Talk to me about NAS setups

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  • Talk to me about NAS setups
  • theflatboy
    Member

    I have realised I need a NAS setup in my life, for centralised media storage, backup of important photos and streaming to my media player – a squeezebox (which is phyiscally located next to where the NAS will live).

    I currently have a 2tb media storage only drive in my desktop, which I wish to hoik out and pop in a NAS enclosure. I intend to pop another 2tb drive in the NAS so they can mirror content and also to act as backups for my laptop/desktop.

    A question – do the two drives used have to be identical to work in this way, or will any other 2tb drive do the job? Any recommendations for decent NAS enclosures either with or without the 2nd drive included would be much appreciated.

    This is probably useless to you, but I’m a sad nerd, so I’m building my own cheap one, out of a raspberry pi and a bunch of drives, USB enclosures etc. that I have hanging around.

    Plan for mine is big disk to store photos on, plus a magic script to upload all photos to a flickr pro account as they come in for off-site backup. Possibly videos -> youtube also (although obviously they don’t keep the original, or short videos -> flickr – I don’t shoot much video and it isn’t super important or good quality.

    It won’t be super fast or anything, but I was just shocked at how much proper NAS enclosures cost, and most of them don’t even let you write your own scripts for them, for off site backup or whatever, so you’re stuck with whatever they support. It should also be quite low power which is nice – some of the NAS enclosures are quite high power, so it’s worth paying attention to that.

    Bearing in mind two things:

    the NAS itself will probably need to format the hard drive to be compatible with its OS.

    the NAS needs to be backed up even if you run a raid mirror.

    With this in mind, I’d grab 2 new drives and a USB enclosure. Stick your existing 2tb drive in the enclosure, copy it on to the NAS and then use it to backup the NAS so all your central data is safe.

    Drives don’t need to be identical but there may be some compatibility issues, worth checking on the manufacturers site once you’ve picked a NAS.

    Qnap or Synology are both very good but a bit more expensive than entry level. Transfer speed across the network is more than likely limited by the CPU rather than network speed, so go as fast as you can justify if you move big files around.

    I chose a Qnap TS239 Pro and 2 drives – very happy with it.

    theflatboy
    Member

    edit – in reply to jm: it is definitely interesting, and power demands are a big consideration in terms of running costs as it will be on a lot. i’m not sure i’m quite up to the level of techiness to be able to DIY it, though. To get it running squeezebox stream and all the automated stuff you’re talking about would be beyond me i think. your plan sounds good though!

    theflatboy
    Member

    gs, thanks very much – that’s really heplful. your first point even answered something that had occurred to me but i’d forgotten to ask!

    that’s all really helpful. do you know if the Qnap enclosure will act as a squeezebox server?

    To get it running squeezebox stream and all the automated stuff you’re talking about would be beyond me i think. your plan sounds good though!

    Yeah, I’m not sure if mine’ll be fast enough for much streaming either – at least not video. It’s basically just a cheap and cheerful emergency backup plan – I’m not expecting to run all our music off it or anything. Although now you say that, it has an audio output, so I could stick another one behind the hifi, and build a web interface to choose the music that is streamed. Hmmm. More tinkering in the future maybe.

    Joe

    Qnaps are pretty powerful out of the box but if not, there are packages available to handle all sorts. Mine is running iTunes server (and web, ftp, print and a remote gallery!)

    A quick look on the Qnap site, it’s possible
    http://web.qnap.com/pro_application.asp?ap_id=71

    cranberry
    Member

    Qnap enclosure will act as a squeezebox server?

    Yes, and much, much more. Mine now runs TwonkyMedia 7, a Squeezebox server, ftp, and a website. It is an excellent bit of kit that hasn’t skipped a beat since I got it.

    http://web.qnap.com/QPKG.asp this page details plugins that can be downloaded at the click of a button to extend the functionality of the box.

    theflatboy
    Member

    it does look pretty awesome, not sure i can quite stretch to the price though! perhaps i’ll have to re-evaluate my cost expectation on the project…

    You can get a cheaper Qnap that’ll only take a single drive but still provide the functions. Probably more than enough for home archive and streaming.

    I’d put effort/budget into external backups over RAID unless uptime in the event of a drive failure is critical to you.

    If you are not moving big files often a lower spec one will still stream HD quite happily too.

    bamboo
    Member

    My synology DS211j does exactly what you want (mine runs squeezebox server), and they are very well reviewed and supported. They are a little more expensive than the likes of Buffalo, but I have been very pleased with mine.

    theflatboy
    Member

    cheers all, useful stuff.

    I have a Netgear ReadyNAS Duo V2, it does exactly what you’ve said you’re after. Squeezebox support for the V2 isn’t 100% out of Beta yet though but it does work fine – Being able to drag files from the NAS onto my phone from anywhere is ace, the novelty has not yet worn off!

    theflatboy
    Member

    Just going back to something from earlier, if it’s better to have my current 2tb drive employed as a usb external backup drive to the NAS, what’s the point in having a twin bay mirrored setup in the NAS in the first place if it can’t be relied on as a backup solution?

    A mirror is not a backup, it only allows for a drive failure. If one drive fails, you can carry on working from the exact copy on the other one.

    Since both drives are an exact copy of each other, mirrored drives will NOT protect against accidental deletion, overwriting, file corruption, virus, hardware theft, fire, flood etc as these will all copy across both drives simultaneously!

    Only worth mirroring if you need to maximise up time. Drives are very cheap so why not? But you need some other provision…

    The only sure fire backup is at least one physically removable drive, preferably in a separate location.

    You backup policy depends how much you value your data and how replaceable it is, how paranoid you are and how many bad experiences or near misses you have had.

    theflatboy
    Member

    that makes sense, cheers. i will value the data a lot, as the main thing coming up will be photos of our imminent first child, primarily! i have had a few reasonably bad experiences and near misses to date, but only with music collections etc., nothing as irreplaceable.

    so it sounds like for my reasons even a single bay NAS with another separate unit as backup to that would be better?

    I had a drive failure on my PC during a backup – it took out both source and target, deleting thousands of photos including wedding, honeymoon and some not issued billable commissions for clients! Scary – got it all back but it was painful!

    I reckon a single and regular backup is fine. You could always buy multi drive enclose to futureproof your setup but only run one drive in it for now, and add another drive as and when if you need. Just depends how much cash you want to throw at it!

    If you store all your data on your local machine and also copy to NAS, that’s your backup – but you’ll risk loosing any centralised data that’s only on the NAS if it fails.

    I have:
    Non essential data on NAS only
    Important data on local machines is backed up to NAS
    NAS runs a mirrored drive pair as it’s a live webserver
    NAS then backs up to removable 2x USB drives

    theflatboy
    Member

    excellent advice, thanks a mill. reckon i’ve got a much clearer idea of how to go about it now. 🙂

    theflatboy
    Member

    one last question. i promise. right up when this whole thread all began a usb enclosure for my existing drive was suggested. could someone please recommend a good one? 🙂

    Cletus
    Member

    Check out the HP Microserver as a NAS alternative. Pretty cheap after cashback and low power to run.

    theflatboy
    Member

    sounds interesting. what’s the deal with the cashback and what sort of price are we talking?

    theflatboy
    Member

    any more suggestions? 🙂

    theflatboy
    Member

    has anyone got any experience or knowledge of the Netgear ReadyNAS v2? I could get a WD 2tb drive and that NAS enclosure for £180, seems like a reasonable option? Or could bite the bullet and go an extra £40 or so for the QNAP option…

    Iuse a readynas Duo V2 running Logitech media Server (beta version at the moment) & it seems fine-more facilities than I understand TBH. I only have one drive in it at the moment (will add another later)but I back up to an external hard drive. Only criticism of it is that it makes a bit of a chuntering sound when accessing the hard drive but apart from that it’s good.

    jarvo
    Member

    Is it also worth looking at something like livedrive to upload your important data to? Depending on your broadband upload speed of course.

    Also look at Freenas … you could build your own nas.

    Slogo
    Member

    I’ve just fitted a multimedia system to a 74ft boat.

    Running a Qnap Ts-259 Pro+ 6tb 2 Bay mirrored, with twonkymedia and plex media for iPad viewing. Plus 4 squeezboxs in the cabins flybridge and cockpit area. Using iPeng, ipengparty for guests. With an Oppo Blu-ray and Demon amplifier which is also connected to the network so I can pull media off the server.

    All interfaced using iPad, iPhone and iPod. Works like a dream. Esp through the Genelec speakers in the main saloon. 8)

    theflatboy
    Member

    that sounds pretty awesome!

    theflatboy
    Member

    reckon i’ve made up my mind. am going to go for a single bay QNAP with a 2tb drive, copy the original media onto the NAS and use it for centralised storage as planned, then use the existing drive in the desktop for weekly backups of the NAS. should be c.£200 all in. Cheers for the tips, people. 🙂

    enveetee
    Member

    +1 Synology
    +1 FreeNAS plus a Remanufactured Dell 745 for about 130 squids

    dobo
    Member

    Not tried freenas for a while but i found it too limited. been running an ubuntu server which can run lots of other media stuff, like serviio and subsonic. seems more reliable and faster as well. it runs headless with login via web with webmin.

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