Synology NAS for Security and PLEX?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by doobybiggs, Sep 15, 2018.

  1. doobybiggs macrumors 6502

    doobybiggs

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2012
    #1
    I am looking into a new NAS, but want to run it setup as surveillance and PLEX/file server. Would the combo of these be a bad thing?

    Should these Synology NAS boxes be used for one or the other activites? I am planning to got with either the 4 or 8 drive version and have 3-4 cameras running as well.
     
  2. dimme macrumors 65816

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    #2
    Have you thought of getting a MacMini and running it as a server? I have been running some sort of Mac server for 10+ years. I have often thought of a NAS but having the flexibly of a computer has been great. I have had projects come up where I needed to run linux or windows 24/7 and do so through VMs. Plus I use it as a iTunes server, plex, VPN server Back up my phone iPads etc, time machine, the list goes on.
     
  3. jasnw macrumors 6502a

    jasnw

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    #3
    I went the same route as dimme (Mini rather than NAS) and was lucky enough to get my Mini prior to the 2014 downgrade. What was attractive about the Mini was mainly avoiding the myriad little issues involving a non-Apple system on a mostly-Apple network. Most NAS boxes run some flavor of Linux, and while macOS and Linux share a lot of architectural history there's a lot in macOS networking that "Just Doesn't Work" (tm) with classic *nix networking, at least not as well as it should. I've used Linux boxes for many years, longer than I've used macOS, but I didn't want to face the prospect of something not working and having to deal with the computer version of finger pointing between the two OS flavors. I bumped up the memory in my original Mini and replaced the spinner with an internal SD a few years ago and put big NAS-grade spinners in external drives on USB-3 connections. Works like a charm.

    Today I'd suggest waiting to see what Apple is going to do with their desktop lines before jumping into this. I would definitely not recommend the current Mini. If you need to get rolling on this you might look for a used 2009 or 2011 Mini and see how that works, then upgrade to whatever Apple decides to allow us to buy if it looks like an improvement over what you have. If you do wait, and Apple drops the ball on supporting headless desktop hardware, then I'd go NAS.
     
  4. doobybiggs thread starter macrumors 6502

    doobybiggs

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    #4

    So I’ve been thinking of mini as well due to a decently heavy use of apple products. However the thing that has stopped me from going without questions is the bad specs on the Mini’s these days. Also, I’m going to be running raid and don’t want the mini to fail and me lose everything. Although I have not looked into Mini’s and Raid.

    I want to run something that can be reliable when a drive fails and store a good 7-8TB at the moment plus room to add more later.
     
  5. dimme macrumors 65816

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    #5
    I have a bit under 4 TB of data on my main data drive and have a second 4 TB drive set up to do a super duper backup over night. I also have 2 more 4 TB drives with other data that I spin up when needed. All drive are WD red drives. The main 4 TB drive is also backed up to the cloud with crashplan. I also have a rotating off site drive at work. One other reason I chose the mini over a NAS is if the mini dies I can just plug in the USB drive into any Mac to have access to the data. USB3 is plenty fast on my setup.
     
  6. doobybiggs thread starter macrumors 6502

    doobybiggs

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    #6
    Sounds like a solid setup. What do you keep your backup drive in? An external 3.5 device and just connect USB? Are you a believer in drives that are not spun up regularaly degrade and crash sooner or just the opposite? With your drives setup this way and if a crash happened on your main what would you lose? Just the OS and some preference settings? But all major data would be safe?

    Would the security application (one of the main reasons in looking at synology) out there be worth buying over what comes with synology? I have not looked at the market for those apps. Also l, your backup software how much did that cost? Or are you using time machine?
     
  7. dimme macrumors 65816

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    #7
    What do you keep your backup drive in? The Data drives are in USB3 external cases. The main drive is connected directly to the mini.
    The backups and other drives are on a USB hub, and I do not see a big performance hit in routine usage.
    They get spun up every two weeks or so. As far as crashing more I don't see it.
    With your drives setup this way and if a crash happened on your main what would you lose? The OS drive in the mini is a SSD with the OS and apps and is backed up weekly with Super duper. The backup is small and is on the data drive.

    Would the security application (one of the main reasons in looking at synology) out there be worth buying over what comes with synology? I have not looked at the market for those apps. Not sure I don't run cameras on my setup.

    Also l, your backup software how much did that cost? Or are you using time machine? I use SuperDuper (about $30) and backuplist+ (I donated $10)

    Hope this helps
     
  8. northernmunky macrumors 6502a

    northernmunky

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    #8
    Well I have a DS416play and I think its great, although I will admit I think the CPU is a bit underpowered and could do with an extra gig of RAM. I too am using it for Plex and for surveillance cameras although I only have the one cam connected.
     
  9. doobybiggs thread starter macrumors 6502

    doobybiggs

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    #9
    Thanks for that! You experience no lag while streaming and running surveillance software?

    Right now I’m looking at DS918+ and the DS1618+ .. I’m thinking 6 drives is what I would like so I have room in the future to upgrade. Plus the speed differences in the 2 machines is crazy.
     
  10. northernmunky macrumors 6502a

    northernmunky

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    #10
    I've found the performance to be 'decent'. You can also use link aggregation to team up the 2 1GbE ports into a single connection to increase bandwidth so I have that set up. In hindsight I wish I'd gone for the 6 drive version so if you think you'll need the horsepower and the expandability go for that one
     
  11. doobybiggs thread starter macrumors 6502

    doobybiggs

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    Mar 5, 2012
    #11
    Oh very cool idea. I’ll have to look into the link aggregation and see what that’s all about... easy to setup?

    I’m thinking so on the 6 bay NAS. It’s only like $175 more or so and I will be able to run it for years longer than a 4 drive one.
     
  12. northernmunky macrumors 6502a

    northernmunky

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    Jan 19, 2007
    Location:
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    #12
    Yep, its dead simple - select the two Eths and bond them together from the NAS. It does it all the work for you.
    The only snag I hit was the day I upgraded my ISP router which handles my DNS, it broke the IPv4 address and ended up having to connect via IPv6 (yep that monster of an address!) delete the bond and recreate it.
    https://www.synology.com/en-uk/knowledgebase/DSM/help/DSM/AdminCenter/connection_network_linkaggr

    Oh yes and with the DS1618+ you can upgrade it to support 10GbE which is becoming very affordable now if you think you might need an ultra fast connection.
     
  13. campyguy macrumors 68040

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    Mar 21, 2014
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    Portland / Seattle
    #13
    OP - and others! - take a few weeks off your interest in the current Synology offerings. Synology's Expo is on the 29th with the introduction of their DSXX19 models. And, just this morning I've seen a smattering of cost reductions in some of their older products on Amazon and Newegg, likely equipment that's being phased out from their '16/'17 lines that isn't being carried over? One of the new units, their new 1-bay NAS, just went up for sale recently and the rest should follow suit soon...

    A sneak peak from a couple of months ago, not a comprehensive list: https://www.anandtech.com/show/13109/synology-2018-nas-and-wifi-lineup-sneak-peek
    Promo for the event: https://event.synology.com/en-global/Synology_2019/Taipei
    NAS Compares has a preview of the new 5-bay unit that I have my eyes on..
     
  14. doobybiggs thread starter macrumors 6502

    doobybiggs

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    Mar 5, 2012
    #14

    Thanks for the info!! I will be waiting it looks like.

    The one thing I don’t get is synology seems to skimp on the ram. It’s all like 2-4GB. Why can’t they just come with 8-16gb standard. Especially at these prices.
     
  15. campyguy macrumors 68040

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    Mar 21, 2014
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    Portland / Seattle
    #15
    Glad to highlight the event! My vendors have indicated that there will be plenty of updates and new hardware announced at the event. I expect that QNAP will be bringing a few new items to market soon as well.

    As to the relative paucity of RAM in Synology units, I'll agree to that. I ponied up for Win versions of Thecus NAS boxes for my engineering design company due in large part to the extra resources I can stuff in them. For my own home use I've stuck with a 2012 Mini Server with 24TB of DAS via USB 3 and a dedicated NVR for security - tasks which I'm looking to port over to a NAS this fall, with 8-12GB of RAM stuffed in it. :evil grin:
     
  16. NorCalLights macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 24, 2006
    #16
    I have a lowly DS216+ and it absolutely handles recording 2 tuners of OTA broadcast from HDHomeRun, Plex playback to 2 Apple TVs, and running Surveillance Station with 4 cameras. Granted, I don't do any transcoding and I know how often it's actually doing all of those things at once. But I can't imagine the larger NAS boxes from Synology would have any problems. I think the reason they don't add more RAM is there just isn't that much demand. The boxes they make are pretty capable already.

    I love my NAS. It's been great.
     
  17. RobbieTT macrumors regular

    RobbieTT

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    Apr 3, 2010
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    United Kingdom
    #17
    I have a Synology DS1517+ with 16GB RAM, a raid SSD cache (PCIe card) and a dedicated SSD volume plus normal HDDs. It gets used for everything from work stuff (high IOPS), Time Machine, Plex, Cloud, DVR et al.

    They are good units with a great OS and applications but despite the SSDs, RAM and port bonding the CPU is a bit gutless. I have run into issues with DVR recordings with Plex and have recently moved the more demanding Plex Media Server duties to an i7 Mac mini (media still on NAS) as it provides way more horsepower. The dedicated media clients are all i5 Mac minis (2012 models again) plus assorted MBPs & iMacs so it all works well together.

    My next comment is the usual lament of NAS owners - I wish I had bought a model with more bays. Not for the storage space but for the flexibility in moving volumes and drives around.
     
  18. Ifti macrumors 68000

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    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #18
    I used to use a Mac Mini Server.

    I then moved to a Synology NAS. Later replaced this with a QNAP Nas (i7 CPU, 8 Bay), which have now connected to a 10GBe switch.

    I use mainly MACs and my NAS runs PLEX, CCTV, and basic data and file sharing across the household. Most clients connect via the wireless network. I connect my MacBook via a 10GBe Sonnett adapter when Im at my desk.

    Even though the NAS doesn't run OSX, Ive had no issues at all. Everything works wonderfully well, and I found it much easier to use then the Mac Mini Server I used to run.
     
  19. dimme macrumors 65816

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    #19
    If someone was in the market for a NAS would you recommend QNAP over Synology?
     
  20. RobbieTT macrumors regular

    RobbieTT

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    #20
    QNAP & Synology are both the go-to brands in this segment. A simplistic differentiator is to say that QNAP tends to have the better hardware whilst Synology has the better software/OS.
     
  21. oneMadRssn macrumors 601

    oneMadRssn

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    Boston, MA
    #21
    I used to have a Mac Mini server, used for backups, photos, and media management (Plex and others). However, I sold it and got a DS1815+ and it's waayyy better.

    The obvious - more bays, more storage, more storage options. I have 5x4TB set up in SHR2, so about 12TB of space. I bought it used on ebay, and it came with cheapo drives, but so far so good.

    For media, I stopped using Plex, and just host the files on the NAS and play them on my AppleTV using Infuse. It seems the hardware transcoding on an ATV is better than the software transcoding in Plex. Of course, this means the network connection has to be solid as a 4k movie can require up to 128 Mbit/s in speed to stream with no compression. After trying both SMB and NFS back and forth, I think the current implementation of NFS on Infuse is a tad faster, so that's what I use.

    Recently started playing around with Docker as well - the possibilities there are literally endless!

    I have only messed around with Surveillance Station for a few minutes, but it seems like a pretty robust option for security recording.

    I have a buddy with a nearly identical Synology NAS - my goal in the next few months is to put one drive in his NAS to use as an offsite backup to my most important files.
     
  22. Ifti macrumors 68000

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    #22
    I would.
    Ive had both, and while Synology is also very good, I just felt the QNAP hardware was of a much better quality, and the software was much more user friendly, with a larger featureset. I tend to recommend QNAP to all my friends/colleagues.
     
  23. attilavago85 macrumors member

    attilavago85

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    Dublin
    #23
    I had the same dilemma a few months ago and finally decided to go for the DS218+ (https://www.synology.com/en-uk/products/DS218+) which is extremely versatile for its price and works very well with the Apple ecosystem. On the Plex list of officially supported devices it's one of the better ones you can get. Also, it has extendible RAM from 2 to 6 (but unofficially it can support up to 8GB). Truth be told told though, I have the 2GB RAM and don't feel like I actually need any more. As to what I think of QNAPs, my and one of my friend's experience was far less positive with the QNAP.
     
  24. Ifti macrumors 68000

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    Dec 14, 2010
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    UK
    #24
    My friend has had 2 12 bay Synology units - both developed faults at different time scales (fortunately within warranty period) and had to have both replaced. Fortunately it was unit issues rather then drives so no data lost, but for his business it was a huge inconvenience as you can imagine.
    He changed to a QNAP unit that's worked flawlessly ever since.
    Personally I feel my QNAP is a LOT faster then my Synology - not in terms or network, but in terms of general services and the smoothness of the OS itself.
     
  25. IG88, Sep 26, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2018

    IG88 macrumors 6502

    IG88

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    #25
    Between those 2, for home use, I'd go 918+, which is what I did. The 918+ does hardware video transcoding, the 1618+ doesn't.

    Previously I've had a 916+ and a 215j.
     

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