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Thread: NAS recommendations?

  1. #1
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    NAS recommendations?

    Iíve been trying to educate myself about NAS and have read a bunch of reviews from testers and users. Some have both glowing praise and horror stories for the same devices making it hard for the inexperienced to decide. I read some security vulnerability warnings too.

    Anyone have recommendations based on solid experience with specific units? And favorite disk drive brands/models?

    I would like personal access from several of my own computers plus occasionally transfer specific large video files to/from others. Speed is not as important to me as reliability. Ease of setup would be a big plus. Will connect to gigabit ethernet. Iím thinking a four bay unit with two 8 or 10TB drives in raid 1 configuration would be a good start. $1000 would be nice but I suspect something solid might cost more.

    JKJ

  2. #2
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    I've been running Synology NAS' for almost 15 years now, a simple two disk model for about a decade and now a much larger four disk model. I've been using the Western digital Red drives that are intended for server operation. The current box has four 2TB drives set up with their RAID configuration that maximizes both speed and redundancy (SHR). (big disks were more expensive when I set it up, and I haven't outgrown it yet, SSD would be great, but I suspect still pretty pricy in those sizes.) As a mounted volume on my desktop Mac I can back it up to the cloud with CrashPlan, giving me off-site storage. I haven't looked for a long time at the widgets that allow direct backup of the NAS, they drove me batty when I tried to use them and I abandoned the effort. Backing it up as an attached disk on the Mac works perfectly. Connection tot he computer is via gigabit ethernet.

    The two systems I've used have been flawless. With a UPS and backup generator the NAS hasn't gone down in years now (knock wood!). With the old two bay NAS I upgraded the disks once, that worked perfectly, replacing the drives one at a time and allowing them to rebuild themselves. Nothing has yet failed on the bigger system.

    I'm sure my specific models are obsolete now, but I'd buy the brand again without a second thought.

  3. #3
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    I also have a Synology NAS that I have been running for about 7 years... I'd had a couple of other attempts at using local storage for a backup before that, but never found a solution that worked well to access from multiple locations, for users with varying levels of computer savvy.

    The Synology unit was flawless out of the box -- I got a 4 bay unit, but initially only populated 2 of the bays, and added the other drives as my storage needs grew. The included suite of software is robust, and the Synology name is big enough that other 3rd party apps (such as Plex) have developed solutions that run natively in the Synology system. In addition to backup, I also use it as a music server. There are many more applications available, but my needs are modest. Access is seamless from any of our computers, and file transfer and storage is very fast over Gigabit ethernet. Very easy to use, and lots of on-line resources to help me learn how to use new features.

    I currently have four 4 TB drives configured in a RAID, so that if 1 goes down, there is enough redundancy to continue without immediate intervention or data loss. I also have it configured to automatically keep an off-line backup in the Amazon Glacier system for pennies a month.

    As Roger said, my hardware is probably obsolete, but I would certainly buy a current Synology system again with much confidence.

  4. #4
    ill agree with the rest here. I have used multiple synology units for both business and home. They are well designed and do what you need them to do.

  5. #5
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    Another Synology fan here: been running a DS218+ going on three years now. (Two-bay x 8TB RAID1.) Total downtime is something like half an hour, divided into the 5-10 minute chunks it needs to reboot during OS updates once a year or so.

    Side question for those with more Synology experience: is there any particular benefit to the DSM7 update for a single-LAN home user? Most of the listed improvements seem more geared to corporate multi-system usage. (It appears that support for DSM6.x will go out well past my expected lifetime, if not the hardware's...)
    Yoga class makes me feel like a total stud, mostly because I'm about as flexible as a 2x4.
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  6. #6
    I run Synology, also. I have the DS416J with four 8TB disks in it. If you go Synology, watch for the maximum volume size. The maximum on mine is 16TB but the newer units allow much larger volumes. Go for one which allows larger volumes.

    The Synology is easy to learn and reliable. You can buy used with good results.

    @Lee - I run DSM7 with no problems. I don't know if there's any benefit but I updated. It's a more colorful, fancy DSM-6.

    @John - I bought Western Digital Red Pro 8TB drives (rebuilt) and have had no problems with them. And they were fairly cheap. I think I paid a bit over $100 each several years ago. There are other very good brands of disks, also.

    Mike
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 10-07-2021 at 2:18 AM.
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  7. #7
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    Picked up a qnap for the office this summer and setup was pretty good currently running 2 6Tb's in Raid. Theres a couple schools of thought on using them. Some are using them as backup and some use them as the data source. Ive always used my pc as the primary and regularly backup to a drive. But the idea of using the NAS as your primary storage for all data allows you to be always instantly up to date. If your PC goes down then you can be up and running immediately after replacing or repairing.

    If you were to use it as a primary I would think the extra money into SSD's may be worth thinking about. For data backup Id stick to a standard drive. The NAS Hard drives vs regular ones are a better choice the smaller boxes with little space between drives creates heat and these are built to handle it.

  8. #8
    Just FYI for John - there a Synology DS916+ on eBay right now for $275. That would be a good purchase. You'd have to purchase the disks extra.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Henderson View Post
    Just FYI for John - there a Synology DS916+ on eBay right now for $275. That would be a good purchase. You'd have to purchase the disks extra.

    Mike
    Thanks, I'll check, haven't looked at that model. I'm currently considering the DS920+ , the DS420+, the DS418 , and some others. (My tech son confirmed the Synology brand was worth considering)

    I'm a little overwhelmed reading specs I don't understand as well as sorting out features I don't think I'll need. All of them look like they have more than I need, for example, I have no need to transcode video and smart video camera security. I basically want something to connect to ethernet and let me backup files including large video source files for editing, and access them from several home computers. Each individual computer already uses Macrium Reflect for automatic backups of system and critical drives onto 5TB drives so the NAS backup would be a bit of redundancy. But the file sharing would be a big help.

    I'm hoping I can ignore some features I don't currently need to simplify installation and get the thing up running quickly. Is that a pipe dream?

    JKJ

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Henderson View Post
    Just FYI for John - there a Synology DS916+ on eBay right now for $275. That would be a good purchase. You'd have to purchase the disks extra.
    And just as a further FYI, that's a 5-year-old model. Here's how to decode the model numbers:
    https://www.trustedreviews.com/news/...lained-2946185
    Yoga class makes me feel like a total stud, mostly because I'm about as flexible as a 2x4.
    "Design"? Possibly. "Intelligent"? Sure doesn't look like it from this angle.
    We used to be hunter gatherers. Now we're shopper borrowers.
    The three most important words in the English language: "Front Towards Enemy".
    The world makes a lot more sense when you remember that Butthead was the smart one.
    You can never be too rich, too thin, or have too much ammo.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee DeRaud View Post
    And just as a further FYI, that's a 5-year-old model. Here's how to decode the model numbers:
    https://www.trustedreviews.com/news/...lained-2946185
    Timely article, thanks!

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post
    Thanks, I'll check, haven't looked at that model. I'm currently considering the DS920+ , the DS420+, the DS418 , and some others. (My tech son confirmed the Synology brand was worth considering)

    I'm a little overwhelmed reading specs I don't understand as well as sorting out features I don't think I'll need. All of them look like they have more than I need, for example, I have no need to transcode video and smart video camera security. I basically want something to connect to ethernet and let me backup files including large video source files for editing, and access them from several home computers. Each individual computer already uses Macrium Reflect for automatic backups of system and critical drives onto 5TB drives so the NAS backup would be a bit of redundancy. But the file sharing would be a big help.

    I'm hoping I can ignore some features I don't currently need to simplify installation and get the thing up running quickly. Is that a pipe dream?

    JKJ
    If you just want to backup files, almost any one will work for you. Just make sure it supports volumes bigger than 16TB - and all the newer ones should do that. The setup is easy and there's not much customization to do.

    I'd get one that allows at least 4 drives. If you decide you need more in the future, you can take the drives out and put them in a larger Synology without having to re-load all the data. Then sell your old one as a bare unit. Gigabit Ethernet will be your bottleneck for loading lots and lots of stuff - but you can just trade off time (meaning let it run overnight).

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post
    I basically want something to connect to ethernet and let me backup files including large video source files for editing, and access them from several home computers. Each individual computer already uses Macrium Reflect for automatic backups of system and critical drives onto 5TB drives so the NAS backup would be a bit of redundancy. But the file sharing would be a big help.

    I'm hoping I can ignore some features I don't currently need to simplify installation and get the thing up running quickly. Is that a pipe dream?
    I think I had mine up and running, created a couple of users (so GF could have her own space), and mapped my home folder as the "A:" drive on three computer within an hour of getting it out of the box.

    Re backup, I probably overkilled the whole setup, but it's set up as follows:
    1. Created a shared folder on the NAS called 'Backups', with a separate subfolder for each computer in the house, mapped as "B:" in Windows.
    2. Acronis TrueImage backs up each computer once a week, very late at night, to the appropriate subfolder.
    3. TrueImage also backs up the NAS itself once a week to a large USB drive on my main desktop computer.
    4. Once or twice a month, I copy the backup from #3 to one of two 5TB USB drives, that rotate monthly between a fire-proof safe at the house and an off-site storage unit.
    5. The 'home' folders do nightly incremental backups to yet another 5TB USB drive connected directly to the NAS.

    #4 is the only manual step. The plan is that I always have options in an emergency regarding what I can grab in a hurry to recreate the whole thing later if need be. (Some of the fires the last couple of years got entirely too close for comfort.)
    Yoga class makes me feel like a total stud, mostly because I'm about as flexible as a 2x4.
    "Design"? Possibly. "Intelligent"? Sure doesn't look like it from this angle.
    We used to be hunter gatherers. Now we're shopper borrowers.
    The three most important words in the English language: "Front Towards Enemy".
    The world makes a lot more sense when you remember that Butthead was the smart one.
    You can never be too rich, too thin, or have too much ammo.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee DeRaud View Post
    Re backup, I probably overkilled the whole setup, but it's set up as follows:
    ...
    That backup plan doesn't sound excessive. When I was working developing software then later in 3d modeling/animation/video, I never had fewer than 5 copies of work in progress, distributed manually on multiple machines on my home network and removable disk drives, some stored offsite. The technology 15-25 years ago made some of this challenging.

  15. #15
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    To try to keep things simple I back up all of our computers to both the NAS and to the cloud in near real time using Crashplan, then also back up the NAS to Crashplan. Back when the computers had hard disks I did successful recoveries from both the local and remote backups. It can take a couple days of download a Tb over the internet, but it works. The local recovery is much faster. In the decade since converting to SSD technology I haven't had a failure.

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