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Old Dec 1, 2012, 01:16 PM   #1
miklovo
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Drobo vs Synology for iTunes Server

Done lots of homework re these 2 machines and it's narrowed down to the Drobo 4-bay DR04DD10 or the 2-bay Synology DS212j versions.

Application: I'm attaching it to my 2TB Apple TC as dedicated media storage for iTunes across my network. I will have iTunes running on my iMac 24/7 so it will act as my "server" so basically I just need large storage.
I currently use my TC for this purpose but have hit my 2TB limit and need to expand so I will transfer all my media onto either of these units and leave the TC for Time machine backups only.
I want to use RAID 5 or SHR (I think is the best all around option for my redundancy needs) on the Synology or obviously the proprietary Drobo RAID 5.
I want a worry-free, user friendly, idiot-proof way to expand my storage while still being able to view it as "one large disk" with redundancy backup AND be able to copy files to an EXTERNAL HDD for off-site storage as a "disaster backup"

Note: I do not need any more than 6TBs of storage for right now, this will be plenty sufficient for at least the next couple of years

Questions:
1-Synology or Drobo??
2-If Synology-which configuration? RAID 5 standard or SHR?
3-Given my use of the device..any personal recommendations? personal experiences?

Thanks very much for your help and opinions!!!
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 01:20 PM   #2
blevins321
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Drobo is the dead simple solution. But if you ever use it for anything besides iTunes the turtle speed of the basic model will drive you insane.

Synology has a few more steps to set it up, but the speeds are terrific and the software inside provides other great features as well. It'll do downloads for you, and you would even host a website on it if you were so inclined.
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 02:19 PM   #3
miklovo
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I just discovered the Synology calculator and it's obvious that I will have to get the 4-bay version DS413. Looks like SHR is the way to go with the Synology. 10TBs of HDDs are equal to 7 usuable TBs in Synology and just the same in Drobo after redundancy.

But which one???? is still the question.......
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 02:45 PM   #4
turtle777
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I had a Drobo. Wanted to like it, but speeds were very low, and I had some major data issue where I could barely recover my data only after weeks on the phone with customer service.

Returned the Drobo, got a Synology, now I'm happy.

My complete iTunes Library is on the Synology, streaming to ATV works w/o a problem.

-t
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 03:00 PM   #5
Starhawk
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Same as above. I had a Drobo and wanted to love it really bad, but had issues with it. It's also super slow and I could never, ever get mine to their advertised speeds. I never plan to use another Drobo ever again.
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 03:05 PM   #6
mic j
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I don't have either, but have investigated both for future use. Seems like I always hear negative about Drobo (speed and data recovery issues) and very positive about Synology. If I were to go buy one today, I would be buying Synology.
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 03:09 PM   #7
Starhawk
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I just read that Synology does not support HFS, so if you are ever planning to hook this directly to your Mac, you might run into some compatibility issues. Over the network will be fine though.
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 04:56 PM   #8
TheSpeaker
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Had a Drobo, several actually. Every few weeks it would either kill a drive or randomly go into "rebuild" mode which would slow it down for DAYS. Recently switched to a Synology and haven't looked back. Super reliable, been running for 3 months without a single hiccup, and serves up everything from my iTunes library to 1080P streams via Plex. Amazing piece of kit.
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 07:09 PM   #9
Omne666
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Got a second gen 4 bay Drobo, and for 4 years, flawless. Slow? Yeah. But as it was my bulk data despoitory, primarily to feed the ATV system throughout my house, that was not an issue.

What became the issue was the 'blinking out of exisitance' a month ago a 2.2Tb folder holding all my movies. Literally, gone. The loss was noticed within the hour of its occurrence. After days of messing around with data recovery tools, and purchasing those recommended by Drobo themselves.......nada.

Luckily, I had scattered over many drives elsewhere a 90% backup of it so the loss was minimal, but all trust in the device has gone. I now use a WD 6Tb thunderbolt drive as primary storage, and the Drobo has been relegated to a copy role of that drive.(with offsite scattered copies also still in play)

Loved the Drobo, but not anymore.
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 10:31 PM   #10
spacepower7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
I had a Drobo. Wanted to like it, but speeds were very low, and I had some major data issue where I could barely recover my data only after weeks on the phone with customer service.

Returned the Drobo, got a Synology, now I'm happy.

My complete iTunes Library is on the Synology, streaming to ATV works w/o a problem.

-t
Scott Kelby, the guy who writes many Photoshop books and DVDs, had many problems with his drobo and their customer service.

The company offered him expedited service and free replacement rather than the usual fees they charge the average buyer, just because they figured out who he is as potential technology influencer.

Scott declined the VIP service because his customers would not get the same. He just wanted his data back, and swore off the company.

Until Drobo gets rave "real" reviews, I'd stay away. Their FireWire 800 version was just as slow as USB2

Curious about their Thunderbolt devices but it seems their support may be lacking.
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 11:36 PM   #11
Pyromonkey83
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I own a Synology DS413j and I can say hands down that I love the server. I have never tried a Drobo, but I heard horrible stories of it being slower than dying of old age. Now to answer your questions...


2-If Synology-which configuration? RAID 5 standard or SHR?

Personally I used the SHR function. Just an FYI, once you have more than 3 drives, it just places them in Raid 5 anyway... The benefit is that you can have different sized drives and it will optimize them for you.


3-Given my use of the device..any personal recommendations? personal experiences?

I know you have already come to this conclusion, but definitely buy the 4 bay Synology if you want redundancy. The 2 bay is almost useless for a storage hog as your only option is to set it up as Raid 1 (mirror) or Raid 0/JBOD. Also, keep in mind with the Synology that while it has "iTunes Server", this is the OLD iTunes Server that only opens up the files over the network to computers. It will NOT work with an Apple TV 2/3 without setting up your computers library to be on the DiskStation itself.

--

Last couple tidbits of info for you, be prepared to spend a long time setting up your Synology. By this I do not mean it is a horribly complicated and outrageous setup process; instead what I mean is that setting up the SHR partitions takes roughly 2-3 days from an initial setup. It is a click-and-forget type thing, but your Synology will be a fancy glowing paperweight for the first few days until it finishes the RAID setup. The nice thing about the SHR also, is that you can upgrade drive sizes and quantities on the fly, however if you ever do, again be prepared to have your server be a paperweight for quite some time.

Second tidbit: The DS413j uses an ARM processor (same as mobile phones). This is great for power consumption, heat, and speed. However, the downside is that only apps made specifically for the DiskStation will work. Even though the Synology servers run basic linux, the linux executables you find online for fun server-style apps will not work. To get an x86 (intel) system from Synology, you have to spend roughly 2x as much (which for me wasn't worth it).

Final thought: I get roughly 35-40 MB/s download and 21-30 MB/s upload from the disktation on my Gigabit wired ethernet. This is awesomely fast compared to a lot of other servers. I also would like to take this time to praise the bejesus out of Synology's GUI people as everything is stupidly simple to work. My grandfather has no problems logging on remotely and browsing through movies to watch from 1500 miles away and his computer skills are literally 0. To give an example, It took me 35 minutes to explain to him how to turn on and use his Kindle Fire .
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 11:43 AM   #12
turtle777
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spacepower7 View Post
The company offered him expedited service and free replacement rather than the usual fees they charge the average buyer, just because they figured out who he is as potential technology influencer.
Customer Service was pretty good.

They shipped me a free replacement, took tons of time on the phone to troubleshoot, didn't charge me anything.
They were trying hard.

My complaint is with the technology, it just doesn't seem ready for prime time yet.

-t
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 03:56 PM   #13
miklovo
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Great information!!

Can I connect it with a CAT5 crossover cable to my Time Capsule and it'll show up in my finder?
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 04:00 PM   #14
maestrokev
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I have 2 DroboPro and 1 Synology 4 bay. Go with Synology for the customization and apps available. DroboPro also more prone to problems and servicing is expensive.
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 05:26 PM   #15
blevins321
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Originally Posted by miklovo View Post
Great information!!

Can I connect it with a CAT5 crossover cable to my Time Capsule and it'll show up in my finder?
Yep exactly . And if you toggle the setting on the NAS, it'll pop up as an available Time Machine destination as well.
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 05:31 PM   #16
chabig
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I had a Drobo S for three years. No problems on USB, except is was slow. Today I ordered a Drobo 5d with Thunderbolt. I expect much faster speeds now.

Whatever you get, remember that these are not backup solutions. They protect against drive failures, but the data needs to be backed up to something else.
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 05:49 PM   #17
Omne666
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Whatever you get, remember that these are not backup solutions. They protect against drive failures, but the data needs to be backed up to something else.
agree totally, though I must admit, when we are talking the sort of money spent on them, having a backup of duplicate size certainly makes one think twice. My Drobo has 9tb of hdd in it, 5.something as usable. The thunderbolt WD 6Tb I now use with the Drobo as its backup...let's just say if and when I fill the WD, I also have to expand the Drobo to suite.

The dipping into the pocket never seems to end. Such is life!
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 11:41 PM   #18
Pyromonkey83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chabig View Post
I had a Drobo S for three years. No problems on USB, except is was slow. Today I ordered a Drobo 5d with Thunderbolt. I expect much faster speeds now.

Whatever you get, remember that these are not backup solutions. They protect against drive failures, but the data needs to be backed up to something else.
This is not always the case. My Synology for example can be set up to have 1 drive, 2 drive, or 3 drive parity. If you have all 4 of your hard drives fail on the exact same day you have far larger problems than the data loss. I personally have always had my NAS's set up with 1 drive parity, and after 11 years of NAS/Home Server setups I have never lost a single bit of data.
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 12:19 AM   #19
kstswe
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Have the Synology 411+ , love it. I picked the better cpu because of apps.

forgot: RAID 5.

Last edited by kstswe; Dec 3, 2012 at 12:20 AM. Reason: updated
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