NAS and disk recommendations

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New Around Here
I need some advice for a home setup with an application server and NAS. Today I have a somewhat good solution with an old Macbook Pro running some local server software like Air Video Server, Time Machine, Vmware Fusion (Home Assistant and Ubuntu virtual servers), SMB sharing, Adguard, and WireGuard. What I like about this is that I have good control of the applications and the environments are very flexible. The bottleneck is the attached 4TB USB disk attached to the laptop (USB 2). It is shared between all applications and is used for backups, Vmware, etc. Would it be better to have a separate NAS or do I need to get a Thunderbolt drive? I would guess that I cannot use a NAS as a shared folder with Vmware. Appreciate all thoughts on the perfect home setup, thanks!


Part of the Furniture
NAS. QNAP would be my suggestion (with at least 8GB of RAM, note you can upgrade many yourself for much cheaper). Buy one with as many drive bays as you can afford. Fill as many as you can 'now', my suggestion is at least four drives in a 2x 2x2 RAID1 array.

As a minimum, I would buy a four-bay model and install two drives initially in RAID1 (a reliable set of SSD drives is ideal here, they don't need to be the largest possible capacity). Set up the NAS, flash with the latest firmware, and let it fully set itself up (it takes a while, depending on the size of the drives you buy and if they're HDDs or SSDs). After the NAS OS is installed and stable, install two more HDDs of the biggest capacity you can afford and make sure not to inadvertently buy SMR drives from WD (although I do prefer their RED NAS series drives otherwise). Create another array of RAID1 with these for your data.

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