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Pardon my ignorance, why does everyone have a hard-on for NAS PC?

Noo

Senior member
Oct 11, 2013
387
10
81
More specifically FreeNAS or NAS4Free or any NAS operating system. Seriously, can't you share files easily with Windows 7 Share feature? At least with a windows 7 PC, I am not severly limiting my PC with just sharing files locally or have to install a bunch of extra addons to do something that windows can do out of the box.

On top of that, I can easily create and run a VPN server with windows 7 and access my files anywhere in the world with the default windows networking.

With wake on LAN/Wan functionality, I can wake my computer up at anytime, anywhere in the world without having to leave my PC/NAS on 24/7 when I want to access something.

FreeNAS or any NAS OS users brag about how they can torrents...something windows can easily do...

They brag on how NAS provides software raid solution as a "backup"...i guess nobody figured out how to use windows disk management.

And finally, the major feature that windows 7 offer is offline files. I have access to any files and edit any files I want and it'll automatically update the SERVER whenever i connect to the network/internet (VPN). Does FreeNAS offer this?
----------------------------------------

Yes I've tried FreeNAS and that's exactly the reason for this post. I've come to realize windows 7 offer everything theese NAS OS offer and a lot more.
 
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ImpulsE69

Lifer
Jan 8, 2010
14,794
824
126
It's more the Tim Taylor effect than anything. Sure it has its benefits, but for the average user it is probably overkill. Some people just like to tinker.
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
Why I like Unraid for a media server:

1. I get one disk parity, not duplication or some other wasteful option. One disk parity is the perfect amount of protection for media without being wasteful with disk space which is a huge deal for me.

2. I get the ability to easily grow the array over time with completely different disks of different sizes and makes. In fact I can upgrade the entire array one disk at a time over time. Few options offer that.

3. The OS is Linux so it works equally as well with my many XBMCbuntu frontends as my hackintosh as my Android devices. I like managing everything via SSH.

4. I use the sata ports on the mobo or cheap add-in cards and it works great for multiple media streams. Media doesn't need a lot so why buy the ECC RAM or an expensive RAID card?
 
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SheHateMe

Diamond Member
Jul 21, 2012
7,251
20
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Why I like Unraid for a media server:

1. I get one disk parity, not duplication or some other wasteful option. One disk parity is the perfect amount of protection for media without being wasteful with disk space which is a huge deal for me.

2. I get the ability to easily grow the array over time with completely different disks of different sizes and makes. In fact I can upgrade the entire array one disk at a time over time. Few options offer that.

3. The OS is Linux so it works equally as well with my many XBMCbuntu frontends as my hackintosh as my Android devices. I like managing everything via SSH.

4. I use the sata ports on the mobo or cheap add-in cards and it works great for multiple media streams. Media doesn't need a lot so why buy the ECC RAM or an expensive RAID card?
+1

The OP doesn't have good understanding of the benefits.

My Unraid NAS is headless. I can set it and forget it. Currently, its sitting in the corner of my room. I have data redundancy on top of being able to run apps. I don't want to use Windows because this works very well. Also, Software RAID is garbage. I am not entrusting Windows with my raid array.


With wake on LAN/Wan functionality, I can wake my computer up at anytime, anywhere in the world without having to leave my PC/NAS on 24/7 when I want to access something.
I can do the same thing with my NAS. I leave it running 24/7 because its low power and there is no need to turn it off and on all the time. It is constantly in use...therefore, it will remain on. WOL is not some exclusive feature on Windows.

As for your VPN comment, I am using OpenVPN with a PIA subscription and it works flawlessly. What is your complaint? People don't use windows instead?

I also like Unraid because it is Linux based, and in turn, I have learned quite a bit about how things work in Linux while doing things on this little NAS box I've built.
 
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LurchFrinky

Senior member
Nov 12, 2003
287
48
91
Probably the biggest reason is money.
If you are going to use a NAS at all, then you will need an operating system. It doesn't matter if you are piecing together a box from spare parts, building something new, installing a VM on your already existing server, or re-purposing your old desktop - your NAS will need an OS. If you are re-purposing an old desktop and keeping the existing OS, then your new desktop will need an OS.
A NAS doesn't need to be very powerful, so there is no particular need to spend a lot of money on it. Paying for a Windows license for a NAS is considered an unnecessary expense to a lot of folks.
And while you can do a lot of stuff with Windows server, you can probably do the exact same things with the *NIX based OSes as well, if you are willing to customize. And these other OSes are much more flexible with software RAID and ZFS.
 

SMOGZINN

Lifer
Jun 17, 2005
13,026
2,581
126
Windows 7 costs $100+, while freeNAS costs a few minutes to download it.

Often home brewed NAS systems are build on old hardware that techies like us have sitting around from a retired computer. With what I have just gathering dust in my closet and a copy of FreeNAS I could build a NAS server for the cost of the drives that go into it.

EDIT: LurchFrinky beat me to it. I had the tab opened too long before replying.
 

Rio Rebel

Administrator Emeritus<br>Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
5,195
0
0
Yes I've tried FreeNAS and that's exactly the reason for this post. I've come to realize windows 7 offer everything theese NAS OS offer and a lot more.

No, it doesn't. It just offers everything you believe you need.

One of the main reasons I don't use Windows for a NAS (other than cost), is I don't want to reboot my file server on a regular basis. If I just used my main Windows computer as a NAS, I would have to reboot frequently. I want my files accessible independent of my desktop's status.

Also, can Windows do ZFS? That would be news to me.
 

BurnItDwn

Lifer
Oct 10, 1999
25,397
1,024
126
Ehh, I never ran NAS, but I ran a slackware box as my home server for a bunch of years. It ran a server for VOIP, for games, and held all my media.

I ran it for almost 10 years but recently shut it down since it was using lots of power, and I really didn't need to have a server with 15 hard drives now that hard drives aren't limited to like 500GB any more. (and I no longer pirate stuff).
 

SlitheryDee

Lifer
Feb 2, 2005
17,253
18
81
I'm on the verge of needing to build a NAS PC. I'd probably use freeNAS just because I don't want to purchase another copy of windows. I also like the idea of having a new gadget to tweak. Besides being a place to dump files, I'm not sure what a NAS is good for. Digging through the features of a dedicated NAS os would be like a crash course in that.
 

Essence_of_War

Platinum Member
Feb 21, 2013
2,650
4
81
Also, can Windows do ZFS? That would be news to me.
Not to my knowledge. MS is trying to make their own next-gen filesystem 'ReFs', which has some properties (like COW) that BTRFS and ZFS both implement, though.
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
81
.......Besides being a place to dump files, I'm not sure what a NAS is good for.
That's exactly what it's for.

Network
Attached
Storage

If you are the only person in your household that needs access to filed from your 1 PC then a NAS makes no sense at all.

If you have 5 people in your household with a combination of laptops, PCs, MACs and then add some media streaming devices like Roku, WDTV Live, BR Players, etc,; a NAS is an easy way to make sure that whatever you want is available all of the time.
 
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SlitheryDee

Lifer
Feb 2, 2005
17,253
18
81
.......Besides being a place to dump files, I'm not sure what a NAS is good for.
That's exactly what it's for.

Network
Attached
Storage

If you are the only person in your household that needs access to filed from your 1 PC then a NAS makes no sense at all.

If you have 5 people in your household with a combination of laptops, PCs, MACs and then add some media streaming devices like Roku, WDTV Live, BR Players, etc,; a NAS is an easy way to make sure that whatever you want is available all of the time.
I actually have a netgear NAS right now. I already use it as a common storage space for my roku, jailbroken apple tv, and 3 PCs. It's almost full though, and is configured in RAID 0, so I've got real concerns over the long-term safety of my media. My main purpose for building a PC-based NAS would be to up the storage space to truly gargantuan proportions and implement some kind of RAID redundancy. I assume that there would be other benefits in configurability and performance over the basic NAS I have now though. That's what I'm talking about.
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
81
I actually have a netgear NAS right now. I already use it as a common storage space for my roku, jailbroken apple tv, and 3 PCs. It's almost full though, and is configured in RAID 0, so I've got real concerns over the long-term safety of my media. My main purpose for building a PC-based NAS would be to up the storage space to truly gargantuan proportions and implement some kind of RAID redundancy. I assume that there would be other benefits in configurability and performance over the basic NAS I have now though. That's what I'm talking about.
As a general rule, RAID 0, should NEVER be used for data storage. I would be concerned as well about the safety of my data. No file system (NTSC, FAT32, ZFS, CEF) is going to safeguard a RAID 0 in any fashion.

My recommendation is migrate to a single HDD or a NAS with RAID 1, 5, 6 or 10. And back everything up periodically, regardless of the RAID level you use.

RAID 5 is RAID 5 and RAID 6 is RAID 6 whether it's on a NetGear appliance or a PC. RAIDz1 is ZFS version of RAID 5, RAIDz2 is RAID 6, ZFS Style. The difference isn't in the RAID itself, but the file system and the way the 1 and 0 is stored on the platter or in the chip. ZFS has some great advantages in error detection and correction over the common file systems, but sometimes they can be overkill.

If you want recommendations from the crowd, let us know exactly what you are looking for and I'm sure many people will chime in. You could be in a software RAID situation (unRAID, FlexRAID, SnapRAID, Windows 8 version) or you could do hardware RAID from a controller or you could even use the motherboard's onboard RAID implementation.
 
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Ryland

Platinum Member
Aug 9, 2001
2,818
13
81
Im kind of in this same boat. I have a Synology DS110J that is running out of room and doesnt have nearly enough horsepower for Plex transcoding. I strated looking at various free NAS OS's and then at the cost for new hardware but keep running into the "must have ECC memory" brick wall. I would love to know how Synology handles their raid implementation and if they are using ECC. I want to build a simple box that does:

DLNA
File storage with some sort of RAID (I only have two 2TB disks right now so would want to be able to expand the storage).
PLEX transcoding
FTP server
Bittorret client
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
81
Im kind of in this same boat. I have a Synology DS110J that is running out of room and doesnt have nearly enough horsepower for Plex transcoding. I strated looking at various free NAS OS's and then at the cost for new hardware but keep running into the "must have ECC memory" brick wall. I would love to know how Synology handles their raid implementation and if they are using ECC. I want to build a simple box that does:

DLNA
File storage with some sort of RAID (I only have two 2TB disks right now so would want to be able to expand the storage).
PLEX transcoding
FTP server
Bittorret client
ECC memory is not a requirment for home use. ECC just corrects I/O errors before they get stored on the drives. For high I/O datacenters where there are millions and millions of data transcations then it is a necessity. For average home use, you may run a decade and never have an issue that would have been prevented by ECC memory. OTOH if you can afford it (and it can be done cheaply in some cases) it does provide a little piece of mind.

A simple WHS 2011 ($50) with a quad-core AMD or i3 box with DrivePool installed would do all of this without breaking a sweat. unRAID (up to 3 drives) and FreeNAS would be 2 free options that you should consider as well.

I'm leaning heavily towards the unRAID from the info you've provided.

www.lime-technology.com
 
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Ryland

Platinum Member
Aug 9, 2001
2,818
13
81
ECC memory is not a requirment for home use. ECC just corrects I/O errors before they get stored on the drives. For high I/O datacenters where there are millions and millions of data transcations then it is a necessity. For average home use, you may run a decade and never have an issue that would have been prevented by ECC memory. OTOH if you can afford it (and it can be done cheaply in some cases) it does provide a little piece of mind.

A simple WHS 2011 ($50) with a quad-core AMD or i3 box with DrivePool installed would do all of this without breaking a sweat. unRAID (up to 3 drives) and FreeNAS would be 2 free options that you should consider as well.

I'm leaning heavily towards the unRAID from the info you've provided.

www.lime-technology.com

I found some mention that you have to pay for plugins (like Plex) on unRaid, is that right?

Edit: It looks like that Plex has a free plugin for unRaid.

Edit2: Yes Unraid does look like it would do what I want.
 
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poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
I have run two Unraid servers running since 2010 24/7 with normal parts (aka not ECC ram) and it works great.
 

Raduque

Lifer
Aug 22, 2004
13,133
133
106
I use a WHSv1 with 2x2tb and 2x1.5tb. I use it for file storage and media streaming, accessible under one shared folder. It also does automated incremental backups of any Windows PC with the Connector installed. I can grow the storage pool with any size or brand of drive, and have it all remain under a single shared folder.

Windows 7 can't do any of that.

FreeNAS and Unraid are definitely alternatives which can do anything WHS can do, but I bought a license a long time ago, so I'm going to use it.
 

Noo

Senior member
Oct 11, 2013
387
10
81
With 2 PCs running side by side (one running FreeNAS and the other Windows 7) with just the power and ethernet cable plugged in, you mean to tell me the Windows 7 PC will CRASH on a daily basis and needs to be restarted every day? o_O

The only time my windows 7 desktop PCs crash is due to hard drive or ram failure. Otherwise, I don't ever remember the last time windows 7 BSOD on me.


Because this statement is incorrect.
Does FreeNAS give you the ability to run a VPN server so that you can connect to it and have access to your files anywhere in the world?

Does it offer Offline files feature that let you have access to the files even when you're offline and will automatically update the storage server with the most recent copy whenever you're connect to the network?
 

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