Do I need a NAS?

Gjwilly

macrumors 68030
Original poster
May 1, 2011
2,884
526
SF Bay Area
Or rather, do I need a new NAS?

I've got one currently and I use it to store my iTunes library.
My MacBook accesses it in order to sync media to my iPhone / iPad.
My Mini runs 24/7 and accesses it in order to stream my entire iTunes library to my AppleTV via Homesharing.
I've got no DLNA servers, no iTunes servers, no Plex Servers -- just one shared drive that's shared to both the Mini and the MacBook.
The Mini and the MacBook each have their own iTunes library files locally -- they only share the actual media folders.
Everything works but I'm worried about a failure due to the age of the NAS and its drives. The NAS is also over 80% full.

I was shopping for a replacement when I started to wonder whether a simple RAID drive connected to the Mini via USB wouldn't accomplish everything I'm currently doing with the NAS.

The Mini would see the RAID as an external drive that would get mounted after every reboot so I don't think I'd have any problem there.
If I then share that same drive on the Mini and mount it on my MacBook will it perform as well as the existing NAS?

If it matters the MacBook is a 2014, the Mini is a 2012 with 16GB RAM, and the existing NAS is a Zyxel NSA320 with a Marvell 88F6281 Kirkwood SoC @ 1.2 GHz and 512MB RAM.
 

dimme

macrumors 68000
Feb 14, 2007
1,694
4,665
SF, CA
Or rather, do I need a new NAS?

I've got one currently and I use it to store my iTunes library.
My MacBook accesses it in order to sync media to my iPhone / iPad.
My Mini runs 24/7 and accesses it in order to stream my entire iTunes library to my AppleTV via Homesharing.
I've got no DLNA servers, no iTunes servers, no Plex Servers -- just one shared drive that's shared to both the Mini and the MacBook.
The Mini and the MacBook each have their own iTunes library files locally -- they only share the actual media folders.
Everything works but I'm worried about a failure due to the age of the NAS and its drives. The NAS is also over 80% full.

I was shopping for a replacement when I started to wonder whether a simple RAID drive connected to the Mini via USB wouldn't accomplish everything I'm currently doing with the NAS.

The Mini would see the RAID as an external drive that would get mounted after every reboot so I don't think I'd have any problem there.
If I then share that same drive on the Mini and mount it on my MacBook will it perform as well as the existing NAS?

If it matters the MacBook is a 2014, the Mini is a 2012 with 16GB RAM, and the existing NAS is a Zyxel NSA320 with a Marvell 88F6281 Kirkwood SoC @ 1.2 GHz and 512MB RAM.
[doublepost=1496348853][/doublepost]If your mini is running 24/7 then a shared drive would be fine. I have a 2012 min running 24/7 also running server, mostly for the caching and VPN. I have 5 USB 3 drives attached and have not had a issue in 3 years.
 

960design

macrumors 68040
Apr 17, 2012
3,063
995
Destin, FL
No need to complicate things with a new NAS. I would recommend a NAS if you did not have a mac mini idling around. Just as dimme mentioned. I currently have two mac minis ( they stack very nicely ) running as servers.
 

Alrescha

macrumors 68020
Jan 1, 2008
2,156
315
As the Mac mini and the iMac use laptop components, their power requirements are already very low. I have used (ever larger) external RAID boxes to hold my files ever since I outgrew the capacity of the internal drives. As a result I have never been tempted by a NAS except for the play-with-a-new-toy aspect.

If you happen to also use the Mac as a desktop, then the speed difference is something to consider. I do not think I would care to go back to network speeds when moving large files around.

Plain macOS is pretty capable all by itself, and if you want more you can install Server for $20. I find it worth it for the caching service alone.

A.
 

kohlson

macrumors 68020
Apr 23, 2010
2,421
721
I like the idea of leveraging a Mini. Another advantage is using it as a Time Machine. For RAID, I haven't had good luck with the MacOSX RAID capabilities (drives kept falling out of sync/offline).
 

Gjwilly

macrumors 68030
Original poster
May 1, 2011
2,884
526
SF Bay Area
When I use my Apple TV under my current setup, is the media really streaming from NAS to Mini and then again from Mini to Apple TV? If so then I should actually get improved performance by eliminating the NAS, right? Because the USB connection from RAID to Mini should be faster than the wireless NAS connection?
Or doesn't it really work that way in real life?
 

Alrescha

macrumors 68020
Jan 1, 2008
2,156
315
If so then I should actually get improved performance by eliminating the NAS, right?
You would cut the amount of data transferred over your network in half. Whether you experience a significant difference depends the size of these files compared to your network capacity. It certainly will not hurt.

A.
 
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