Which QNAP?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by richardson.hila, Nov 6, 2011.

  1. richardson.hila macrumors member

    Aug 31, 2007
    Hi everyone,

    I'm really struggling with NAS options and would like some advice. I'm currently deciding between several models in the QNAP range:


    (specifically the TS-412/TS-419+/TS-419P II)

    OR purchasing a HP Proliant N40l server and installing unraid?


    The main purposes the NAS would be used for are:

    - Time Machine backups for two macs
    - Video streaming to Plex media server located on a MacMini which is hooked up to my Bravia (via AirPort Extreme - video files are 720p minimum MKV Hx264 audio)

    I know these are very basic requirements, but the QNAP TS-412 does seem a little underpowered to me? The HP N40l has good specs to price ratio, but it means messing around with unraid...

    Any recommendations or ideas? Will the TS-412 handle the job fine, or am I better off upgrading to the 419P/II? Or are those options all a waste of money and am i better off going with unraid?

    I'd preferably like to spend less than $600 on the enclosure...
  2. an-other macrumors 6502

    Aug 12, 2011
    Why not Synology?

    I bought a 5 bay Synology (1411+) and couldn't be happier. The final decision was between QNAP and Synology.

    I don't know much about the HP, but you can't go wrong with the QNAP.

    I do have three recommendations:
    (1) Have a backup power supply for your unit.
    (2) Be sure to follow manufacturers "approved" drives.
    (3) A server needs to be backed up, too.

    Generally speaking, green drives are not recommended (there are exceptions, so I don't want to start a flame war.)

    Good luck, and don't question the decision to buy a server. I couldn't imagine going back.
  3. niewiesznic macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2009
    Agree with rules mentioned above, here is mine:

    (4) Have UPS connected to server.

    I also have Synology and I recomend them from my heart for mac users. :)
  4. AtomicGrog macrumors regular

    Jul 25, 2011
    I went for a TS412.

    As a general rule I'd recommend you get the most expensive of those three you can afford.

    It will allow you to offload more processing capabilities whether they be web, download, streaming or whatever onto the NAS.

    They also have increased file transfer capabilities the higher up the rainge...
  5. awair macrumors regular

    Sep 6, 2011
    QNAP for Time Machine?

    For your stated needs, I would avoid a NAS.

    They are capable devices, with supposed redundancy and ample storage.

    However, the problem comes with trying to restore from TM.

    I have had the TS-559Pro+ for about a year. This is wired via Gigabit for most of the house, with my MBP using wifi.

    1) For most of year I had issues with TM over wifi, along with file transfer corruption.
    2) I switched to the iSCSI feature for TM, which appeared to work fine.
    3) I believe that firmware updates fixed the (AFP) problem, but I was locked in to iSCSI.
    4) Couldn't upgrade to Lion, because of no compatible iSCSI initiator. (That's now fixed with a $50 upgrade - was a free product.)

    - Spoiler alert -

    5) My internal drive failed - no problem, I have a 2TB redundant backup...
    6) Whoops, with an unrelated but coincidental failure, my TM also became inaccessible! The volume cannot be mounted or repaired.

    For TM, I would (now) recommend only locally attached drives using standard/built-in drivers.

    Consider a RAID 1 (or 5) box that connects via USB/FW800 as well as eSATA/TB.
    Alternatively, use 3 similar external drives on a rotation system.

    For shared access, or occasional file recovery the NAS is a great solution, but for system recovery it can be a challenge.
  6. bier-meister macrumors regular

    Nov 25, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    I am looking into the same thing, very similar requirements (plex media server, itunes server, TM backup & a few other things). QNAP best fits my needs and the 459 Pro + model would be the best fit but it is very under powered, especially for Plex. While it will stream perfectly fine to a client, it does not have enough power to transcode video for mobile clients like the ipad, iphone, android, apple tv, etc

    The x79 Pro models would solve this issue, but they are unfortunately aimed at the enterprise market, the smallest being an 8 bay unit, and for some reason QNAP has removed some of the multimedia features like iTunes Server. So that rules these devices out and I have heard nothing about them introducing a 479 Pro unit.

    So right now, I am playing a waiting game to see what QNAP or Synology next introduce. My current 2 NAS, mac mini and UPS devices still work fine but I would like to have just 1 NAS and 1 UPS unit instead of all these devices taking up so much room and consuming a lot more power than I want.

    I could easily build my own unraid box, but to be honest I don't want the hassle and would much prefer an out of the box system that comes with support and a good community backing.
  7. AtomicGrog macrumors regular

    Jul 25, 2011
    Hopefully I've not quoted too far out of context.

    I think that statement really holds water if you have one or two clients. If you have a single client theres no real incentive to invest in a NAS purely for backups, you are correct in saying so. In my case with 5 machines, some of them being mobile having to pay for and manage multiple external drives is not feasible and an absolute waste of storage capacity.

    I'd challenge however the need to have RAID based resilience for backups though, in essence you're backing up a backup...

    Once you have multiple clients and multiple uses for storage (backups, video storate for media players etc.) then you need to move on... I have as mentioned 5 mac's I backup over the network using TM.

    I originally used storage attached to an airport extreeme - was flaky as hell, but ironically doing the same with a time machine (extreeme with storage) even with the extra storage usb attached it was very stable. Even so, over a period of 2-3 years I found that TM access to the backup bundles would fail and the TM software would create another bundle. (I'm not referring to TM asking to start a new bundle due to ageing... that's another subject...)

    I moved onto using a QNAP as an evolution onward from the TM hardware, three of my machines are connected via physical lan, the other two are wifi. I initially had issues due to the QNAP firmware and had to wait for a significant update... I believe they've only recently really got to grips with AFP. Prior I wouldnt touch it with a barge pole...

    Also prior (within reason) the use of QNAP as a TM storage solution was almost a hack, you had to play around with OSX properties to be able to list the device, manually create the backup bundles and so on.

    This is no longer the case, the TM software natively recognises the TM network 'share' offered by QNAP and the management of the Bundles, volume usage etc. is now part of the QNAP management tools i.e. not a bunch of workarounds.

    I've been using the TM for around 3 months now... putting aside actual wifi connectivity issues (i.e. my MB and Mini couldnt connect for any service... typically the wife/kids complaining they can browse and numerious Open Directory issues...) I've not seen a single hickup. I've successfully restored individual files and directories from the arrangement but have to admit that i've not had to do a complete restore.

    So (imo)... think scale, think role. If you have limited clients, are nothing more than backups for a NAS dont bother, however the more clients and more storage usage at some point they become worth the effort... for me that happened with around 4 clients and my media players etc.
  8. flindet macrumors member

    Aug 8, 2011
    I have TS-459 Pro+ and Lion (Works)

    I'll try to give you the straight scoop on the Qnap...

    I have the Qnap TS-459 Pro+. I use it to support GNU/Linux boxes and Mac boxes. Currently, it's working well and I think it's a good product.

    However, I can confirm the earlier poster's comments about (previous) trouble with Wi-Fi. There was a good amount of time where TimeMachine backups over Wi-Fi to the Qnap was broken. I use two Apple Airport Extremes for my Wi-Fi and for quite a while the Qnap would not work on the latest (at that time) firmware. I had to downgrade Airport Extreme firmware by one version (luckily easy to do) to work around the issue. That is no longer an issue. I'm on the latest firmware on the Qnap and the Airport Extremes and Time Machine backups over Wi-Fi are fine.

    I can also confirm the AFP issues. Note, this was NOT a Qnap issue and affected several major NAS vendors. The problem is that the NAS vendors typically don't have official AFP protocol stacks from Apple. They're using the Open Source product Netatalk. For right or wrong, recently Netatalk became irritated with all these NAS vendors making stacks of cash with their project and not contributing back. There was a bit of a stand-off, it seemed, but that has apparently been resolved. For a while the Netatalk developers weren't releasing the latest version of their product that supported the necessary AFP specifications, particularly used with Lion. I'm guessing Qnap (and the other vendors) must have eventually thrown some money at them or whatever. Anyway, Netatalk was updated in the Qnap firmware quite a while back and it's been fine for quite some time now (several months).

    Regarding Lion, I also had to wait about a week or so to ensure it would work with Lion. There were some hacks folks had figured out in the Qnap forums to work with Lion on release, but I didn't want to screw with that and decided to wait for the official update. So, yeah, that was a week or so behind the Lion release, so maybe that's important to you. Again, it's working great with Lion now.

    So, as it is now, Time Machine backups and restores are working with the Qnap. I am not aware of any outstanding issues at this time. Many of the NAS vendors are running GNU/Linux and Open Source applications behind the scenes to provide their functionality. The nature of this means that they don't have any inside link to Apple or anything to get the specs ahead of time. They often have to figure out the protocols on their own and then the NAS vendors just grab a stable release. So, the nature of this means you should probably expect a bit of delay from time to time if you use a product like this. I don't think that is a Qnap-specific problem.

    Another "issue" I've seen has to do with sharing my music on my local network. The Qnap has some features that I really like for saving energy, basically putting it to sleep when not in use. It was very common that iTunes would complain when I synced my iPhone or tried to play some music from the AppleTV if I tried to do so when everything was asleep. I don't think that iTunes is patient enough for the Qnap to wake up (not that it takes a long time, but there is a delay when you first wake it from sleep) and iTunes would think there was a problem. To work around this, you can just tell iTunes to play a song and skip over a few. That seemed to do the trick and it would behave, but I must admit that I eventually got tired of doing that and ended up copying my music to the local drives on the Macs so that everything is instantaneous. It's silly to have the music installed everywhere, so I thought that was worth mentioning (and of course, you want to tell Time Machine not to backup the music if you already put it on the Qnap).

    So, those are the mild issues I've had. As far as the product, it rocks. I love it and if you're a geek, you probably will too. If you're not a geek, you should probably just go for a Time Capsule or something. But yeah, I like being able to get into the shell on the NAS and geek around in there. I use it as my subversion repository. I like the torrent feature so that I can have it deal with my GNU/Linux downloads or whatever. I dig that it can talk to just about ANYTHING. It supports tons of network protocols. It has tons of cool features due to the GNU/Linux it's running. And it has a decent community for adding stuff and tweaking if you're into that. You can also do cool things like remote, encrypted backups if you have another buddy with a Qnap, which might be nice if there's a fire or burglary or whatever. And it does the whole camera surveillance thing, which is pretty sweet if you're sort of paranoid. haha Plus, being a proper NAS, you can hot-swap drives when they go bad, which is probably the most important feature when comparing it to something like the Time Capsule.

    But again, if you're not going to geek out with it, then a Qnap is probably overkill and a Time Capsule will probably be a good amount cheaper and maybe smoother if you're really just focused on Time Machine.

    But if you want to geek out, if you're into GNU/Linux, and if you're on a network where you want the NAS to work with several different devices of various platforms (meaning, differing operating systems), then the Qnap is a pretty awesome choice.

    Oh, and I am not using the iSCSI feature. So, I can't comment on the previous poster's issue there, but I can say you shouldn't be required to use iSCSI if there is no need for it. I'm not using iSCSI and I'm connecting to quite a few different Apple products without issue.

    I hope this helps.

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