NAS recommendation for my set up please

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by sparkie1984, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. sparkie1984 macrumors 68000

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    #1
    Hi everyone, I hope you don't mind me asking a few questions?

    I am new to Nas's etc....

    What I would want is 4TB at least (although that would do me probably) of storage so presumably a 4 bay NAS? with some form of backup.

    I currently have 1 2TB drive in my Mac Pro that is now full of media. But I have a big ish bluray collection to rip next so need more space

    So I need to get that media which contains my iTunes files onto a NAS.

    Would the NAS allow me to sync my iphone/ipad through my MacPro as normal but everything goes to the NAS?

    including music/photos etc....?

    Would it enable my apple TV to access the files too or must that go via the Mac?

    I also have a time machine so what I was thinking of was either sticking the 2TB drive that I am currently using into the time machine once everything is copied over, or should I just use the NAS as a time machine also?

    Sorry for all the questions, I dont want to go buying something that is no good!

    I have a large photo library and movie library so would I need a powerful NAS to handle these? I really would like to spend as little as possible (obviously :) ) but Have around £250 for the NAS unit on its own unless I can get one with drives?

    There is so much out there it makes my brain hurt! :)

    Thanks so much for any advice
     
  2. Orlandoech macrumors 68040

    Orlandoech

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  3. sparkie1984 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #3
    Thank you, why?

    also any recommended model??

    Thanks again :)
     
  4. sparkie1984 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #4
    Are the netgear ready nas nv+ any good one can be had for £200 on amazon.

    It is apparently time machine compliant

    Not sure How well it handles everything though
     
  5. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

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    Virginia
    #5
    Agree that Synology makes a great NAS product.
    I bought the 411slim. It's RAID5 formatted size comes up short of 4TB because it uses 2.5" laptop drives. I find that a fair trade-off because the whole unit fits in the palm of my hand and it is absolutely silent. If you have a closet or basement to hide the device in, the 3.5" models have exactly the same software, but the drives will be less expensive and hight capacity.

    I find NAS in general to be less than satisfactory for storing an iTunes library. I know many people think it's great, and I'd love to hear how they keep it working. Here are my issues with it:

    1) I have iTunes set to start at login; however, after a shutdown (or power failure), the shared volume is not mounted before iTunes launches. This results in iTunes thinking that it can't find the media files and everything is effectively unavailable.

    2) iTunes will occasionally decide to reset its library location to the default /users/username/... location. I have no idea what is triggering this, but I suspect it has to do with the same issue as above where the volume isn't mounted when iTunes starts.

    I could work around the above by not having iTunes auto-launch and just always making sure I mount the volume first, but that's not exactly the "it just works" solution...

    regarding Apple TV, no you can't stream directly from the NAS. Even though many NAS devices (including synology) have a feature called 'iTunes Server', that just shows up as a shared library in iTunes. It is not the HomeSharing that the Apple TV 2 needs, and even with iTunes running, that shared library will now [Edit: NOT] be available as part of the Home Shared content. You still need iTunes running for Apple TV to access your media.

    From my experience, even though I REALLY want a NAS to work for iTunes, Direct Attached seems to work better. For example, you might consider a 4 Bay RAID enclosure from OWC. That gives you plenty of capacity + redundancy, and it's more iTunes friendly. You would still want to back that up via Time Machine or other means, and a Time Capsule + USB storage or some other NAS is great for that.

    Oh, the Synology NAS' do a great job of making your content available, even over WAN, they just don't do so well with iTunes and therefore with AppleTV. For other iOS devices, they actually have free apps available to access the services on the NAS.

    Best of Luck!!
     
  6. sparkie1984 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #6
    Ah I see!!

    so the apps will allow your iOS devices to access photos etc from the NAS??

    If so that sounds amazing.. Would mean I didnt need a 200GB iphone or ipad!!

    does the synology offer much over this?

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Netgear-Gig...JEBK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1308166705&sr=8-1

    This seems a good price and obviously talks a good job, whether it is or not I don't know.

    Also what raid system is recommended? is it Raid 5?
     
  7. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

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    #7
    I have not had the best of luck accessing content from NAS from my iPhone 4 and iPad but I haven't invested a lot of effort either. I have ftp, afp and smb enabled on my NAS. I can access my NAS via ftp but that isn't the best for doing streaming.

    I have Buffalo *, Iomega * and LaCie NAS but I would only recommend LaCie. *=soon to be decommissioned. I don't recommend Time Capsule for NAS after having had a first gen TC fail on me and while Apple replaced it for me, I no longer trust the internal drive and use a USB drive connected to my TC (HFS journaled formatted). Instead of TC I would recommend a separate AEBS which makes an excellent router and NAS from either LaCie, Drobo or Synology. Avoid Seagate, Western Digital and other low end models as they are missing features, are slow or have other quirks like not coming back on after a power failure.

    I don't deal with RAID. I rely on redundancy, multiple NAS where I manually copy extra copies of my stuff. I have a 500 GB internal drive, 1 TB external, several 500 GB to 1 TB NAS drives, a 500 GB TimeCapsule with a WD 2TB usb drive plugged in and a 2TB LaCie NAS drive. The only one I have set up for RAID is the Iomega and it is miserable to deal with. I would go for Drobo if you are serious about RAID but keep in mind that Drobo costs $700 for an empty 5 bay enclosure and you still have to go buy the drives. Costco has a drobo with 4TB (2x 2TB) in it for $900.
     
  8. Chic0 macrumors 6502

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    #8
    + for Synology

    I have the 211+ and am more than happy with it.

    They also release fairly regular updates. The latest which came out a few weeks ago enables Airplay for your music stored on the NAS. I haven't actually installed this update yet, but will be doing so this weekend
     
  9. ChristianJapan macrumors 601

    ChristianJapan

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    #9
    I use a QNAP NAS with 4TB; linked via AFP into my Mac's.
    Changed the link in iTunes for the media files to point to the NAS but keep the library file on the iMac.

    Works like a charm; streaming speed no problem at all (connected via GB Ethernet).

    Manually I store all my digital images on the NAS too, after copying from the memory cards.

    What I like with the QNAP its finally a Linux box where I can easy remote login (or use the web interface) and back additional backup via the eSata from the QNAP.

    So I don't trust the RAID5 only but of course make a regular backup on external disk.

    <rant>
    TimeMachine and TC I don't use anymore as I lost the trust in those; had some corrupted files and hardware. Nothing I expect from a backup solution. Bad enough I didn't found the receipt anymore so I couldn't go a dump it on the Genious Table.
    </rant>

    Forgot about Apple TV: don't have one; can't say how it could fit into. I should buy one ;-)
     
  10. blevins321 macrumors 68030

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    #10
    Second to Synology :). I wrote a review about the DS411j, which is their 4-bay home office-oriented one. Whatever model you get, there all use the same amazing firmware for its built in programs. For the redundancy, Synology (Drobo too, not sure about others) have a proprietary one typically called Hybrid Raid that is sort of Raid 5. The difference is that you can mix-and-match drive types and sizes. Typically in RAID, at least the sizes have to be on-par with each other, but this lets you use whatever drives you have available.

    With my 411j, you have the option of 'real RAID' if you'd rather do one of those. 2-drive redundancy, for example. I use one-drive redundancy, so for 8TB of drives inside (4x2TB), I actually have about 5.4TB of real usable space. This is because one drive's space disappears for redundancy, and because of hard drive manufacturer space advertisement. (2TB = ~1.84 real space). I also have a couple USB drives that I swap in and out for automated nightly backups of the non-media things on the drive.

    But with Synology, what hooked me was the software features and native Time Machine backup. You don't have to do weird scripting of custom disk images. When you enable the setting the the browser-based UI, a new server will appear in Finder that mimics an AirDisk (Time Capsule) as far as MacOS is concerned, so Time Machine will recognize it and allow the backup to proceed entirely automatically. Take a look at the review I posted above for more details :) You won't regret it!
     
  11. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Here's the link to the Synology unit I have:
    Synology 411slim

    Note that the picture shows no fan. Quiet = Happy!
    Looks like a lot of folks are giving the Synology software high marks, as they do in every NAS thread. head over to synology.com; they have a feature on their site where you can test drive the interface, plus they advertise their features, such as the iOS apps.

    Netgear is sort of meh. not complete garbage, but nothing to get excited over.

    RAID 5 is very common in 4-5 bay units because it give a mix of some redundancy (you can recover from 1 failed drive), performance (you are reading/writing on multiple drives at the same time, and price ( only one drive is used for parity). You need at least 3 drives to do RAID 5.

    RAID 0 is all about speed, but 1 failed drive and the data is lost from the whole array. You get the full available space on the drives (none reserved for redundancy).

    RAID 1 is all about saftey. Half of the drives in the array (usually a 2 drive array) are lost to redendancy.

    RAID 10 is both fast and safe, but you lose half of the drives and you need at least 4 drives to do RAID 10.
     
  12. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    OK, what do you mean by that? Did you change the path in the Advanced Preferences? Or something else?

    When I change the path in preferences to a network volume, iTunes takes it upon itself to change it back occasionally. It's probably just me...
     
  13. sparkie1984 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #13
    Thanks so much for you help :)

    That slim does look good, but I would probably have the 3.5" version as I already have a disk. it is also going in a cupboard out of the way so noise is not a problem at all.

    So if I had Raid 5 and had 4 2TB drives, how much storage would that give me? and if a drive failed would I lose the data that was on it, or could I replace the failed drive and the new drive would get re-populated?

    or have I got it all wrong :confused:

    Thanks for all your patience, im hard work but enjoy learning :D
     
  14. ChristianJapan macrumors 601

    ChristianJapan

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    #14
    Not only you; sometimes the behavior is strange.

    When I first time set it up I just created a symbolic link from the local iTunes Media subfolder and point that to the NAS. That works ok if the NAS is auto mounted in user preferences. On that time I didn't know the iTunes setting itself :eek:

    But: sometimes the NAS is in deep sleep and can't start fast enough for the auto mount. In that case it happen that iTunes actually put new downloaded files on the local Mac folder. Need to copy manually over to the NAS when it happen; not a big deal.

    I somehow got hit from the rename of "iTunes Music" to "iTunes Media". didn't realized that early enough and ended up with a little mess. But meanwhile I managed to copy the files to the right place.

    The iTunes setting I also changes pointing to the name place where the symbolic link points.

    With both: iTunes preferences and symbolic link iTunes don't have a big chance to mess up (again: NAS need to be up and ready when Mac starts)
     
  15. blevins321 macrumors 68030

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    #15
    I put a little bit about that to answer your question above. Raid 5 or Hybrid Raid if the manufacturer supports it with the one you choose, will allow for one drive to fail and the unit still function with no data lost. You can replace the drive and the raid will be rebuilt back to the way it was before.
     
  16. sparkie1984 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #16
    Thank you belvins, sorry I had mis-understood that.


    That sounds the way to go then as I like being able to lose 1 of the 4 drives and not losing data.
     
  17. sparkie1984 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #17
    Right Final questions before I pull the trigger:

    What is the best hard drives for this? I have always been a fan of the 2TB WD green style due to low power consumption etc etc....

    Are there any alternatives which are cheaper at all? bearing in mind I am going to be buying 4 of them.

    and I take it the synology is capable of handling a lot of video/music files etc, it would be connected to my Time capsule which also is how my MacPro and ATV are connected, along with my TV.

    And once I get it I presume I just copy the stuff off my current 2TB drive onto the NAS and then find another use for the 2TB?

    Thanks
     
  18. blevins321 macrumors 68030

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    #18
    I've had the WD greens in my drives throughout the past couple of years. Only one has died, and it was within the warranty period so WD did a 2-day replacement that only cost me $5 return shipping. Yes, the 411j can handle pretty much anything that you throw at it. A typical evening for mine is to be downloading 2-3 torrents ;) , streaming via Mini/Plex to HDTV, and 2 computers doing backups and such. Never falters.

    I'm not 100% sure that the Time Capsule can be accessed by the Synology or not, but you might be able to configure it as a backup drive for the Synology NAS. I use a USB drive for this, but you might be able to do some sort of network rsync functionality here, and have another backup tier :) Edit: The unit will work fine connecting to the Time Capsule's router functions. I just mean being able to access the Time Capsule drive using the Synology UI.
     
  19. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    For whichever enclosure you end up buying, check the manufacturer's site for drive compatibility. Sometimes a specific drive will have a specific firmware version recommended, or will not be recommended for use at all.
    for example - Synology HD compatabiltiy list
    The 2TB WD Green (WD20EARS) is listed as compatible with the 411j NAS.

    One nice thing about Drobo devices is that you really can just throw any SATA drive into it and the device/software will deal with any differences. 'Normal' RAID devices really want you to use matching drives, and usually higher quality drives as well. THat's changed considerably in recent years as these devices are becoming more and more consumer focused.
     

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