NAS for iTunes storage

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by weenie, Nov 3, 2011.


NAS for iTunes media storage:

  1. Yes, I have done it and very happy with the outcome.

    39 vote(s)
  2. No, I have done it and regretted since.

    4 vote(s)
  3. I have been thinking about it...

    34 vote(s)
  1. weenie macrumors member

    Jan 11, 2010
    I have been thinking about getting NAS for iTunes media storage as I am running out of space soon using 3TB external HD (FW800).

    However, after having a quick research on this forum, there seems to be both positive and negative experiences from those who tried.

    So I just want to see how they compare...
  2. Omne666 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 16, 2010
    Melbourne, Australia
    You need another option....

    4. Considered It. Never going to happen.

  3. weenie thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 11, 2010
    Can you expand on why not ? Thanks
  4. dndlnx macrumors 6502


    Dec 9, 2010
    A home server or NAS for media storage is a good idea, regardless!
  5. spartanrob macrumors 6502


    Aug 4, 2008
    Don't want to hijack your thread but was going to post something similar (didn't want to double post either). I've got a couple older PC's that I was going to put together to make a home server now that I have ATV.

    Any recommendations on what OS it should run? (windows). We have mostly windows OS in the house and one MBP.

  6. reebzor macrumors 6502a


    Jul 18, 2008
    Philadelphia, PA
    If you really want to use windows, install Windows Home Server.
    If you want it to be a NAS, install FreeNAS
  7. sulliweb macrumors regular


    Mar 13, 2011
    A NAS for me was an option for a few different reasons. Primarily, though, it wasn't because of iTunes. I wanted scalability and portability around my house without having to have my desktop on all the time. This way, it is. The fact that I was able to move iTunes to it was a bonus, and I've enjoyed it on there.

    From what I can tell, once it gets going, you can't even tell that the files aren't locally hosted. In my case, to save energy and wear on the drives, I have them spin down after 15 minutes, so there's generally a short lag in starting a video as the drives have to spin up before it can start.

    Overall, unless you just need the space and want to go that way, there are other, cheaper, options (large external HDDs or even local Drobos), but if, like me, it fits your needs for more than just iTunes, don't hesitate. It works and works great!
  8. dndlnx macrumors 6502


    Dec 9, 2010
    Agreed on the FreeNAS. It's great if the only purpose is network storage. Don't even consider Windows.

    You get reliability of FreeBSD, with a simple web interface! :)
  9. tcassio macrumors newbie

    Mar 23, 2011
    Have a look at the Synology line. I have been using one for about 8 months. I have the DS410. That has been replaced by the DS411+. They have tons of features and integrates with time machine and itunes.
  10. kage207 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2008

    Myroommate and I have actually been working on this and have started to pull the trigger. We are going to get FreeNAS for our software as we are building our server around a free program called Plex. This is awesome as we have the iOS apps for it to allow us to watch and listen to our media anywhere in the world as long as we have an internet connection.

    We are even using symbolic links to enable us to load our music into iTunes so we can still WiFi sync with our computers at night.

    Though rather than start another thread there is a HUGE thing to consider right now when building a solution such as this. It is the PRICE of hard drives at the moment. They suck. We could have gotten some for about $35 per terabyte and we thought we could wait a bit as funds were a bit tight and we have bought everything else besides our CPU. The reason why HDDs are so expensive right now is because of the flooding in Thailand. Read this article here to see some of the affects it will have in these next two quarters.

    Boring News Stuff (aka knowing HDD price):
    All that aside, if you are looking to slap one together using old hardware, that's fine. There are great articles out there to read up on as they can save you money. Again here is one to get you started.

    NAS Stuff:
    If you are looking for performance (speed & energy) and/or storage solution high up there then you might want to look at building one. We decided this option. So far we have gotten 8GB ($30), mobo ($120), PSU ($38). So we just need CPUs and HDD since we are getting a Sandy Bridge. We decided for this as not to buy a graphics card plus our motherboard that we liked had 8SATA ports on board with 4 being SATA III and 4 being SATA II. We are not worried about a case as I have a few to fill that gap as we are getting 7 hard drives.

    The hard drives we are setting up are going into a RAID 5 configuration as we want maximum storage with some protection. We like this route as it will suite our needs. We do lose some space (~2-3TB) but really shouldn't worry about losing such.

    So right now we are in the market to buy hard drives. Again this is a problem. We are struggling to get our price point for $$/(per TB) which is $35-$50 per TB. So right now one of the options we are looking at is either buying 2TB or 3TB Western Digital HDDs ($45 per TB and best pick so far) is that they are external HDDs. The problem is we don't know how friendly they are in terms of going into an internal computer. I've been looking around and hopefully can let you guys know shortly about this option as it is the best as of right now. The reason why I am saying this is because I've been doing this all day (meaning HDD search as we have finalized everything but CPU).

    Hope that helps you out and if you have anymore questions please feel free to ask as this is a learning process for us and hopefully we can teach others.

  11. radek42 macrumors regular

    May 27, 2008
    Here, there, and everywhere

    What is really an advantage of FreeNAS over say ubuntu server (with or without) GUI?

    Just curious. R>

  12. lamboman macrumors 6502

    Aug 13, 2011
    Mine is on my NAS. The reason is simply because I had a spare drive left, and could use that for iTunes, and I didn't want all my iTunes crap on the computer.

    Performance is just like it is when it is on your system drive, and I have all the flexibility I want.

    The NAS is mainly used for my hi-fi though, FLAC rips with Twonky as my server. iTunes storage was only there because I could.
  13. kage207 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2008
    Good read why some pick FreeNAS. Requirements are low to run the software. Plus you get good RAID configurations for storage easily and easy access to the ZFS file system.
  14. radek42 macrumors regular

    May 27, 2008
    Here, there, and everywhere
    Thanks. It seems I came across that discussion. What made me wonder was memory requirements. Many links point towards going for 64bit version to allow for more than 4GB of memory ... 8GB recommended. That doesn't look like low system requirements :)

    There is OpenMediaVault (NAS based on Debian distro) that supports iTunes library as well. Might be an interesting option as well.


  15. kage207 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2008
    Haha. Oh that doesn't look low in terms of ZFS system. The ZFS system requires more memory. Usually recommending 1GB of memory for every TB. If you don't use ZFS you are fine.

    Read these to try to find out what you need:
  16. dndlnx macrumors 6502


    Dec 9, 2010
    There's also FreeBSD, of course.

    If you want more flexibility but still want ZFS. :)
  17. garbeth macrumors regular

    Apr 13, 2010
    I purchased a DS1511+ a few months back for this very purpose. It's connected (via the network obviously) to my Mac Mini and has so far performed flawlessly. Very minor delay after watching one show to then access the menu again (as the hard drives go to sleep after 20 mins), but way better than when I was using external drives connected via USB to the mini.
    Highly recommended. I've now got 13Tb of space :D
  18. bwhinnen, Nov 3, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2011

    bwhinnen macrumors 6502

    Apr 15, 2010
    San Diego
    I run FreeNAS here, have for a while, I've had various configurations over the years from Windows 2003, Windows SBS 2003, Slackware Linux, Debian Linux, then switched to FreeNAS with the 0.7 versions. I am now running FreeNAS 8.

    FreeNAS did have low requirements when just running RAID5, but as soon as your throw ZFS into the mix and want decent performance you need more RAM. My current system is a G6950 CPU with 8GB of RAM running the x64 version of FreeNAS. I have 6 x 2TB drives in a raidz1 configuration and 2 x 1.5TB in a ZFS mirror. I have all of my ripped CD's, DVD's and BD's on there as well as our photos, videos, documents, software ISOs and financial records. Most stuff is backed up to external drives as well (I have a heap of 500GB SATA II drives laying around :)).

    While I don't run the iTunes library software on the server I do share out the contents via AFP. The only data that is shared out via CIFS is the Financial data as the software we use only runs under windows :(
  19. vrDrew macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    Midlife, Midwest
    I was considering either converting my old PC into a dedicated media server, or scavenging its hard drive to build my own NAS. Instead I bought a Western Digital MyBook Live.

    The arguments, for me, against a dedicated server are these: it takes up space I don't really have; its somewhat noisy (fans); its energy in-efficient; and having scavenged a ~4 year old motherboard and power supply - its likely to require maintenance or suffer a breakdown.

    Building my own NAS was a possibility - but I'd still need to buy an enclosure, a power supply, a motherboard, which would have cost at least $50.

    Buying a ready-made NAS really solved (almost) all of my problems. It allowed me to get a terabyte of movie and music files off my PC. Because the NAS is connected to my router with CAT5 cable, it takes at least one wireless "leg" out of the route data has to travel.

    A dedicated media server would be nice. But the NAS does 99% of what I'd want a server to do, and at a fraction of the cost.
  20. iGobbleoff macrumors regular


    May 2, 2011
    I bought a DroboFS a few months ago with 3 drives, moved my iTunes library to it, ripped the movies again to iTunes and let the ATV2 handle it... no drama's at all really. I just have to restart the drobo once a month or so if it falls over for whatever reason.
  21. HellDiverUK macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2009
    Belfast, UK
    I use FreeNAS. 4x500GB drives in RAIDZ1, 2GB system RAM, FreeNAS7. Works fine, rarely see the RAM use go much above 50%. The boot drive is a SSD, which has a 2GB page partition, and it also stores the BitTorrent downloads until I sort them on to the RAID.
  22. spartanrob macrumors 6502


    Aug 4, 2008
    OK, so I just picked up a NAS, quick and fairly cheap. I guess I didn't do my homework. ATV2 cannot connect directly to the NAS? you still have to have the PC up and iTunes running?
  23. DustinT macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2011
    That's right... Or, you can use iSCSI to map the NAS to appear as a local drive.
  24. spartanrob macrumors 6502


    Aug 4, 2008
    is that specific to a Mac? i'm running windows
  25. sulliweb macrumors regular


    Mar 13, 2011
    Nope. It's on Mac or Windows. Best advice is just to map a drive. Windows really doesn't pay attention to the difference. ISCI is nice but unnecessary just for iTunes. It'll run fine. (or, at least, it does for me!). :D

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