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Any Thoughts About Network Attached Storage (NAS)?

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Any Thoughts About Network Attached Storage (NAS)?

Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 05 Aug 2014 9:04 pm

I've moved all my DVD's, music, etc to a separate hard drive and am thinking about going to NAS.

I am thinking about an Asustor box as it gets high marks and is well priced. In addition, it has HDMI and natively runs XBMC, the library system I am using.

Synology looks nice, but expensive and it doesn't run XBMC. Does run Plex.

On the low end, WD has some interesting products but doesn't really run anything which means a PC would still need to be in the media mix.

Thoughts?

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Postby x9200 » Tue, 05 Aug 2014 9:42 pm

I have been using ACRyan Playon HD for 5-6ys already. It handles DVD/BD images very nicely.

http://acryan.com/sg/2-playonhd

Before that I had Dvico Tvix. It was well ahead any players that time but rather pricey.

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Postby Brah » Tue, 05 Aug 2014 11:11 pm

The question gets deeper when you think about backups and RAID.

I have a NAS, and I had good and bad experiences with it.

Are you thinking multi-array?

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Postby Strong Eagle » Wed, 06 Aug 2014 3:50 am

Brah wrote:The question gets deeper when you think about backups and RAID.

I have a NAS, and I had good and bad experiences with it.

Are you thinking multi-array?


I'm thinking at least mirrored... although the content doesn't change that much and I could use cheap USB drives as the backup medium. That way, the cheap WD model would suffice.

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Postby x9200 » Wed, 06 Aug 2014 4:37 am

If the data is critical (impossible to restore form an external source if lost) the bare minimum IMHO is two copies and one of them should be on a mirrored RAID system. If it's critical and does not take TBs of space it is also good to have it distributed in different physical locations - i.e., an encrypted copy on an Internet, commercial file server.

All critical data that I may need to access online (i.e. my own photographs/videos) I have currently in 3 copies: 1) on a dedicated RAID5 NAS - it's just for backups and doesn't run 24/7, 2) burned to DVDs/BDs, 3) on a "home sharing" NAS - it's a general server in my case.

Commercial DVDs I frequently watch I have as the original disks and on the home sharing NAS at this moment, but if I make this effort one day to copy all of them as the images I will probably consider to back up them to the RAID NAS or BDs - DVDs does not take that much of the space.

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Postby bgd » Wed, 06 Aug 2014 10:58 am

I'm using a Synology NAS with 2 4TB drives in a mirrored configuration. Apart from the fact it is sat on my desk I don't even know it's there. Which is the point I guess, it does what it is supposed to do with no drama.

I did do quite a bit of research before going down this route and ended up with Synology because it seemed to have slightly more favourable reviews than other products. But I don't think there was a lot in it.

I moved to NAS because my Mac Pro hasn't proved to be as reliable as they advertise and neither have external drives. I do have additional backups and use DropBox for stuff I need anywhere.

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Postby ScoobyDoes » Wed, 06 Aug 2014 5:44 pm

I have a Buffalo with twin 1TB drives in a RAID configuration but given my Office365 account now also comes with 1TB I wonder if it even makes sense to handle the issue 'in-house'.

A colleague had both drives screw up in his Buffalo so even with a RAID we have to consider......is even that enough?
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Postby durain » Wed, 06 Aug 2014 8:12 pm

have you consider using an old PC and fill it up with HDD as your NAS with RAID? check out freenas.org.

also, if you havent got the HDD yet, consider WD Red range of HDD.

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Postby Pal » Wed, 06 Aug 2014 8:41 pm

I recommend Synology.

Their DSM OS is the best in the market in terms of wide selection of features and frequent updates.

Can also install many useful additional packages into the OS. Take a look of the packages here:
http://www.synology.com/en-us/dsm/app_packages/all_app
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Postby Strong Eagle » Wed, 06 Aug 2014 10:06 pm

durain wrote:have you consider using an old PC and fill it up with HDD as your NAS with RAID? check out freenas.org.

also, if you havent got the HDD yet, consider WD Red range of HDD.


I have indeed been contemplating this as it could also become my streaming device and with the addition of a drive, play BD's and DVD's. HDMI port to the television and I'm good to go.

If I were to do this, I need to establish the minimum processor power needed to handle streaming. I've read reports that a lot of Chromebook based devices choke up.

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Postby x9200 » Wed, 06 Aug 2014 10:34 pm

Strong Eagle wrote:
durain wrote:have you consider using an old PC and fill it up with HDD as your NAS with RAID? check out freenas.org.

also, if you havent got the HDD yet, consider WD Red range of HDD.


I have indeed been contemplating this as it could also become my streaming device and with the addition of a drive, play BD's and DVD's. HDMI port to the television and I'm good to go.

If I were to do this, I need to establish the minimum processor power needed to handle streaming. I've read reports that a lot of Chromebook based devices choke up.


Your bottleneck will be:
a) the client
b) the network

Streaming requires very limited cpu power - this is basically just copying the data over the net. What is power consuming is the encoding, but this is typically the client's job.

Both my NAS and the server are based on low power, fanless cpus and they are capable of sending data over a Gbit network with the rates 40-100MB/s.
Think about the streaming as delivering, raw, compressed data to a client that has to decode it. You will unlikely get higher than 35kbit per second what is ~4.5MB/s, 10-20x lower rate than what I mentioned above.

My previous NAS was based on a 1100MHz Duron and was capable of sending the data 20-50MB/s.

BDW, for the ACRyan I mentioned you just hook up a drive via usb and it can play the discs too. I am not sure if you can do it that easily having the drive on the NAS side.

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Postby durain » Wed, 06 Aug 2014 11:54 pm

wow.. duron CPU is a bit blast from the past :D

i was using a small form factor (SFF) size PC (a HP dc5700) for the NAS/RAID. it was only running an Intel Core2 Duo CPU and fill it up with 4GB of RAM. freenas load from the usb stick.

more fun to get your hands dirty and learn how it all works.

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Postby x9200 » Thu, 07 Aug 2014 12:08 am

durain wrote:wow.. duron CPU is a bit blast from the past :D

i was using a small form factor (SFF) size PC (a HP dc5700) for the NAS/RAID. it was only running an Intel Core2 Duo CPU and fill it up with 4GB of RAM. freenas load from the usb stick.

more fun to get your hands dirty and learn how it all works.

Exactly. Now you can get all the low voltage, low power cpus but few years back it was not that easy and I never liked the idea to run the system that is overpowered. I remember physically cutting some tracks on another Duron to underclock it below 700MHz.
My current NAS is a 12TB Raid 5 array running on MSI C847MS-E33, 2GB RAM, Dual-Core Celeron 847/1.1 GHz. Very unique motherboard.

If one is into minimalistic systems, many routers can be turned to multimedia portable NASes, i.e. I made one for my kid based on TL-MR3020 so I can always stream some children's stuff regardless where we travel.

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Postby Brah » Thu, 07 Aug 2014 7:28 am

A bit off topic, by my 2-drive RAID 1 set-up has been failing, and I can't determine which drive is bad, and not really sure how to deal with this.

When I connect the drive it shows it is at RAID 1, but when I try to copy off the drive it is extremely slow, and switches to RAID 0.

As it's older (4-5 years?) the hardware is no longer available. If I could I would just get all the data off the unit and onto a new device with backup, I don't really need it RAIDed.

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Postby x9200 » Thu, 07 Aug 2014 8:29 am

Brah wrote:A bit off topic, by my 2-drive RAID 1 set-up has been failing, and I can't determine which drive is bad, and not really sure how to deal with this.

When I connect the drive it shows it is at RAID 1, but when I try to copy off the drive it is extremely slow, and switches to RAID 0.

As it's older (4-5 years?) the hardware is no longer available. If I could I would just get all the data off the unit and onto a new device with backup, I don't really need it RAIDed.

It is a bit weird because RAID 1 is pure mirroring (2 physical copies of the data on 2 separate hdds) while RAID 0 has no mirroring but has striping (the hdds are combined into one logical drive but the data is read/written from/to both physical drives simultaneously with equal distribution to both of the drives - this boosts the performance). I believe there is no way 1 could go to 0 - 0 should have 2x capacity of 1.

Failing performance probably indicates bad blocks appearing on one or two hdds.

Any diagnostic software that came with the drive? What is exactly the drive? Brand, model?

Fail-safe approach: try to copy the data patiently over night, few days whatever reasonable time it takes, to an external drive. Start with the most important data and keep the drive in a well ventilated space to prevent overheating.


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