NAS / personal cloud recommendations

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by pscottorn, Jun 19, 2016.

  1. pscottorn macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2016
    Dear all

    I am looking for recommendations regarding network attached storage and personal cloud setup.

    We currently have two macs in the house, two ipads and two iphones plus a large and ever growing photo library, iTunes music library and movies (not necessarily all via iTunes), plus important and personal documents etc. The home network currently runs via an Apple Time Capsule.

    Ideally I want to be able to access anything from any device from any location (ie away from the home and back-up photos taken from an iphone etc). The ability to share Photos and music between devices would be very helpful.

    I have read that QNAP and Synology are leading providers of network attached storage and personal cloud systems and that ideally I should have a device with 2 drives in a Raid format. Unfortunately lots of reviews are a couple of years old and I am sure this is a fast moving area of development.

    What I am looking for are recommendations of what is the best system for my personal situation and ideally providing me with a bit of future proofing.

    All suggestions very welcome.
  2. satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
    Trust me when I say you want a Synology DS1515. It will be future proof!
  3. pscottorn thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2016
    Will it allow me to create one iTunes music library which is accessible by all my devices and similarly a shared photo library?
  4. satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
    Absolutly Yes!
  5. cmer macrumors newbie

    Oct 10, 2008
    If you don't mind getting your hands a bit dirty, Unraid ( is pretty great, and will allow you to easily extend storage over time. I moved away from a Synology to an Unraid setup and I really like it.
  6. vixster1901 macrumors regular


    Apr 25, 2009
    OMG, I'm setting one up now. It's freakin awesome! So fast... We now 20 terabyte avail. I love this device... This blows out mac as a server.
  7. pscottorn thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2016
    Some further questions:

    1. Is there an issue accessing MS Word files via Synology? This is something we will need to be able to do?

    2. Can multiple devices have their iTunes folder and photos folder as the shared music or photo libraries on the sinology rather than just viewing it. I mean can my MacBook Air's iTunes library be the shared music folder on the Synology and my MacMini have the same music folder showing as its iTunes library? I hope that makes sense.

    3. Would I be crazy to just use 3 bays to start with each with a 4TB drive and to back the first drive up to both the 2nd and 3rd drive.

    4. Where does my existing 2TB Apple TimeCapsule fit into a setup with the synology?

    5. Why the DS1515 rather than the DS1515+
  8. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK
    1. No issues - they're just files :)

    2. I don't use iTunes that much nowadays but it sounds like it should work (but you may get issues with two machines updating the same library)

    3. If you use 3 drives, I'd set them up as a RAID array and backup somewhere else so you get the resilience of RAID and a physically separated backup. I back my NAS to Crashplan and a USB drive along with particularly valuable files also going to Azure

    4. Probably nowhere

    5. I went with the 1815+ (8 bay version of the 1515) and specifically went with the + because it's got an Intel chip, is faster and works better with Plex. I wanted 8 bays so I could put an SSD cache in and still have plenty of bays left
  9. kryten42 macrumors 6502


    Sep 17, 2015
    In a little world of my own
    I have a 1511+ (older using, 5 bay). Still supported by Synology and runs everything I need (it is Intel dual core with 3GB RAM).

    I currently have 3x2TB Seagates and 2x5TB WD Red drives. I have another 5TB Red drive arriving today from B&H Photo (best place to get one at the moment - retail kit for $185 delivered). Using SHR (Synology Hybrid RAID) so get good utilization from the mixed disks and no obvious performance hit - 1x1GbE connection to network right now)

    I will not hesitate to buy another one for the next NAS I need.

    I back mine up to two locations. First is a daily rsync to a 4 bay Buffalo TeraStation with 8TB (4x2TB) in it, second is I send a lot to Amazon Cloud Drive with source encryption. I have prime and currently one year free unlimited storage (will up that when it expires). I had been using CrashPlan but found it more of a pain and not as reliable (especially restores). I looked at S3/Glacier (AWS) but with cloud drive it works well.

    I have 3 Mac's doing TM to it all the time too, backups can be a little slow but I have done several restores over the years with no issues at all.
  10. boast macrumors 65816


    Nov 12, 2007
    Phoenix, USA
    IMO, QNAP has the better hardware for the money but Synology has the better software.

    They don't seem to have any iOS apps?
  11. pscottorn thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2016
    I am somewhat struggling with some of this to be honest. Hence asking questions here and doing my homework.

    In particular I am somewhat confused why I would require to pay for additional back-up services once I have made the considerable investment of purchasing a 5 bay expandable NAS such as the DS1515+. My thinking is that this has far more storage capacity than I actually need right now and for some time (which helps it to be future proof as I know my storage needs are ever growing) so surely I can install additional drives into it which provide a back-up or 2 back-ups of the data which the synology itself will be storing. I also have a 2TB time capsule which acts as a router and currently backs up both macs plus I have 2 full back ups on 2.5" USB drives. I would like to make maximum benefit of the time capsule and 2.5" drives in the equation.

    Is there a reason why I should not use some of the disk bays in the DS1515+ to back up other parts of its storage? I thought that this was the point of RAID. Further, can I connect my existing 2x 2TB 2.5" USB drives to the synology to provide further back-up and make good use of these drives?

    Apologies if these are silly questions....
  12. blacka4 macrumors 6502

    Sep 28, 2009
    you want multiple backups like amazon cloud so when your first backup fails you have a recovery option. I myself have a 2 WD myclouds at home and 2 at my parents house. 1 I use at home that backups to a mirror at my parents place, then theres backs up to one at my house. so I always have a backup of a backup just incase of a disaster.
  13. satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
    On a Time Capsule you can put a powered USB2/3 hub (to the Capsule) and put a spare hard drive and a printer at the same time.

    Now with a Synology you could use free many packages and also use a VPN server inside it to use your phone VPN client connection to from almost anywhere.
  14. maxsix Suspended


    Jun 28, 2015
    Western Hemisphere
    I have years of experience with Synology. They're just outstanding, in concert with my Mac Pro Server, the DS1515 I'm currently using is wonderful.
  15. Kutunga macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2016
    Ok, a couple of things you should know:
    1. RAID is not a backup. RAID helps you survive a single (or in some cases two) drive failure(s). That is about uptime and availability, and backup is about disaster recovery. Any data which exists only on a RAID array is not backed up.
    2. Duplicating data in the same physical device is REALLY NOT A BACKUP. If that thing breaks, your original and your backup sets are both gone.
    3. The generally accepted best practice for backups is to have your original, a local backup, and a backup which is further away geographically (or perhaps in the cloud). This way, if your house burns down (for example) and destroys your original and your local copy, you still have a copy of your data off-site which will allow you to recover everything.
    Hopefully that helps explain where some of the comments are coming from.
  16. Billywiz1307 macrumors member

    Jul 7, 2009
    Knutsford, UK
    Synology DS716+ with it's 2 drive bays is very fast and decodes on the fly. Western Digital Red Drives - 3, 4, 5,6, or 8tB work fine mirrored
  17. MTI macrumors 65816

    Feb 17, 2009
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Ditto the statement that RAID is not backup, but is merely operational fault tolerance. If anything happens to the NAS device itself, you'll want to have a backup once you replace the NAS device. With data storage so inexpensive these days, there's no reason not to maintain secure backups of unique and original data.
  18. flashy-cat macrumors regular


    Apr 8, 2007
    If you're going to buy the DS1515, spend the extra £70 and get the DS1515+. Although both machines are probably overkill for this scenario. (I have the DS1515+)
  19. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    FreeNAS plus owncloud/nextcloud. works for me just fine.

    I currently run it on an old HP micro server. If i outgrow it the drives can be put into a bigger PC case with more bays. FreeNAS will scale from 2 drives to "lots".

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