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Looking for a NAS for multiple sites file sharing

Discussion in 'NAS Buying Advice' started by winderic, Apr 19, 2019.

  1. winderic

    winderic Occasional Visitor

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    Hi, i am looking for a business NAS for 20-30 users, across 6-7 sites in different states.
    Mainly just for file sharing like words & excel and other marketing materials. Most likely under 1TB of data.
    Would like to have similar to dropbox business like experience. Files sync across devices with visioning control/restore/logs..etc.

    I am thinking maybe at least 5 bays? So the additional bays can act as a backup? Maybe with 4x 4TB to start.
    The Qnap TS-673 or TS-963x seems pretty good but not sure if is overkill for my needs or would you guys recommend synology? Any model particular? Budget around $1,500 if possible to include HDDs.

    Would be good that we can also backup our server (hyper-v with three virtual servers) to the NAS. I saw some NAS can even run virtualization? Does that means i can replicate my server onto the NAS if anything happened? But this is not crucial features, mainly the file sharing.

    Thanks.
     
  2. L&LD

    L&LD Part of the Furniture

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    What are the average number and file sizes of the files used daily? What is the maximum file sizes expected? Do you have a 1Gbps ISP service? Do all the other sites have similar ISP service levels? If not, then this may be more costly and frustrating than what you are envisioning right now.

    Initially, I (wrongly) understood a NAS at each location. That would have increased your costs by 7x. ;)

    With the plan you are hoping for, I would still recommend another, identical NAS that will be the 'hardware backup', in addition to the 'data backup' to your plans here. As you can see, the costs have easily doubled, without having anything set up yet.

    Is there a reason OneDrive, Dropbox, pCloud or another cloud service isn't being considered?

    For this relatively small amount of data, the infrastructure to do this properly and reliably across different states and more than half a dozen sites will pay for the cloud for a very long time with very little maintenance, configuration or usability issues, if any. A few short years ago, cloud storage was a little wild and experimental. Fast forward to today, and the benefits are much clearer. :)
     
  3. winderic

    winderic Occasional Visitor

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    I reckon would be less than 20 files each day and less than 20mb size. Max size migh be about 500mb-1gb related to marketing materials which don't get aceess regularly.
    No 1gbps at where the sites would be at this point. But most sites are now converting to NBN (australia).

    The reason that we didn't think of one drive was because looking at long term subscription fees, can easily recover back the NAS cost in 1-1.5years. So i thought NAS would be better and we have better control over the users as well, no space restriction.

    Can also use the NAS as server backup.

    Thanks

    Sent from my SM-G975F using Tapatalk
     
  4. L&LD

    L&LD Part of the Furniture

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    As I mentioned, if/when you start relying on whatever system you choose to go forward with, a single NAS will not be sufficient to ensure that the files are accessible as needed.

    At each physical location where a NAS is deployed, I would recommend at least two be in use (backing up each other and ready to be switched if/when one or the other went down). This could be also done across offices/states too, but the ISP speeds may hinder how 'up-to-date' each NAS' copy of the data would remain at any given time.

    An Office subscription includes a 1TB cloud storage by default. Could not 6 or 7 'users' of this (one 'user' at each site) not handle the syncing and then be shared from the main computer to the rest of the users in each location?

    A proper QNAP NAS set up starts around $2K with HDD's for the number of users you require. Times two (for a real backup in place). And that is for local network use.

    Plus the time and expertise to get them configured and properly secured while still being accessible from (possibly too many) locations.

    Another possible solution would be to place a much lower end NAS (QNAP (2Bay, 2x 1TB drives, RAID1), my recommendation) at each site and have them sync with each other continuously in the background. That would provide ultimate redundancy for the data and keep downtime, if any, limited to one site, not all. The total cost would be about the same, but the complexity (especially with the security aspects) would be greatly minimized as the 'machines' would only talk to each other, and not each user, specifically.

    Of course, the issues there are the concurrent editing possibilities on the same document(s) at the same time. In any case, this may be an issue with any (non-cloud) based solution today.

    Question: how are these files accessed/shared now?
     
  5. winderic

    winderic Occasional Visitor

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    If each sites going to have one NAS then the cost would be a lot more like you said. Only plan to have one NAS at HQ and have data backup locally with exiting server.

    Currently, only some sites have their own local file server and others just shared thru computers local network.

    So we are having issues to have a common folders that are able to access by all sites.

    We have RDC for our business software but that restrict to only those who have the licenses. So people without are not able to access the server. Windows CALs and terminal CALs are expensive. And we need both even if they are not local user that going to join the domain.

    Thanks.

    Sent from my SM-G975F using Tapatalk
     
  6. L&LD

    L&LD Part of the Furniture

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    The specification requirements for a single NAS + Backup NAS (which ideally should be identical, and at least 6 Bays or larger) is far greater than a 2-Bay NAS with much smaller drives (at least initially) which I suggested for each site. ;)

    The total cost will be about the same as a proper 2 NAS setup (regardless if you have a server to back up the data to) and the risks are much, much less for a company-wide lack of access to these files.

    A stand-alone NAS is not required to access the servers? Each small/inexpensive NAS at each site could become the shared/common folders that you require.
     
  7. winderic

    winderic Occasional Visitor

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    Okay. So you reckon for my needs, a 2 or 4 bays NAS should be sufficient? Not require to go for SMB type NAS?

    I will have to work out how much for two smaller NAS locally if want a second one as backup NAS. I assume that if the NAS having issues, we can just put the current HDDs onto another NAS and it will work? Or still require configurations if not the same NAS just same bays?

    A lot of time the local staffs have no knowledge how to properly maintains it so most of the hosted service always at HQ.

    Sent from my SM-G975F using Tapatalk
     
  8. L&LD

    L&LD Part of the Furniture

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    Please re-read post 4 at the least or the entire thread, ideally. I think you're somehow misunderstanding what I've been stating.

    For a 'central' NAS setup as you originally suggested, I stated that you need at least a 2x 6-Bay NAS (I would opt for 2x 8-Bay NAS' though for optimum set up flexibility and redundancy). These will be after all responsible for fully servicing the entire organization. Having a single NAS in this role is asking for trouble from the get-go. And merely having the data safe (on the server) is not good enough. You need a setup and ready to go NAS that can replace one that may critically fail at anytime for many possible reasons, including something simple like a LAN port going on it.

    With an 8-Bay NAS, I would install the 2 HDD's in RAID1 and install the QNAP operating system on them (no other HDD's would be installed at this time, during this part of the setup).

    With the remaining six bays, I would create two 3x RAID5 arrays which will backup and provide the versioning capacity you want on a daily basis. The sheer number of drives will make the system as fast as needed for the smaller file sizes, even over the WAN and even the larger ones for local access (not over the WAN, but that could change depending on your ISP speeds in the future).

    These 2x 8-Bay NAS' then would be mirrored to each other on a rotating basis (not continually) with a daily, weekly, monthly or other custom schedule depending on how quickly and transparently you would need them to be switched if one or the other develops a critical failure.

    For a setup that includes a NAS in each location/site, I would be buying a 2-Bay NAS that is in RAID1 at each location and is being constantly (background process) being updated and mirrored to all other NAS' from the other sites.

    The 2x NAS solution is in the $4 to $5K range at the minimum for the quality (dependability and reliability) and the larger number of expected users connected. The 6x or 7x NAS, 2-Bay solution should be the same or possibly even less, even with a 7th or 8th NAS unit (mostly) pre-configured and ready to go as a replacement, if/when needed, to any particular site.

    I really don't see your original $1.5K budget meeting your actual requirements in any meaningful way.

    With about $5K real dollars to play with, your options and possibilities with a true cloud service are much more open. ;)

    The lifetime offer from pCloud or others (and if available for companies) is a very strong option too. One more thing to look into which will be much more robust than anything we can possibly build and support for less than $10K on an ongoing/indefinite basis.

    If pCloud offers lifetime packages for companies, that would probably be my first choice, depending on the cost (remember, you only need one account and you can install it on many computers).

    Otherwise, the NAS units at each location would be my slightly preferred long term choice right now, with the information so far (mostly because a failure would not affect the whole organization all at once).
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019