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NAS Drive Formats?

Discussion in 'General NAS Discussion' started by thetoad30, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. thetoad30

    thetoad30 Regular Contributor

    Feb 14, 2012
    Denver, Colorado, USA
    I just purchased and started to tinker with a QNAP TS-869 Pro.

    My biggest question I have so far on this NAS is what format to use on it? I am primarily a Windows-based network, with a couple of Macbook Pros that I will use occasionally to access data. Mainly the Macbooks will be backing up using Time Machine - everything else from the Macbooks can SMB.

    Here's my setup so far:

    Five 1TB Seagate 7200.12s in a RAID 10 (for speed and backup) with 1 spare drive, and three 750GB Seagate 7200.11s which probably will be either in RAID 5 or span mode. The three 750s will be only for Time Machine backups for the Macs, and any other computer system backups.

    This is why I was thinking RAID 5 for those three drives: I will not have any external backups for the backups. The five 1TB drives will be my primary network drive, and will be backed up by two 1TB Seagate 7200.11s in an eSATA drive enclosure not using any RAID, but maybe using span.

    So, which format is best for the NAS? I am currently using EXT4 (the default) but will use whichever you more experienced people say.

    I was definitely going to use NTFS for the external spanned backup in order to have my data should the NAS ever fail (drives, hardware, etc.). Theoretically I should be able to just hook up the two drives to my Windows machines and be able to read the data, even if spanned, correct?

    Is this the best setup for me?

    Thank you very much for your time.
  2. stevech

    stevech Part of the Furniture

    Mar 13, 2010
    San Diego
    Most Linux based NASes use ext4 format for their internal form.
    I use NTFS on a USB3 external drive for my backups - because:
    • NTFS supports 2GB files and larger; FAT32 does not
    • NTFS is compatible with Windows PCs for using the backup
    • Modern NASes can write and read NTFS, though much slower than Linux formats like e xt4, but that's ok for backups of only critical data. If there's a file system corruption on one of my two-volume NAS drives, the 2nd drive has an independent file system copy in the Time Machine version history (I don't use RAID).
    • If the NAS electronics fail, of if the NAS is stolen, I have the USB3 backup.

    There are device drivers for Windows that can read ext4 but they're problematic per what I've read, and I've not tried one from a source I'd trust. Often, the NAS drives have a small boot/OS partition in addition to the main storage partition.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2012

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