Gigabit NAS?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Dr_Maybe, Oct 10, 2006.

  1. Dr_Maybe macrumors 6502

    Dr_Maybe

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    #1
    Does anyone use a gigabit NAS at home for storage instead of a Firewire drive? What is your experience? What NAS hardware do you use?

    It guess would be nice not have to be next to a powered FW drive, but be able to access external storage anywhere via wifi or gigabit ethernet, if you want speed. And maybe even access your NAS when away from home via the Internet and secure FTP.

    UPDATE: I just read a review of a NAS where read performace over gigabit ethernet with one SATA drive was only about 15MB/s. So not as fast as firewire 400.
     
  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #2
    Yes, Performance can be very, very good.

    NAS and Firewire serve different purposes. A firewire drive plugs into only one computer whereas a NAS devce provides storage for any number of computers you have on your network and alows all the computers to share the space and access common data.

    The best way to setup a NAS system is to buy a PC chassis with lots of room for internal disks. then install Linux or BSD and configure the drives as RAID. Basiclly you have a file server. You can have any performance level you are willing to pay for. Can you afford to buy 6 10,000 RPM SCSI disks?

    If you only need to provide storage for one computer then Firewire is simpler BUT only if you only need a one or disks. If you need more it's best to let the file server handle the managment of the drives and make it appear as just one large space.

    OK button line is the two technologies address different purposes

     
  3. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #3
    I've got a Buffalo LinkStation 300GB NAS drive with 10/100/1000 Ethernet on its way as I type, since my LaCie external HD just packed up. I aim to plug it into my Netgear hub/router so I can back up 3 Macs to it. It also has a USB print server port and a USB expansion port, so you can increase capacity as you need. £165 including VAT from Dabs UK,which I thought was pretty good. Of course I'll have to upgrade the bloody router to gigabit ethernet too, to get the full, high-speed benefit. :rolleyes:

    I'll let you know how it turns out.
     
  4. ddekker macrumors regular

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    Michigan
    #4
    Nas

    Great info people.. I looked up the Buffalo LinkStation and put one on order... being able to plug an external drive and have tons of storage on the network will be awesome...

    DD
     
  5. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #5
    Most 'Gigabit' NAS's are painfully slow for Gigabit. My QNAP TS-101's are DEAD slow in my opinion, and in the link below you can see it more or less ties with the Linkstation.

    http://www.tomsnetworking.com/nas/charts/index.html?chart=125

    Bear in mind if you're storing stuff like MP3's on it then throughput is even more pathetic than the 64MB measured figures. Works for things like overnight Superduper backup of course, but the TS-101's have been pretty unusable as 'live storage' - especially under OS X where it takes ages for the file / folder listings to appear.

    Shortly I'll be returning with a sigh of relief to an improved silenced Windows 2003 server with striped notebook drives. I expect throughput to shoot up to actually respectable gigabit levels.
     
  6. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #6
    Well, that cheered me up no end. It's arriving tomorrow.

    Actually, I'm only really using it for backup, so it'll probably do. I keep a copy of everything on each computer anyway.
     
  7. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #7
    Does anyone *cough* Sesshi *cough* have any other recommendation? My Buffalo thingy arrived today, and I looked on the box under "Operating Systems" and it was all Windows, no Mac. I called Buffalo, and they said they did not support OS X. Ergo, I have arranged to return the unit - thankfully unopened - but still want a network accessible drive, 300GB-500GB in size, with the ability to work as a print server and to accept a further plug-in drive, and FULLY MAC-COMPATIBLE. Any ideas?
     
  8. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    #8
    FULLY Mac compatible? Refurb Mac Mini G4, Firewire drive. Seriously.

    AFAIK all of the NAS units are actually SMB servers, none support OSX native file system, so you have the regular filename/path/character limitations, and possibly max filesize limits.

    The (earlier) Buffalos do support Macs as a SMB server, but you cannot configure them properly from a Mac for setup. I have used the Tritton NAS devices, they work, but its still not pretty.
     
  9. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #9
    I had a Buffalo Terastation and that sucked moose testicles. Slow, crashy, noisy. The only good thing I could say about it was that it was really cheap for what it was at the time. The Linkstation Pro is supposed to be good but user reports has it as fairly noisy and it's quite a leap beyond the price tags of the lower-end NASs.

    The TS-101 is Mac compatible but comes with my bitchings of course. It's pretty stable I can say that much. I've never got the USB printer sharing to work but I havne't tried that hard. External drive attach works but once again is as crappy in throughput over the network as the main drive.Apart from the HDD noise it is silent. It has power saving features so when it's not being used the drive shuts down. The NAS uses the Linux filing system so will not mount HFS / FAT32 drives directly. FAT32 formatted external drives can be mounted and shared but performance is dire.

    Can't vouch for this but it is cheaper and does the same thing. The brand is now reasonably well known in NAS circles so it's not a 'no-name'.
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=288370

    You'll need to attach a SATA drive to either of these.
    The TS-101 is configured via a web interface and I did actually start using / configuring it from a Mac, so that works.

    Both of these look to be about the highest performance you can get before the price tag takes a jump to beyond £500 - but then as you can see by the Tom's hardware results the performance takes a jump too. But for that much and beyond I can throw a basic server together, although it takes a degree of trial and error to get it as silent as the quietest high-performance NASs can get.

    I'd agree with CanadaRAM if you want a 'proper Mac server'. Stick a fanless enclosure on a refurb or secondhand Mini. You'll have something fairly close in price to the higher-performance NAS's but the Mac option should match or exceed them in terms of network throughput, and provide you with more flexibility.

    Apart from that, the TS-101 is really the only NAS so far that I feel I can recommend - but with the above reservations - for use in a domestic situation which doesn't involve a £400+ expenditure.
     
  10. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #10
    Thanks for getting back, guys. MacUser UK just did a group test on 500GB NAS drives, and came up with the Synology 106e, silent, fully Mac-compatible, etc, etc, and available for about £350. Would this be as good as anything? A Mini connected with FW wouldn't be visible to my network unless the 'puter its plugged into isn't asleep, n'est-ce pas? It's no more expensive than a Mini, and has a 3.5" 7200rpm 500GB SATA drive. Any further comments?
     
  11. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #11
    As I implied the Synology seems to be a clone of the TS-101 in terms of the feature set and according to tests, throughput. I would say that the QNAP might have better heat dissipation than the Synology. Even the relatively puny Mini (which can hang out somewhere on your network) will provide considerably higher throughput than these NASs across the network.

    In fact a quick Googling brings up this post:
    http://www.cubeowner.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=9183&view=findpost&p=54855
     
  12. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #12
    Time for a little more indecision, then. I feel so insecure without a dedicated backup drive. :(
    Actually, there's a thread about Core Solo Minis available for £299 at Toys'R'Us. But then you'd have to factor in the cost of another drive, I suppose, to get the capacity.
     
  13. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #13
    As I said, with the computer option you'd probably be looking at close to the £500+ price of a higher-performance NAS, but end up with something more living-room friendly, quieter and just as high performance (if not higher) in terms of moving data across the network... and you'll also have another 'puter to boot.

    Linux nerds will certainly tell you to go the custom built way: Even a low-end processor combined with a proper integrated gigabit motherboard and some judiciously chosen linux software will provide hugely increased throughput using the same hard disk than low-end NASs.

    I'm not a Linux nerd and at the moment I'm not entirely happy trusting my data to a Mac - any Mac, even though my Mini has been reliable. So I'm going the W2K3 way along with a nice HTPC chassis using multiple notebook drives. Good night and I hope the info helped!
     
  14. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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  15. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    #15
    The Mini used as a fileserver would have to be on "never sleep", of course. That shouldn't be a problem, I 've had a Mini here running as a Filemaker Pro Database Server for over a year that is only ever shut down during power failures.

    The problem with any standalone NAS is that it will format the drive as a Linux format, not HFS or NTFS or anything else. IF they support AFP over the network, it is through an emulation in firmware, and I had one vendor tell me - "Yes, we have AFP. No, we don't recommend you use it because its unstable. No, we're not planning to upgrade the firmware for better AFP - ever."
     
  16. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #16
    Thanks for that, CanadaRAM. I'm definitely leaning in the Mini direction. The size of the drive is the only limitation, but I guess I could get one of those Mini-style drives to stack underneath it.
     
  17. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #17
    As an update, I'd like to report that I am now in the process of acquiring a new 1.83MHz Mini (for £285) and a 500GB "Companion Drive" to go with it. Total cost £490. Result, I think. :)
     
  18. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #18
    I've got my iMac and mini both set to not sleep and both with multiple external drives attached. All of my Macs have the various drives set to auto-mount (easiest way to do so: mount the drive manually, then drag the icon of the drive onto your System Preferences...->Accounts->[your account]->Login Items area). My iTunes collection (on a RAID 1) and various files and videos are therefore always accessible on all of my Macs, including the laptops (when on my home network).

    It's not true gigabit, of course, because of the Firewire 400 speed limitations, but it works well for me for backup and server usage.
     
  19. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #19
    I can see I'm going to have great fun fiddling around with this set-up. :)
     
  20. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #20
    It's all very easy. :)
     
  21. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #21
    So is falling off a log. Doesn't stop the bruises and the expletives, though.
     
  22. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #22
    That's a good price. I now feel like I've ripped my friend off with the 1.66. Mind you, it was Applecare'd. You've definitely chosen the best way compared to a lower-end NAS which wouldn't have worked out that much cheaper with the cost of the disk. Happy networking, or whatever I'm supposed to say in situations like this :p
     
  23. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #23
    eBay is my friend. :)
    Thanks, I think.
     
  24. rnb2 macrumors regular

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    West Haven, CT, USA
    #24
    Since I had pretty much settled on the 500GB Linkstation Pro to add storage to my network (a Gigabit segment for my MacBook and iMac, 100mb for my fiancee's G4 mini), this seems like a good place to ask about any "gotcha" issues I might run into. The price is very attractive here (~$310US), so the Intel mini + FW isn't price-competitive.

    I currently have 2 250GB FW externals (Seagate 7200.8 in Mapower cases) running RAID1, attached to the iMac. I need more storage, primarily for photos (Canon 20D RAW). The plan is to use one or both of the current externals as a backup drive attached to the Linkstation Pro via USB - may use one for general system backup for now (looking ahead to Time Machine), since I don't have anywhere near 500GB of photos, and won't for some time. I'm primarily considering the NAS because performance should be similar to (maybe better than) FW400, and it would simplify accessing my data from all machines on the network.

    So, any issues I should be thinking about with the Linkstation Pro and RAW photo storage? I have software that automatically downloads my CF cards and creates a custom folder heirarchy and custom file names on import - I know there are a few characters I can't use (shouldn't be an issue), but are there any other issues I might run into with the SMB/CIFS shares from the Linkstation Pro? Should I be able to "auto-mount" the shared drive as described by jsw above?

    Thanks for any pointers/advice!

    Rick
     
  25. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #25
    Theoretical. In practical terms it's CONSIDERABLY slower.

    The problem is the processing power of these machines - they're not powerful, and therefore they lack the horsepower to power the gigabit network engine. The I/O of the one-step-below-Linkstation Pro machines are truly woeful for gigabit, and the Linkstation Pro takes it up to 'really fast megabit' levels but true Gigabit-level performance is only attained by good network adapters and decently fast-processor'd machines, which you don't get on a NAS - well at least, not the ones which are effectively decently fast processor'd machines like a Dell / Apple NAS.

    And on Macs, SMB/CIFS further bogs down performance on an already limited NAS.
     

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