Just completed reading the entire thread. Very helpful and special thanks to jmpage2 for starting and managing this discussion.
I've been using an HP Media Smart Server for several years now for backup, streaming video collection, music, and other odds and ends. Also added a 'head' unit to gain more flexibility, better CPU, and more memory. It has been a great unit for the several years I've had it but it is time to upgrade. I've run out of capacity - currently at 7TB. I could bump this up or add an expansion unit but adding 3TB drives are a pain (WHS V1) and I'm reluctant to buy smaller drives. So time to move to the Synology camp.
1512/13+ or 1812+?
I'm either going to buy a 1512/13+ or 1812+. I'm leaning towards the 1812+ given my current and expected requirements. Any reason to buy the the 1512/13+ over the 1812+?
Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 ST3000DM001 or Western Digital Red WD30EFRX 3TB?
I will start with 5 or 6 of these drives. The Seagates are very slightly less expensive and faster but maybe not as green. The WDs are slower but 'supposed' to be more reliable and more energy efficient. I don't run my server 24/7 so I'm discounting the energy efficiency. I've got a mix of drives in my HP including a 3TB WD green. Speed hasn't been an issue for my purposes. So, in the end, reliability is most important if everything else is more or less equal. So what would you buy?
I add 2 to 3 TBs of data per year. Given the number of discs this requires, I'm thinking I'm better off with SHR-2. I understand that whatever RAID I start with would require a complete rebuild if I choose to change later. I do plan to implement a backup strategy for 'important' files but not sure that I'll do the same for the ripped videos. I can always get those back, albeit at some cost of time and money, but if this happens I probably have bigger issues to deal with.
For now, I'll use my HP Media Smart Server for BU but I expect that to be short-term. As I get more comfortable with the Synology I'll end up taking the HP out of service and needing a more robust backup strategy. Simple question, does the Synology BU use any form of compression or is it 1 to 1, i.e., backing up 8TBs of data requires 8TBs of BU medium? Also, are any of the cloud BU strategies effective and cost effective for multi-TB BUs?
Where to buy?
I can get the Synology and HDs on Amazon or Newegg but I see a company by the name of SimplyNAS selling boxes with HDs installed and 'tested'. There is a small premium over what I would pay if I bought the Synology and drives separate. Any value here? I'd normally just assemble the bits myself.
That is it for now. Looking forward to your helpful guidance.