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Looking for a Storage Solution....

Chess

Golden Member
Mar 5, 2001
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So I have alot of data that I save, mainly on DVDS, Bluray right now and I want to have it on my home network/ Obviously, when it comes to anything like this I am use to stuff at work, such as NetApp and carving out spaces to run 100's and 1000's of VM's......

I want something for my files at home, as well as transcoding videos to watch.
The main files I am backing up are, pictures (son plays alot of sports), music, movies, data backups of my home machine, laptop, and two other machines I have here locally.
I am really unsure which route to go.

Everytime I look at QNAP, I see something I don't like and go look at Synology. LOL....

I do know I want the following.
A min of 4 drives.
4k transcoding
Ability to create VM's etc....

The following I have in mind are
QNAP - TS-x53A
QNAP - TS-653A
Synology DS1515+
Synology DS918+

Thanks yall !!
 
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XavierMace

Diamond Member
Apr 20, 2013
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You're probably not going to be happy with the 4K transcoding performance of any of those, unless you're fine with really low bit rate streams and only one stream at a time. Especially if you're going to be running VM's at the same time too.
 
Feb 25, 2011
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For 4k transcoding and VM hosting, you're not going to want a prebuilt. They don't really have enough CPU power.

For hardware, I would say find a fairly recent "vmware whitebox" hardware list / build / writeup on servethehome's forum, or /r/homelab/. Build it and add HDDs to taste. I highly recommend getting a motherboard with IPMI and a virtual/IP KVM.

For OS, justoh mentioned FreeNAS - you can probably get that working ok but my preference would be to run a Linux distro, and use that as a hypervisor w/ KVM. Haven't tried it lately but FreeNAS and FreeBSD have been historically limited as far as hypervisors go. I much prefer KVM. Or you could use the "free" version of ESX.

You can either use the Host environment as your file server also (pretty easy to configure), or you can make a VM be your file server and figure out how to get it disk access.
 

dtgoodwin

Member
Jun 5, 2009
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I built a FreeNAS server several years ago. The requirements of the OS are pretty hefty as far as memory is concerned. It is also a tricky one from a support perspective. The forums for it are filled with users that expect you to know how to resolve your own problems or will sneer if you stray even slightly from the recommended hardware. I do not recommend it unless you are very knowledgeable about it, or have hours to really study it. It is also important to recognize the limitations of it. It doesn't expand easily at all. The VM support for it isn't straightforward and easy to use.

I have moved to xpenology for now using a 2x8TB Synology Hybrid Array using the btrfs filesystem. There is so much more flexibility with this. If I want to go from the 8TB usable, I can add a third 8 TB drive and double my space while maintaining single-drive redundancy. The interface and operation are very easy to use, adding VMs is very easy and straightforward.

Using the very same motherboard CPU, and memory, my xpenology system (2x8TB Western Digital RED attached to the motherboard controller) bested my FreeNAS setup (7x3TB Western Digital RED in a RAIDZ2) in every benchmark, but notably in the small file transfer as both systems are severely limited by my single gigabit connection. I was quite surprised at this believing that the extra spindles I had in FreeNAS would have performed better with small files.

My plan is to purchase the 918+ as soon as I have funds available so I will be on supported hardware. Because the 918+ has a modern Intel processor, it has support for hardware transcoding. There are many reviews that show it is more than capable of decoding 2 4K streams, or up to 3 1080P streams.
 
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chrx144

Junior Member
Feb 19, 2018
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The best storage device is an external harddrive. It will definitely transfer your files
 

tracerbullet

Golden Member
Feb 22, 2001
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I was in a similar boat around the holidays a few months ago. Finally realized no NAS (well no "reasonably priced" NAS meaning under $400 - $500 or so) was going to be able to really dot he transcoding. Some can indeed do it but you're looking at double the cost. Was thinking FreeNAS box but there's the headache I had with HTPC"s long ago - fun to learn and set up but realistically a Tivo was tons easier.

I finally just got a cheap NAS box and plugged it into a router along with one of these: https://www.sony.com/electronics/blu-ray-disc-players/ubp-x800

I let that do the transcoding work. It's been perfect, it hasn't choked on anything I have thrown at it. It was all easy to set up too, load files on the NAS and let the DVD player play those files. Less expensive and less work than any other option I was considering.

I'd do it again. Maybe an option for you?
 

Chess

Golden Member
Mar 5, 2001
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I was in a similar boat around the holidays a few months ago. Finally realized no NAS (well no "reasonably priced" NAS meaning under $400 - $500 or so) was going to be able to really dot he transcoding. Some can indeed do it but you're looking at double the cost. Was thinking FreeNAS box but there's the headache I had with HTPC"s long ago - fun to learn and set up but realistically a Tivo was tons easier.

I finally just got a cheap NAS box and plugged it into a router along with one of these: https://www.sony.com/electronics/blu-ray-disc-players/ubp-x800

I let that do the transcoding work. It's been perfect, it hasn't choked on anything I have thrown at it. It was all easy to set up too, load files on the NAS and let the DVD player play those files. Less expensive and less work than any other option I was considering.

I'd do it again. Maybe an option for you?
I totally get it... Alot of people are saying build one yourself... it looks like the Qnap 653 will do fine reading the qnap forum... I could be completely wrong... who knows LOL....

I prefer not to build one just dont have tons of free time.. but its an option indeed...
 

aigomorla

Cases and Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
Super Moderator
Sep 28, 2005
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I use freenas in a supermicro shell.

It has 2 intel Xeon Hexcores and is loaded with about 98gb of ECC Reg DDR3 ram.
It can transcode multipul streams of 4k fine via Plex Addon.
I also have it tied direct to my server on a 10gbe connection via 10gbe sfp+ DAC cable , so i can move data to and from my server at 10gbe network speed.
Those nic cards only costed me around 20 dollars each.

Like this:
https://youtu.be/KHiucyRYX_w

I have about 12 drives in it, on 2 different Raid-Z arrays which allows me to have 1 drive fault protection on each array before i need to goto my backups.
I have a total of 16 drive i can load onto that server which comes from 2 x LSI 9220i flashed to IT mode, and its all hotswap.


FreeNas is very heavy on hardware, and the thing that peeves me the most is the requirement of ECC ram.
I know a lot of people will say its not necessary, however on a OS which is structured around using DB, i want that extra layer of protection when i move massive amounts of data to and from.

But you can pick up some cheap server refurbs right now and build a system out of that.

I looked at the Qnap and Synology route, however i wanted something with a bit more processing power, and HDD storage.
I also like the full on stability that a supermicro based system will offer vs, a Qnap or Synology system.
Of course, my NAS however most likely draws more wattage then both the Qnap and Synology systems added together will, but if i something breaks, or i want something more, its far more easier to source parts for, or even repair.

I can also move my FreeNAS DB to another system as long as i still have the drives, as the directories are located on the drive and not the controller.
So if the system ever goes completely kaput, i can just install freenas on a new machine, move disks over and start the detection of the arrays.
 
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tracerbullet

Golden Member
Feb 22, 2001
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One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to try and have the NAS do the transcoding work is to research the CPU's in them. All the reading I did suggested a passmark bench score of 2000 at a minimum and likely higher if you wanted to be sure to not have any issues. The Qnap 653 looks to have a Celeron 3160 in it which would get you in the neighborhood of 1500, might not be enough. Don't quote me on the #'s but definitely look it up. You may have to step up another level of NAS to truly have reliable transcoding out of it, closer to $1000 for 4-bay. This is why going the direction of a small PC, or as I mentioned simply a good new 4k DVD player do that work.
 

dtgoodwin

Member
Jun 5, 2009
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One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to try and have the NAS do the transcoding work is to research the CPU's in them. All the reading I did suggested a passmark bench score of 2000 at a minimum and likely higher if you wanted to be sure to not have any issues. The Qnap 653 looks to have a Celeron 3160 in it which would get you in the neighborhood of 1500, might not be enough. Don't quote me on the #'s but definitely look it up. You may have to step up another level of NAS to truly have reliable transcoding out of it, closer to $1000 for 4-bay. This is why going the direction of a small PC, or as I mentioned simply a good new 4k DVD player do that work.
Passmark is only important if you are doing full software decoding. The Celeron 3160 has hardware acceleration for these functions. It cannot do more than 2 4K streams, but it can do those, and at much lower power usage than with software encoding.
 
Feb 25, 2011
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Passmark is only important if you are doing full software decoding. The Celeron 3160 has hardware acceleration for these functions. It cannot do more than 2 4K streams, but it can do those, and at much lower power usage than with software encoding.
Are those functions actually enabled on these linux-lite NAS boxes or is that just a Windows thing?
 

dtgoodwin

Member
Jun 5, 2009
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Are those functions actually enabled on these linux-lite NAS boxes or is that just a Windows thing?
QNAP and Synology are utilizing the hardware acceleration. They wouldn't be able to support transcoding if they weren't using the QSV hardware block.
 

tracerbullet

Golden Member
Feb 22, 2001
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Passmark is only important if you are doing full software decoding. The Celeron 3160 has hardware acceleration for these functions. It cannot do more than 2 4K streams, but it can do those, and at much lower power usage than with software encoding.
I can't say this isn't true, I have not tested it. I will say it's contrary to everything I have ever read, from users here and other sites, not just giving opinions but having tried it. That the 3160 could do a single 1080 transcode but could not do 4k or a pair of 1080's at the same time. People seemed to need i7's to even attempt a pair of 4k transcodes.

It's interesting that you say this, I'd like to know more. Not to challenge you but to see how it is this works when it seemed like every single other thing I've read says otherwise. Maybe we're talking about different operations / inputs / outputs?
 

justoh

Diamond Member
Jun 11, 2013
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Installed freenas recently on my old 2600 (16gb ram, obviously non ecc). 2x cheap thumb drives for os and 2x wd reds for storage. Doesn't have to be an expensive xeon monster. Just don't mention that if you ask the community for help. VM works just fine. Running centOS within it for pi hole.
 

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