Home Storage Woes, need advice.

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by devincco, Dec 26, 2014.

  1. devincco macrumors member


    Aug 19, 2006
    Hi all. I need some help trying to figure out a solution to my home storage woes. Currently I have a Windows 7 desktop as my primary machine. It has multiple hard drives inside as well as a few USB drives plugged in. All totaling about 4TB of storage space available, about 3TB of used space. I also have about 150GB worth of data on my personal laptop (13” MacBook Pro) and about 60GB on my work laptop (15” MacBook Pro). I’d like to consolidate all this data to 1 drive/machine/NAS unit (whatever it be) with lots of room to grow as I'm starting to rip my DVD's to be able to be played on our AppleTV. I also need to try and accomplish the below requirements. I don’t necessarily need all of them, but most of them.

    1. Needs to be cross platform compatible (Windows 7/8, Mac OS X, Linux). Between my wife’s work laptop, kids computers and work stuff, I have all kinds of different OS’s.
    2. Needs to act as a iTunes & DLNA server. I have a Apple TV in our family room and in the basement I have a Samsung Smart TV. I’d like to be able to stream movies, music, pictures, to both devices without having to go out to purchase another Apple TV if possible.
    3. Remote access. I need to be able to remotely access the files on the device. Many times I’m out and about and end up needing something that is on my PC at home. I’d also like to setup users with their own “login” so they can access and share content. Ex: Sharing pictures/Home videos of our kinds with grand parents. Instead of sending emails and what not, just have them click a link and sign in. If they want to copy it down to their machine they can.
    4. Work with CrashPlan back service. I use Crash Plan to backup my home desktop PC. My personal Mac is sort of backed up to my home PC. Most of the files on it are copied between my home PC or work PC. My work PC is backed up to a separate hard drive at work. I’d like to consolidate all this data to 1 location and have it backed up via Crash Plan. And be able to remotely access files when I need to so I’m not carrying around all this other data (requirement 3).
    5. Act as a backup location for remote PC’s. My parents PC only needs about 20-30GB of storage space for backups. It would be nice to use Crash Plan’s service to have them backup to my unit incase of an emergency. They are not terribly tech savvy and are not sure what to think of the “cloud” for storage. Figured it would just be easier to have them backup to me.
    6. Along the lines of remote access, it would be really nice to be able to stream and download Music, Movies, Videos, etc. from the device to iPads or whatever when we are on vacation. I have younger kids and just when you think you have the videos they want loaded on the iPad they change their mind. So something like that would be great.

    So with all that said, i’ve been exploring the lines of QNAP and Synology. Both look very promising for my needs but am not sure if one is necessarily better than the other. I know there are other manufactures out there as well (Netgear, Western Digital, Drobo, Tehcus, FreeNas, etc.) so I’d like to see if anyone has input on those as well. When to the point of getting a Mac mini and using it as a Server with a Drobo or some other mass storage device connected to it.

The QNAP TS-x69L series also really intrigues me as it has a HDMI port which would allow me to connect the unit directly to my TV in the basement and stream off the unit directly. But I’ve read QNAP’s software on iOS devices is so so. They are also a bit more expensive than I wanted to spend. But if it ends up being the right decision, then I’m willing to splurge the bit extra to get something that is right for my needs.

    So I come here to ask people smarter than me for advise or other ideas that I haven’t explored yet. Thanks in advance!!
  2. ColdCase, Dec 26, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2014

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    Satisfied users with your needs end up with a server, many with a mini running OSX server. Attach a Thunderbolt 4 or 5 bay enclosure housing drives of your choice and you should be golden. You will have plenty of CPU horsepower, reliability, ease of use, performance, and scalability for those things you haven't thought of yet. I don't see anything on your list that can't easily be done with it... and you can also use it as a video source device for one of your TVs.

    Some of us wasted money by listening to NAS fanboy advice and trying to use a NAS type solution only to find one deficiency or another. NAS's are great for sharing files and network file servers, but fail miserably when trying to do much more. You have to spend big bucks on a NAS to get anywhere near what you are asking, so spend your money on a mini instead, add the $30 server app to a base model. Starting small and add as you go is a way to spread out the cost.

    Your internet server provider may not like some of your remote access needs. Most consumer level plans don't allow server type applications. If its an issue, you can spend a little more time to set up VPNs to serve those purposes.

    You will probably find crashplan will fail to provide acceptable performance backing up large video files. Its not designed for that purpose. Once you get it on your system, you can't easily get rid of it. I've been trying to rid of it for years :)
  3. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    Based on your requirements a Mini with a DAS would probably serve your needs best. I'm a Synology fan but it has its limits. The mini solution will cost more but gives you flexibility.

    Are you using Crashplan for offsite storage? I have a family plan and added my brother's computer so I didn't have to worry about his backup state. That would work well for your parents. Since you get unlimited storage with that plan you can use it as a backup for your media files too.
  4. iososx macrumors 6502a


    Aug 23, 2014
    Using a Mac Pro Server with Ten Terabyte SYNOLOGY NAS. Supporting my entire Multi-Platform Network. OS X / UNIX / LINUX/ WINDOWS. Robust, stable, secure, proven track record.
  5. brand macrumors 601


    Oct 3, 2006
    At home I have a Mac Pro running ESXi 5.5 connected to a Synology 10 bay NAS with 37TB of storage using NFS. I share most of my files directly from the Synology with AFP and SMB. I also use the Synology for TimeMachine backups.

    For remote access I have a Cisco Meraki MX60 that I use for VPN.
  6. poiihy macrumors 68020


    Aug 22, 2014
    Does your windows PC have space in it? If so then you can just add more hard drives. If not then you can just plug in external hard drives.
  7. andeify macrumors 6502


    Jun 10, 2012
    We have two Samsung smart TVs and I stream HD video from Plex Media Server on my Mac mini, 802.11n can do 720p If you get a good signal with no other nearby networks interfering. We struggled watching 720p in the bedroom and had no chance watching films in the living room so I got some TP-Link PA6010 powerline network plugs and now even 1080p with 5.1 surround is perfect in the lounge.

    Looking at storage solutions, 6tb drives have just come out and 8 and 10 are not far away, I'm trying to hold off till then to upgrade my storage (currently 2x external 2TB drives connected to the mini)
  8. fhall1 macrumors 68040


    Dec 18, 2007
    (Central) NY State of mind
    What's your backup scheme for the NAS?
  9. iososx macrumors 6502a


    Aug 23, 2014
    To keep my prior post brief I highlighted the Mac side only, I actually have one more PC based server with its own identical Ten TB Synology NAS. Each NAS unit contains 5 - 2TB plug and play (easily removable) SSD's. This gives me the flexibility to pull them in rotation for safe off site storage daily at my work office. Programmed to turn on at 12:05 AM while I'm sleeping the system performs a complete backup of all files. Much of what's done on the servers or desktops in the network is fully automated to occur while away at work during the day. Due to the highly sensitive mission critical nature of the work I do involving a few large scale Enterprises, it's my choice to perform frequent, extremely comprehensive backup routines. Between on site and off site storage as well as a select Cloud routine of the more mundane non sensitive data, I'm well protected. Finally I should mention that the highest level personal & business data is confined to the third leg of the system that is not connected to the Internet.
  10. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    Not sure what both NAS boxes and servers buys you besides more setup complexity and another point of failure. We typically just connect DAS boxes to the server and let the server do the heavy lifting (providing NAS service to the network). But that may just be me. In our multimedia and SW development environment, a NAS just does not provide enough performance to do anything besides simple file sharing or act as another backup destination for a server. At the house I just use a mini with the server app... but then I also have a little used mac to stand in if ever the mini fails me, just reconnect the DAS boxes to it.
  11. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    I kind of agree with some of the other folks here. I fooled around with a dedicated NAS for years, but the setup I've ultimately been happiest with is effectively using my iMac as the server for the house with a 3TB drive connected to it. A mini performs this function perfectly, but I already had the iMac and it just kind of morphed into this over the years. The iMac and all other computers in the house back up to the external drive as well as Crashplan. The iMac runs the master iTunes and iPhoto libraries serving content to devices in the house, and a combination of Plex and Air Video for serving other types of content that iTunes can't handle. It has worked great with virtually no headaches for years now.

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