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Best choice for home network storage

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Jeff G

Member
Joined
May 22, 2016
I'm looking to get a centralized storage on my home network for all the devices connected to it (multiple computers, phones, ipads, etc).
Something that I can store photos/videos/documents/etc on that I can also download onto the devices with a fairly fast speed.
I've never delved into this type of product, and the more I read the more I get confused.
I was thinking of re-purposing an old pc to a NAS, but not sure if it's my best option.
I want something that's going to be easy to use for everyone in the house, something that's fast enough to download large files in a timely manner, and something that's going to not use tons of electricity (which is why I'm thinking the old pc might not be the best option).
I'm also looking at a buying dedicated NAS unit, or possibly using the USB 3.0 port on the router, or any other options.
Suggestions or pros/cons to any of the options?
 

ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
How sensitive or irreplaceable is the data? What's your backup plan?
 
OP
Jeff G

Jeff G

Member
Joined
May 22, 2016
How sensitive or irreplaceable is the data? What's your backup plan?

It's a lot of family pictures/videos, and random movies/tv shows. I'd like the ability to have backup for the pics/videos (not too concerned with the movies and tv shows).
I'm really just starting to plan this out, so I'm open to suggestions on making sure i have stuff backed up.
 

ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
I would keep a separate drive or backup to the cloud, then if you have hardware failure you don't lose everything.
Note; RAID is not a backup.
 

HankB

Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2011
Location
Beautiful Sunny Winfield
I can share what I'm doing. It may not be right for you.

This is the base for my remote server: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16856119028. I have just upgraded it to two 3TB HDs. I run Debian 7 server (no GUI) The drives are partitioned with a small partition for the OS and the remainder for a data partition. Both partitions are mirrored (RAID 1) and the boot loader is installed on both drives. In theory I can pull the cable on either drive and the system should come up. If the boot drive fails, the bios will probably just sit there reporting a boot device failure. (I would expect a dedicated NAS to not have this shortcoming.)

I have a second system (local) based on this board http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157494. Since it has 4 SATA ports I use an old laptop drive for a boot device and two 3TB drives with single data partitions and also mirrored.

Both serve files via NFS since we're a Linux shop at home. ;) I do have SAMBA configured for my wife's Windows laptop (though that is now running Linux following the Win10 PITA) I also have a setup for an OS X time capsule to backup a Macbook. My normal backup routine saves daily incremental backups with first day of the month saved indefinitely (User files only.) It also serves video and audio files (DLNA server) and a few other things I'm probably forgetting. The local is mirrored to the remote which is located at my son's place for offsite backup.

The servers both use about 35 watts according to my Kill-a-watt meter. I normally run them headless and they are easy to admin remotely via SSH. I did have the remote configured for wake-on-lan and the local server would send the WOL packet over the Internet to wake it up and start the backup. It was configured to shut down when the backup was complete. Since my son has upgraded his router and not configured his firewall to forward the WOL packet we just leave it up 24x7.

Pros:
- High level of functionality with capabilities of a general purpose server
- price competitive (I think. ;) )

Cons
- High barrier to entry in terms of technical expertise. That's not an issue for me since I've been running Linux for decades but would likely be daunting for a typical PC user.
- Probably not as flexible as a dedicated NAS device. I suspect a more accurate statement would be that my admin skills/desires are not up to providing the flexibility that a dedicated NAS box supports out of the box.
- A dedicated NAS will probably use less power by using a more efficient processor (ARM?) and spinning down the drives when there is no activity.

If you enjoy a technical challenge then a solution like mine might be suitable. Of course there are other variants of this solution that might be suitable. IIRC MS sells a home server variant or perhaps an ordinary Windows install can be configured to share files and serve this function. There are also likely Linux or BSD based packages that provide drop in installation and WEB GUI administration. That would provide the DIY experience with lower technical hurdles. I haven't looked at those so I cannot comment on them.
 

JrClocker

AKA: JrMiyagi
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
I started out by plugging s USB drive into my main router. Works great.

Only downside is that there was no backup.

I morphed this system into a NAS (QNAP TS-453A). I have this running in RAID 10...was a breeze to setup. Uses about 5 W of power with no access.

I took the old USB drive, plugged it into the NAS, and run backups of my critical data to this drive (as ATM said...RAID is not always 100% to keep data).

As an extra bonus, I run my Plex server on the NAS.

Check out the "Whole House DVR" link in my signature.


 

Silver_Pharaoh

Likes the big ones n00b Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2013
I've got a dual Pentium 3 setup with a PCI SATA controller. It has a 1Tb WD blue drive on it.
It holds a copy of my entire SSD and some other files from the other computers.

Of course, if that drive fails, then I have to manually recover it. RAID 1 would be nice here.

Transfer speeds via wifi bridge are upwards of 9Mb/s to it, which is right up there with the limits of FastEthernet.
 
OP
Jeff G

Jeff G

Member
Joined
May 22, 2016
Two more questions:
1. Is there a way to have three drives, say one that is like a bulk storage for stuff I want to have on my network but don't care if the data is lost and then one that keeps my important stuff (family pics/vids/etc) with the third backing up the second in case one of those two fails?
2. Am I better off building my own to get the functions I want, or is something like the WD 4tb My Cloud good enough for what I want? I just saw this went on sale for like 30% off, which is why it has me wondering.
 

Janus67

Benching Team Leader
Joined
May 29, 2005
Two more questions:
1. Is there a way to have three drives, say one that is like a bulk storage for stuff I want to have on my network but don't care if the data is lost and then one that keeps my important stuff (family pics/vids/etc) with the third backing up the second in case one of those two fails?
2. Am I better off building my own to get the functions I want, or is something like the WD 4tb My Cloud good enough for what I want? I just saw this went on sale for like 30% off, which is why it has me wondering.

1) Yes, that is quite possible. You would run one drive by itself and the second (and backup) as a RAID1 mirror.

2) You will have to do the research yourself as the the functionality of the boxed NAS devices versus building one yourself. If you build one you can do pretty much anything with it, if you buy it you get the support and all their built-in stuff but are pretty well limited beyond what they say you can do with it.
 
OP
Jeff G

Jeff G

Member
Joined
May 22, 2016
I see the WD 4TB My Cloud also is available in a 'dual drive' configuration for $300, with the drives already in Raid 1 mirror.
Any reason a DIY setup would be better than this? Just wondering if the ease of plug-and-play is worth going this route over building my own.
 

JrClocker

AKA: JrMiyagi
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
Depends on what you prefer...each has it's own benefits.

If you buy the "plug-and-play", you can have a high confidence that it will work and won't have issues. However, you will be limited to what else you can do with the box (hence why I went to a TS-453A versus the WD cloud).

If you build your own, you can potential do much more with it. However, you will have to configure the hardware, software, etc. and won't have the same tech support you would with a plug-and-play solution.
 

Janus67

Benching Team Leader
Joined
May 29, 2005
Can you elaborate on what more can be done?

In the various NAS software suites (commonly, FreeNAS, OpenMediaVault, NAS4Free, etc) they have a lot of programs/plugins that can run alongside the linux back end that can be used to automate various features and download applications, etc. The build-your-own method is also not drive-space limited (per-say) so you can have 2, 4, 10, 20 drives (assuming you have space, power, and enough HBAs to plug them all in). If none of that is of any interest and you just want a storage drive to hold stuff then the plug-and-play setup is likely all you need.
 

JrClocker

AKA: JrMiyagi
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
Can you elaborate on what more can be done?

If you build your own, you are basically making another PC. You can make this PC as wimpy or as powerful as you want it to be. As the unit will have to be on 24/7, you need to consider power. A wimpy PC will use less power but have less potential, a powerful PC will use more power and have more potential...or anywhere in the spectrum between the two.

Hence, you can do pretty much what you want.


For example, I have a PC that runs as my DVR/TV server for my whole house DVR. I put a whomping 980 Ti in this machine, and it runs [email protected] 24/7 while is doing it's DVR and TV thing.
 

HankB

Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2011
Location
Beautiful Sunny Winfield
Can you elaborate on what more can be done?

* DLNA server to serve my movies and music
* commands to refresh my dynamic DNS
* backup command to mirror my local NAS to my remote NAS
* I used to run streamripper to capture Prairie Home Companion
* I see that I can now boot a Raspberry Pi from the network. I'd put the server for that on my NAS.
* I'm thinking of implementing a VPN so I don't expose my traffic when I'm on an open WiFi AP. I'd run the server on the NAS box. (Or maybe I'd run it from a server on the cloud to keep it off my home LAN.)

I'm only limited by my imagination and to some extent I lack imagination. ;)

It would not surprise me if most or all of these things could also be performed on a commercial NAS box.
 

habbajabba

Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2005
Location
Oregon
The TVS-471 is $1100 empty. Next year. It uses dual core Intel I series w/4gb mem, while the amd versions use a quad core x86 with up to 8 gigs. I'd get either but the 471 looks better.
 

deathman20

High Speed Premium Senior
Joined
Aug 5, 2002
I've built my own, really didn't like how it turned out. I didn't have the time to play around with it as much as I would of liked at the time so it failed to live up to my expectations over time. I eventually got rid of it and got a Synology 5 bay box. I personally like my Synology but its not a cheap solution entering into the market for a file/video/music/photo/surveillance/etc. Makes it relatively easy to setup but the unit I have is a good $800 bare + the HDD's, and they rarely go on sale. I know I'd love to get another updated box in the future, with larger HDD storage and then use this one as a backup unit. Specs in the sig.
 

WhitehawkEQ

Premium Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2010
You can go to FreeNas.org, and download FreeNas 9.10 and turn any PC in to a NAS, you can hang as many drives as the MB can handle, I think you can do raid 0,1,5,10 or JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Drives) :)
You would install the software to a usb flash drive and use all of the space on the HDD's.