What can be done with NAS?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by 2ms, Dec 9, 2016.

  1. 2ms macrumors 6502

    Nov 22, 2002
    Can anyone tell me what powers an NAS provides to an Apple user?

    Could I store a bunch of 4K movies on one and effortlessly watch them from anywhere in the world on my iPad? Would it provide the ability to back up all my Macs nightly, wherever they may be located, as long as there's an internet connection? Could I set my digital camera (Sony) to upload every photo I take to it and then be able to view the photos during the same photo shoot on my iPad.

    Just curious how useful and easy to use these devices are these days. Thanks for whatever advice you could provide!
  2. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    NAS = file server. Many of the newer NAS devices also provide services such as streaming via Plex or similar.
  3. adamjackson macrumors 68000

    Jul 9, 2008
    I'd be happy to help. For Mac users, I think the easiest entry into the NASWorld would be a Synology. Here's what I use my D214Play for (note, I just upgraded to an 8-bay Synology with a quad core chip since my needs have grown so much)

    1. Time Machine Backups wirelessly from every Mac in the house
    2. My entire iTunes Music Library is stored
    3. Lightroom is stored there and I edit right off the NAS from anywhere in the house (MacBook or iMac) and can share the Lightroom library between multiple macs (just not simultaneously)
    4. Plex Media Server runs on the Synology (which works with the AppleTV Plex app)
    5. The synology will transcode my media in real time from full res 1080P down to 640P on my iPad via a 3G connection..plex basically finds out how much data the device can handle and transcodes in real time down to a lower codec and resolution
    6. I run an open-source drop box clone on my NAS so that saves me $99 a year
    7. I run my CalDev server there and my GF and I have a shared calendar
    8. my contacts are stored there as well
    9. Anyone with iTunes can open it up and view all of the music on my NAS via the built in iTunes Sharing application
    10. The Synology connects to back blaze so the entire NAS data is completely offline
    11. I have mine in a mirrored RAID setup so if one drive fails, I'm not SOL
    12. I have a Wiki on the NAS as well that I use for note keeping remotely and keeping track of bills and passwords. obviously, security starts to become a huge deal especially if the NAS is accessible over the web from anywhere.
    My main issue has been space. I started with two 6TB WD RED drives (for a NAS) in a mirrored RAID. I ran out of space fast and now have 3 external USB hard drives hooked up now. The 8-bay will get the two 6TB drives plus 2 8TB drives which will allow me to store everything in a mirrored way. next year, I"ll add two more 8tB drives so I finally have room to grow since I capture a lot of 4K content and store it on the NAS (data from GoPro and iPhone and dashcam get stored there)
  4. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    I second the Synology recommendation. Fantastic products.

    In regards to streaming videos, yes, it can be done. However, you may need a model with a more powerful CPU to transcode 4K for streaming. Also, obviously, your internet connection plays a big role. On a recent trip to Europe, my streaming experience was less than stellar because the hotel wifi was crappy and this was in a good hotel...

    Nightly backups can be easily done with the correct software or you can just use it as your Time Machine.

    I don't know how your camera works but there's no reason why an iPad can't view pictures stored on a NAS.

    In addition to these, some NASes are capable of much more, including but not limited to handling your surveillance cameras, email server, iTunes server, etc...
  5. starigrad macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2014
    How can I keep my whole iTunes library on my NAS and comfortably access it and manage it there and at the same time have a music selection of that library locally stored on my MacBook that I can manage while away and that gets synchronized with my NAS library when I get back.

    I have a large music library but I only need some parts of it while traveling with my laptop offline. Once at home I want full access to the entire library, and changes on the NAS library and the MacBook library get synced.

    Is there a way to do that?
  6. satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
    Just follow the directions in article How To Move Your iTunes Library!
  7. spiritlevel macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2007

    @adamjackson - I found your post really useful as I just purchased a Synology DS918+ with 3 x 8TB HGST drives yesterday.

    I have a couple of questions if that's OK...

    10 - you said your Synology connects to Backblaze - do you need a business account with Backblaze to backup a NAS (at $5/TB/month) or can you do it under the $5/month unlimited personal account?

    Am i right that as you are running your NAS as a mirrored RAID, you do not have a separate backup and some data just lives on that mirrored RAID and nowhere else (other than backblaze)?

    My setup will be a little different I think - I have a Thunderbay 4 DAS in Raid 5 (4 x 4TB) that will backup to the NAS in Raid 5 (or Synology's equivalent) - and then the computer (or the NAS depending on your answer) will also do an online back up to Backblaze.

    Lastly, would you mind elaborating on 6 - the open source drop box clone please?

  8. adamjackson macrumors 68000

    Jul 9, 2008
    Backblaze is now a business account. Back when I wrote this, you could get Backblaze for the one price and people like me have caused them to re-think their business model.

    You're correct that no where but the mirrored RAID + BackBlaze

    For you on the Synology, just run CloudStation. It's great and built in to the NAS. You have a widget on Mac and app on your iOS devices and I use it with 4 others on a team and it works great. Versioning means you don't lose anything and it's pretty robust.
  9. spiritlevel macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2007
    Thanks adamjackson - given the thread was so short I completely failed to notice your original post was made in Dec 2016!
  10. spiritlevel macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2007
    @adamjackson Hi again - wonder if you can help please as having a lot of trouble...

    Got the NAS installed today and tried to set up my first backup with Cloud Station. Installed Cloud Station Server on the NAS, created and enabled a shared folder called "Backup", and downloaded Cloud Station Backup (menu bar widget) on my iMac.

    Launched CSB, set the target as "Backup", selected the 4 volumes I wanted to include in the backup (about 6TB worth) and hit Go...

    After about 10 seconds, message popped up saying "Backup Complete!". No way I thought...and sure enough it had just started to create a few directories on the NAS, nothing more.

    Closed that window and tried to relaunch the widget - refused to relaunch...

    Restarted iMac and tried to relaunch - got spinning beach ball for a minute or 2, before the blue cloud icon briefly appeared in menu bar before it crashed again...

    Not sure what the answer is - on the verge of boxing it up and sending it back! certainly not feeling like a safe and robust backup solution so far...
  11. adamjackson macrumors 68000

    Jul 9, 2008
    This is completely a mystery to me. Not close to what I experienced on my end. Since you're a brand new customer, I'd try and enlist Synology Warranty support to see if they can help. Sorry but I did a similar procedure and it took a full day to complete the backup.

    I'd also say that just using Time Machine might be the best option since Synology support its. Just create a new volume on the NAS using 1 of the hard drives (not mirrored) and backup to that with a max quota.

    Then use Cloud Station Drive for the drop box replacement.
  12. rhett7660 macrumors G5


    Jan 9, 2008
    Sunny, Southern California
    What version of Mac OS are you running? Have you upgraded to HS with APFS?
  13. spiritlevel macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2007
    Nope - still running Sierra - 10.12.6

    Strangely it now seems to be backing up (without me doing anything since it crashed)...

    I noticed that the blue cloud icon had appeared back in my menu bar. However, when I click on that icon, nothing happens - I expect you ought to get some dropdown that shows progress/activity no?

    So I have no control over the backup and no way of cancelling it or anything like that should I want to (as no CSB window is open either) - all very odd!

    Oh well - guess Ill just let it run and see what happens.

    Thanks for your help both.
  14. adamjackson macrumors 68000

    Jul 9, 2008
    High Sierra with an iMac (HFS) and MacBook Pro (APFS) both work fine with Time Machine & Cloud station.
  15. rhett7660 macrumors G5


    Jan 9, 2008
    Sunny, Southern California
    That is strange since I have TM running on Sierra to my Synology NAS box without a single issue. I have been doing this for a few months. Prior to that was hitting my QNAP device.

    You haven't had an issue with APFS saving to your NAS box? I am asking because there has been some discussion on the forums regarding this and that is one big reason on why I haven't upgraded my main working box to APFS.
  16. Tech198 macrumors G5

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth
    One central (huge) location to house all your files from all computers in your network PC/Mac etc., or if just one Mac, servers as a good backup solution.... While you have external drives you can carry round at well. to attach to computer when needed, it's easier to pull stuff from the NAS, as its already view able on a Mac. You just need to connect.

    I have 4TB on my NAS .. 7 Network shares and that is not including virtual cd images you can mount..... suddenly a NAS makes things much better.

    Web server/FTP server, iTunes server, Photo station to access photos externally with apps. on iOS etc... (to access you wouldn't use icloud, you'd use their own cloud service.) These things may be useless to me, but u can't say no to storage :)

    With NAS and iOS devices, u generally interact with them via their own apps,, uploading/downloading and viewing stuff from supplied apps from the company who made the NAS..

    plus, usually they have their own app stores as well. bit torrent downloading, so no reason to install software on a Mac, and other stuff.
  17. spiritlevel, Oct 11, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017

    spiritlevel macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2007
    Just an update - the CS Backup widget teething issues seem to have sorted themselves out now (after a few restarts) and I now see the backup window and it is backing up nicely. Also got Cloud Station Drive setup as a dropbox replacement/alternative.

    Have bonded the 2 ethernet ports on the NAS so getting a reasonable copy speed now...peaking at up to 100MB/s or so. Got about 700GB backed up so far.

    Will doubtless be back soon with some questions about iTunes server etc - for a start...does the NAS automatically put any music it finds in the shared Music folder it created? Wondering if the music in my backup will get put in there automatically or whether i will need to create a symlink or something like that in the shared music folder to link to the iTunes music folder in my backup folder... thanks.

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16 December 9, 2016