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rpwoodman

Occasional Visitor
Hi,

I'm looking to buy a NAS for home use, and think I've whittled it down to a couple of options. My requirements are as follows:

Windows, Mac and Linux access
Stability
Good support - be able to phone tech support and be able to speak to someone
SVN Server (incl HTTP support)
RAID5 + Spare
Photos
Share quotas
Scheduled shutdown / startup
VMWare virtual machines (don't know if I can run these from a NAS box?)
Time Machine (limited quota so I don't use up all the space with very old backups)
ITunes libraries (not streaming to iTunes devices, just storage of the repository).

The options are ReadyNAS Pioneer, or Synology DS508 (I have discarded the QNAP TS509 because there seem to be an alarming number of people saying that they've had to contact QNAP when they've lost their RAID configuration - fortunately QNAP have been able to work their magic, but it's a risk I don't want to take, and using Skype for support makes me more than a little nervous).
I'm also siding with the ReadyNAS because of their use of standard ext3 file systems - if something does go wrong, I can put the disks in another machine an mount them and get at least some of my data back). However, following the ReadyNAS forums, it seems that the quality of support (and possibly even the product) has gone downhill in recent times. I'm aware that people only go to these sorts of forums when they have problems, but I'd be interested to know if people think there is a problem.
I know a NAS box isn't a substitute for backups, but ultimately I can't afford another NAS box to backup to, which is why I want RAID 5 + spare.
The impression I get is that Synology software is very solid (as well as being very nice to use), and the support is above average as well. The DS508 seems to have fewer features than the ReadyNAS Pioneer for a similar price.

I don't need (or want) lots of features such as media streaming - I'd much rather have a solid product with fewer features as opposed to having lots of bells and whistles I'd never use.

Anyone got any thought or suggestions?

Many thanks

rgds

Rupert.
 
Regardless of the model you choose, realize that RAID is NOT a replacement for backing up your data and taking it off site. Too many people rely on their RAID exclusively and ultimately get burned.

Consider cloud storage for your most important data. Jungledisk, Carbonite, Mozy.

Even Microsoft is offering 5GB of free storage on www.mesh.com. Unfortunately, you cannot upgrade the storage at this time.

At the very least invest in a few external USB/eSATA drives and rotate backups off site.

Good luck reading a RAID5 array in other hardware.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID
 
Last edited:
Thanks Claykin - I wasn't aware of mesh.com - presumably I could write a cron job to do an automated copy of the most volatile / important data, tho using a backup system that you're not totally in control of seems a little risky to me.

Anyone else got anything else to add - more related to my questions?

thanks
 
I would go with RAID 1 instead of RAID 5. As long as your NAS uses a standard filesystem, you'll be able to read the drives in another system. You can in many cases buy two RAID 1 systems for the cost of one RAID 5 and then have one back up to the other.
 
I agree with tim unless you require alot of hdd space.

Sorry to say it again, but please put some kind of backup solution in place, even if its just for critical files ... anyone who has lost important data will tell you the cost of an external hdd is nothing compared to the cost of data loss.

I'd recommend against running virtual machines from a soho nas unless it's very high preformance. Even then, iSCSI is much better than samba for this...however it will cost you a bit more. Running off your local pc using the internal or an external sata hdd(s) is the best option for most soho aplications. I'm guessing your using it for dev or testing or something?

If you're willing to do a bit of 'hacking'... extra features can be added to most nas fairly easily.

I personally perfer synology; I haven't had to use their support before but their forum is very active, and I have had many good experiences with their products.
 
(I have discarded the QNAP TS509 because there seem to be an alarming number of people saying that they've had to contact QNAP when they've lost their RAID configuration - fortunately QNAP have been able to work their magic, but it's a risk I don't want to take, and using Skype for support makes me more than a little nervous).
QNAP has U.S. phone support. See
http://www.qnap.com/AboutQNAP.asp
 
Good input all - thanks

Just going through this note stream I think that my last comment in response to Claykin could have looked a little curt - apologies if that's the case - it wasn't supposed to. I ask questions and for opinions so that I can make the right choice, regardless of whether the right solution is my initial thought or not.

I agree with tim unless you require alot of hdd space

I suspect my requirements are probably fairly small (tho I was looking at getting a HD vid cam which would have used up space like there was no tomorrow), but I didn't want to go for something like a 2-bay solution if I had to replace the whole lot in 6 months time. A larger device could be grown into, and the majority of NAS boxes don't have RAID migration.

Sorry to say it again, but please put some kind of backup solution in place, even if its just for critical files ... anyone who has lost important data will tell you the cost of an external hdd is nothing compared to the cost of data loss.

You're absolutely correct to impress this point. I guess I could get a large disk which I could connect either to my router or to an external port on the NAS and copy the most important stuff.
Certainly Tim's comment about being able to buy 2 smaller NAS boxes for the price of a larger one is pertinent. I think the Synology DS209+ looks a good option (tho I think from memory the Synology boxes are a little more fussy on their disks than some of the other options - I'll have another look at the compat lists) if I went down that route.
However, one question (as opposed to disagreement) here: I'm not sure why RAID 1 would be considered a safer solution than RAID 5 (or RAID 5 + spare). With RAID 1, a disk dies and you no longer have any resilliance, but the same applies with RAID 5. And with RAID 5 + spare, you can have 2 disks die (admittedly not in close proximity, which might be statistically likely if disks are from the same manufacturing batch). So what would RAID 1 give me, other than speed?

I'd recommend against running virtual machines from a soho nas unless it's very high preformance. Even then, iSCSI is much better than samba for this...however it will cost you a bit more. Running off your local pc using the internal or an external sata hdd(s) is the best option for most soho aplications. I'm guessing your using it for dev or testing or something?

Ok, that's good info - thanks. If the NAS did support iSCSI (and this is just chatting here - I don't think I'd be able to justify the extra cost), I am guessing that the PC would need an iSCSI connection added to it? Would the NAS box then be connected to both the router (using normal networking) and directly to the PC (using iSCSI)?
I'm a developer by profession, but this would just be for personal use - for various projects I have on the go, and exercises I set myself.

If you're willing to do a bit of 'hacking'... extra features can be added to most nas fairly easily.

I'm all for a little hacking :) It seems that some companies are more open to such things and some (from past experience) won't even talk to you if the product is anything other than factory fresh, even when it's obviously not related to the question/problem.

I personally perfer synology; I haven't had to use their support before but their forum is very active, and I have had many good experiences with their products.

Cool, that's a vote for Synology then - thanks.
When the DS508 came out in the UK, I'm 99% sure (I came very close to buying one) it was a little over £600 but then after a load of brilliant reviews, the price shot up to around £750, and the feature set is not as rich (tho the interface is apparently excellent)

QNAP has U.S. phone support. See
http://www.qnap.com/AboutQNAP.asp

That would actually be a good option for me - it would mean I could speak to them when I was at home - maybe I should add the 509 back into the pack. I've read lots of note streams where people like Dennis have said the QNAP products are very solid, but as I've said, the QNAP forums would imply otherwise to me. Tim, in all your dealings with them (from all levels), would you say the level of service available from QNAP is good (or at least comparable to Synology/Netgear)?

Many thanks chaps - much appreciated.

rgds

Rupert.
 
Read this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iscsi
Seems you have some misconceptions about iScsi, appart from the fact that it's generally more expensive.

'2X raid1 arrays in 2 nas' or 'raid1 array in 1 nas + esata hdd' protects your data in the event that any of the components in a nas fails, not just the hard drive.
'2X raid1 arrays in 2 nas' would ensure the highest availability if this is what you are after, 'raid 1 array in 1 nas + esata hdd' provides the same level of backup however in the event your nas is unavailable you will need to plug ur esata hdd into a pc and share it that way while you wait for a replacement nas.

As synology are very open to hacking, and as far as i'm aware qnap seem to be aswell...although tim will need to confirm that point.

HD video from ur cam will take up 'alot' of space if you store the raw files...however im guessing you're not going to be recording hours and hours each day, and im also assuming you will put your clips together, export the movie and get rid of the original video which would be in odd clips.... so it shouldnt be that much. A typical 2 hour film ~8GB... you will be able to store ~100 without using all your space..... are you likely to make this many movies in 1 year, or even 2 years??
 

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