Need to replace existing NAS storage

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bimfi

New Around Here
First time follower here. Currently I have two "NAS" drives for my home system. One is a MyCloud 2T and the other is a MyBookLive 2T. Both are fairly old units that are slowly getting close to capacity. I was looking at something that I could add drives to, such as Synology, QNAP, or other similar storage units. I don't know why, but I was looking at one with dual ethernet ports. I was thinking that if it were a two drive system, then each port would be dedicated to a separate drive. But, as I read, this does not seem to be the case. So, my questions is, why would I need a dual port storage system? I know already that my two "NAS" units are at the bottom of the food chain when it comes to NAS storage, but that is what I had, and it seemed to work for a while. Most of my files are either video, audio and some documents. Nothing crucial like top secret files or porn. Should I just go for a storage system with one ethernet port and at least two bays? Just trying to get some information before making the choice. Thanks!
 

bbunge

Part of the Furniture
Many of us here do recommend multi drive NAS for backup and storage. I currently run a Synology DS218j with two WD Red 4 TB drives. Have had it for a couple of years and am satisfied with it. Use it to store backups and videos. Also use it to download Linux distros via torrent that I play with. It has a single 1 GB Ethernet port which is sufficient for my needs. Some are going to higher LAN bandwidth (2.5 GB and higher) but for home use it is overkill.
If I were to buy a new two bay NAS I would likely get a Synology DS220+ with a pair of 6 or 8 TB WD Red Plus drives. Whatever NAS I got would have the ability to add memory. I managed a small office at a not-for-profit that had a DS220+ and it worked very well with added RAM. Good NAS drives are not cheap but well worth it!
Whatever you do it is time to retire the MyCloud and MyBook. I lost a MyBook to hackers a while back.
 

dosborne

Very Senior Member
I've been happy with the various unit I've had and/or have still. D-Link and qnap. Synology is a popular bran in a similar position marketwise to qnap at least in the SOHO market.

There are many factors when purchasing a NAS.

The number of bays equates to the number of drives and this determines your maximum raid level. This is mainly subjective in the sense that only you can determine the level of fail over or redundancy you want to pay for? More bays equals more money. IMO, 2 bays are the ABSOLUTE minimum. There is also potentially a performance gain by being able to read from multiple drives simultaneously, but this is probably negligible for most home users.

Binding a drive to a particular NIC is not something I am aware of in any of the common manufacturers. Typically, a multiNIC unit is also a multi bay unit and people are looking to implement a raid strategy, not a split hardware setup. 2x single bay units would likely be better if that is truly what you want to do.

Value for money. Spending money on a faster processor and/or more RAM, or at least a unit that can be upgraded in the future, is often money well spent. My QNAP TS-563 with 16gb (upgraded from the original 2gb) ram and 5x 10tb hdds ticks along quite nicely compared to the older, slower TS-231P with 2gb ram for example. Both came with 2x 1GB NIC.

Now, more to your question about dual NIC. Depending on your setup and needs, 1 NIC may serve you well and you may never need anything more. A unit that can have a second NIC in the future might also be a good investment. For example, I added a 3rd NIC to my TS-563 (10Gbe).

With 2 NICs you can do port aggregation (if your router or switch also supports it). In theory, this doubles the bandwidth to the NAS, but there there are all sort of caveats and conditions that in a home environment mean you won't actually see much of a performance increase.

With 2+ NICs you can also "multi home" the NAS. In my case my TS-563 has 1 NIC connected to my primary router and acts as a web server via port forwarding. This sits in a middle area similar to a DMZ, but not quite, but effectively isolated from my internal secondary router and network. The 2nd NIC is for internal network connectivity. By isolating the networks and NICs on different subnets there is no way to breach the internal network from the internal and vice versa. Another similar scenario is to connect a specific PC via a dedicated NIC so no other systems use that access point effectively giving full bandwidth for heavy use such as large backups for regular file transfers. In my case, with 3x NICs, I run 1 NIC facing the internet, 1 NIC facing the internal LAN and the 3rd NIC direct to my workstation that performs all the backups, file management, etc.

With 2+ NICs you also have some redundancy. You may not need it now, but for a few dollars more you have a spare network connection in case one fails. Less likely, but a possibility. Again, having the option to add one in the future may be a good alternative.

Most decent NAS mid-range units come standard now with 2 NICs. If the model you are looking at only has one, it is likely an older model. Also, this usually also equates into a better processor and more ram.
 

bimfi

New Around Here
I want to thank you both for your input and suggestions! I will definitely retire my old WD NAS's as soon as possible. I will also compare both systems that you guys suggested. Thanks again!
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Depending on your budget, you may want to consider the following points too.

Buy a NAS with as many drive bays as you can afford. Buy at least three drives to initially populate it with (RAID5). With a 6 bay NAS, you can have two arrays of 3x RAID5 groups that can effectively back up each other. If you start with 2 drives (RAID1), you may not be able to effectively upgrade the array for redundancy and capacity in the future (without formatting all drives and starting from scratch).

Or another way to see this, with 2x 3 bay or larger NAS units, and you can have 2x NAS backing up each other. This may seem massively overkill, but depending on the deals, it doesn't have to be expensive (and overkill is always good for backup strategies).

The best setup I have found for long-term dependability is a 6 bay or larger NAS. Install only two drives (RAID1) and fully set it up (these two drives now hold the NAS 'os' too). Install additional drives to create the actual storage pool (RAID5, RAID10, etc.). The first two drives can be small SSDs too, for additional robustness and dependability, and availability of the NAS.

QNAP is my preferred choice for NAS hardware and software/firmware.
 

dosborne

Very Senior Member
Buy a NAS with as many drive bays as you can afford. Buy at least three drives to initially populate it with (RAID5).
My opinion varies slightly. If your budget is really tight, then even starting with a single drive gets you on the right path by having invested in the Nas hardware with multiple bays. Add a second drive (raid1) when you can and keep going from there :)

Or another way to see this, with 2x 3 bay or larger NAS units, and you can have 2x NAS backing up each other. This may seem massively overkill, but depending on the deals, it doesn't have to be expensive (and overkill is always good for backup strategies).
My personal fear when I started out was NAS failure rather than HDD failure. A blown power supply for example may be extremely hard to replace, let alone a blown motherboard. For this reason, along with cpu, ram, network,... bottlenecks, I would not recommend creating multiple virtual NAS units. Often the cost of 2x devices is comparable to 1x big honking unit. When I go my first NAS (simple 2 bay), I bought a second to mirror to, and a third to sit in it's box on a shelf for spare parts. :) I still run 2 of them today (12+ years old) but the spare for parts has been cannibalized over the years. Certainly for home users, a 4 bay is typically a good price point that gives you a number of options (although I personally went for a 5 bay for specific reasons).
QNAP is my preferred choice for NAS hardware and software/firmware.
Just beware when they (qnap) release firmware and read the forums to ensure it is stable. I mistakenly put the new 5.0.0 fw on my main unit as I wasn't paying attention and had some potentially serious side effects (fan stopped working for example). I ended up rolling back, which on a NAS is scary even with backups. Any vendor can have issues, and I do like and own a number of qnap boxes, but they often release, and sometimes recall, FW without full testing.
 

ntdouglas

New Around Here
I was in a similar situation with a WD My Cloud EX2 and 2 WD My Books as backups. All 3 were 8 years old. After alot of research I went with Asustor which doesnt have quite the software support that Qnap and Synology offer but has superior hardware. I purchased the Lockerstore 2. Couldnt be happier. Blazing fast compared to my WD nas. Upgraded the ram to 8gb and added 2 Crucial 500gb m.2 ssd for caching. As for backup Im getting the Asustor expansion/backup 4 bay drive this weekend. All will be running WD Red Plus 4tb drives. Check out Asustor my friend and decide what you want to pay for. The Asustor software is no slouch and has way more to offer than I need.
 

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