Home NAS...

  • Since I think @orkan has a NAS (he mentioned RAID before) or something similar for his website and forum, I am asking here in case others can make suggestions or can benefit from this thread discussion.

    We've gotten to a point at our house that it's hard to keep trying to increase space, clean out old data, and share data, movies, and music between all of us. We have Macs, PCs (my work), iPads, phones, AppleTV, and a smart TV. The kids have files in USBs for school and on Google Drive, we all have pictures/videos on our devices but we would like to share them. We have a large library of digital movies, at least 3 large music libraries, and a ton of family videos on different devices.

    What I would like is to consolidate everything into one location, have all of it accessible from any device connected to our home network, and have every device update that "master library", either manually or automatically is fine, when we are on the home network.

    After doing some good research I've come up with 2 NAS (Network Attached Storage) options: Synology DS916+ (4 bay NAS, 4-core cpu, 2Gb RAM, $549 on Amazon) and the Synology DS416play (4 bay NAS, 2-core cpu, 1Gb RAM, $415 on Amazon). Both of these have dual ethernet ports which allow for port aggregation to essentially double the speed. I have a 2400Mbps router already that I can use. The biggest advantages of the 916+ over the 416play are that the 916+ can be expanded up to 9 HDDs, it can host Virtual Machines, it can use an SSD to cache frequently used data to make it even faster, and with the 4-core cpu, it can handle more connections with less performance impact. Both can take up to 10TB disks, and both come with apps that would allow us to stream content to any device attached to the network. Both have USB3 connections to attache additional storage or a backup storage. Both allow me to setup a VPN so we can access our files from anywhere with internet access. I already have probably 4-5 HDDs that I can use, but they all have data, so I am planning on buying 1 4TB HD to start, transfer data to it, clean up the other drives and then fill up the NAS bays.

    Besides sharing of family data, I want to setup a separate share within the NAS for the work I do (sometimes I have to test engineering design and simulations applications), save all my project work to that share as well. I am also looking for something that is going to last me at the very least 5 years, 8+ years is preferred. I know the DS916+ is more future proof with its ability to accept expansion units, but I wouldn't like to keep adding boxes, if I find I need more HDDs than 4 in the future, I'd probably move up to a NAS with more bays, but 40TB or 20TB in Raid 1 is a ton of space, I think that space should last us 8 years if not more.

    So my biggest questions are these: 1) Am I going in the right direction for what I want to do? Or do I even need a 4 bay unit, could I do what I need with a 2-bay unit (Synology DS216+ or DS716+), and 2) which of the 2 you think will serve me well for my intended use?

  • If you aren't going for redundancy, you could literally just hook up an external usb drive on one of your existing computers and create a network share.

    The concept of a NAS is usually good. The execution of a NAS is generally bad. I haven't used these models you're looking at.

    For my purposes, a dedicated file server is the only answer. A true raid array with dedicated card and the ability to take at least 1 to 3 drive failures before data is lost.

  • I think for me, redundancy is secondary. The biggest thing is to have a central location that we can all use to share the data that we have. I also want to do away with our use of Google drive for personal and work files, but I want to have those files accessible from any device anywhere with internet access. For my needs, a dedicated file server is overkill, I think.

  • Banned

    Synology has been pretty prominent lately and I have run across a couple of them used by customers. I too am not a fan of NAS' and am much more an advocate for dedicated file servers. My biggest problem with them is that when they fail they fail in spectacular fashion. And because they usually use some proprietary RAID or OS it is not as simple as logging into your storage manager and seeing whats wrong also any troubleshooting is more difficult. Random drops in speed are an issue with a lot of NAS' too.

    If you know all that going into it and you have good backups then you are on the right track with your thinking and research. They have come a long way in recent years. I wouldn't use one for anything except storing files that I don't care if I lose. Being able to host VM's and SSD cache are nice features.