Mac NAS 101 - help me....

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by mtbdudex, Oct 23, 2014.

  1. mtbdudex macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Location:
    SE Michigan
    #1
    I'm looking at getting into the year 2014...Mac NAS for my connected devices, have a older Apple AirPort I think just n wifi.

    Hardware:
    I have 2 iMacs that are hard wired via Cat5e, and lots' of iPhones/iPads/MacBooks/etc via wifi.

    Plus a AppleTV and a new 4k Vizio P series UHDTV (with 802.11ac )

    Getting a Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station for 802.11ac Wi-Fi

    So, looking at 4TB Hard drive as Time Machine HD and also all devices sharing iTunes/Photos Lib/etc.

    What the real word technical difference between this $130
    Seagate Expansion 4TB Desktop External Hard Drive USB 3.0
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BFFQN3M/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

    vs this 4TB for $183, Buffalo LinkStation 210 4 TB NAS Personal Cloud Storage and Media Server
    http://www.amazon.com/Buffalo-LinkStation-Personal-Storage-LS210D0401/dp/B00JKM0ES2/ref=lh_ni_t?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER
    What will I gain with a NAS disk?
     
  2. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #2
    A few things to start you off.

    Network attached storage is just that: storage on your network, vs an external drive connected directly to your computer, and with the drive mounted on that computer. Either one can be accessed from the network, but the latter can only be accessed if the computer attached to it is running. The NAS is like it's own little computer on your network, and in fact runs some software that kinda acts as a computer. Sorta.

    A NAS unit can have issues with TM even if it's claiming it's Mac compatible; just because the Mac can use it doesn't mean it can do reliable TM backups.

    I don't know, however, if you're asking whether you're choosing between using an external drive on a computer vs using that drive as a NAS attached to a router. For the Airport Extreme, see this: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5924?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US

    And finally, remember you'll need a way to back up that NAS if you're storing photos and whatnot on it.
     
  3. mtbdudex thread starter macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

    Joined:
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    #3
    ^^ thx for info, I also read this article, http://www.chuqui.com/consider-upgrading-home-network-nas/

    Ok - so I need to have a back-up HDD to keep safe my NAS....understood.
    Right now have a 2TB HD in the 27"iMac, that is at 1.5TB used, however my kids are now school yearbook photo and video person.
    Plus I'd like to download lots of the "free" digital copies of movies that I get with blu-ray purchase.

    So yes, my plan is NAS will be primary storage of iTunes and photo library for access by all devices easily.

    [edit]
    or I get one of these "mirror" NAS and they do primary and back-up auto for me, as 2 seperate drives...
    http://www.amazon.com/Cloud-Mirror-2-bay-Personal-Storage/dp/B00ITI058W/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1414094311&sr=8-2
     
  4. mtbdudex thread starter macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

    Joined:
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    #4
    Ok;
    The more I look at this the more I realize that going "big" now is better, ie, a 4 bay diskless the adding 2 4TB WD EX drives for now, and seeing how my needs grow in future can add more drives later.
    WD My Cloud EX4 Diskless: High-performance NAS, Ultimate reliability
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00G4JZ2T0/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER
    [​IMG]

    Western Digital WD40EFRX 4 TB WD Red, 3.5 inch, SATA III 5400 RPM 64 MB Cache Bulk/OEM NAS Hard Drive
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EHBERSE/ref=ox_sc_act_title_3?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER
    [​IMG]

    Am I traveling down a slippery slope?
    Or being prudent for future expansion capability?
     
  5. ColdCase, Oct 24, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2014

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    NH
    #5
    Its much easier to do this with a mini or a retired mac. I listened to NAS fanboy arguments and started out with a NAS solution and was quickly disappointed with the performance and quirks... and that one needs to learn a new unix style language to do even simple things like file sharing.

    I have been much happier now that I abandoned that bandaid approach and started using a mini to run iTunes and share our family video and photos among a wide variety of devices. No quires or strange performance or capability bottlenecks, it just works. I also use the mini as a Time Machine destination which is seamless. When I outgrow iTunes, there is Plex and XBMC which are just software that runs well on the same hardware and with migration apps.

    With a mini solution, one can attach much less costly DAS and JBod enclosures to the mini, have superior disk management and control without proprietary stumbling blocks. NAS made more sense at one time, but with inexpensive high capacity disks the climate is changing.

    I say mini because thats what most use, but just about any mac that runs 24/7 would do. A NAS is just a bandaid until you move to a real computer and perhaps server solution. If I had it to do over again I'd not waste my money on NAS.

    A low end mini with a OWC thunderbay 4 bay enclosure and four drives may cost just a bit more than a NAS but its worth it IMHO. Use disk utility to RAID 0 two 3-6TB drives into a 6-12TB volume, do the same to the other pair and backup one pair to the other using an app of your choice (Time Machine, CCC... ) Think about it.

    That being said, a NAS has its place if the only thing you want to do is serve and share a massive quantity of files.
     
  6. mtbdudex thread starter macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Location:
    SE Michigan
    #6
    Ok;
    I'm a newbie to NAS as you can tell from my 1st post:

    My goals:
    a) Time Machine and also all devices sharing iTunes/Photos Lib/etc.
    b) Go digital with all my BD/DVD's and stream them to my HDTV's/PJ
    (need the front end software for that)

    So the Mac-Mini is the way to do it?
    That's ok for 24/7/365 multi-year on?

    I'm looking at $800 total investemt (I went with two 6TB HD's initially so can add up to 2 more 6TB HD's), the Mac-mini solution will be quite a bit more, as $500 for the Mac mini + enclosure...
     
  7. ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #7
    There are dozens of ways to skin this cat. You can skimp/compromise as much as you want, its your system. But I think your budget may be ambitious for what you want to do, unless you are a tech wizard and enjoy building things yourself. You may have unrealistic expectations.

    There are thousands of minis that have been operating 24/7 for years.... perhaps browse through the mini forum http://forums.macrumors.com/forumdisplay.php?f=146 and Home theater forum http://forums.macrumors.com/forumdisplay.php?f=100 for costs saving ideas.

    You may want to start small and build up. Either a set up a retired mac or new mini first, use a couple inexpensive USB drives and as your library grows add the more expensive big storage later. A mini with two 3TB Elements External Desktop Drives drives will set you back $600. You can always use the Elements for backup when you library grows to the point you need massive amounts of storage.

    By the way, you will need lots of patience ripping HD video (BlueRay) with iMacs and minis, but thats another subject. If you want to use the mini to rip, you may want to look at 4 core 2012 models, which are more money.
     
  8. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Poole, England
    #8
    What NAS did you try? I have a Synology one and everything is done via a web interface, which is very simple to use. No weird commands to type to do anything.
     
  9. ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #9
    I also have a synology with its web interface, and if you are used to unix type terms it is relatively easy... but not, well its different than a Mac and a struggle to find anything. For some folks, a second language is simple, others no so much.... and if I wasn't in there playing with it every day it took me 30 minutes to get accustomed to the language before anything productive happens.
     
  10. troy14 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2008
    Location:
    Las Vegas (Summerlin), NV
    #10
    A NAS is a bandaid? Not knocking your mini solution - if it works it works and that's great, however, I'd never call a NAS a bandaid. They are built and made for easy network file sharing, and now a days with easier to use webuis/guis such as ReadNas or Synology. I would get a 4-bay or higher NAS and run it that way, but that's just me. If you wire everything up Cat5e then the performance should be fine.
     
  11. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    #11
    Fair enough. I found the manual pretty easy to follow for things that I wasn't sure about. But then again, my background and experience is an advantage over the typical user.
     
  12. fhall1 macrumors 68040

    fhall1

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    #12
    Just remember - you need a backup solution for your NAS too.....RAID is not a substitute for a backup process.
     
  13. ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #13
    NAS units may work fine for file sharing a massive amount of storage, but they have disappointed many when trying to use other advertised features, especially when one buys into the hype. With their performance compromises, they have proven to be bandaid for anything other than file sharing. Most users have moved on to something more suitable. With the proliferation of inexpensive large network drives, NAS days are numbered.
     
  14. mtbdudex, Oct 26, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2014

    mtbdudex thread starter macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Location:
    SE Michigan
    #14
    I use Time Machine on all my Mac computers, that using RAID 1 is considered a back-up solution?

    I've read the "RAID is not a back-up", what am I missing still?
    http://www.2brightsparks.com/resources/articles/RAID-is-not-a-backup-solution.html
    http://www.petemarovichimages.com/2013/11/24/never-use-a-raid-as-your-backup-system/

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00LO3KR96/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    The Blu-rays and DVD's back ARE they physical disc's that I own and keep.

    Some relevant background, why I'm tackling this now:
    I'm going to have RH hip surgery Tues Nov-4th, will be off work 4-6 weeks.
    So, I'm getting ready to tackle some big computer projects during my recovery period.

    I've always wanted to put all my physical discs onto HDD for access by my HDTV's, this is the time I have to do it.
    I've placed the order for the 4-bay unit above, plus (2) 6TB Hard drives, I figure that's enough space to get me started....I have approx 250 BD's and 40 DVD's to process.
    Started reading this thread, http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=805573
    But I'm on the front end of that learning curve.

    Also, with this now I can put my Apple mail on the server and then that mail read/not read status will be same for all users, both iMac and iOS devices?

    I hate reading mail across multiple devices, as the read/un-read status drives me crazy.
    ^^ as typed I realize if do this there will NOT be a true back-up for that, as it's only on the RAID device then......
     
  15. ColdCase, Oct 26, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2014

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #15
    If you use an IMAP type mail service all your email clients will show the same view. POP won't sync between devices.

    Good luck with your endeavor. I spent a month last year backing up my HDDVD (50) and DVD (100) collection. If you follow the recommendations and compress for AppleTV you will find you need 10 to 20 GB for a movie. More than double that for mkv file plus extra features. Regular DVDs are in the 2GB range. Regular DVDs don't take much time, but HDs are like an overnight batch run.... and that was using a 8 core MacPro and directly connected SATA drives.
     
  16. mtbdudex, Oct 27, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2014

    mtbdudex thread starter macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

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    #16
  17. fhall1 macrumors 68040

    fhall1

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    Dec 18, 2007
    Location:
    (Central) NY State of mind
    #17
    RAID is good for data redundancy, but it's not a backup because it doesn't protect against accidental erasure of critical files....also, what if your NAS hardware crashes? You can't just take one of your RAID disks and stick it in an external case to read files off it. It's prudent to have an external USB or eSATA volume connected to your NAS that you periodically back up the NAS data to.
     
  18. calaverasgrande macrumors 65816

    calaverasgrande

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    Brooklyn, New York.
    #18
    I went through this last year and read a ton of reviews and articles. It all basically boiled down to skip the cheap and off brand NAS. They save you a bit of money, but that is inconsequential when you add in the cost of drives.
    The 3 brands to go for are Qnap, Synology and Drobo.
    Drobo get's some dings for performance and their proprietary raid format. But they have been around forever, their designs pretty much just work, and they have decent Mac support.
    Qnap and Synology are a bit more enthusiast oriented, but they are also pretty robust and mature at this point. Quite a lot of the other offerings from brands you would think are decent are actually companies that got bought up and rebranded. This becomes evident when you read the benchmarks and reviews of these me-too entries.
    Anandtech.com has done some pretty good articles. There is also a site called Nasreview or something that had some nice charts about read and write as well as availability scaling.
     
  19. robgendreau macrumors 68040

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    Jul 13, 2008
    #19
    Re the mini thing, I tend to agree. Very useful for all sorts of stuff. I'd say that for home use, that versatility is key; at work, where there are other issues, then the NAS may trump it. Apple has made it relatively easy to share over a LAN, with support built into some applications. And obviously the mini could work as a media server, or as a second machine to rip all those platters.

    But I note that the OP has a second iMac listed in his sig, so I assume that he could've used that if he wished to.

    I agree about the email; move to IMAP. You can store your POP emails somewhere besides your local disks, but how easy that is to manage depends on your client. IMAP is already backed up by better resources than you can ever hope to replicate. And BTW, some stuff is great on a NAS. Some isn't; for example, LR's catalogs. It depends on the software you're using. I expect mail is like that.

    If you are planning to go with OS X server, I would definitely suggest the mini route, or perhaps using that old machine. Given your state needs, however, I don't see that it would do you much good.
     
  20. bennibeef macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 22, 2013
    #20
    If you like I tell you my story (which quite changed the last few days)

    In the past I backed up my Macbook on a ubuntu server in my network through time machine with the afp protocol using netatalk. Which honestly sucked. You had to have a sparsebundle file on the server which acts as the drive to make the backups to. Every few months or sooner the backup just got corrupted and I needed to start over.

    Then I thought stop this crap I'll get a mini run it as a server and attach storage. And this is what I'm running now. A Mini with a Drobo 5D attached which does all the stuff. Its running Drobos "raid 6" and everything is fine.
    And was always a big fan of Drobo and would buy it again.

    At the weekend I bought a Synology 412+ with 2x 4TB WD red drives for my parents and brought the thing over to them to set it up for them to back up their macbooks and for their pictures.
    Man that was an easy setup and time machine looks like its running fine and all the packages which can really do nice things, even a nicer package than running it on a mini which is possible but more easy. And so many options just to dial stuff in if you need it like quotas etc which was a pain with the ubuntu server back then I thought this might happen again but no, I love it! Running it in Raid1 so they have 4TB on there what is enough for them for a long time.

    I'm seriously thinking about getting a 412+ too, yes it looks like a downgrade from my setup but the drobo is running only 5x1TB drives in dual disk redundancy which is 2,7 something TB to use. a 412+ with 2 4TB drives man that would be a nice small package and can do everything the mini+drobo can do for cheap. Even Link aggregation can this small thing do what would be nice for the device count at home.
     
  21. calaverasgrande macrumors 65816

    calaverasgrande

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2010
    Location:
    Brooklyn, New York.
    #21
    it is true that raid is not replacement for backup. But I'd also add that a raid set up for some measure of disk failure tolerance is much better than just having your stuff scattered across a bunch of random externals. Or what i consider the worst possible solution, saving all your stuff, pictures, game saves, downloads and time machine backups to one big 4TB volume. You lose that disk (or pair of disks) you lose everything!.

    The best solution is really to have a nice disk redundant array which is then backed up to something like Crashplan or Elephant Drive.

    I wouldn't want to be stuck without either, as an onsite backup is not disaster recovery, and offsite (cloud) backup is painfully slow compared to a local array.
     
  22. mtbdudex thread starter macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Location:
    SE Michigan
    #22
    Thx for comments/discussion, still much learning in process by me.

    A few things:

    2 iMac's, however 1 of them is a 2007 iMac 24" in the basement craft room, my wife uses it for her digital scrapbooking, it has a click-n-cut 2-d paper cutting machine connected to it, using VMWare to run under WinXP (yea, old stuff but paid for and works).

    Other iMac is a late 2009 27" in our loft, it's the home primary desktop computer, 2TB HD and i7 2.8GHz 8GB RAM, still works decent.

    I'm hedging to not open up the WD EX4 and get a Synology DiskStation 4-Bay DS415 play instead (it's a newer 412+ ?), also should have at minimum gotten (3) 6TB drives to run in .
    http://www.amazon.com/Synology-America-DiskStation-Attached-DS415play/dp/B00LO3KW7S/ref=lh_ni_t?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER
    Sanity/reality check time:
    All of a sudden the budget swells, and I have to step back and truly assess my needs vs wants, etc.
    Heck - manually putting in a blu-ray into a slot does work, and I'd have $1k on hand ....
     
  23. mtbdudex thread starter macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

    Joined:
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    #23
    Reality check:

    Data generating items:
    1) I use Apple products strictly for computing, have since 1984 and Mac128k;
    2) I'm a hobbyist photographer, Canon 70D and T1i, literally 40,000 photos on 7 Aperture libraries. Those are all on the 27" iMac and Time Machine handles back-up to basic 2TB external HD
    3) Father with 3 kids, 12/10/8, I used iMovie and iDVD to make 6 month DVD's until 2011, when work/life got busy. It's nice to have those 6 month snapshots of family recorded, as life is a blur if you don;t do that.
    4) iTunes holds all our music, 400+ CD's and 75+ digitized albums/cassettes, plus lots of Apple Store purchases.
    5) 200+ blu-rays and 70-ish DVD.....my thought of ripping them for access across devices....seems to still be a PIA to accomplish

    So, I'm going full circle, possibly giving up item 5) above (ripping 300 discs), and possibly what I looked at earlier, a Western Digital WD My Cloud Mirror.

    The 27" iMac is my primary usage computer, store my "dynamic" changing content that Time Machine needs to manage (photos as constant upload/tweak), however "static" digital content - such as iTunes, will be only stored on the WD Cloud Mirror, which being RAID is back-up.
     
  24. mtbdudex, Oct 29, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2014

    mtbdudex thread starter macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

    Joined:
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    #24
    From "How to enjoy my Synology NAS music on Mac iTunes (DSM 4)"
    https://www.synology.com/en-us/knowledgebase/tutorials/497
    So with iTunes on a NAS (like Synology ) while music can stream to other iMac's other apple devices cannot access it then???
    seems a no decision if so, what am I missing?

    Hence I can see why people use a Mac Mini to host iTunes...Apple forces this?
    http://support.apple.com/kb/ht3819

    http://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/117336/a-real-itunes-server-on-nas

    https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4967024
    http://www.maclife.com/article/howtos/how_set_itunes_home_server
     
  25. calaverasgrande macrumors 65816

    calaverasgrande

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Brooklyn, New York.
    #25
    it sound slike what you are missing is off site backup using a cloud based service. It would really suck if you lost one of those volumes and were not able to recover pictures or videos of your kids right?
     

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