, 11:32 PM
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Cool, hope you're going to like it =)
All I can say is that Synology support is good and they answered all my emails within one day now when my HD204 went dead. Support via forum however seems not to be monitored by them so you need to post a support ticket for help.
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post #6 of 581 Old 01-12-2011, 04:57 PM
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Thanks for the great write-up... I purchased a 1511 along with 2 510s for expansion... Unfortunately one of those 510s is now on backorder... This leaves me with my 1511 and only 1 510 expansion at the moment... I plan on populating these 3 devices with 15 x 3tb drives, and using a raid 6 array... I am now just waiting a little to get a decent deal on the drives...

I currently own a HP mediasmart 495 with 2 sans digital expansion sleds for a total of 13 x 2tb drives... One 2tb hdd recently failed on me and a had to reload ~300 movies back onto my server from my dvd/bluray collection... I vow to never have to do that again... This seemed like the best solution to protect my data... Can't wait to get it up and running...
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post #7 of 581 Old 01-13-2011, 08:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Just a few pictures for size/layout comparison with HP EX495;

Attachment 197740

Attachment 197739

Attachment 197738

Oops, looks like that first one didn't get rotated properly, sorry about that.
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post #8 of 581 Old 01-13-2011, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmpage2 View Post

Setup was REALLY easy.

Unlike most machines out there, when you log in to the web browser you get a full blown GUI to play with. It's nice that this is through a standard web interface since you require no special software to access the diskstation from anywhere.

I have only scratched the surface of what this box can do. It includes IP surveillance software, web server, file transfer server (so you can remotely access your files from anywhere), email server and a bunch of other things.

Nice unit jmpage2! The items that stand out for me on the Synology are the 3 highlighted (on top of the great transfer speeds)

Ease of use.
Great interface (that applies to all Syno units...even the single bay DS1xx)
Does almost everything in a nice package.

Edit: I concur with Bozzeta...their technical support has been great (and responsive).
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post #9 of 581 Old 01-13-2011, 02:28 PM
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I got a problem with Photo Station 4 on last DSM 3.0 like lots of people in this forum (original images OK but thumbnails and lots of photos in galleries are corrompted).

I gave Synology the full admin username and my admin password... since... my NAS is not reachable anymore... My NAS is not at home... but very far away from me !

They should hire IT guys and not cookers.

I know that my message will not appear on your forum, I don't mind and Yi-Lin Huang (Synology hire), if he's next to me... grrrrrr !

I'll copy this text and will put to all forum in the world and I hope that this company will trust users like me as I try my best to update them the best I can so they can improve... but instead of this... they've failed so I won't trust them anymore !

:evil:
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post #10 of 581 Old 01-17-2011, 03:52 PM
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I can also attest to how awesome the 1511+ is. After feening the Drobo and Drobo DS for years but not pulling the trigger due to various horror stories, I can say I am extremely happy for picking this up.

Transfer speeds between this unit and the rest of the devices in the house has been extremely fast though I haven't tested streaming multi-movies or anything like that yet.

The amount of options in the DSM is awesome and I look forward to adding the additional units and hard drives down the road when I actually need them. I still don't see how some of you guys can have 40TB+ worth of stuff... we have tons of HD movies and shows but haven't even broken 2TB yet...
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post #11 of 581 Old 01-23-2011, 03:46 AM
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How quiet is the system?

I'm currently thinking of getting the DS1511+ to replace an existing external eSATA system because I've been having so many problems with the eSATA connection that I am giving serious consideration to using NAS technology.

However, both the HTPC and the external storage system are fanless and therefore relatively quiet (apart from the various clicks that hard drives make).

I know that the DS1511+ has got a fan (fans?) in it but I don't know how quiet they are. In a really quiet room, what is the perceived level of noise?

Thanks.
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post #12 of 581 Old 01-23-2011, 04:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kappaknight View Post

I still don't see how some of you guys can have 40TB+ worth of stuff... we have tons of HD movies and shows but haven't even broken 2TB yet...

That totally depends on what kind of HD content you have archived. Bluray disc images (.ISO, folder structure) typically need 30-50GB storage each, untouched .mkvs 20-40GB. Filling a 2TB drive with those is a piece of cake.
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post #13 of 581 Old 01-23-2011, 07:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcolmer View Post

How quiet is the system?

I'm currently thinking of getting the DS1511+ to replace an existing external eSATA system because I've been having so many problems with the eSATA connection that I am giving serious consideration to using NAS technology.

However, both the HTPC and the external storage system are fanless and therefore relatively quiet (apart from the various clicks that hard drives make).

I know that the DS1511+ has got a fan (fans?) in it but I don't know how quiet they are. In a really quiet room, what is the perceived level of noise?

Thanks.

The fans on the DS1511+ are definitely noticeable in a quiet room, however, they are larger fans (larger than the fan on the HP EX495) and they don't seem to spin at a high RPM so they are not particularly obnoxious.

However, if you are extremely sensitive to noise I think it will probably bother you.

My advice? Just put the unit in a closet, or a hutch with adequate ventilation. I put mine in the basement.
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post #14 of 581 Old 01-31-2011, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
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So today another fun thing showed up, the DX510 expansion bay for my Synology. Installing this takes about 10 seconds, one thing that is nice is that the normally flakey eSATA connections are made more reliable by the inclusion of special cables with screw connectors to prevent accidental cable removal (and data loss!) pretty unlikely.

About the only risk I can see of spanning volume between these two guys is if the power supply in one of them fails, but I would imagine that since EXT4 filesystem is journaled it would actually recover pretty well from this once the failed unit was replaced and of course the best prevention is to periodically make some kind of backup of your critical data. I primarily in the short term plan on using the DX510 as a way of making backups from the main volume on the 1511+ as well as making it easier if I want to move disks around and rebuild the volume periodically due to changing out drive configurations, sizes, etc.

I have now been using the 1511+ for a couple of weeks and I have to say that I just continue to be impressed with it. I have never had a single glitch, dropout, stallout, or any other problem with media playback. I don't have to worry about indexing of files, crappy folder duplication or other things causing media playback to stall. I don't have to worry about random reboots that were forced by "mission critical security fixes" from Microsoft.

This solution is pricey, but looks to be worth it's cost to this user. You can of course build a much cheaper solution with UNRAID, but the price premium is worth it if you want blistering fast performance, rock solid reliability and the peace of mind of 3 yrs of standard warranty coverage plus outstanding customer support.

Again, this thing gets 5 stars!

I include a photo so that people can see what the 10 bay DS1511+ and DX510 combination look like compared to the EX495. I would say that the space is a little less than the EX495 + the TR5M I was using before, and I have the advantage of being able to grow the shown setup to up to 25TB formatted if I so choose.

Attachment 200195
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post #15 of 581 Old 02-01-2011, 11:11 PM
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Thanks for posting so much information.

One possible concern about Synology is it apparently uses EXT4 internally. Are you ready to trust your data to a relatively new filesystem? Do you have any other backups? Any offsite backups?

Yes, I know, this is a home system and normally people don't think about things like that. (E.g. I don't have offsite backup either). But it's something to keep in mind.
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post #16 of 581 Old 02-02-2011, 06:26 AM - Thread Starter
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I am confident that ext4 is safe. It has been in production for years now and enterprises are using it so I think it's fine for my movie collection.
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post #17 of 581 Old 02-02-2011, 07:44 AM
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Data recovery is the primary thing holding me back from giving up my WHS, and secondarily, convenient add-ins. Even though WHS' data duplication wastes space, you can just remove the drives and get at your files easily if your WHS itself fails. With regard to add-ins, with something like Squeezebox Server, how much of a hit is it to the 1511+ CPU/RAM and movie streaming performance while that's running?

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post #18 of 581 Old 02-02-2011, 07:56 AM - Thread Starter
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I currently treat the Synology NAS as something to cohabit on the network along with the WHS.

So, I do all "work" intensive tasks right now on the WHS, and treat the Synology as my storage reservoir for all of my files. The advantage is that using SHR I get more scalability. With 5 2TB drives I am getting 7.2TB of useable formatted storage. With 5 2TB drives in the WHS I was getting less than 5TB of useable storage.

I continue to run Squeezebox server on the WHS and simply point it to the Synology shares for the music, iTunes XML file, etc.

Down the road, after I've gotten a good solid baseline then I might experiment with moving some of these services to the NAS.

As far as data recovery, I could make the argument that if your WHS was flooded, burned or stolen that you would lose all of your data. Regardless of how easy or hard it is to work with a particular file system, the weakness of any storage system is that it sits in one physical location where it is susceptible to fire/theft/flood or acts of stupidity.

Regardless of whether you use WHS or Synology or Qnap for your bulk storage/streaming needs, you should make an offsite backup of your data.

What's nice about the Synology is that with the extra shelf for it (DX510) I can mix and match drives and do anything I want and use the resulting volumes for backup. So, for example, I could pop in two or three cheap drives, build them as a RAID-0 volume, and then back up to them, then remove them, label them and store them in a safe deposit box or keep them at a relatives house. This is far more flexible than the WHS method of backing up which basically consists of backup to a single drive/disk/volume that can be seen by the WHS over eSATA or USB.
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post #19 of 581 Old 02-02-2011, 08:36 AM
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Looking at your photos I was curious to what patch panel and switch you went with and if you're happy with them.

I'm in a new construction house and I was able to wire it myself so I ran cat6 pretty much in every room and have it all home run into the basement. Now the builder provided a Leviton 28" enclosure which is too small to fit everything I need inside so I was looking at the 42" enclosure but then when looking at all the different leviton modules to add-on it gets pricey so I'm checking if I should just remove the Leviton enclosure and do something like your configuration.
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post #20 of 581 Old 02-02-2011, 08:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Here's a few more photos of my setup. The builder included a wiring package that terminated the existing CAT5e runs for the telephone outlets into the Honeywell quick connect network box. They also terminate all of the coax here too. They left all of my network cat5e cables unterminated in a bundle in this box, but I also ran several additional runs for security cameras, a patio addition, etc.

I determined that it was going to cost a lot to put a second honeywell quick connect module for the unterminated CAT5e runs (not to mention it would have been really tight quarters with that box already packed with wire), so what I did is purchase a vertical rack ear kit that takes standard rack mount components and mounted that to the studs with the template that came with the rack ears.

I then rack mounted a 24 port CAT5e patch panel, wire management panel, 24 port Gigabit D-Link green switch, and power strip. I think that the cost for all of this stuff, was something like $400 (with the switch being the biggest piece). I just shopped around on the other components, I think that some came from Amazon, monoprice, etc.

Once you terminate all of your wiring into the patch panel it is a no brainer, cabling everything up is a breeze and of course labeling everything is very handy.

Behind the honeywell box I've also got four power injector bricks velcroed up. These provide inline power for my IP surveillance cameras that terminate into the same patch panel and data switch. This seemed like a better/cheaper option than purchasing a PoE switch and keeps power consumption down.

I re-framed the studs below the box and made it so I could mount standard 19 horizontal shelves with lag bolts, and use that to rack up my server, NAS and battery backups.

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post #21 of 581 Old 02-02-2011, 04:38 PM
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here is my new setup... 1511+ w/2 x 510 expansion sleds populated with 15 x 3tb wd hdds... Setting up 1 RAID6 volume across all hdds for a total of 35tb of usable space... creating volume is gonna take overnight and not sure how long it will take to transfer my ~20tb movie collection from my HP mediasmart 495... Love the synology user interface so far... will post more results and impressions...
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post #22 of 581 Old 02-03-2011, 10:12 AM
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its the next day and its still creating the RAID6 volume... under status is says "Creating (checking parity consistency. 107.40%)" The percentage is still climbing... At what point will it stop? will it go to 300% because of the 3 units?

update: i contacted synology and it is expected to go to 300% and take about 72 hours to create that volume... on another note, i am extremely impressed with the phone-in tech support... it was a direct connection to a tech without any automated phone service... he had my question answered in less than a minute... it was very refreshing...
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post #23 of 581 Old 02-03-2011, 11:17 AM
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That's a pretty badass setup, must have cost a fortune, too, especially the drives. With that many drives, RAID 6 makes a lot of sense and is probably a must even.

Seeing that you seem to have this sitting on a shelf in your house, instead of putting it somewhere in the cellar or similar, how are the noise levels?
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post #24 of 581 Old 02-03-2011, 11:45 AM
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I have it in a room with 3 other computers running and i can't even tell its running... but, i have become accustomed to the sound of fans around here

should i be using raid6 or "hybrid" raid for this setup?
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post #25 of 581 Old 02-03-2011, 11:53 AM
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Synology Hybrid RAID is nice, especially as far as ease of use and efficiency is concerned, but AFAIK, it only offers a 1 disc redundancy. Don't know if that has changed by now, but for that many discs, the two disc redundancy of RAID 6 seems to be a must.
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post #26 of 581 Old 02-03-2011, 11:57 AM
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thank you for your input... raid6 it is... didn't really wanna lose 24hrs of progress on the volume creation either...
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post #27 of 581 Old 02-03-2011, 12:32 PM - Thread Starter
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The beta for SHR 3.1 offers dual disk redundancy while still having the mix/match benefit of SHR.
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post #28 of 581 Old 02-03-2011, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by jmpage2 View Post
The beta for SHR 3.1 offers dual disk redundancy while still having the mix/match benefit of SHR.
what would you recommend for my setup? This is solely used to stream dvd/bluray...
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post #29 of 581 Old 02-03-2011, 01:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Lush78 View Post
what would you recommend for my setup? This is solely used to stream dvd/bluray...
I think you will probably be fine with RAID 6. SHR 3.1 is not "final" yet, it is still in beta, so you might not wish to be a beta tester (guinea pig).

However, the beta looks pretty solid. The advantages would be you would still be able to set it up for failure of up to two drives without data loss, but you would also get the ability to one by one upgrade your drive sizes down the road, assuming that at some distant date we get disks larger than 3TB and that SHR can be made to support them.
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post #30 of 581 Old 02-03-2011, 01:09 PM
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yeah... i already have this synology system "maxed" out... I should be fine for a few years with this current capacity... by then, i'm sure i'll be looking for something better/faster anyway... thank you
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