/ NAS box recommendations?
Anyone got advice or avoid at all costs type recommendations?*
* I am not a technophobe but I find this stuff really tedious, and my brain freezes with excessive techno details.
I just bought a QNAP NAS and it's been brilliant. The interface is web-based so it's platform independent and everything was reasonably intuitive to set up. Have it sharing files with Windows and Linux computers, streaming films to the Playstation and music to a Raspberry Pi (they'll stream to Sonos too or other streaming devices too).
I bought a four-bay version as we needed RAID 5 capability to conform to my partner's company's procedures when he works from home, but there are two bay versions available as well which look good for pure domestic use.
I just use any old PC running Linux. Very cheap, and there's lots of easy to use open source NAS software out there these days.
Thanks Jonny. We don't have an old PC though.
Kathryn - you've reminded me to run this past my work IT lot! Will check out your suggestion - thanks.
before you splash out on a NAS box, there are a couple of questions you should ask yourself.
The first one, is how much information you have to begin. This includes everything you hold most dear in the digital world. Once you have a number, then double it and this should be a starting point for the size of NAS storage you may need with space to grow over the coming years.
Next question is, do you want a Network Access Storage Device or a Network Storage Drive?
I have only just learnt about Network Drives and these are basic devices with a single hard drive, while NAS boxes have two or more drives.
Personally I, would and, have gone with a NAS box containing two drives. I also have these two drives working in such a way that they both hold the exact same information on both. So, if one drive dies then the other will save the day because it is a mirror image of the other disk. The only drawback is that you halve the storage space in the process. So, if you have a 2TB NAS box and everything is mirrored then you really have 1Tb of storage to play with. The theory is that if one drive dies then you replace it with a brand new disc of the same size/speed, and the NAS box does its magic by filling it with all the information from the drive that did NOT die.
This set-up saved the day when one year the dog panicked and knocked the NAS box killing one of the hard drives stone dead.
If you have a Network Drive, with only one disc, and that disc breaks then there could be tears at bedtime.
When I bought my NAS box I went for two drives with 4Tb of storage. This gave me 2Tb to play with once I had them backing each other up. At first I thought this would be plenty. But within a couple of years I was scratching for space. This forced me to buy a couple of 3Tb drives. Its amazing how easily it is to hoard stuff and refuse to delete it.
I too have a SONOS set-up connected to my NAS box. Its great playing music on my SONOS set-up without first having to fire up the PC. Its pretty cool watching movies or TV shows on my Tablet, again without worrying if the power hungry PC is turned on. :-)
It is worth pointing out that Google Play will allow you to upload 22,000 songs! You can then play them on any device that connects to the net. One file is one song so quite a lot to be going at. Google Drive then give you an additional 15GB on top and if that isn't enough, http://copy.com and Microsoft etc will give you huge amounts of external storage. For consumable data, there is no need for a NAS.
Yes - pretty much all my music is on google play. But to get at it you need to be online. And it wont let you download songs more than 4 times. And work IT wont let play music/music manager on my laptop so uploading is a pain.
Excellent reply - thankyou!
Someone further up recommended Buffalo. IT bloke at work rates them too, has one at home. So Ill be checking them out.
What is your wireless router? Might be worth checking if it has a USB port that you can plug an external hard-drive directly into.
This might be of interest to you http://www.raid-calculator.com/raid-types-reference.aspx
It is a description of different ways of setting up multiple drives for fault tolerance and their advantages and disadvantages - what the Lemming described is RAID 1 and is fine for home use.
On the same site, there is a calculator where you can put in the number of drives you have, their sizes and how you want to configure them and it will tell you how much usable space you will get.
We currently have 2 x 3Tb drives with RAID 1 in ours, which gives us 3Tb space and the tolerance to lose a drive. When we get a PO from t'other half's company, we will get another 2 x 3Tb drives and set it up as RAID 5 instead, which will give us 9Tb space and retain the tolerance to lose a drive.
Most bought NAS boxes allow you to migrate between RAID types quite easily if you think you might want to expand/change later, but you need at least 3 drives for anything other than RAID 0 (which increases access speed but leaves you with no tolerance for drive loss, so probably isn't what you want) or 1.
I've got a Netgear Stora with 2x 1TB disks inside as a RAID1 pair.
Dead simple to set up & configure.
Acts as a DLNA server for media stored on it as well which I believe Sonos supports.
Modern equivalent I guess would be a Netgear ReadyNAS.
I have a Zyxel NSA325 with 2x 3Tb drives set up in Raid 1 (I think - they mirror each other). It's plugged into one of the Ethernet ports on our wireless router. It's great for streaming music and video but rather slow for backing up large amounts of data. For backing up my laptop (& for the initial copying of 45Gb of music and 900Gb of videos) it generally proves quicker to put the data on an external USB drive and plug it directly into a USB port on the NAS and then copy it across rather than attempt to copy it over through the network.
I know a few folk with the Netgear ReadyNas and they rate them.
FreeNas is a great open source NAS apllication and it will run on any old box you have lying around and simple to use.
It might be overkill for your needs but I run a HP Microserver with FreeNas and it is bombroof.
If I were you, I would stick to using mirrored pairs of disks rather than going for RAID 5. The rebuild time for a RAID 5 array with such large disks is likely to be several days during which time disk performance will be awful. If you don't have a hot spare then you will have to add in disk procurement time and installation as well.
Disk storage is cheap so the cost saving of RAID 5 is neglible really. Mirroring or RAID 10 if your controller chip supports it has several advantages for rebuild performance:
1) Rebuilds are isolated to a single mirrored pair, not the entire array, so the largest rebuild is only ever the size of a single drive.
2) Rebuilds have a write factor of one, so the performance is excellent. No parity recalc needed on rebuild, it is just a copy. So the controller can move at maximum speed.
3) A parity based RAID setup has to rebuild the entire array. So the bigger the array and the slower the disks, the slower it goes.
Sadly t'other half's SOP, which I suspect was written by someone who has been told something but doesn't really understand it, states that data should be stored on a RAID 5 array so we are kind of stuck with that. Mirrored pairs or RAID 10 would indeed be my choice if we could do that.
One or two of the exceptionally IT savi dudes on here rate QNAP very highly. and if my PC World iomega box dies then I will be investing some serious wedge in a QNAP box.
The phrase buy cheap pay twice is very adapt here. My relatively cheap NAS box costing £300 for two 2Tb drives seemed like a bargain untill on of the drives died. I then discovered that the drives were obsolete and as a result I could not find a replacement. Well I could but they were fuukin expensive.
In the ebd I bought two Western Digital drives that were specifically made for the consumer/domestic/punter market and specifically for NAS boxes.
I bought a couple of WD Red 3Tb drives from ebuyer and the price has dropped further.
Think about buying a case and filling it with some WD RED drives, which are designed to run 24/7 till the day they die.
Thanks all for the responses - its really appreciated. Some internet research and then shopping planned this weekend then....
Yeah, I just meant that you could pick one up for a few quid (or free at a council recycling centre) and make it work just fine, rather than N hundred quid.
Western Digital My Cloud looks a very interesting and cheap product.
if you decide you want a Netgear Ready NAS I have a 2TB disk 1GB ram with a spare 1TB disk for sale.
I work on Kirkstall road if you want to collect.
If your interested let me know and i will send you details.
Got a ReadyNAS with 4 x 1.5TB drives. Had it a number of years and so far it's been brill. DLNA is useful.
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