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NAS recommendations

Old 01-10-10, 08:05 AM
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NAS recommendations

I am looking for a NAS or media server to hook up to my home network. I will have 3 computers on the network(a lap top, desktop, and soon an HTPC) and I want to finally get all my media consolidated in one place.

I originally looked at an HP Mediasmart home server but I saw the Iomega StorCenter ix2-200 and thought it was a great deal (around $250 for 1 TB and also offers access to all media files through the internet). The Linksys Media Hubs I've seen offer similar features but are about $100 more.

I don't know a a tremendous amount about NAS/media servers so thoughts/recommendations/warnings would be great.
Old 01-10-10, 08:57 AM
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Re: NAS recommendations

I've been very pleased with my three Infrant / Netgear ReadyNAS NV+ NAS devices that are holding all my music, movies, etc. that are streamed to the various TVs and SONOS devices in our house. Their site is readynas.com

They may be a bit more expensive than some, but they just work well. There is a great online community and the company does a great job with keeping everyone notified when various hard drives are tested and certified to work in their machines. Good deals on ebay from time to time as well. I currently have about 14 TB (10 usable TBs) of storage on the devices. Easy to swap drives as well.
Old 01-10-10, 12:26 PM
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Re: NAS recommendations

if your router can be flashed with dd-wrt or tomato.. you can use an extenal usb drive as a nas
Old 01-10-10, 12:37 PM
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Re: NAS recommendations

Go with a HP MediaSmart server or you could build your own.

http://www.hp.com/united-states/camp...asmart-server/
Old 01-10-10, 01:28 PM
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Re: NAS recommendations

havent done any research on them lately.. but just noticed this one on the front page at fatwallet..
buffalo equipment normally gets good ratings

Amazon: Buffalo Technology LinkStation Pro Duo 2-Bay 2 TB (2 x 1 TB) Network Attached Storage $288.04 free S&H
Old 01-10-10, 03:06 PM
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Re: NAS recommendations

I got this one last month.

http://www.legendmicro.com/store/mor...hes=0&SortBy=0

You can use it with the OS that comes with it or put on WHS. CPU and memory are upgradable. It holds 4 drives, up to 2TB each I believe.

Reviews:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...raid,2076.html
http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/content/view/30482/75
Old 01-10-10, 03:42 PM
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Re: NAS recommendations

Some of the reviews for the Buffalo NAS aren't that great...but I do love the fact that you can remotely access your media (including video) via an iPhone over 3G. Just that feature by itself makes me lean towards the Buffalo.
Old 01-11-10, 11:21 PM
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Re: NAS recommendations

Originally Posted by Cory02 View Post
Some of the reviews for the Buffalo NAS aren't that great...but I do love the fact that you can remotely access your media (including video) via an iPhone over 3G. Just that feature by itself makes me lean towards the Buffalo.
The HP MediaSmart EX models have the feature as well:
http://www.hp.com/united-states/camp...treamOverview/
http://www.tuaw.com/2009/04/13/hp-me...one-companion/

Note that the MediaSmarts, or other devices with Windows Home Server (WHS), have a few nice features for homes with multiple PCs, like complete computer backups and restores. If your harddrive crashes, you can restore it to a new completely blank harddrive from the home server. It also supports versioning, so you can turn back a PC to the state it was in, say, a week ago:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows...up_and_Restore

By comparison, the Memeo backup software Buffalo offers looks to be missing some features, like the system restore.
http://www.memeo.com/abstd.php
Old 01-12-10, 04:12 AM
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Re: NAS recommendations

Synology gets a lot of positive reviews. I'm waiting for their new x10 models, which should be announced soon.

Originally Posted by Cory02 View Post
Some of the reviews for the Buffalo NAS aren't that great...but I do love the fact that you can remotely access your media (including video) via an iPhone over 3G. Just that feature by itself makes me lean towards the Buffalo.
I don't own a smartphone and I am curious what exactly would you do that makes this so important?

I remember a guy at work showing off a movie playing on his Ipod. At first I thought it was cool that you could do that. Then I thought, "Who wants to watch a movie on a 2" screen?" I don't even like to watch video on my 24" monitor. That's why I love watching streaming video with my Popcorn Hour on my 52" TV in my easy chair.
Old 01-12-10, 07:11 AM
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Re: NAS recommendations

Originally Posted by Scotty Flamingo View Post
Synology gets a lot of positive reviews. I'm waiting for their new x10 models, which should be announced soon.

I don't own a smartphone and I am curious what exactly would you do that makes this so important?

I remember a guy at work showing off a movie playing on his Ipod. At first I thought it was cool that you could do that. Then I thought, "Who wants to watch a movie on a 2" screen?" I don't even like to watch video on my 24" monitor. That's why I love watching streaming video with my Popcorn Hour on my 52" TV in my easy chair.
You are questioning what someone likes or finds important to them in the same sentence you tell us what you like and what's important to you. Makes sense. Different strokes for different folks, why would it need to be questioned?
Old 01-12-10, 01:31 PM
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Re: NAS recommendations

Originally Posted by palebluedot View Post
You are questioning what someone likes or finds important to them in the same sentence you tell us what you like and what's important to you. Makes sense. Different strokes for different folks, why would it need to be questioned?
Can't you read? I said I don't have a smartphone and I am curious.
Old 01-12-10, 02:32 PM
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Re: NAS recommendations

Originally Posted by Scotty Flamingo View Post
Can't you read? I said I don't have a smartphone and I am curious.
Isn't it self-explanatory though? He wants to be able to stream his music and videos to his iPhone so that he can watch/listen to them on his iPhone.

I have a brother-in-law who watches a lot of videos on his smartphone. When at home, he prefers to watch them on the Brite-View Cinematube hooked up the 40" HDTV. However, he doesn't seem to mind watching them on his phone when he's not at home.
Old 01-12-10, 02:56 PM
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Re: NAS recommendations

I love watching from my TV but sometimes the best way to catch up with TV shows is from my iPod. I would watch it in the train while going to work and coming home from work.
Old 01-12-10, 03:20 PM
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Re: NAS recommendations

Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
Isn't it self-explanatory though? He wants to be able to stream his music and videos to his iPhone so that he can watch/listen to them on his iPhone.

I have a brother-in-law who watches a lot of videos on his smartphone. When at home, he prefers to watch them on the Brite-View Cinematube hooked up the 40" HDTV. However, he doesn't seem to mind watching them on his phone when he's not at home.
I want to know the specifics. With all the talk about AT&T's network being maxed out and dropped calls, I'm surprised it can even stream music, let alone video. Does he travel a lot on business? Does he have a boring job and kills time watching stuff? Is he just talking about music? Podcasts? Video Podcasts? TV Shows? Movies? What ports on his router does he have to open up to allow access? Does he have to install special software on his PC? Is his PC even involved? Does his Iphone have an ip address? Does he have to re-encode video to play on his Iphone?
Old 01-12-10, 03:41 PM
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Re: NAS recommendations

Originally Posted by Scotty Flamingo View Post
I want to know the specifics.
You probably should've been specific then.

With all the talk about AT&T's network being maxed out and dropped calls, I'm surprised it can even stream music, let alone video.
Well, an iPhone could connect via Wifi if that's an issue. 3G speeds aren't universally slow, however.

Is he just talking about music? Podcasts? Video Podcasts? TV Shows? Movies?
Yes, all of that could be streamed from home, although podcasts could likely be downloaded directly from the source instead.

What ports on his router does he have to open up to allow access?
Depending on how the service works, possibly none.

Does he have to install special software on his PC? Is his PC even involved?
No and no, this was in reference to streaming from a Home Server (aka Media Server or NAS), not a PC.

Does his Iphone have an ip address?
Anything connected to the internet has an IP address, although it's most likely a NAT address.

Does he have to re-encode video to play on his Iphone?
Most Media Servers will transcode on-the-fly:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UPnP_AV_MediaServers
Old 01-12-10, 09:51 PM
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Re: NAS recommendations

I wanted the ability to steam to my iPhone because I occasionally have some downtime at work or elsewhere and no access to a computer so I'd like to be able to watch a few minutes of video. I currently have a few videos on my iPhone for this purpose but the streaming would give me a lot more choices.
Old 01-13-10, 04:43 AM
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Re: NAS recommendations

I don't have a recommendation for an NAS, but I picked up this network printer over the weekend,

http://www.officedepot.com/a/product...n-One-_-504612

It is an AIO and is actually $50 after printer recycling. Meaning, bring in any old printer (working or not) and receive a $50 credit instantly! I just got it up and running Monday. Seems nice. I know $50 printers are a dime a dozen, but this has some nice features including; networking (including wifi), duplex printing, auto feeder and a few others. Quality seems ok and evidently there are cheap generic ink carts available.

Mostly good reviews (except for Mac users). "Seems" to be a true $200 printer for $50 if you had an old printer your about to toss. Worked for me as I had a HP for about a year, that kept getting paper jambs. I don't think I paid $35 for it a year ago.

Stolen from Slickdeals, and didn't think worth another thread. But might work well for someone setting up a network system. I'm dropping the computer in our office. Never use it.

Last edited by Sdallnct; 01-13-10 at 04:47 AM.
Old 01-14-10, 02:03 AM
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Re: NAS recommendations

To chime in real quick, I have a Mediasmart 475 and absolutely love it! Between using it as a mediaserver (coupled with my ps3 and a soon-to-be htpc) and to backup the 4 computers in my apartment, it's amazing.
Old 01-16-11, 03:14 PM
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Re: NAS recommendations

I've been looking into NAS solutions as well recently. Originally I was looking at Drobo, but now I'm wondering if a different one is better for a solution to price ratio.

I noticed for Synology that some of the models offer expansion units, but I can't really tell how that works for QNAP. Apparently you can expand through virtual network drives with iSCSI. However, I don't know if that works with a RAID 1 or 5 setup. My main concern would be with running out of room. Some of the manufacturers are looking to allowing 3TB drives with firmware updates, but if you have a RAID 1 setup you'd currently be limited to ~4TB (with a 4 bay setup). Does anybody have any comments on ease of expansion?
Old 02-08-11, 02:34 PM
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Re: NAS recommendations

Originally Posted by Superman07 View Post
I've been looking into NAS solutions as well recently. Originally I was looking at Drobo, but now I'm wondering if a different one is better for a solution to price ratio.

I noticed for Synology that some of the models offer expansion units, but I can't really tell how that works for QNAP. Apparently you can expand through virtual network drives with iSCSI. However, I don't know if that works with a RAID 1 or 5 setup. My main concern would be with running out of room. Some of the manufacturers are looking to allowing 3TB drives with firmware updates, but if you have a RAID 1 setup you'd currently be limited to ~4TB (with a 4 bay setup). Does anybody have any comments on ease of expansion?
Nobody with an input on this?
Old 02-08-11, 03:28 PM
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Re: NAS recommendations

Originally Posted by Superman07 View Post
I noticed for Synology that some of the models offer expansion units, but I can't really tell how that works for QNAP. Apparently you can expand through virtual network drives with iSCSI. However, I don't know if that works with a RAID 1 or 5 setup. My main concern would be with running out of room. Some of the manufacturers are looking to allowing 3TB drives with firmware updates, but if you have a RAID 1 setup you'd currently be limited to ~4TB (with a 4 bay setup). Does anybody have any comments on ease of expansion?
If you're using 4 discs in a RAID, you're better off with a RAID 6 instead of a RAID 1.

In regards to iSCSI, any iSCSI device you connect to would be it's own virtual drive, and not added to the hardware RAID. However, the iSCSI device itself could be in a RAID. For example, you could connect a QNAP to another QNAP via iSCSI, each running their own RAIDs:
http://www.qnap.com/pro_application.asp?ap_id=214
Old 02-08-11, 04:31 PM
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Re: NAS recommendations

Right, so if you have 4x 2TB drives in a 4 bay device you're capped at ~4TB if you run mirrored and there is no room for expansion. Here I'm assuming there are no increases to the size of drive capacity. Clearly if they allow 3TB drives then you can increase the size.

Am I wrong in assuming that the the Synology devices that support the drive extension enclosure are expansions of the RAID? Or do they act in the same manner as iSCSI that you described?

My main concerns is that as shared media grows the capacity of the NAS won't be able to support the increase.
Old 02-09-11, 09:37 AM
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Re: NAS recommendations

Originally Posted by Superman07 View Post
Right, so if you have 4x 2TB drives in a 4 bay device you're capped at ~4TB if you run mirrored and there is no room for expansion.
It depends on what you think of as expansion. Neither the QNAP or Synology devices can physically fit more drives, which means added another device for expansion. With QNAP, they use the industry standard iSCSI interface, while Synology offers a proprietary expansion unit.

Am I wrong in assuming that the the Synology devices that support the drive extension enclosure are expansions of the RAID?
I knew nothing about Synology, so I looked at their site:
http://www.synology.com/enu/products/DX510/index.php

Yes, the Synology expansion unit can be added to the existing RAID.
Old 02-09-11, 10:02 AM
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Re: NAS recommendations

Can you explain more on iSCSI then? It sounds like, despite being a standard, it doesn't allow for you to expand a RAID setup so you could potentially run into a size limit sooner than later. Or am I just not understanding how RAID works?
Old 02-09-11, 10:54 AM
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Re: NAS recommendations

Originally Posted by Superman07 View Post
Can you explain more on iSCSI then? It sounds like, despite being a standard, it doesn't allow for you to expand a RAID setup so you could potentially run into a size limit sooner than later. Or am I just not understanding how RAID works?
RAID is a way of combining multiple physical drives into a single logical drive. For example, a RAID 6 of four 2TB drives get combined into one 4TB logical drive. Expanding the RAID requires either adding additional physical drives, or replacing existing ones with higher capacity drives, but the resulting expanded RAID still appears as one logical drive.

iSCSI is essentially just a way to access remote storage over IP, but as a logical drive instead of over network file sharing protocols like NFS or CIFS. The remote iSCSI target device could consist of one drive, or multiple drives in a RAID, but would appear as one logical drive to the iSCSI initiator.

With Synology, it uses its proprietary expander units to expand the physical RAID inside the main unit. Thus, the expanded storage ends up making the single logical drive bigger.

With QNAP, it can manage multiple iSCSI targets, but makes them separate "virtual" logical drives. So you'd have at least 2 logical drives, the internal RAID being one, and the iSCSI target being another.
http://www.qnap.com/pro_application.asp?ap_id=214

The Synology proprietary solution is easier from a management standpoint, since you only have to worry about space on one logical drive, instead of juggling space on multiple logical drives. It also consists of only one RAID, which may save space used for redundancy compared to a the setup of a QNAP + iSCSI device that each have their own RAID.

However, with the Synology expanders set up as add-ons to the RAID, that means if any of the devices fail, you'd lose the whole RAID (meaning it'd go offline until you could replace the broken device). With the iSCSI method, since each device is its own logical drive, you'd only lose that particular logical drive if the iSCSI target went down (although you'd lose access to all storage if the main QNAP device that's managing it all went down).

You can read more about both RAID and iSCSI on Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISCSI

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