NAS questions

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by gugy, Aug 23, 2013.

  1. gugy macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2005
    Location:
    La Jolla, CA
    #1
    Hi,
    I am looking into buy a NAS and I have been wondering what brand you guys would suggest for my needs. I heard good things about Synology, Drobo and QNAP.

    Here is what I need it for
    •Time machine back up of my three Macs
    •Access all my media library (videos/music/photos) to my home AppleTV and iDevices and when I am on a remote location
    •Ability to access my work files from a remote location
    •Ability to create FTP to share work files with clients
    •ability to back up all the files I have on the NAS to avoid any drive failure.

    I will probably need a 4 or 5 bay NAS.

    Sorry, I am new to this and the more I read the more confused I get sometimes. I know some of you guys have the experience on this matter and maybe the same needs I have. I appreciate any feedback. Thanks!
     
  2. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #2
    Synology first, then QNAP. Avoid Drobo.

    Check out Synology's cloud apps.
     
  3. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #3
    Either the Synology or the Qnap can handle all 5 of your requirements. I'm not familiar with Drobo's Nas units enough to say that it can or cannot.

    I have a Drobo Mini connected to my MBP, but its not a NAS since its not networked and so its a poor fit for what you're looking for.

    Many people here like the Synology over the Qnap, but check both out.
     
  4. gugy thread starter macrumors 68030

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    Jan 31, 2005
    Location:
    La Jolla, CA
    #4
    Thanks for the info.
    What I have described is too hard to accomplished? Since I am a 100% Mac user, does Synology offer any software that is easy to use to set up the needs I have?
    Is there a model from Synology that is better suited for Mac with 4 or 5 bays?
    Thanks again.
     
  5. ColdCase, Aug 23, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2013

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #5
    I wouldn't trust time machine backups to anything other than an apple approved product. None of the NAS's are approved. The synology may work better that the others but the net is full of reports of corrupted sparse images.

    I was where you were maybe 8-10 months ago. If I were to do it over I would buy a refurb mac Mini and run OSX server on it. A bit more money but much less of a hassle. You will be happier.

    Unless something has changed recently, you will need iTunes running on a Mac to serve the Apple TV. Although synology offers an iTune server, it leaves a lot to be desired. Synology offers apps for IOS and OSX devices that will alow sharing its media files, but its not compatible with AppleTv. Since you need iTunes running on a Mac, may as well turn that mac into a media server and NAS and let it handle the rest of the job.

    As it sits now, I use CCC to backup Macs to the Synology NAS, and Time Machine to backup to a Time Capsule. I have iTunes running on one of the Macs which shares its audio and video library with apple devices.
     
  6. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #6
    I have a two bay DS212j

    A DS412 would have four bays, you can have more but $$$

    •Time machine back up of my three Macs
    yes

    •Access all my media library (videos/music/photos) to my home AppleTV and iDevices and when I am on a remote location
    WebDAV, FTP, CloudStation work for iOS but AppleTV nope.

    •Ability to access my work files from a remote location
    same as above

    •Ability to create FTP to share work files with clients
    yes

    •ability to back up all the files I have on the NAS to avoid any drive failure.
    yes, lots of options including rsync.

    Try the live demo on Synology's site.
     
  7. Dalton63841 macrumors 65816

    Dalton63841

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2010
    Location:
    SEMO, USA
    #7
    Have you thought about building your own? Any decent 4-5 bay NAS utility box will run 500+ not including hard drives. This is what I have laid out for my next NAS:
    http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=31133568 Full NAS for $370, and that could be made even cheaper if you went for a smaller PSU(650W is NOT necessary for a NAS) and a lesser CPU(since NAS don't require that much raw processing power).
     
  8. gugy thread starter macrumors 68030

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    Jan 31, 2005
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    La Jolla, CA
    #8
    That's interesting, I never thought of that. I just like how simple and elegant the Synology NAS looks like, but if there is issues like you mention above, that might not be a great idea. MacMini running as a server could be a possibility.
     
  9. ColdCase, Aug 23, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2013

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #9
    Simple and elegant it may look, but you need to be well informed on NAS and Unix jargon to set it up effectively, not that the Mac OS server is any picnic.

    I have a synology and it speaks a language that those familiar with NAS and servers easily understand, but takes a bit of learning for the more common man :)

    No question synology makes a good product, but I don't think any NAS will do everything you want cleanly. I had to augment mine with a time capsule and a Mac that I brought out of retirement to make everything work... and that is without remote access.
     
  10. southerndoc macrumors 65816

    southerndoc

    Joined:
    May 15, 2006
    Location:
    USA
    #10
    My Synology finally arrived (DS213+). It came with 2 4TB Deskstar drives.

    How much more of a benefit would an enterprise/server-grade drive offer over the desktop drives? Is there an enterprise drive you would recommend if you think it's a huge benefit?
     
  11. ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    Feb 10, 2008
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    NH
    #11
    That depends on what you are using the NAS for, is it an enterprise high stress situation, for for home use. For home use, there is probably little benefit except perhaps reliability and warranty.
     
  12. flynz4, Aug 24, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2013

    flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #12
    What type of benefit are you looking for? If it is performance... probably not. NAS units are generally at the slow end of the performance spectrum... and adding enterprise drives will not speed that up in most cases.

    If you had a a high quality DAS, then you would probably see some benefit by upgrading drives... but even then, most of the benefit would be in making sure the RAID remains robust... since they are typically designed for higher performance... which means that the drives need more advanced features.

    /Jim

    ----------

    This entire post... and especially the bolded section is fantastic advice.

    I have yet to set up a Mac Mini myself as a server (I am still using a collection of NAS boxes that I have used over the years)... but it is definitely part of my plan to unplug them all, send them to salvage, and set up an OSX server for the house.

    Whenever possible, I will go for a DAS over a NAS. The performance difference is stunning. However, a NAS is irresistible if your primary computer is a laptop (who wants to connect a DAS every time you need the data)... so we suffer through the crappy NAS performance issues and idiosyncrasies. Moving to OSX server resolves most of those problems... but of course, the performance issues remain because your remote access storage still needs to go through the network stack.

    For me... the ability to easily use a DAS is one of the reasons that I always see myself maintaining a permanently installed iMac (or equivalent) which is the "home" for all of my digital data. Maybe I should just install OSX server on my iMac.

    /Jim
     
  13. gugy thread starter macrumors 68030

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    Jan 31, 2005
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    La Jolla, CA
    #13
    Yeah, I liked the idea of the Macmini as a server. My question now is if is better to get the MacMini server or just a regular Mac mini and get tons of external storage?
    The MacMini server comes with the server software and Remote Desktop. Is that worth the higher price or really doesn't matter?
    Thanks.
     
  14. priitv8 macrumors 68030

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    Jan 13, 2011
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    Estonia
    #14
    Every Mac comes with a remote desktop. But then again OS X Server comes with many other useful things, like TimeMachine, VPN, DNS, Webserver, Software update, FTP, OpenDirectory, NetInstall and so on. From Mavericks even a Xcode server is there.
     
  15. ColdCase, Aug 24, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2013

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    NH
    #15
    The higher price of the Mini-server hardware is for the two internal drives, perhaps maxed out RAM and processor. The regular mini only has one drive and is a bear to update to two. You can buy one, however, with the same maxed out RAM and processor power if you chose.

    Otherwise the hardware is identical. You can add the $29 Mac OS Server app from the app store to any mac, well recent enough to have the right OS. Added to a mac mini, you have everything the mini server has except the drive hardware. Processing power in the Mac server is only an issue if you indent to run something like plex as a media server and transcode on the fly.... or you have a ton of simultaneous users.

    Many here use a retired mac, anyone, and run the server app.

    The mac mini is about to be updated, probably with USB3 ports but probably dropping the firewire ports. If you want the latest and have the $$$ you may want to wait a couple months. Otherwise the best buy is a refurbbed unit.

    There are Mac OSX server and Media server forums on this site where you may find more detail and get additional advice.
     
  16. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #16
    I have a Drobo 5D for file sharing.
    I wouldnt recommend a networked Drobo unit though - apparently they are quite slow in comparison to 'proper' NAS units. I have a Mac Mini Server which the Drobo connects to, and then my server does all the networking side of stuff, and I prefer it this way. I get much more flexibility over a NAS unit, and still have the RAID5 storage array as well - although the setup costs a LOT more!

    Either the QNAP or Synology will accomplish what you require. I would favour the Synology - check out my YouTube channel [link in sig] for lots of videos on the Synology, and how to setup and operate the different features.
    Im currently waiting for a new unit to arrive, which Synology are sending me to create more tutorial videos - these may come in useful for you ;)
     
  17. gugy thread starter macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2005
    Location:
    La Jolla, CA
    #17
    Thanks,
    Yeah I am thinking in getting a refurb mini and get the stack enclosures to add more storage. That might be the ideal solution.
    The main user will be me with maybe the rest of my family with idevices. My entertainment will be based on AppleTV using iTunes. I will not go the Plex route.
    What would be really great is to get the ability to access files remotely and a FTP solution to exchange files with clients for my graphic design work.
    I am pretty Mac savvy and I should stick to it. I am just new to the sever environment and have never really explore it. As long as I can get the things I am looking in my first post without being overly difficult and with a step big learning curve.
     
  18. priitv8 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    Location:
    Estonia
    #18
    The good thing about OS X Server is, that it's rather easy to set up for a beginner. Provided you also run a AirPort Extreme as your Internet router, it will even configure the port forwarding for you.
    Lion Server: Manage AirPort port mapping and Wi-Fi login
     
  19. gugy thread starter macrumors 68030

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    Jan 31, 2005
    Location:
    La Jolla, CA
    #19
    Thanks for the info!
     
  20. southerndoc macrumors 65816

    southerndoc

    Joined:
    May 15, 2006
    Location:
    USA
    #20
    I want to access my Synology NAS while way from home.

    What are some things I should do to protect myself from being hacked? Don't want anyone stealing files, placing viruses, or accessing other devices on my network.
     

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