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NAS for newbies


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Be gentle, networks etc is where my eyes glaze over, one of the reasons I switched to Mac...

 

Never used a NAS before, but wife wants increased storage for HD video of kids etc. and I thought I could put the music files there too so the iMac doesn't always have to be on... correct?

 

We want to use Coles Myer vouchers for the purchase so what should we be looking at, at the budget end of things? Officeworks have this http://www.officeworks.com.au/shop/officeworks/synology-diskless-2-bay-ds213j-network-attached-storage-syds213j

 

My Netgear modem/router has a usb port for storage devices, do I actually need a NAS or just an expansion HHD? It may not be this model but looks the same so same series http://www.netgear.com.au/home/products/networking/wifi-routers/wndr3700.aspx

 

 

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I should also add that the only streaming device I have in the HT is my Oppo. In the living room I use a Sonos connect extensively and am thinking I could also try hooking up my Macbook air via usb to the Audiolab DAC/CD as I want to compare SQ. Sonos is just so easy to live with and going through a good DAC I don't thinkI'm missing out on much, I have no downloaded Hi Res files but do own a spattering of SACD's which I guess I could rip or download somehow...

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Guest myrantz

Never used a NAS before, but wife wants increased storage for HD video of kids etc. and I thought I could put the music files there too so the iMac doesn't always have to be on... correct?

Yup, with a NAS, your files are stored on that and not the iMac.. Does mean your NAS has to be on for the sharing to work, but usually that means less power consumption anyway.

 

We want to use Coles Myer vouchers for the purchase so what should we be looking at, at the budget end of things? Officeworks have this http://www.officeworks.com.au/shop/officeworks/synology-diskless-2-bay-ds213j-network-attached-storage-syds213j

Personally I'd avoid any 2 bay solutions and go for more, 5 bay minimum. But that's just personal preference, < 5 bay wise I wouldn't go for a commercial product.

 

My Netgear modem/router has a usb port for storage devices, do I actually need a NAS or just an expansion HHD? It may not be this model but looks the same so same series http://www.netgear.com.au/home/products/networking/wifi-routers/wndr3700.aspx

Probably the easiest (cheapest) is to try this first. Go to this website and make sure your router is supported. Follow the links and try out all the supported features.

Use this as a starter only (i.e. just to get a rough feel of how a NAS fits into your needs).. Once you're comfortable, go for a dedicated product (preferably one that supports Plex).

Only reason for a dedicated box is because personally I don't like to attach any data (be it personal or private) directly to the router. (For security reason but primary router is usually the first point of a lighting strike if you're unlucky enough to be still on ADSL)..

 

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The synology is great, although I can build you one that will beat their top tier one for about $500.

PM me if you want the discuss details.You are in Melbourne, so happy to show you what I have built :)

Hi alice..

Just wondering as your built one is almost twice the price of the synology, how much betterer will it be?

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The price is twice the one OP has listed, performance of mine is much better then their top model which costs money, lots of it :)

Can I pay in coles myer vouchers :P

 

I'll try my own expansion drive for now via the router and then look at the one I linked previously.

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I've been doing a bit of investigation in NAS's for a mate lately.  I don't know much but will give my 2c.

 

A simple external HDD plugged into the router is a good cheap way to do what you need.   That's what I use for all my vids at home,  but I do get nervous about 3TB of data on a single drive.    A proper NAS is a good idea if you value the data on it.     I'd go for 4 bay.  2 bay may seem fine now,  but HD movies eat up space quickly.  

 

I've read a lot of positive feedback about Synology products.  You could save a few $$ by going for a cheaper brand or DIY,  but I reckon they're a good bet.   If you want 4 bay and can spend a bit more it might be worth considering the 415play.      Depending on what you use to play videos the ability for NAS to transcode may be of benefit.        

 

https://www.synology.com/en-global/products/DS415play

 

What do you use to play vids?

 

Using coles/myer vouchers will limit your options a lot.   Officeworks have a fairly limited range.   Hell,   I don't think they even sell the hard disks to put inside the NAS enclosures?

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I am not a specialist, but am in the process (actually have been for quite some time) to move my stuff to a NAS. I should have gone for Synology, but I got a good deal on QNAP.

 

Hard disk connected to the router could work, but that gives you say one disk - you still need to make back ups. 

 

I would go and buy that Synology and put  3 or 4TB disks in. WD Red drives are excellent, but my friend in forensics reckon the Green ones are sufficient for home use.  (Dont use Seagate 3TB drives - wrote off 2). This may give you 3 or 4TB of storage as the other 3 or 4 TB is like your internal backup - if one drive fails the other one is still there. You can then add further HDD's to the Synology to make backups to take offsite. Alternatively you can use the whole 6 or 8 Tb and then take a backup of the critical stuff offsite.  

 

For the price and the functionality etc I would just go for the NAS.

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Been down the NAS route and have gone back to a much simpler and much cheaper system - its a bit of a Mac specific set up though so all the Apple haters and tec heads will jump all over it :)

 

1. Get two large external hard drives 4TB are cheap enough these days

 

2. Hook both up to your Mac and use one as your media drive ( iTunes folder and any other media files you may have ) and one as time machine - ensure time machine backs up the external drive - this way all your media data is backed up.

 

3. If power is a concern set up the Mac to wake on network activity and put hard drives to sleep 

 

4. Ensure you have a fast wireless set up 

 

All good - you can stream movies TV shows and music to any number of AirPlay devices

 

Of course this is a apple centric set up that works best with Apple TV,  Airports iPhones and iPads and compatible Airplay devices 

 

This takes no technical expertise and works a treat

 

The other "easy" option is to get one of the simple consumer NAS drives ( Seagate Central fro example) and hook up to your router - but this was you have no back up.

 

You can go for a more up market NAS with RAID - but thats still give you no 100% reliable back up

 

I have 1400 movies  and a large number of music files, having it all backed up and restorable at a few clicks helps me sleep at night 

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I am not a specialist, but am in the process (actually have been for quite some time) to move my stuff to a NAS. I should have gone for Synology, but I got a good deal on QNAP.

 

Hard disk connected to the router could work, but that gives you say one disk - you still need to make back ups. 

 

I would go and buy that Synology and put  3 or 4TB disks in. WD Red drives are excellent, but my friend in forensics reckon the Green ones are sufficient for home use.  (Dont use Seagate 3TB drives - wrote off 2). This may give you 3 or 4TB of storage as the other 3 or 4 TB is like your internal backup - if one drive fails the other one is still there. You can then add further HDD's to the Synology to make backups to take offsite. Alternatively you can use the whole 6 or 8 Tb and then take a backup of the critical stuff offsite.  

 

For the price and the functionality etc I would just go for the NAS.

 

The more I think about it, this is the best method for us. Thanks. We don't stream movies, still use BD discs but may put some of the girls dvd's on file along with the personal HD video footage but that's usually only a few minutes at a time. My full library of music is only around 120gb and about 30 of that belongs to swmbo, I wouldn't mind if it was lost forever  ;) . Therefore we won't need masses of space and 3-4tb should last us several years.

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The more I think about it, this is the best method for us. Thanks. We don't stream movies, still use BD discs but may put some of the girls dvd's on file along with the personal HD video footage but that's usually only a few minutes at a time. My full library of music is only around 120gb and about 30 of that belongs to swmbo, I wouldn't mind if it was lost forever  ;) . Therefore we won't need masses of space and 3-4tb should last us several years.

 

If only a few TB then the Synology DS213J from Officeworks should suit you fine.   You just need to add a couple of HDD's.   4TB are around $200 each,  and are pretty much the sweet spot for $/GB at the moment. 

 

However, if I was going through this process I would be tempted rip all DVD's / BD's  to the NAS.   It'd be nice to be able to play something without needing to find the disc, load,  etc etc.   And to be able to play on any device you have,  and even when away from home if you set up remote access.   

 

I've got a bunch of movies on disc and a bunch on the network.   Guess which ones don't ever get played!.

 

If you were to entertain the idea of ripping movies/tv shows  then definitely consider a 4 bay or larger NAS.   A 2 bay NAS with redundancy will give only 4TB of usable space.   Take away ~1TB for your iMac and MacBook time machine backups plus music and you're left with 3TB for vids.   That can be used up  pretty quickly if you're doing high quality rips.   

 

Then again..it's nice in theory but also takes time, effort and cost.  It's maybe not something that you would get value from.        

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IMO

NAS is complete over kill given your needs

Total waist of money

I'd second this, with the proviso that if you go for separate HDDs to use one and keep the other identical as a back up then you *must* manually back it up regularly and never let it slip. Otherwise, RAID 1 with a spare disk to keep as an off-site copy is the way to go. It kind of depends on how reliable you are at forcing yourself to back things up:

 

it is the cost vs simplicity equation at play here - you don't have to spend the money for automatic resilience but if you don't then make sure you do the compensatory work to keep your stuff safe.

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Why would you need to have so many movies stored on HDD? How often will you watch them? I've never understood why people do this. Kids movies, fine, they can watch the same film over and over..but adults? Ok if you have hundreds of films you've never seen but otherwise..what's the point?

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blybo mentioned that he has about 120 Gb in music etc. - so I agree that a NAS at this stage is overkill, but it will future proof to some extent. It may actually be more cost effective - I have several hard drives now redundant in my move to a NAS.

 

I have 3 ipads, 2 iphones an ipod, 2 macs and 2 windows machines in the house (crazy I know!). It is an absolute nightmare to keep theses things up to date, backed up, synchronised etc etc. I do not want to be in a position where I have to tell my wife that we have lost some pictures of the kidsetc.  

 

My ultimate aim is to get all the stuff on the NAS in a raid configuration so that I wont lose things - as well as separate back ups that I take offsite - e.g. to work ( one could do cloud based back ups as well e.g I have 100GB on Dropbox.)

 

The NAS could also be used for Time Machine backups -  am still learning re these on a NAS, but I would think one should not fill the NAS with these - maybe set a limit.

 

Some people collect movies as we collect music.IMO each to their own.

 

IME it is better to rip the movies for the kids to a hard disk as they do wath it over and over and at least then the disk do not get damaged.

 

There is no correct answer(as usual)

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The real reason is back up of the nearly 300gb of video camera files, mostly of the kids. My music is backed up at work but I dump on the wife's iMac for streaming. Her iMac only has a 500 gb hdd but updating the computer seems a waste

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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The real reason is back up of the nearly 300gb of video camera files, mostly of the kids. My music is backed up at work but I dump on the wife's iMac for streaming. Her iMac only has a 500 gb hdd but updating the computer seems a waste

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Agree re upgrading computer

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Why would you need to have so many movies stored on HDD? How often will you watch them? I've never understood why people do this. Kids movies, fine, they can watch the same film over and over..but adults? Ok if you have hundreds of films you've never seen but otherwise..what's the point?

 

it isn't watching them all but the convenience of being able to browse them all from your couch and click to view rather than needing to stand at your bookshelf with your head turned sideways trying to read small text.

 

If you want to get a feel for why people do it, download xbmc and populate its audio and video section with directories of your content. If I didn't have xbmc, I probably wouldn't bother.

 

When you have easy access to movie content, watching a movie becomes more of a "what am I in the mood for" or "I'm in mood <x> I want to watch a movie of type <y>."

 

Or maybe a better example is when I'm home sick on the couch, I can watch whatever I feel like from my library with ease rather than whatever is on TV plus ads.

 

As to the OP's question...

 

Go with Synology or QNAP. Both come with apps and features that will make life easy for you, including allowing you to watch content on your NAS using your smart phone (providing your Internet connection is good enough.) So that episode of Gotham that you downloaded during the night can be watched on the train to work - or on the way home from work if the torrent appeared and was autodownloaded during the day.

 

+1 for all of those suggesting to use a 4 bay minimum configuration. If you're going to run in RAID 1, 5 or 6, don't buy the "green" hard drives as the firmware in them is not well suited to use in such configurations. Some are saying that with 3TB and larger drives, RAID 6 should be used, so a 4x4TB solution would give you 8TB of usable space and set you back ~$900 just for the hard drives. Not cheap. If that's outside your scope, buy the largest hard drive you can afford (1,2, 3, 4, 5 and 6TB are available) and follow the advice on buying another to use as time machine.

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Just from my (minor) experience w. RAID / NAS scenarios, don't forget that it only takes one fire / burglar / power surge to take that out as well. Having a RAID array is not a substitute for a backup, and ideally the backup should be somewhere else!

Also, I had a 3 year old RAID array fail, and after six weeks of searching I could not get a replacement controller to replace it (that shorted out), so I couldn't rebuild the data. These devices get out of date just as fast as computers do, and parts get harder to find - again, a backup is still needed.

After that, my plan has been to only use (good) consumer hard drives with an off-site backup that I keep at home (for my main data at work, I mean). I walk it to the office, copy & bring it home once a week, so my maximum potential loss is that week's work.

RAIDs can be great, but you still need a second one; single normal drives are cheaper, and can be replaced in minutes if needed, by walking to a shop...

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Guest myrantz

RAIDs can be great, but you still need a second one; single normal drives are cheaper, and can be replaced in minutes if needed, by walking to a shop...

RAID is really useful for people who want massive storage.. e.g. store all movies in a single location... Or if they want very high read speeds.

Nowadays with USB 3.0, RAID is really kind of redundant IMO when it comes to massive storage. That's the theory, hopefully will test it out with one of those multi-bay Orico boxes...

 

Get one of these USB 3.0 box, get a USB 3.0 capable router (and hope it works with those boxes), and get the router to serve the HDDs. And that should work for 80% of what most people will need for home (just don't put any sensitive/private information/data on the HDDs JIC).

 

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Also, I had a 3 year old RAID array fail, and after six weeks of searching I could not get a replacement controller to replace it (that shorted out), so I couldn't rebuild the data. These devices get out of date just as fast as computers do, and parts get harder to find - again, a backup is still needed.

 

Synology and QNAP are software based RAID, meaning that the problem you described with controllers doesn't exist.

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I have a 8 bay Synology divided into 2 volumes running 3 TB drives.  One volume is for Media the other is for work.

 

The settings of this configuration is for a single drive failure, ie is a drive fails in either volume, there is no loss of data.

 

The Synology monitoring software monitors the drive health and advises, as experienced recently the potential failure of a drive.

 

There is nothing Mickey Mouse about this system, is simply does what you want, quietly, reliably and simply.

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