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NAS for Media and Files

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Hello All,

A buddy of mine, needs a NAS for Media and backup storage. He bought my old DNS-323 NAS and has already run out of space on the two 1TB drives (RAID1).

I'm trying to help source a new solution for him. He is not inclined enough to be fiddling around with the software or hardware. He just wants to push the power and go. So that is why I would like a pre-built NAS solution.

Some questions I've seen commonly asked in other NAS threads:

Quote:


Do you need speed?

His biggest file is 8GB and streams it to XBMC via a wire. If there is a bottleneck it's not going to be the NAS, however a GB port is a must.

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How valuable is the data?

Just media. He'll use the 'NAS' as a "backup" location, but it will not be the main location of files.

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Do you need redundancy?

Not really, but the NAS will need 4 bays with the drives in RAID5.

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What are you doing for backups?

Backups to the NAS, no backups of the content on the NAS.

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What is your budget?

Up to $800. I would like the drives to be included, but I know that might not be easy. I would like the option for the drives to be different sizes. So lets say right now we install 4 1 TB drives, he can remove and install 2 TB drives in their place to double the size.

I appreciate your help! Looking forward to your answers!
post #2 of 27
A lot of us here are more biased towards hand-on solutions like WHS or unRAID. It's generally only "hands-on" in the build process... but after that... you can pretty much forget about it until you need more disk space. And depending on the setup you choose, you can mix and match hard drive sizes like you require. Most stand-alone NAS boxes don't allow that.

But there are plenty of plug-and-play NAS devices out there to choose from. The Synology brand are popular but pricey.
post #3 of 27
YOU build him a WHS machine and set it up for him.

HE pretty much uses it like a NAS after that.

Easy for him. Not so easy for you.

That's your best option.
post #4 of 27
I'd grab a 4 bay Thecus NAS from New Egg. They are reliable and pretty reasonable.
post #5 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostlobster View Post

I'd grab a 4 bay Thecus NAS from New Egg. They are reliable and pretty reasonable.

$330?

Yikes.

Edit: $40 off code right now. So I guess $290 is decent.
post #6 of 27
The problem now is going to be space, not so much what he runs (yes I am watching the game its a commercial...).

I use WHS 2011 with a single 2TB 5900rpm drive. People complain about drive pooling missing from WHS 2011, but eh, I never used it, don't miss it.

WHS v1 basically runs JBOD. You can add this feature to WHS 2011 however.

I backed up three machines and its basically full now, I have about 30GB last I checked.

For serving media, I might look at maybe a simple NAS solution if he uses XBMC for media playback. There's no advantage to using WHS with XMBC unless you use it to also backup your windows/apple clients.

You can go with a free solution like FreeNAS. But as I said drive prices are high because of the flooding in SEA. Likely won't be back to normal pricing until Q2.
post #7 of 27
Can he wait till hard drives prices go back down ??? Gonna be an expensive build right now.
post #8 of 27
I never have to fiddle with the hardware/software of my WHS2011 build. The same was true for my WHSv1 build. I'd feel comfortable build one for someone not tech-savvy and installing it in their home.
post #9 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

$330?

Yikes.

Edit: $40 off code right now. So I guess $290 is decent.

I don't think $300+ is surprising. I think any decent 4 bay NAS will cost that much. After doing some research, I had decided on a Qnap TS-412-US 4 bay NAS and have it in my Amazon cart for sometime in the future, and it's $399. Synology seems to run about the same.
post #10 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

I don't think $300+ is surprising. I think any decent 4 bay NAS will cost that much. After doing some research, I had decided on a Qnap TS-412-US 4 bay NAS and have it in my Amazon cart for sometime in the future, and it's $399. Synology seems to run about the same.

Compared to a WHS which is more expandable $400 is more for only 4 bays.
post #11 of 27
Thread Starter 
I'm not against the WHS, but the cost of that without drives is going to be pricey. You'll need a WHS license the case, MB, chip, ram, psu, etc...

Just seems like so many things that could go wrong.

But yes I agree, not time to buy HDD's with the issue out in SE Asia right now.

Also this has a lot of promise too: QNAP TS-419PII-US
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by nickCR View Post

I'm not against the WHS, but the cost of that without drives is going to be pricey. You'll need a WHS license the case, MB, chip, ram, psu, etc...

Just seems like so many things that could go wrong.

But yes I agree, not time to buy HDD's with the issue out in SE Asia right now.

Also this has a lot of promise too: QNAP TS-419PII-US

I think building your own is definitely cheaper, especially if you have an old PC sitting around you can use. Then the cost of the cpu, ram, case, PSU etc is $0.

But I guess I just don't want to hassle with it, so an off-the-shelf seems a lot more convenient.

But why for home use would you pick the 419P over the 412 or even 410? I'm not sure you get anything useful for the significantly higher price. But I could be convinced otherwise if there's a good reason.
post #13 of 27
Thread Starter 
After I wrote that I was thinking the same thing. What about a NAS case with the Hot Swap ports? Any recommendations?
post #14 of 27
It looks like Newegg still has the HP x310 in stock. They are not the cheapest option but when upgraded to WHS 2011 work great.

To upgrade from WHS v1 just pull the HDD and plug it into a desktop, install WHS 2011 then put it back into the X310. You are ready to start plugging in data drives.
post #15 of 27
Thread Starter 
Does that process not cause any problems? I mean if I install WHS2011 on my desktop won't all the drivers and everything be for my desktop?

Also can that machine do RAID? How would I setup the array with WHS being on one drive?
post #16 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

$330?

Yikes.

Edit: $40 off code right now. So I guess $290 is decent.

I've put these devices in play at a few customers (The N4100 Pro) and have had great success with it. Once you update the firmware and go through the initial config, you just leave it alone and it just plain works. I really like the things. And, honestly, $300 seems quite reasonable to me for what it does. Good performance, UPnP/DLNA + NAS features, RSync server, etc, plus just rock solid RAID, low power consumption, and a simple interface.
post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by nickCR View Post

Does that process not cause any problems? I mean if I install WHS2011 on my desktop won't all the drivers and everything be for my desktop?

Also can that machine do RAID? How would I setup the array with WHS being on one drive?

Sorry my response was very short, and therefore a bit cryptic.

Regarding the process. You would open your desktop, disconnect the existing HDD(s) drive, plug in the HDD from the server, then do the OS install. Once the install is complete you would unplug the WHS HDD and move it to the server, and plug your desktop drive back in to return your desktop to the prior state. It is very straigtforward and quite easy, however use great care if you are unsure and unfamiliar with opening up a PC.

Regarding redundancy. WHS is based on Windows Server 2008 and provides several data/drive redundancy options as standard features. No additinal hardware or software is required - there are many things you CAN add if you desire to do so, that is the advantage of using a NAS based on Windows.

Regarding multiple drives. I was simply suggesting you get a have functioning WHS server before plugging in additional drives. I find it easier and faster to work this way. The x310 provides nice drive trays that make it very easy to hot plug the drives after the system has been booted up. It also provides a lock for the boot drive so you do not inadvertently remove it.
post #18 of 27
unRAID is the only storage solution that provides protection against a disk failure and allows mixing and matching drive sizes without requiring duplication of data. Here are 2 unRAID server companies. These guys would sell the servers without the unRAID license so you could install any OS. You may want to consider waiting for W8 with the new storage pool features. It will have a storage feature somewhat similar to what unRAID does.

http://www.greenleaf-technology.com/
http://www.queegtech.com/

Keep in mind that these servers generally use pretty good parts and are really fully functional PC's with good HDD connectivity which can be used for more than just storage, for example running background applications such as a media server or recording live TV.

Also, if you go to the unRAID forums there are lots of server build ideas and some combo's are reasonably cheap for what you can build.

Peter
post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshDorhyke View Post

unRAID is the only storage solution that provides protection against a disk failure and allows mixing and matching drive sizes without requiring duplication of data.

FlexRAID does the same thing. SnapRAID, FreeNAS, disParity, and more.
post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Puwaha View Post

FlexRAID does the same thing. SnapRAID, FreeNAS, disParity, and more.

My understanding is that FreeNAS builds RAID5 arrays, FlexRAID runs over another OS and SnapRAID and disParity are snapshot solutions which run over anothe OS and don't provide real-time protection. So, they are similar but don't all do the same thing. Besides FreeNAS, I don't consider the others a storage solution because you still need the OS.

I haven't followed at all how well the FlexRAID real-time protection works. I just know there's something out there. I also believe there is some limitation in FreeNAS using ZFS which means you can't expand an existing array.

Also, to me it appears that the W8 storage pool stuff will pretty much make using FreeNAS on W8 pointless.

Peter
post #21 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshDorhyke View Post


I also believe there is some limitation in FreeNAS using ZFS which means you can't expand an existing array.

This is the reason I switched to Unraid. As far as redundancy and expansion, I have yet to find a better solution. Also, my transfer speeds with Unraid were better than Freenas. This was mainly due to the CIFS stack Linux uses.
post #22 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshDorhyke View Post

My understanding is that FreeNAS builds RAID5 arrays, FlexRAID runs over another OS and SnapRAID and disParity are snapshot solutions which run over anothe OS and don't provide real-time protection. So, they are similar but don't all do the same thing. Besides FreeNAS, I don't consider the others a storage solution because you still need the OS.

Eh? Even a store-bought NAS has an OS... it's usually a linux variant.

If you don't want a RAID array, then your best bet is a product like FlexRAID. It runs on Windows and Linux (so you don't have to pay for an OS license)... and it offers real-time RAID if that is what you want.

And what is wrong with snapshot RAIDs? They are the most efficient use of hardware, and perfect for media collections where the data rarely changes. Just setup FlexRAID to update everynight and you are protected.



Quote:


Also, to me it appears that the W8 storage pool stuff will pretty much make using FreeNAS on W8 pointless.

This is probably correct, but that is probably a good 6-8 months away, unless you trust your data to a Beta version.
post #23 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by user4avsforum View Post

It looks like Newegg still has the HP x310 in stock. They are not the cheapest option but when upgraded to WHS 2011 work great.

To upgrade from WHS v1 just pull the HDD and plug it into a desktop, install WHS 2011 then put it back into the X310. You are ready to start plugging in data drives.

Out of stock. And, why bother with that old hardware; get the much newer HP MicroServer. You won't have to screw around with the old MediaSmart chassis (as much as I loved it, it really is getting obsolete).

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16859107052
post #24 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by weneversleep View Post

Out of stock. And, why bother with that old hardware; get the much newer HP MicroServer. You won't have to screw around with the old MediaSmart chassis (as much as I loved it, it really is getting obsolete).

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16859107052

I just got one of these up and running - MacMall had it for 199.99 a few weeks ago - very nice little machine. Installed WHS 2011 on it and threw some more RAM in it (very easy to open up and install more...the tray with the MB slides right out).

Great little box, and the N40L is MUCH quieter than the N36L.
post #25 of 27
In fact, http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboD...t=Combo.815495 has it for 249.99 today with WHS 2011 included. Good deal there.
post #26 of 27
hmm... none of those links take you to the product. I assume it is the HP ProLiant N40L.

What are the dimensions of the box? Is it bigger or smaller than the old x310? And the specs I saw say it is cannot hot swap drives. Is that correct?
post #27 of 27
If its just for backup, why not use an online backup service. BackBlaze is only $5/month and backs up your data while your comp is idle. Its also much more secure in the case of physical drive destruction (fire etc). If you need the NAS for streaming over your home network on the other hand...
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