NAS recommendations

Anyone have any recommendations for good NAS setups? I'm thinking about setting one up in the future, so trying to learn about them. Seems like Synology is a pretty popular product. I'd like to get a 4 bay model. The price of these devices is kind of turning me off though... they cost hundreds and don't even come with drives.

I'd like to use the NAS for music storage for my streamer, and also for cloud storage/sync for my computers. Right now I have Dropbox Pro, which is going up to $120/year, so if a NAS could completely replace Dropbox for me for the foreseeable future, that would ease the financial pain of the purchase a bit.

So, any recommendations on good NAS setups? Thanks in advance.

Comments

  • tophatjohnnytophatjohnny Posts: 2,704
    Happy with Synology and currently own and use their DS 918+.
    "if it's not fun, it's not worth it & remember folks, "It's All About The Music"!!
    *****************************
  • EmlynEmlyn Posts: 2,529
    Synology with Western Digital Red drives. I run mine in RAID configuration, so four 8TB drives turns into only around 14TB usable. The drives can be the expensive part of the system. Very secure though! I bought and deployed a NAS when what I was storing got above 4TB. Made sense to me to not wait any longer.

    I still do separate occasional backups to external USB drives even with the RAID configuration on the NAS.
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  • This all depends on your end goals as to whether or not a NAS is something you really need/desire.

    From your comments, it sounds like you want to have a place to backup files from your computer and store music - at least right now. The biggest questions from here are why you want to store files to the cloud? Is this in case of fire or something else to prevent loss? If you are looking to store offsite for those protections, a NAS is not going to be your solution.

    Use a NAS if you want to store files centrally and have access to those files from a number of devices. This be useful if you want to store music for example and have it accessible on a number of devices, say a phone, your streamer, your computer and so on. A NAS is also useful if you want to configure RAID to do disk mirroring. This can help if you are worried about a drive failing and losing all your data. Mirroring will basically have two hard drives mirrored. If one fails, the other is a complete replica and you won't lose your data. You would then just replace the failing drive with a new one.

    Other options to a NAS are connecting a portable hard drive to your router (if your router supports this). That will give you access to the drive from any device on your network. However, this solution does not provide any use of applications that would run on a NAS - such as PLEX or "cloud" backup.

    I have a Synology 4 bay NAS. I use it for movies, music, and photos. I run the PLEX application on the Synology to watch movies, listen and listen to music. The PLEX app runs on my phones, Roku and smart TVs. This way I have access to my media throughout my home.

    I also use the Synology to backup our photos from our iPhones. It is our own personal cloud in that way. All photos are backed up to the Synology and we can clear them off our phone. I have the Synology set up with RAID mirroring so that in case of drive failure we are somewhat protected from losing all those photos, music and movies. In this way we don't pay Apple for cloud storage or any other vendor for that matter. Now if we have a fire, then we would still lose all that. This is not a protection against offsite backup.

    You would need to decide how much data you need for storage. If 8TB is more than enough, then you could go with a two drive model and get two 8TB drives and have them in RAID mirroring if you want. Not cheap, but it depends how much your data means to you and if you think it's replaceable. If you don't go with the RAID mirroring, you could get 16TB of storage in a two drive NAS - even more now with some of the bigger drives (12TB). However, the bigger you go the bigger the costs.

    The Synolgy DS218+ (2 bay) is around $290.
    An 8TB Western Digital Red drive is $214 each. A 4TB is about half that.

    These are not going to be "cheap", but it depends on what you want to do. For around $500 you could have a NAS with two 4TB drives in either RAID mirroring (4TB of data total) or separate for 8TB total. Costs will go up from there depending on your data needs.

    If you really just want to store music and your router supports USB drives connected, you may be able to just get a 4TB portable drive for $120 and be done. However, if you are looking for more as I have indicated above, then a NAS may be what you desire.

    I started with 2 bay a long time ago. I still use it today for computer file backups. My newer one I use for running applications as it has a more powerful processor.

    I love the Synology system. Easy to use and I have had no troubles with anything with them.

    Good luck with whatever route you take.


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  • CottageChzCottageChz Posts: 77
    edited September 25
    Thanks for all the responses so far. Synology seems to be popular here in the Polk forums, which I suspected.

    @GospelTruth You touched on a lot of good use cases in your post. I will be using this to serve music files to my streamer, and perhaps at some point in the future I would also stream to devices off the home network... but I do not have unlimited wireless data presently, so this is not something I'm interested in at the moment. I would also like to use it to replace Dropbox, which I use to access and edit files across multiple devices for work (while both on and off the home network). So I would like the NAS to replicate the functionality of Dropbox, in that, if I open, edit, and save a file on one device, it updates that file on other devices and also in the web interface.

    I will definitely be configuring the NAS in some sort of RAID setup that allows for redundancy so I don't lose files if a drive fails. I currently have a mirrored RAID drive hooked up to my primary work computer for backup, though if i am not mistaken, there are alternate RAID setups that aren't 100% mirroring if you have more than two drives. I understand the benefits of RAID, but also the limitations, in that I would lose all my files were my house to catch on fire or something.

    Also a little more info, I am streaming to a Lumin D1. I currently use minimserver on two different computers, one of which has an all-FLAC library and the other has an all-MP3 library. This works fine, but I think I would prefer to have everything in one location that's always on (sometimes my computers are off and I have to go boot them up and open the minimserver app). I am curious if I'd still be able to create separate libraries (as far as the Lumin is concerned) for FLAC and MP3 if all of my files were on the NAS.
  • JayCeeJayCee Posts: 653
    edited September 25
    +1 for Synology. Have been running their 2 bay offerings in a mirrored RAID since 2012. Also have a Synology router and their respective software suites are nice, IMO. Used to use the NAS as a streamer but have moved to Roon Rock on an Intel NUC that stays on 24/7. NAS is booted up for backup of both music and data files. Have an external USB drive that is my backup of the backup and is never on other than to archive. Old drives that are replaced with larger drives become my off-site storage and I have family members hold on to them. My background is mainframe database admin and I always ensure regular/off-site storage in case of catastrophic failure. Currently, running dual 8TB drives.
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  • tophatjohnnytophatjohnny Posts: 2,704
    Reds used to be my choice but when I moved up to the 4 bay I decided to do iron wolf drives and they perform great too. Currently 4 10TB drives and a healthy system. Raid so no bed 🐛's will slow it down.
    "if it's not fun, it's not worth it & remember folks, "It's All About The Music"!!
    *****************************
  • JayCeeJayCee Posts: 653
    Reds used to be my choice but when I moved up to the 4 bay I decided to do iron wolf drives and they perform great too. Currently 4 10TB drives and a healthy system. Raid so no bed 🐛's will slow it down.

    Formerly used WD Red but my current drives are also Iron Wolf. Built a new NAS over the summer and so far they've performed as advertised. Quit a bit more self-diagnostic and, hopefully, will report trouble well in advance of any.
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  • Seems like a lot of people are using two bay NAS setups. Maybe I should just go with two bay to save some cash. Since there are some people with tech/IT backgrounds here - are there certain RAID configurations that are only available to setups with more than two drives? I read about RAID configurations a while ago, but can’t remember the details at the moment. I know that my current backup drive is a simple 1:1 mirror using two identical size drives. What is the most preferred RAID configuration - 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, etc.?
  • D'privedD'prived Posts: 191
    I have 4 QNAP NAS. A 2 bay, 2-4 bays and a 5 bay. All 4 have been running 24/7 for the past 2-8 years with WD Red HD's. In that time I've had 1 hard drive fail.
  • tophatjohnnytophatjohnny Posts: 2,704
    Any drive can fail . it was the red that failed and after that I switched to the iron wolf's no issues but am totally aware they too can go. That's why we need to stay backed up.
    "if it's not fun, it's not worth it & remember folks, "It's All About The Music"!!
    *****************************
  • JayCeeJayCee Posts: 653
    edited September 27
    CottageChz wrote: »
    Seems like a lot of people are using two bay NAS setups. Maybe I should just go with two bay to save some cash. Since there are some people with tech/IT backgrounds here - are there certain RAID configurations that are only available to setups with more than two drives? I read about RAID configurations a while ago, but can’t remember the details at the moment. I know that my current backup drive is a simple 1:1 mirror using two identical size drives. What is the most preferred RAID configuration - 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, etc.?

    Really depends on the application. Data I managed in the AF was housed at a regional processing center and had silos of drives with backups. Our off-site storage was saved to tape and physically taken away. Been a few years but I'd be surprised if they haven't gone to a cloud like backup. Our database saves occurred once a day and we had the ability to recover (play back) every transaction from the point forward from the last save.

    With respect to your question...in large scale data warehouses it's more important to have portions of data start to go and self-diagnose with a simple swap of a drive. Also is more critical because different RAID strategies are faster for read/write. Not so important, if at all, in a home environment. For the average user that's not running a data type center with a multitude of users I'd say mirrored RAID is adequate, but do ensure you have a separate/permanent backup that you can fall back to and you're okay losing at least some data. Key is to have a strategy and risk tolerance routine you're comfortable with. In addition to planning for data failure or an errant deletion, etc., ensure you have a firewall and run antivirus scans often.
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  • Thanks, seems like mirrored is the way to go for me, as speed shouldn't be much of a concern for my application.
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