2TB, 1 bay NAS drive - advice. Mac newbie.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by AJP123, Dec 11, 2011.

  1. AJP123 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2011
    #1
    Hi everyone,

    I bought my first mac a week ago, after using PCs for my whole life. However, I'm not sold on them, and given my windows laptop is still relatively new, i'm wanting a NAS drive I can backup both my windows and mac machines to. One bay is fine, 2TB, probably. I'd also like a USB port on the NAS, for printers, extra drives, etc.

    Is the Time Capsule good? At AU$320 for 2TB, it's only AU$50 more than the average 2TB NAS, and strengthening my wireless signal can only be a good thing. However, can windows machines backup to Time Capsule? If not, then it's possibly pointless - I'm not a Mac Convert yet.

    I don't want to buy a diskless drive atm, hard drive prices have skyrocketed at the moment because of the Thailand floods. Would something like a Seagate or WD NAS be any good?

    Thankyou,
    God bless,
    Andy
     
  2. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #2
    Sorry but I have to disagree with you here. I purchased a LaCie Network Space 2. It was reasonably priced and I was happy with it... Until Saturday. On Saturday, I decided to allow the NS2 to update it's own firmware. This was a mistake. It said it finished successfully but it came up in a reset loop and would not work. It would show up on the network, then disappear. At no point could I connect to it in any way. The solution? I called LaCie to find their tech support closed for the weekend. I then opened an email support case and waited. Fortunately all my files were also on another drive but since they were my ONLY copy, I hastily started copying them to a Time Capsule I hadn't used since it failed and got wiped by Apple. Yes I've had 2 situations where NAS drives died and took away my data.

    Finally I decided on a Synology Diskstation 212J. It is the cheaper, slower model but it does NOT come with a hard drive. And this is key. When my TC died, I had to mail it back to Apple and they sent it back to me... EMPTY. When my LaCie died, I found that if it required service, I would have to send it back to LaCie and they would have sent it back to me... EMPTY. LaCie offered data recovery services, ranging from $399 to $1199. I was SO glad I had another copy of all my stuff and I resolved to find a better solution where I control my data. This is why I purchased the Synology. Drobo is another good choice. Any other drive, whether it's Seagate, WD, Apple, LaCie or Buffalo comes with the risk that if the firmware ever gets fried or there is a hardware problem, you have no way of getting your data out of the thing and you are out of luck unless you want to write them a fat check for "recovery". What kind of "bargain" would you have if you picked up a $129 WD Live and had to pay somebody a thousand dollars to open it up and get your data back when it fails?

    Don't be penny wise and pound foolish. Spend what it takes to get an NAS solution where you control your data and are not at the mercy of some company half a world away if you have problems. If you simply can't afford a Synology or Drobo right now, go ahead and get an Apple TC or whatever. Only make sure you have ANOTHER COPY of your data!
     
  3. nerdo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2010
    #3
    If you are looking for secure storage my suggestion would be: iCloud or the excellent Backblaze. Backblaze has a really nice OSX preference pane interface that works like a charm. And to be honest: they are dirt cheap!!

    Sadly my location makes it impossible to upload all my 12TB of data in a human life, but the service of these guys was great, the interface the best i have used. for fast shared work a NAS is great but please make sure you get a cloud backup somewhere because believe me: all harddisks die, the problem is, nobody knows when.

    good luck

    p.s.
    these days, after disasters with LaCie, Thecus, Synology an buffolo stations (mostly Maxtor drives btw) I stick to QNAP and WD or Seagate drives.
     
  4. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #4
    Synology doesn't supply drives. I ordered a WD Caviar green drive for mine. Caviar green are the slower drives but I don't care about drive speed when I'm sending files over gigabit ethernet which is slower than SATA or firewire.
     
  5. chris-d macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2010
    #6
    I'm not sure I can say there's nothing else, but I do agree that Synology is a solid solution.

    I had a pair of Thecus NAS's (5200Pro and 2100) that I used for onsite/offsite backup. When Lion came out it broke compatibility with the 5200Pro and it looked like Thecus wasn't going to fix it. I decided to take that time to revamp my NAS solution.

    I looked at a bunch of options, but narrowed the selection down to Qnap and Synology. Honestly, I liked Qnap a little more for some reason, but in the end I ended up going with Synology because I got a better price.

    I went with the same arrangement as before, 5 bay 1511+ onsite with 2-bay 211j offsite. I bring the offsite NAS home at least once a month get a copy of what's on my home NAS and then store it at my office to reduce the risk of data loss due to a fire or other catastrophe. It's not perfect, but for home backup of my music, pictures and camcorder footage of my kids, I can't justify the high-speed uplink I would need to do this entirely remotely.

    I will say that the Synology solution is really nice and both the 5-bay and 2-bay run the same software with the same interface. So even if you choose the 1-bay model you'll get the same feature set. One feature I really like is that Synology has a built-in replication function that can be used to automatically copy from one NAS to the other without setting up complicated rsync scripts. This makes my replication to my offsite NAS a breeze.

    Take a look at Synology and check craigslist to see if you can find some cheaper dives until the supply out of Thailand recovers. And give some thought to doing some sort of offsite protection of your data if you really care about it.
     
  6. niewiesznic macrumors regular

    niewiesznic

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Location:
    Internet
    #7
    Get Synology and put inside Hitachi disks. I would recommend at least two bays option. I own old DS210j and DS211+. If you can, get + version. 212+ is ARM CPU based, and 712+ is Intel based. Synology is rock solid solution, often upgraded firmware, easy to setup, once it is done, you can forget about it. All version have the same functionality (qnap has different FW for pro and economy models). They are also low energy using servers.
     
  7. AJP123 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2011
    #8
    Point taken. To sum up your message, getting a NAS with inbuilt drives is risky because if something OTHER than the drives fails in the NAS, it's difficult or impossible to remove the drives yourself, thus rendering your data lost. That correct?

    Votes:
    QNAP: 1

    Hmmm... I don't think cloud storage is going to be feasible, as I have an extremely modest 8GB/month internet plan.

    Votes:
    QNAP: 1
    Synology: 1

    Votes:
    QNAP: 1
    Synology: 2

    Votes:
    QNAP: 1
    Synology: 3

    Looks like Synology takes the cake here. However, I'm not the most technologically literate person out there... Are diskless drives hard to set up? Any wiring/cabling/stuff like that to worry about? Or do you just click the drives into the NAS bays and off you go?.

    Purchasing-wise, if I'm going to go a diskless drive, i'd probably go a 2-bay (RAID 1) or a 4-bay drive (RAID 5). A 4-bay has the advantage of effectively tripling your storage pool, but it is a fair bit more expensive, and I probably don't need 6-9TB of storage. Is it worth it for future proofing though? Hmmmm...

    Which Synology 2- and 4-bay models to people have? I'd assume there's not a huge amount of choice out there, any reliable review though?

    Thanks guys!

    God bless =)
     
  8. niewiesznic macrumors regular

    niewiesznic

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Location:
    Internet
    #9
    As I have mentioned I have 2 x 2 bays Synology Disk Stations, DS210j (j is economy version) and DS211+ (+ means performance version). The 4 bay version is what I would buy now as future wise solution. With SHR RAID you can change disks in future to bigger one at a time, and expand volume. It is also cheaper to have 4X1Tb SHR RAID than 2x2Tb RAID, and also 4disk raid is bigger.
     
  9. AJP123 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2011
    #10
    Fair enough... Might go the economy 4-bay Synology then. What are the best drives to buy at the moment, given the Thailand floods?
     
  10. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #11
    Correct. If the power supply in the drive gets fried (which happened to my first gen Time Capsule), or the drive fails to power on after a power failure (which happened to my Buffalo Linkstations, or the drive firmware gets fried (which happened to my LaCie) all data could be lost. I should add that LaCie tech support pointed me to a heretofore undocumented "recovery" folder where all my data was safe. I wish I had known about that folder before I spent the time copying all my data back to the drive. Evening and weekend tech support availability should be part of your criteria for considering an NAS device. If my Synology controller fries, I can take out my hard drives and send it back for replacement. My data never leaves my home.

    I have the 212J on the way from Amazon. It should arrive today or tomorrow. I also have a WD caviar green 2 TB drive on the way. I probably should have gone with a higher end model but I wanted to avoid spending a lot of money right now. I plan to wipe the Buffalo Linkstations and copy everything to the Synology. I plan to mirror the LaCie to the Synology. I will then probably put the LaCie "out to pasture" as a media server and that's all it will get used for. I will NEVER do another OTA firmware update without checking on the internet for evidence the update won't fry my NAS unit. At the end of the day, I will have 3 NAS units: LaCie, Time Capsule, and Synology. All my older units will be "retired" and sold off on ebay or donated.

    I combine cloud backup with NAS. I use CrashPlan for backup of documents but not movies and photos which would blow my ISPs mind if I ever allowed these things to upload, not to mention CrashPlan's "throttling" of all data above 200 gig. Since you have an 8 GB cap, I suggest you invest in a pair of identical USB HDDs and "back up" your NAS to the USB drive once a month or so. Then drive over to a friend's house (or safe deposit box) and toss the current USB drive there and bring the old one home to overwrite with a new backup. This is probably the approach I will use for my media so I have off site storage without blowing any internet upload bandwidth caps.
     
  11. nerdo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2010
    #12
    Who is talking about the drives?

    Even a NAS can crash and when they do and die you need to buy a new one hoping it can restore your old NAS but it can't because the settings died with the old NAS.

    cheap stuff breaks, overheats etc. etc. Off course my bad experiences with NAS where a few years ago before I got the QNAPS. So who knows, maybe they solved the heating probs and dying flash roms, but I will never try if you don't mind.

    My Qnaps run for years without as much as a few degrees temperature flux, not cheap but utterly reliable. 8 Caviar Greens in a RAID get you 100MB / sec on a Qnap NAS, fast enough :)

     
  12. r0k, Dec 14, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2011

    r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #13
    I was talking about the drives because I was responding to the OP who was thinking of buying a unit where the drive gets sent back with the unit if it fails. And no I don't mind at all if you decide to use QNAPS while I use Synology. I have been through 2 scenarios where my data was gone even though there was NOTHING wrong with the drive itself.

    When it comes to data recovery, I suppose you might be right. I might not be able to plug my drive in to a new Synology diskstation and get anything back. But my data never leaves my house and I don't have to trust Apple's or anyone else's claim that they will erase my data when they get my drive before they refurbish it and sell it to somebody else. I don't know what format Synology uses but many of these devices are open source and I suspect they use ext3 filesystems which are easy enough to pop in to a Linux box and recover rather than paying thousands of dollars for a "recovery service" to do the same thing. I alluded to this in one of my posts above when I mentioned LaCie's "D2 recovery" service that charges between $399 and $1199 to recover data.

    I also considered Drobo but decided I didn't want something that was quite so proprietary as well as quite so expensive. The primary reason I ignored QNAP is they don't show up on the list of certified devices at dlna.org. I'm considering Apple TV one of these days but until then, I want devices that my connected blu ray players and internet TVs can browse and properly display content. It took several painful firmware upgrades to get my LaCie NS2 to the point its DLNA functions work properly. I'm hoping the Synology works better right out of the box... Update: Or perhaps not...

    I found the following review in google's cache of smallnetbuilder. It looks like DLNA on the DS212J will be no better (or perhaps even worse) than it was on the LaCie NS2. Perhaps it's time for me to consider building my own NAS and running geexbox on the thing. :eek:
    In the above quote, ignore the part about being better off running Windows. That's not something I could imagine being true.
     
  13. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #14
    Synology: So Far So Great!

    Well the Synology came today. It's the DS212J. The "cheap" one. It's still tested more than twice as fast as the NS2. THe NS2 responds to pings in 30 ms while the NS2 responds in 13 ms. Another good sign.

    It's white plastic. It has 2 drive bays. I stuffed a 2TB HDD in one bay and powered up. It's a little bigger than I had pictured but it's been running for over an hour and I haven't heard the fan yet. I know these things run Linux but these companies invest so much energy hiding it from us and wrapping the thing in lame user interfaces that make it difficult to get to the OS. Not Synology. The DS212J seems to come bundled with apache and php 5. I can use it as a backup web server! Nice. I don't like putting my NAS raw on the web, but the admin interface is on port 5000 so I can make a port 80 dmz and serve web pages from my Synology. Sweet! I still have to find out how to link areas of the HDD to the web server feature but it's very promising.

    I had been thinking of getting myself a low power Linux box for around $300 at Microcenter. The thing is, it would have some teeny weeny little bitty HDD and I'd have to add a USB drive to do anything. For about $350 I got a Linux box with a 2 TB HDD that draws 18 watts peak and 7 watts in standby. And there's another bay available so I can add another disk. I couldn't have asked for a better deal. If the DLNA stuff doesn't work well, I'll go ahead and keep the NS2 around for that bit and use the Synology for everything else.

    I found out Synology formats the disks as EXT4. There is an option called "synology hybrid raid" that is picked by default. I might decide to go back and "basic" if it means I can recover my data on a standard Linux box if the Synology box ever takes a dump.
     
  14. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #15
    One more vote for Synology. Now if I can only figure out how to make it an AirPlay playback device.
     
  15. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #16
    "Checking" and formatting the 2 TB drive took all night but as of this morning my DS212J is up and running. I enabled the web server, php and mysql. When I get more time, I'll figure out if I can really make this thing a backup web server. I also copied the movies that I was having trouble with on the LaCie NS2 and I'll see how well the LG TV recognizes and plays them when they are being served off the Synology.
     
  16. AJP123 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2011
    #17
    Thanks for all the feedback, everyone. I'm considering getting the Synology DS411j, as I can get it in for AU$379, with a pair of Samsung 2TB drives for AU$169 each to start me off.

    One question: how easy would it be to make the Synology work with both my Windows and Mac machines, in terms of file sharing and backup? Will I need to create separate partitions for backing up each machine and file sharing, then format each partition? Apparently Time Machine will only backup to the native Mac format, Windows backup will only backup to NTFS, and FAT32 is the easiest format for file sharing. Or am I missing something? Will Synology take care of cross-platform issues? The reason I ask is that whilst the higher end Synology NASes handle cross-platform file sharing, according to the spec pages on Synology's website, the spec pages omit this for the budget John models.

    One more question: should I wait for the DS-412j to come out?
     
  17. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #18
    From my limited (several days) usage of the DS212J, I would say it will be very easy for you to make it work with both Windows and OS X machines. As for waiting for something to come out, it depends on how long you want to wait. It's often better to buy what you can get when you need it rather than waiting for the greatest thing. The greatest thing will not come out until the end of time. ;)

    Synology drives all use "DSM 3.2" software so the user interface is very consistent across the entire product line. The higher end products have support for more features like wake on lan but the interface is the same so your risk in buying the 411 and missing out on some must have feature is pretty low.

    I have not upgraded to the latest DSM software. This is something I plan to do in the next day or so. I have tried streaming movies that worked poorly on my poor old LaCie NS2 and they work a lot better streaming from the DS212J. While I can't help but wonder if the 400 series might have been a better choice for my needs, I know can live with what I have (212J) as it's much better than the junky drives I have been using.
     
  18. Bob Coxner macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2011
    #19
    Fomat the drives in exFAT and they can be shared by Windows and OS X.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ExFAT
     
  19. AJP123 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2011
    #20
    What are the main differences between ExFAT and FAT32? Larger max file sizes, IIRC?

    But Mac OSX will only backup to HFS+ (or whatever it is), and Windows to NTFS. What did you have in mind?
     
  20. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #21
    I missed some of your questions. You don't need to format the drives. The DS takes care of that and formats them EXT4 (Linux) format. The fact they are not windows (FAT) or OS X (HFS+) means nothing because you are connecting over the network. The Synology supports AFP (OS X) and SMB (Windows) and NFS (Linux) file sharing. There is no need to spend a moment thinking about formatting the drives. Just put them in and let the DS format them (slowly).

    If you do get the DS4xx series, I suggest you go for the + model as the + models have intel processors and you can install and run the Linux version of the Plex media server (if you want to). A reason to stay with the lower end models would be lower power consumption. The DS411+ (Intel based) uses 60W when running but my DS212J (ARM based) uses only 18 watts running. The NAS controller has to support Time Machine not the format of the media. It has to convince TM that it is "just like" an Airport Extreme with a usb drive or a Time Capsule. I know my old LaCie NS2 claimed to do this but I never bothered to check if the DS supports it because I still have a first gen TC lying around for network backups and nothing else.

    I think this is the wrong answer. He is putting them in a DS and the DS will format them EXT4. He doesn't need to know or care about the format of the drives in order to be able to use them over the network.


    I think that person forgot you are using NAS. You only need to consider the file system on the drives if you plug them in directly to your Mac (or windows box). In that case you would need HFS+ for Time Machine to work and you would need some flavor of NTFS or FAT for windows to see the drive if you plugged it in over there. This is a good thing about NAS. You don't have to bother thinking about the format of the drives. Network clients really don't care. Don't bother formatting the drives before you put them in the DS. Even if they were already formatted FAT32 or something, the DS will format them EXT4.
     
  21. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Location:
    USA (Virginia)
    #22
    r0k, thanks for clearing up the disk format issue -- you beat me to it!

    AJP123, you asked a bit about Time Machine. There is a very good user review of the Synology DS411j here: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1117716&highlight=synology+honest+review

    Here's what he has to say about using it with Time Machine:

    I don't have a NAS (except for a Time Capsule) so I can't personally vouch for the statements above, but it sure sounds like you can use it with Time Machine.

    Regards,
    Brian33
     
  22. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #23
    When I connected a USB disk to my TC, it didn't recognize it. It only recognizes USB disks that are HFS+ formatted. After a WD USB disk was not recognized by my TC, I plugged it in to my Macbook, wiped off that FATish format along with all that useless windows software and formatted the thing HFS+. I have a 2TB external disk connected to my lowly 500GB first gen TC and my TM backups go to the usb disk not the internal disk ever since I had to mail my first TC back to Apple for a failed power supply. :( Needless to say my data was lost.

    I never bothered to enable the Time Machine support on my NAS drives because I have a TC, but when I enabled it briefly on my LaCie NS2, I can vouch that a separate share showed up in Finder for Time Machine use.
     
  23. nerdo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2010
    #24
    QNAP has a Time Machine service you can turn on, Time Machine will recognize this and use it as a backup drive. Whatever space is left you can use for other files accessible to either windows or Mac. What I like about this is that only Time Machine can use the time machine drive / setup so you can't delete it or mess with it.

    Off course QNAP also comes with a nice webserver and plugin services you can download for mail server, media server etc. They even offer a plugin that automatically backups any data on the QNAP to a cloud service, but as you said before with a 8GB internet connection that is not the solution. Still could be cool for others.


     
  24. AJP123 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2011
    #25
    Another reason not to get the Time Capsule, then! I want to piggy back my external hard drives and usb sticks onto my network using a usb hub.

    Just a question about the Synology DS411j, which I'm definitely going to buy, unless I decide that hard drive prices are too high and want to wait until they come down (any idea when this will happen?) Anywho, according to this blog, once you set the volumes of the hard drive array in the RAID system, you can't shrink individual volumes, but you can enlarge them using vacant space. Is this the case for all RAID arrays? Or a specific limitation of Synology NASes? It's a bit inconvenient, that's all.

    Thankyou!
    God bless,
    Andy.
     

Share This Page