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Advice for simple home NAS

yottabit

Golden Member
Jun 5, 2008
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Hey guys - I need help scoping out what I need / budgeting for a simple home NAS.

Requirements-
  • 4 TB+ storage for storing old family photos/home video
    • methodology for tagging/organizing this kind of content is a bonus.
  • Occasional streaming of HD 1080p video & ripped DVD footage to Fire Stick / Roku
    • again cataloging functionality would be nice
  • Backup mechanism for preserving this data
  • Turnkey / plug and play -ish
Budget I was thinking ~$500-600 for NAS, Drives + backup drive. But this is flexible if you can convince me it's worth it to spend more.

So these aren't exactly advanced requirements and I'm just trying to figure out if a single drive NAS can suffice, if I should go dual bay or a quad+ bay system. And if I could use something simple like an external USB HDD for backup.

Background-
My only experience with NAS is I once setup a Qnap 2 bay NAS w/ WD Reds in Raid 1 mirror as a temporary network server for a job a few years ago. Backed up with external HDD over USB

That seemed to work out well and had decent performance. But I question if I it would be overkill for home as I don't really need the mission critical uptime from a RAID array so long as I have the backup.

Right now we have a 2x 1 TB external HDDs, and probably dozens of older small drives, smartphones,CD-R/DVD-R that have photos and videos on them that we want to consolidate. My wife and I are planning on slogging through all this stuff and organizing it once and for all.

Options I'm looking at currently:

Starting at the cheapest option, I feel like this WD Mycloud Single Drive 4 TB option could work:
https://www.amazon.com/Cloud-Personal-Network-Attached-Storage/dp/B00EVVGAD0/ref=lp_13436301_1_1?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1502038765&sr=1-1&th=1

I know nothing about these. Are they decent?

Would you be concerned about performance streaming HD video on a single bay solution? Also there could be up to 2-3 Win10 PCs accessing the NAS at the same time over GigE ethernet. It's fine with it having some performance drop in that scenario. I know RAID should offer quite a bit higher read performance

Next step up to something like the dual-drive, Mycloud 4 TB (or 8 TB) if merited:
https://www.amazon.com/Cloud-Ultra-Network-Attached-Storage/dp/B01AWH04EW/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1502040604&sr=1-1&keywords=WD+4TB+My+Cloud+EX2

Or step up even more and get a diskless from somebody like Synology / Qnap and populate drives myself.

I wouldn't feel bad about dropping <$200 on the single drive Mycloud to get started and at least have something to test out. Then upgrade to a better NAS down the line as storage needs grow. In any scenario I will be purchasing also a separate USB external HDD to backup the NAS, unless you guys have a better backup plan. I'm also considering cloud backups. It would be nice to have some way to access from our smartphones on the go but not a requirement.

My concern about investing in something like a 4+ bay solution upfront is as I don't actually need that space now or anytime soon, the firmware/hardware could go obsolete before I hit those capacity needs.

I'm just starting out my research so will continue digging into this but thought it would be helpful to hear from anyone that went throw a similar decision making process. Thanks!
 
Feb 25, 2011
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For what you seem to want, you can't really go wrong with a mid-range Synology 2-bay diskless & a pair of 4TB WD Reds. (6TB drives if you can swing the extra cost.) Set them up in a mirror, just for safeties sake. (Since, in all likelihood, after an HD failure, you will have at least one "oh crap that file was on the NAS" moment before you have time to restore it from a backup.) Or something will go wrong with your backup drive at an inopportune moment, or you'll change credit cards and forget to renew your Crashplan subscription, etc.)

Look into a cloud service subscription (Crashplan, Backblaze, others. I do not have a preference.) to back up the NAS.

My only experience with NAS is I once setup a Qnap 2 bay NAS w/ WD Reds in Raid 0 mirror as a temporary network server for a job a few years ago. Backed up with external HDD over USB

That seemed to work out well and had decent performance. But I question if I it would be overkill for home as I don't really need the mission critical uptime from a RAID array so long as I have the backup.
RAID-0 is a terrible idea, and is kind of the "anti-uptime" as far as mission critical stuff goes. It is faster, but even a single drive will be bottlenecked by 1Gb Ethernet, so don't bother.
 
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yottabit

Golden Member
Jun 5, 2008
1,198
2
81
For what you seem to want, you can't really go wrong with a mid-range Synology 2-bay diskless & a pair of 4TB WD Reds. (6TB drives if you can swing the extra cost.) Set them up in a mirror, just for safeties sake. (Since, in all likelihood, after an HD failure, you will have at least one "oh crap that file was on the NAS" moment before you have time to restore it from a backup.) Or something will go wrong with your backup drive at an inopportune moment, or you'll change credit cards and forget to renew your Crashplan subscription, etc.)

Look into a cloud service subscription (Crashplan, Backblaze, others. I do not have a preference.) to back up the NAS.

RAID-0 is a terrible idea, and is kind of the "anti-uptime" as far as mission critical stuff goes. It is faster, but even a single drive will be bottlenecked by 1Gb Ethernet, so don't bother.
Yeah the Raid 0 was a typo (or more honest I forgot which one was which), I meant Raid 1 mirror. My understanding is mirror still gives a good boost in read performance since both drives can be read simultaneously. Is that right?

Thanks for the input
 
Feb 25, 2011
16,546
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Yeah the Raid 0 was a typo (or more honest I forgot which one was which), I meant Raid 1 mirror. My understanding is mirror still gives a good boost in read performance since both drives can be read simultaneously. Is that right?

Thanks for the input
Depends on the controller. It can.

But either way - for big ol' sequential reads, even a single hard drive will saturate a Gigabit Ethernet connection, so it doesn't matter.
 

cfenton

Senior member
Jul 27, 2015
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I use a WD MyCloud for most of the stuff you describe. The WD drive will only do about 40MB/s write and 80MB/s read, but that's more than enough for video streaming or photo access. Mine is three years old, so new versions might be faster. I've never tried accessing it from two devices at once, so I don't know how it handles multiple active users. I like WD's app. It allows you to access your content easily from mobile devices. I think it can be used over the internet, but I've never tried it. It also has a USB port on the back that you can use to connect another drive to use as a backup. The WD software will let you configure a backup schedule. The big weakness is that it doesn't run any third-party software, so no Plex. Unless WD has a Roku app (I have no idea), you'll have to browse the folders directly through FTP or DLNA. If that's important to you, I'd recommend stepping up to something from Synology or Qnap that can run a basic media server.

I also have a NAS4free box that I built because I wanted to experiment. It was pretty cheap to build (I mostly used old parts) other than the cost of the drives. It's not plug-and-play, but it's a big step up in performance. It's probably more than you need, or want to deal with, but it's expandable, fast, and (relatively) cheap.
 

Ranulf

Golden Member
Jul 18, 2001
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I'd go with a 2bay Synology or Qnap just to make things easier for setup, support and for multi user same time access. A 4bay with only 2 bays populated to start can give you room to expand later on if you need it or want to start saving system images/backups to it.
 

Malogeek

Golden Member
Mar 5, 2017
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yaktribe.org
Another vote for a 2-bay Synology. There are models to suit your needs and there's fantastic 1st and 3rd party application support for them.
 

Yakk

Golden Member
May 28, 2016
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Synology vote here too, as big as you can afford. I use mine for everything, from work to media server and even cloud storage when I'm on the road.
 

yottabit

Golden Member
Jun 5, 2008
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Thanks everyone!

Looks like I will be deciding between Synology 2 bay or 4 bay

I like the prospect of Raid 5 so the 4 bay that does seem worth considering raising the budget.

How does everyone feel about WD Red vs Seagate Ironwolf?
 

Malogeek

Golden Member
Mar 5, 2017
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I like the prospect of Raid 5 so the 4 bay that does seem worth considering raising the budget.
You don't use RAID 5, you use Synology SHR it's far more versatile, especially for consumer use. I'd highly recommend gong the 4-bay if you can as you'll have better processors and obviously greater expandability later on. SHR will allow you to mix drive sizes easily and upgrade your drives at any time one at a time. Start with 2 drives for now and leave 2 bays empty.

How does everyone feel about WD Red vs Seagate Ironwolf?
I've used WD Reds both at work and at home for many years with great success so I've continued using them. I'm sure you could find numbers online on failure rates, do research on expected MTBF etc. or simply go with what you'd prefer. I'd sure you'd be happy with either, personally I don't like Seagate drives from my own history with them.
 

EXCellR8

Diamond Member
Sep 1, 2010
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686
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Synology Units are certainly worth the investment. However, for home use I have a 4-bay Drobo with 2TB WD Red drives. I don't need all of the functionality of the Synology device but I would definitely recommend them. I set up a DS213+ at the office and I only ran into one I/O issue that forced me to manually downgrade the OS but it was a small price to pay. Fantastic little machine.

Simple to use, but not-so-simple in design and OS implementation.
 
Feb 25, 2011
16,546
1,315
126
Synology Units are certainly worth the investment. However, for home use I have a 4-bay Drobo with 2TB WD Red drives. I don't need all of the functionality of the Synology device but I would definitely recommend them. I set up a DS213+ at the office and I only ran into one I/O issue that forced me to manually downgrade the OS but it was a small price to pay. Fantastic little machine.

Simple to use, but not-so-simple in design and OS implementation.
See, I would generally consider Synology and Drobo to be in the same category. Synology frequently gets high marks for ease of use.

And the "premium" models are usually sporting faster CPUs and features (like video streaming) that are targeted at home users. But they're not really beefy enough to be used in an office by a lot of users.
 

EXCellR8

Diamond Member
Sep 1, 2010
3,767
686
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I would agree, as we have a small office of only around 30 or so people. We do CAD work though so the Synology NAS had a relatively low read and write rate. I believe I used a pair of Seagate Constellation drives, mirrored.

We primarily use the device for backup purposes now, but my guess is that it will be phased out in the next couple of years; at that point I'll make it my own little office NAS. The Drobo I have at home is an older model that I bought used, but it's been working fine. I think I might replace the cooling fan in it soon though because when the system is off it continues to run and is a little noisy. Lacks the dedicated OS of the DS213 but the software does what I need it to. Don't try to run it under Linux though, what a headache.
 

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