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Old Jan 13, 2013, 10:00 PM   #1
KylePowers
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Is a NAS necessary if I leave my iMac on 24/7?

//NAS noob
Howdy,

I've been building my media library over the last couple months. I am currently at ~2TB of .mkv's and once I run them all through Handbrake (I've done about 1/3rd so far), probably ~1TB of .m4v's. I'd like to keep both file-types.

I stream to my AppleTV 3 (thus the .m4v's) and use Air Video to stream to my iPhone and iPad when I'm not at home. I am unfortunately running out of space and am seeking a more versatile and capable storage solution.

I currently have a 2TB WD 3.5in USB 2.0 external for my 2011 iMac doing TM backups. I also have a 2TB WD 2.5in USB 3.0 portable external for my 2011 MBA, which houses my media collection for on the go (just in case I don't have internet access).

I've been looking at NAS's, but seem fairly overwhelmed. My router (2012 AirPort Express) doesn't even have Gigabit ethernet, so that's not really relevant (unless I connect the NAS directly to my iMac?). My Macs, being from 2011, don't have USB 3.0... but I anticipate a 13in rMBP this year, if that means anything.

What's best? Where do I start? Would it be easiest to just find some type of 4-bay enclosure that hooks up via Thunderbolt or USB to my iMac and go from there? Should I even be concerned with the networking part? And what's the deal with all the different numbered RAIDs? Should I just get a USB hub with a bunch of external drives?

I'm looking for something between 4 and 8TB, but with the possibility of expansion (i.e. start with 4x2TB, but in the future upgrade to 4x3TB, etc).

Cheers

P.S. I have my router configured with iCloud credentials so that I can access my iMac from inside and outside my network
P.P.S. Yes, I've been looking at other threads. I've noticed Synology is quite popular, Qnap seems underrated, and that consumer-grade drives shouldn't be used with NAS setups. To all this, I respond - holy friggin crap, all of this sounds super expensive
P.P.P.S. To follow that, I don't do any video or photo editing, this would strictly be for housing my iTunes and perhaps iPhoto files. Performance isn't of utmost importance.
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 06:41 AM   #2
drsox
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KylePowers View Post
I'm looking for something between 4 and 8TB, but with the possibility of expansion (i.e. start with 4x2TB, but in the future upgrade to 4x3TB, etc).

P.P.S. Yes, I've been looking at other threads. I've noticed Synology is quite popular, Qnap seems underrated, and that consumer-grade drives shouldn't be used with NAS setups. To all this, I respond - holy friggin crap, all of this sounds super expensive
You will get lots of different opinions but I'll make the following suggestions :

1. For what you want with multi TB capacity a NAS is going to be a better approach than multiple USB drives. Esp if you want to add capacity by e.g. replacing drives with higher capacity.

2. With RAID NASs consumer grade drives are good enough. RAID gives you some drive redundancy (think RAID1 - see : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID). Roughly - 3 drives of capacity X will give you 2X usable storage capacity, with protection against a single drive failure. Single drive NASs are better with enterprise grade drives because they fail less often (but don't give any protection). IMO that's why Apple uses an enterprise grade drive in TC - get 5 year warranty from the drive manufacturer and give 3 year warranty to the Apple customer.

3. You're not a business so "mission critical" NAS operation (another reason for enterprise grade drives) doesn't apply.

4. Only you can decide how important (valuable) your data is but in any case you should also have a backup incase the unit fails (hardware or firmware). How will you backup 8TB of data ?

5. Even if you only have FastEthernet connections now they will be good enough for low data size/rate use (i.e. iTunes music streaming, small jpegs). Maybe in the future you will want to upgrade some components.

I have my solutions to all the above for 8TB of NAS storage, but I have been working at it for 6+ years so my situation probably isn't the same as yours. I don't use Synology but lots of forum people do - so I'll let them offer their opinions.

Hope you can find a suitable answer for your situation.
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Last edited by drsox; Jan 14, 2013 at 09:34 AM.
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 06:58 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drsox View Post
2. With RAID NASs consumer grade drives are good enough. RAID gives you
...
Single drive NASs are better with enterprise grade drives because they fail less often
...
3. You're not a business so "mission critical" NAS operation (another reason for enterprise grade drives) doesn't apply.
You seem to be making a case for enterprise grade drives and then state its not needed because its not "mission critical" I disagree with your latter assessment because my data, particularly the pictures of my family are priceless. While its not mission critical to a fortune 500 company, its critical to me. To that point if I have the opportunity to purchase an enterprise drive (which has a higher MTBF and is should last longer) I will because my data is important to me.
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 08:13 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by maflynn View Post
You seem to be making a case for enterprise grade drives and then state its not needed because its not "mission critical" I disagree with your latter assessment because my data, particularly the pictures of my family are priceless. While its not mission critical to a fortune 500 company, its critical to me. To that point if I have the opportunity to purchase an enterprise drive (which has a higher MTBF and is should last longer) I will because my data is important to me.
No, I'm not making the case for enterprise grade drives at all.
If your data is priceless then enterprise grade drives are not the answer, they merely postpone the problem. A tiered arrangement of backup is the answer.

e.g. I have 4 levels of backup/fault tolerance and despite seeing failures from drives, PSUs, motherboards, firmware and user error I have never lost data - none of my drives are enterprise grade. (All 15 of them)
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 08:24 AM   #5
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My point is that if you view your data as important it makes sense to get enterprise drives. Why get something that won't last as long just because its consumer level vs. enterprise
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 08:27 AM   #6
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Enterprise drives or not, always have a backup. Offsite if possible.
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 08:30 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by maflynn View Post
My point is that if you view your data as important it makes sense to get enterprise drives. Why get something that won't last as long just because its consumer level vs. enterprise
Because consumer level drives are usually 50% of enterprise level drives. With a RAID NAS of decent quality it won't matter - what matters is the solidity of the NAS firmware to recover from the inevitable drive failure.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by blueroom View Post
Enterprise drives or not, always have a backup. Offsite if possible.
Hurrah !!!!
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 08:40 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by drsox View Post
Because consumer level drives are usually 50% of enterprise level drives. With a RAID NAS of decent quality it won't matter - what matters is the solidity of the NAS firmware to recover from the inevitable drive failure.!
I disagree, I want to ensure that the media that my data is on is of high quality, what good is a solid NAS firmware of you have dead drives.

I see little reason to invest in a good NAS and skimp on the drives, just because consumer drives are "good enough".
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 09:08 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by maflynn View Post
I disagree, I want to ensure that the media that my data is on is of high quality, what good is a solid NAS firmware of you have dead drives.

I see little reason to invest in a good NAS and skimp on the drives, just because consumer drives are "good enough".
what they are saying is clear, and is the best advice regarding nas units

a nas is not a backup, not even with redundancy via raid

take the money saved on enterprise drives, buy usb or esata volumes(whatever fits your nas unit capabilities), store a backup on them, keep offsite if possible. best case keep a backup of that backup and drop somewhere like a safe deposit box.
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 09:14 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by utekineir View Post
what they are saying is clear, and is the best advice regarding nas units

a nas is not a backup, not even with redundancy via raid

take the money saved on enterprise drives, buy usb or esata volumes(whatever fits your nas unit capabilities), store a backup on them, keep offsite if possible. best case keep a backup of that backup and drop somewhere like a safe deposit box.
Hurrah !!
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 09:25 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by maflynn View Post
I disagree, I want to ensure that the media that my data is on is of high quality, what good is a solid NAS firmware of you have dead drives.

I see little reason to invest in a good NAS and skimp on the drives, just because consumer drives are "good enough".
A solid NAS firmware is exactly what is needed to recover from drives when they die (as they will always do unless replaced the first moment there is any SMART or other error).

Read this re drive differences :
http://forum.synology.com/wiki/index...ktop-Class_HDD and http://www.pantz.org/hardware/disks/...ise_class.html

RAID still works fine on consumer level drives. It's just a bit less efficient than on enterprise level drives.

There are other advantages to enterprise level drives, where there's a high degree of vertical (to the drive) vibration. ELDs (enterprise level drives) have extra vibration tolerance and better made parts. This is useful for some rack mounted NAS units.

No mention of any media differences.

See also : http://www.eaegis.com/the-difference...class-hdd.aspx

Quote :

4. Quality Differences

More often than not manufacturers may discuss the quality of the parts used in the manufacturing of both class of drives, manufactures may differentiate enterprise from desktop drives by not testing certain enterprise-class features, validate drives with different test criteria, or even disable enterprise features in desktop class drives to ensure differentials for pricing and marketing purposes. Aside from the main differences already outlined, we have not been able to distinguish the differences on a component level despite having physically dismantled both class drives and extensively compared the two, aside from the firmware differences. All other variances are a subject of this report. The only product that bucks this trend is the Seagate Constellation SATA drives that are designed form the ground up and use components that are not comparable to any of the desktop class drives we looked at (all 2TB drives).

As hard drive technologies keep evolving; customers continue to have a choice of products to use for their storage requirements. It is important to balance the critical nature of your data with hard drive features and system requirements to ensure these adequately meet with your specific needs to store, protect and share your data. Selecting the correct drive class will enable the critical areas of qualities, functionally, performance, and most of all reliability to be optimized for the targeted implementation.

: Unquote

I guess ultimately this is a religious question. Each "side" will have its own set of beliefs.
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Last edited by drsox; Jan 14, 2013 at 09:37 AM.
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 10:00 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maflynn View Post
I disagree, I want to ensure that the media that my data is on is of high quality, what good is a solid NAS firmware of you have dead drives.

I see little reason to invest in a good NAS and skimp on the drives, just because consumer drives are "good enough".
Warning: I am very tired from a long all-nighter in the lab and am about to call it a night (early day?), so my following answer is going sound mean and cranky.

Buying enterprise drives for consumer grade use is totally stupid. They are much costlier, will yield you no performance benefit since you will not be using your NAS 24/7, and don't have that much better reliability. You should have some sort of redundancy or backup anyway, as without it, your data is really just as vulnerable with an enterprise drive as it is with a consumer grade one.

Think about it this way: those MTBF #s are means -- while on average, they fare better on reliability, an enterprise drive can potentially fail in a day just as a consumer drive can last 15 years. In the former case, your data is just as gone regardless of what type of drive you're using. The better quality of enterprise drives does not make them immune to failures nor does it guarantee that they will last longer than consumer drives on an individual basis. You just cannot predict when a drive decides to fail.

What you can do is take the money you save by buying consumer drives and put that toward a second NAS to use as a backup or some other kind of tiered backup solution. Or get a Drobo. I know people don't like Drobos, but I love mine for home use. The new ones have up to dual drive redundancy, so if you have a drive failure (or two), you have time to replace the drive, though this function comes at the cost of storage capacity.

That consumer grade drives are "good enough" is exactly why you can skimp on them. They're good enough. If you have the money and want to spend it, power to you, but the benefits are slim and the relative cost is high.
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 09:10 PM   #13
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Woah nelly! What a heated debate

I guess consumer and enterprise drives are a secondary consideration for now.

I suppose I should just go with a NAS after all though. Now I'm a tad confused. People are saying a NAS is not a backup solution, but doesn't some sort of RAID setup imply redundancy? I suppose if the whole thing fails, you're fairly screwed.

Now, who has recommendations for an insanely cheap (perhaps empty) 4-bay NAS? Anyone know if the Mediasonic HF2-SU3S2 is any good? It's pretty cheap.

EDIT - Meh, reviews don't look very good. Are the Synology DS413J and Qnap TS-412-US really the only options?

Last edited by KylePowers; Jan 14, 2013 at 09:17 PM.
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 09:16 PM   #14
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Now, who has recommendations for an insanely cheap (perhaps empty) 4-bay NAS? Anyone know if the Mediasonic HF2-SU3S2 is any good? It's pretty cheap.
Thats not a nas.

This is a nas



This is also a nas.

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Old Jan 14, 2013, 10:14 PM   #15
KylePowers
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Thats not a nas.

This is a nas
Holy jeebies that pic is huge. Anyway, you are right. It lacks ethernet/Wi-Fi and doesn't look like it supports any RAID configurations, which is probably why it's so cheap. It's just a 4-bay enclosure.

EDIT - Also, if I'm correct, the slim model only supports 2.5in drives, which are difficult or expensive to find in 1TB+ capacities.
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