Time Capsule vs. other NAS, functionality?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by MortyUA, May 31, 2014.

  1. MortyUA macrumors newbie

    Jul 3, 2012
    This question is maybe a bit basic, but I'm a very long-time Windows user who has switched to Apple only a few days ago.

    I need to buy some network-attached storage. AirPort Time Capsule of course comes up, but I have the 802.11ac Wi-Fi AP already, and the NAS functionality & expandability of Time Capsule isn't great.

    How compatible are 3rd party NAS with OSX and IOS devices? For reliability, what is the general recommendation -- to buy Time Capsule from Apple because of its seamless interoperability with OSX and IOS clients? Or to get a good NAS from 3rd party manufacturers like Synology, because AFP file sharing & Time Machine backup to AFP shares "just works"?

    The initial setup of a more 'techie' NAS is not scary at all for me. I'm only concerned about the long-term compatibility with Apple's kit.

    Thank you. :)
  2. MortyUA thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 3, 2012
    OK, this thread is somewhat less relevant now. After reading more (much more) in the forum, I can see that the 'very best' solution is buying a Mac Mini and installing OSX Server on it. Ouch, that's an expensive solution, but I know the functionality OSX Server brings, and can see why it's the most flexible solution.
  3. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    A server provides more flexibility but as a downside more work to configure and maintain. Personally, depending on your needs, a NAS is a nice option. If you're just looking for file storage, backups and maybe streaming. A NAS will be easier to setup and many of them use RAID for data duplication.
  4. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    I don't happen to agree. It was way easier to set up my Mac OS server than the synology NAS. If one was unix proficient and didn't stumble over terms, they may have been more equal.... but the Mac is still easier.

    The server may more complex once you start experimenting with functions that a NAS just can't perform.... buts thats hardly a fair comparison.

    Personally a NAS performs well for networks storage/file sharing. Anything else is second rate until you get into the price range of the mini.... and then there are just things a NAS can't do nearly as well as a mini server.
  5. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Here is the issue with NAS compatibility... if you buy a new NAS today that supports Time Machine, it will likely work just fine. The problem is, almost every time Apple moves to a new OS X version (like from 10.8 to 10.9) you see all kinds of posts here from NAS users saying the update broke Time Machine on their NAS. Then some time later the NAS vendor updates the NAS firmware/software and fixes the issue. So with an aftermarket NAS, you do run the risk of being without your Time Machine backups after an OS X upgrade.

    This has typically not been the case with a Time Capsule or OS X Server Time Machine backup like you mentioned.
  6. canuckle macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2011
    I'm thrilled to have found this thread. I have a Synology NAS (1512+) that I use for TM Backup, ftp, storage, etc. I've been looking at OSX Server and wondering if there are advantages to combining them both...

    So my question is: would running OSX Server AND the Synology NAS in tandem provide any advantages at all? Or only duplication of duties?
  7. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    I'm kinda with ColdCase. If you are contemplating the NAS for anything critical then the mini server is a killer solution. I don't see that setting up TM backups or just shared storage or media serving is that difficult for anyone contemplating a NAS, and it is so much more versatile. You can ignore lots of the features of the server, but it's there should you need it. And you've got a nice backup computer.

    And there are minis for sale as refurbs for <$700 US, so that's what, $400 more than a two bay NAS before the drives? In terms of long term compatibility, versatility, etc that's probably worth it in the long run.

    Or you could do a co-location: http://www.macminicolo.net/index.html

    It's funny you mentioned this cuz I'm thinking of installing server on an older iMac that has a wonky screen. Seems like a great way to repurpose other equipment.
  8. BeatCrazy macrumors 68000

    Jul 20, 2011

    I'm using an (admittedly) old Netgear ReadyNAS, that worked as my Time Machine. Either this last update to 10.9.3 or a following security update broke the TM capability, and I'm not very happy right now.

    I'm going to see just what's going on with a Server version of 10.10 next week, and just add a DAS and go that route. Hopefully 10.10 will come out soon, because right now I don't have backups via TM.

    Also, a NAS can be pretty slow transferring files over the gigabit connections. I'm thinking DAS via USB 3.0 should be pretty fast.

    Time Capsule is a waste for me, as I already have a nice wireless access point that is POE.
  9. Val-kyrie macrumors 68000

    Feb 13, 2005
    Apart from TM stability with OS X updates, what is gained by choosing OS X Server over an NAS? what functions besides file sharing and network storage?

    I ask because I am thinking about the same issue as the OP, but I know very little about servers and I am hesitant to buy a new Mac Mini when hopefully it will be updated very soon.
  10. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    A mac Mini (or any mac) can be an iTunes server - you just leave iTunes running with home sharing enabled. This will make your library available to any Macs, i-devices or Apple TVs that you own. A NAS cannot offer direct support for Apple TV. There are some work-arounds using hacks and third party software, but only iTunes can fully support the built-in features and user interface of the Apple TV.
  11. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    OS X server can also serve as a caching server for OS X and IOS updates. Handy if you have limited bandwidth and multiple devices that need updating. Just checked mine and it has cached over 6 GB of updates from Apple.

    If you want to do the legwork you can setup your own calendar, contacts, email, web, wiki, and messages server. You can also enable VPN so you have a secure connection back to your stuff from outside. As mentioned you can also run iTunes on it and share your library to any device on the network.

    The server software does not tax the CPU. A faster Mac Mini gains little as a server. More or faster disk apace is important.

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