First-time server buyer (Plex/Time Machine)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by UhFive, Nov 2, 2015.

  1. UhFive macrumors regular

    UhFive

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Location:
    Texas
    #1
    I only need three things from this server...

    First, I've been using Infuse for viewing my content, but am leaning towards switching to Plex so I can watch content while traveling. I can see 2-4 streams going at once. I rip all my own movies with Make MKV and then use Handbrake to convert them to MP4 right now, so I know the majority of my stuff won't need to be transcoded on the fly, but I want the capability to transcode at least 2 in 1080p at a time. I have the bandwidth with my provider for this, so I want to ensure my server is capable of it.

    Second, I want to be able to back-up my laptop's using Time Machine...pretty sure I just need to share a folder/disk on my network and set that as the back-up destination, but the important thing is I want a machine that is capable of handling backing-up two laptops. My current setup (airport extreme) is too slow.

    Third, I want to run two 3TB drives in Raid so there is always a back-up of all my content. I don't know the difference between software and hardware raid...not sure if I really care, just as long as I have a back-up of my library.

    I found this: http://www.amazon.com/Lenovo-ThinkS...ie=UTF8&qid=1446499418&sr=1-4&keywords=server
    and if bought I plan to install Ubuntu...is it going to fulfill my needs? If not, I don't want to build my own machine, so can you suggest a product for me out the door under $550 to including 2x3tb WD Red drives?
     
  2. neuromajor macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2005
    #2
    I went a similar route earlier this year and so far so good. I have a TS440, which is similar but you have to buy HDD caddies. Both servers regularly go on sale for under $300, so I would check the deal sites. Probably will need to add more RAM, I have 8GB which seems to work. I have FreeNAS running, which has directions in their documentation on how to setup a Timemachine backup. I have a MacBook backing up there, but have not tried to do a complete recovery, which really is the most importantant factor. Plex seems to run fine, but it took me a while to get it setup as it is picky with folder/file naming and structure. It just takes time going over what's documented on FreeNAS site.
    Good luck!
     
  3. UhFive thread starter macrumors regular

    UhFive

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Location:
    Texas
    #3
    How many streams are you able to run at a time?
     
  4. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #4
    You may want to have a look at XPEnology. It is an open source implementation of Synology. I just set one up using an Intel SS4200 enclosure that I picked up for $75 and it has been running great and was extremely easy to set up. I was up and running within half hour of receiving the SS4200.

    Since you don't have to transcode most of your videos, I don't think you would need a very powerful CPU. From within the LAN, I run an iOS app called FileExplorer which can play my mkv videos without any sort of transcoding. I can even AirPlay it.
     
  5. UhFive thread starter macrumors regular

    UhFive

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Location:
    Texas
    #5
    I have looked at a NAS and using apps to Airplay, but I want this to be an extremely streamlined process for my family. Also, over half the devices going to be accessing this will not be on my local network, so FileExplorer is not really an option. Thanks for your suggestions though.
     
  6. pastrychef, Nov 3, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2015

    pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #6
    Plex can still be installed directly from the Synology Package Center.

    I use FileExplorer on my LAN but there's no reason why you can access it from WAN as long as you have the bandwidth to support it.
    Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 5.23.07 PM.png
     
  7. UhFive thread starter macrumors regular

    UhFive

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Location:
    Texas
    #7
    Wow, learn something new every day. That is nicer than what I expected.
    I'm still leaning towards a server instead for the computing power. I know the majority of my stuff won't need to be transcoded, but it having the capability is important to me.
     
  8. pastrychef, Nov 3, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2015

    pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #8
    How much CPU horsepower you wish to have is entirely up to you with a NAS. For example, the following model has has a Xeon E3-1230 v2. I would imagine something like that would be able to handle any transcoding you would require.

    https://www.synology.com/en-us/products/RS18016xs+#spec

    I chose a low power CPU because I know anything more would just be overkill and waste of electricity. Plus, it helps keep everything a little cooler.

    Here's the load on my NAS when I stream a 1080p mkv to my iPhone:

    Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 5.41.52 PM.png
     
  9. sunapple macrumors 6502a

    sunapple

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2013
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #9
    I currently have three external drives with Time Machine, Movies and TV Shows on them and I'd like to move all these things to a NAS which I can access at home, but also off-site with iOS devices and laptop for movie watching (one user). I guess this is the same kind of scenario you want to have more or less, probably even simpler.

    The DS216play which is a new model, comparable to the DS214play, looks like it could handle all of this just fine and at a reasonable (?) price. Transcoding (max 4K) and all (it's a "play" series). I am however completely new to this, so maybe I'm missing something?

    What seems to be particularly interesting are Synology's apps which seem to be able to do the same things Plex does. So playing (and transcoding) movies to off-site laptops or iOS devices. Don't know if this is available for free with the NAS or if it's a paid service like Plex. Would be really interesting if you got all that functionality in one device out of the box. Again, I need someone to confirm these thoughts.
     
  10. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #10
    As far as I know, all the packages from the package center are free. Source: http://forum.synology.com/enu/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=62998

    A few things to be aware of with the DS214play... First, it's a two bay unit which means that you will either use both drives for data and have no redundancy in the event of a drive failure or you will use one drive for redundancy and your data is protected in the event one of the drives fail. This, in my opinion, is very limited.

    Personally, I would not run a NAS without redundancy. Hard drives will fail. It's just a question of when. With just two drive bays, you will be limited to a maximum of 8TB if you use redundancy with two 8TB hard drives. If this is enough, then great, nothing to worry about.

    Secondly, the DS214play uses a 32-bit CPU. From what I understand, the next major update to the Synology OS will be 64-bit. Presumably, this would prevent this unit from upgrading to DSM 6.0. That's not to say there's anything wrong with the current Sinology OS and there's absolutely no reason why you won't be able to continue using DSM 5.2 for years to come. It just means you may not be able to upgrade beyond that. Source: https://www.synology.com/en-us/dsm/6.0beta/

    Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 7.44.01 AM.png
     
  11. sunapple macrumors 6502a

    sunapple

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2013
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #11
    There's a new model which is an update to the 214 I think, the DS216play. That's the one I mentioned and the one that might be right for me.

    I just checked and it turns out it also uses a 32bit architecture. I wouldn't be happy if a brand new product would not be able to update to the next version, that's a good thing to keep in mind.

    Overall I'm convinced the current offerings of the 216play are enough for me. 8TB will do btw. Not sure if TS wants this too though.
     

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