NAS; backup; RAID type; UPS and Synology. What is a reasonable solution?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by infobleep, Jun 27, 2012.

  1. infobleep macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2008
    #1
    Hi there

    I am looking into getting a NAS setup for home use which would connect to my gigabit network. I would be using it to store photos; videos; audio and other scanned images. I may access this over the Internet but it's not my primary reasons for getting it.

    Currently have 1 MacBook with a 160GB internal drive; 2x500GB hard drives and 1x300GB hard drive. As well as some other drives which I'm not currently using. All of this is backed up to a 1.5TB hard drive, with the MacBook drive also cloned in a separate area on that to enable quick bootup in the event of a failure on my MacBook. I also have an old Toshiba PC laptop which I use from time to time but don't store anything on.

    The problem I have is that I keep running out of disk space every so often on my external hard drives and think a better solution would be a NAS which I can upgrade overtime as required, without the need to manually copy all my data to new drives. Would I be correct in thinking that possible and a viable solution?

    I've read about the Synology DiskStation DS1512+ being good but it is £650 in the UK so not cheap. Also if I get such a device would I be better using RAID5 or RAID10?

    In addition to that, would I require two NAS drives, since I need to backup the data, no doubt via Time Machine? I would assume yes. I would then be looking at £1300 for the Synology. Is their a cheaper solution which would do the job or perhaps a solution where by the Synology might be recommended as one of the NAS devices but another recommend for other use. Can one NAS drive backup/replicate another directly or is time machine required? Clearly Time Machine helps when it comes to locating missing files or files for a certain date. I don't do that often but it's helpful none the less.

    I've also read about UPS, uninterruptible power supplies. I take it I would need one of those for each NAS device.

    Finally do people buy different branded hard drives to go in one NAS, to avoid the rare chance a whole batch was faulty?

    I don't think it is worth going down the route of off site storage as I'm only a home user.

    Thank you for reading
     
  2. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    I have a Synology Ds1511+
    I have reviewed it, and the DSM software, pretty extensively in my YouTube channel - link in sig.
    The Synology will do everything you need, and more! You can set it up as a DLNA server for sharing all your media. It also has full time machine support so you can backup straight to it.

    In regards to HDDs, I went for a single batch of Samsung SpinPoint Hd204UI 2TB drives.
    I usually get WD drives, but I wanted something that was 'green' as well, and the WD Green drives are not recommended in a RAD setup - that's coming from WD themselves.
    The HD204UI's I have run very cool and quiet - im very happy with them after running them for about a year or so now.

    The Synology DSM software itself is great. I can get my content n any of my laptops, or my iOS devices. I can also manage my entire NAS from my iPhone or iPad. It's really flexible.

    When it comes to RAID, I use SHR (Synology Hybrid RAID).
    This is a RAID 5 array, so 1 disk redundancy. However, the added benefit is that with normal RAID5 all the disks have to be the same size. If you add a larger sized HDD it will only use the smallest sized disk it has in the array. So, for example, if you have 4 drives that are 2TB, and then add a 3TB drive as the fifth drive, standard RAID 5 will only use 2TB of that disk, whereas SHR will use the entire 3TB of the disk.
    SHR also makes it very easy to upgrade disks on at a time if you ever need to etc. It's basically RAID 5, plus some more!

    Currently I have 5 drives, all 2TB each, which gives me just under 7.5TB of actual useable space.
    Synology have just sent me a DX510 expansion unit as well to review. It attaches to my NAS via eSATA and basically adds an additional 5 drives to the system, so 10 drives altogether. You can either extend the current volume so that it uses all 10 disks as one single volume, or you can use the second unit to backup,

    I plan to set the DX510 up to backup my original NAS - remember RAID 5 saves you if you have 1 disk failure, but it is not a backup solution.
    I'm in the process of creating the review, where I will set up the expansion unit to backup the NAS unit itself, on a schedule.

    As I said, you'll find plenty of useful info on the Synology NAS on my YouTube channel - keep an eye on the channel for my newest video going up in the next few days, as this will show you everything you wanted to know about the backing up etc of the NAS. I do not wish to post any direct links to the videos here as I do not want to be seen to be advertising - so I'll leave it up to you to browse at your leisure.

    Any more questions, give me a shout ;)
     
  3. infobleep thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2008
    #3
    Thank you for your helpful reply. That is just the sort of advice and comments I'm after. I'll watch your videos at the weekend. I don't think to search you tube for reviews/demos, although I search it for music from time to time.

    Cheers
     
  4. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    No probs. Give me a shout if you have any further questions ;)
     
  5. monsieurpaul macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    #5
    Hello,

    I trailed the same path than you a few months ago. My 2 cents:

    First,there are some rules that I wanted to follow considering backups:
    - Backup means that all your data must be physically on (at least) 2 separate systems. If some data are only on the NAS, they should be backed up. Not necessarily on another NAS, a USB drive plugged to your NAS will do the job just fine.
    - Backup must be automated, because a manual backup is a backup not done.
    - Backup must be on site and off site, not everything need to be backed up off site though and "cloud" backup are not that expensive.

    Second, take a long hard look at your data: what do you want to back up (just on site), what do you need to back up (on site + off site). It will give you a good estimate of the storage volume needed. If I am correct you have around 1,5 TB of data, a DS1511+ might be overkill for your need.

    Third, RAID is not for backup. RAID gives you drive redundancy = if one of your drive fails, you can replace it without rebuilding the whole file system for all the others drive, but:
    - If the NAS fails, you could lose your data;
    - If you get a virus or a corrupt file system, you lose your data;
    - If you mistakenly erase some folders, you lose your data.

    Of course, RAID is not bad, and RAID with backup is better than no RAID with backup, but if you can't have both you should choose backup over RAID. IMHO, for a home user, RAID gives you more troubles than gain.

    In practice, if you have for example 4 Hard Drives of the same size you will be more secure choosing a 2 bay NAS no RAID with 2 additional drives hooked to the NAS as USB backup than a 4 bay NAS in RAID 1.

    If I were you I'd look at the DS412+ + a 4-bays USB 3.0 drive enclosure. I'd start with the drives you already have (because drives are still expensive), for example 2x500 GB + 300 GB in the NAS (no RAID) and the 1,5 TB in the enclosure.

    You should also get a smart UPS: it's doesn't need to have big batteries, but it need to be smart = plugged to the Synology with an USB (in addition to the power plug) and it's able to tell it to shutdown before the UPS batteries are depleted. I found mine for 50$ in a Costco in Canada.
     
  6. Fortimir macrumors 6502a

    Fortimir

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2007
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #6
    Thumbs-up for Synology. I have the DS410 with 4x 2TB drives in RAID 5. I've had it for almost three years now, just updated the DSM 4 this week. Always worked flawlessly.

    Only downsides are that the start-up time is a bit long (minute or two) and it Mac OS sends it into standby every few hours meaning I have to reconnect which takes about 20 seconds. Also, sometimes it has to do an integrity check on startup (even with a safe shutdown) that can take upwards of an hour.

    But I must stress that RAID is not a backup. Redundancy does not replace a backup. I am a professional photographer and my backup system is as important as any piece of gear I own. My working archive gets backed up to the Synology NAS... and even that gets backed up to a weekly swap to go offsite.
     
  7. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #7

    My DS1511+ never needs to do an integrity check on startup - had it for over a year with 5 2TB drives. Just takes a minute or so on startup and that's it.
     
  8. Fortimir macrumors 6502a

    Fortimir

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2007
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #8
    It's not all the time, or even frequently. I have mine on a UPS and I have it scheduled to restart twice a week at 6am so it's always fresh.

    Just occasionally if I'm doing some maintenance where I've done a few restarts or in the rare event it just flat out loses power without a safe shutdown.
     
  9. dmax35 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2012
    #9
    What size UPS would you recomend ?
     
  10. Fortimir macrumors 6502a

    Fortimir

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2007
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #10
    I don't go crazy. My current units are 550VA, 330W with 8-outlets. Really the most important thing is quality. While there are a couple good brands, I swear by APC and will pay a little more to get them.
     
  11. dmax35 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2012
    #11
    Thanks for the info, I agree about APC.
     
  12. jcpb macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    #12
    Using an APC RS1500 for at least 4 years now, and I only had to replace the batteries once.
     
  13. infobleep thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2008
    #13
    Thank you for all your comments.

    Whilst I don't need to buy something that is overkill for my needs, equally I don't want something that due to being cheap requires more work on my part just to keep it going. Everything requires work but I'd rather the work was to enhance what I am already doing rather than just to get the thing just to function correctly. For example the DS410 sometimes does internal checks taking up to an hour. Well if I don't know when this will be, it may just happen when I don't have an hour spare to wait.

    Although I have 1-1.5TB of data, this isn't going to get any smaller. My drives are all external firewire or USB drives. I have no internal ones, expect those which are inside my laptops.

    The idea is if I get a NAS I can upgrade it overtime without the need to copy off all the data each time I get a new bigger capacity hard drive. I'm aware a drive in RAID5 will always match the capacity of the other drives in the set up so I would need to replace them all. Could that be done without the need to copy off all the data. What I'm trying to avoid is the need to have to keep manually moving data around every couple of years when I require larger hard drive space.

    Also I do want my storage to be network based rather than only available when plugged into a computer. I have two computers and eventually I am planning to get a 42" scanner to do some large format scanning of maps. This is likely to be connected to my old Toshiba laptop, so a NAS drive would be perfect for writing this data to. Currently my external drives cannot connect directly to my Toshiba because they are Mac formatted. I would need to buy software to enable their use on my PC or continue what I currently do, which is to connect to them via my MacBook.

    I agree regarding the backups. Definitely automated and differential backups at that.

    I don't currently do any offsite backups however. How long does an offsite backup take with an approximate 18MB ASDL2+ broadband connection? I would have thought quite sometime but it may be that I underestimate how long that actually would take.

    I will certainly get a UPS.
     
  14. infobleep, Jun 30, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2012

    infobleep thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2008
    #14
    Just an update. I watched your videos Ifti, which were useful, along some others and read some reviews etc. After doing all of that I decided to go for the DS1512+. But the price on Amazon is currently at it's highest so I'm going to wait for it to drop down again. [http://uk.camelcamelcamel.com/Synology-DS1512-DiskStation-Desktop-Attached/product/B0078JRC2K]. With that I will probably buy 4 Seagate 3TB drives and the DX510 expansion device. That way I can use two drives in each, with the opportunity to expand with more hard drives later on.

    The DS412+ whilst offering 4 bays, does not allow me to add an expansion device, which means I wouldn't be able to back up, expect to an external hard drive. If in this case I had 2x3TB drives, I would need an external hard drive of at least 2TB, to allow for differential backups. Once that was too small though, I would have to replace it with another drive. With the expansion device, I would simply add another drive to it and continue to use the existing drives.

    There was a DS712 which is about £415 and this was expandable with another 5 slots but the initial capacity was just 2 drives worth, which if I used 3TB drives, would give me just 3TB of storage. At the moment this would be enough but I'm not sure about 4-5 years down the line, when I'd hope to still be using the NAS device.

    I prefer my hardware to last rather than to keep upgrading to the latest thing all the time. This is why I have an iPod Touch and a cheap Android phone. I resent paying £600 for a product, aka an iPhone, that is not support 2-3 years down the line. Just look at the iCloud, only supported in Lion, where as it could have been supported in Snow Leopard if Apple wanted it to be. But I digress.

    Saying all of this though, in 4-5 years time will storage be so different that solid state will take over and NAS solutions with hard drives will be obsolete? Or will solutions be much cheaper that paying less now for lesser hardware and upgrading then will be a more cost effective solution?
     
  15. Aniseedvan macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    #15
    +1 for the apc ups. Can't comment yet about how week a mac works with my much more lowly synology but the UPS just gives me peace of mind as I live in a village where the power can be a bit ropey when there's a bad storm.

    I went for just a small rated one that will keep my synology on for something like 30 mins and will shut the nas down afterwards. My main thing is reducing the inconvenience of a corrupted drive.
     
  16. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #16
    Glad the videos were of some use.

    Remember, if you choose to use Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR), it's the same as RAID5, BUT all the disks do not have to be the same size. So whichever drives you go with for now, as you run out of space, you can upgrade just a single drive, and still be ale to use the extra space from it, rather then having to upgrade every disk in the array.

    The 5 bay unit is an awesome drive, and you are correct in stating you can attach the DX510 to either expand your volume or use as backup.
    I've just received a DX510 and just attached it to my NAS. I will be installing only 1 single drive for the moment, just to get it set up and working etc. in fact, the drive only arrived today, so I will be adding the drive tomorrow and get it all setup. The full video review will be up on YouTube within the next couple of days. It will basically tell you everything you need to know about the DX510 with your NAS and should answer all the questions you have about the DX510 etc.

    Bear in mind, although the DX510 means you have a full backup of everything on your NAS, it's still advisable to have a removable backup. I, for example, use an external HDD every now and then to back up just the most important data to me. This may be my photos and he movies etc - just stuff that's most important to me. Take this HDD and store it offsite - at work, or in your car etc - just in case anything should happen to destroy both the NAS and it's local backup.
     
  17. infobleep thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2008
    #17
    Although it would be expensive, it would be possible to set up a NAS at an off site location and the NAS to simply auto backup those folders that are most important. So you'd have two different backups running from the one NAS device.

    For example you might backup locally and also backup to your parents house. This would avoid the need of any cloud hosting and would be automatic meaning you don't forget. You would need to make sure this wouldn't make you go over your monthly data allowance or you'd want an unlimited usage account. Not to mention broadband where you live.
     
  18. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #18
    Yes Synology does have device to device syncing and Amazon cloud backup. As long as you have huge ISP caps you should be fine.
    Synology has an online simulator so you can get an idea of its features before you buy. The Intel based NAS's support PLEX & OpenERP.
     
  19. monsieurpaul macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    #19
    You can't go wrong with a DS1512+, so if you can afford it, go for it. However, keep in mind that with the DS412+ + a 4 bay USB3/esata enclosure, you can go up to 12 TB of effective storage with a 1:1 backup (i.e. 4x3TB in the NAS + 4x3 TB in the enclosure), that is without any RAID setup though.
     
  20. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #20
    Correct - you can have another NAS in an offsite location and backup remotely to that, but isn't that going a little to the extreme?

    So you need a DS1512+ as you main NAS, a DX510 as the local Backup, and another DS1512+ as a remote backup?
    That would be pretty costly with all those drives etc!

    I've just finished a very in depth review of the Dx510, from unboxing all the way through to creating a volume and a backup folder etc. I'll let you know when it's live - will probably upload it tomorrow after Synology have checked it over.
     

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