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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Consumer Hardware & Components > Best NAS / media server

Best NAS / media server
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Mac Elite
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Dec 8, 2013, 02:40 AM
 
I am in the market for a NAS and would like to hear of your experience with good and bad devices. As far as existing hardware I own a C2D mini server, a couple of iMacs and a MBP all networked with an airport extreme
My initial requirements are :-
  • time capsule
  • media server
  • itunes server
  • iPhoto server
  • access via iPhone and iPad app
  • HDMI output
  • Dolby 5.1 output
  • at least 3 x 2.5Tb drives so that losing 1 drive would not result in loss of data though the size of drives and number is all around redundancy and power consumption.
  • green/power saver
  • gigabit ethernet

Am I expecting too much or is there something I am missing?

Cheers
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Clinically Insane
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Dec 8, 2013, 03:37 AM
 
I'm confused as to what you are looking for.

When you say iTunes/iPhone server do you mean storage for use with these apps? If so, providing these apps aren't somehow fussy about where their underlying data lives, any NAS/SAN/RAID array/whatever will work for providing storage.

HDMI and Dolby output really confuse me. Why would a storage appliance need video and audio features?

It sounds like you are looking for RAID-5, but you might want to figure out what RAID configuration is most ideal for you. The best starting place is assessing whether maximizing your total storage or if having maximum redundancy is most important to you.
     
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Dec 8, 2013, 12:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
HDMI and Dolby output really confuse me. Why would a storage appliance need video and audio features?
We've got the HDMI QNAP TS-470 Pro inbound, so we'll let you know.

Dual-Core Intel Core i3 3.3 GHz Processor and 2GB DDR3 RAM, HDMI.

Qnap launches TS-x70 Turbo NAS devices with multimedia streaming | Electronista
     
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Dec 8, 2013, 01:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by EstaNightshift View Post
We've got the HDMI QNAP TS-470 Pro inbound, so we'll let you know.

Dual-Core Intel Core i3 3.3 GHz Processor and 2GB DDR3 RAM, HDMI.

Qnap launches TS-x70 Turbo NAS devices with multimedia streaming | Electronista

Interesting. At this point, this seems to be more full-fledged computer territory than the traditional definition of a NAS? I use a tower I built running Ubuntu in a very similar manner, only I think of this as a secondary computer rather than a NAS.
     
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Dec 8, 2013, 02:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Interesting. At this point, this seems to be more full-fledged computer territory than the traditional definition of a NAS? I use a tower I built running Ubuntu in a very similar manner, only I think of this as a secondary computer rather than a NAS.
Yeah. Honestly, though, a computer with its specs would be a LOT cheaper. $1300 or so at retail. I assume that the cost of the electricity for the NAS versus a tower will offset the purchase price over time, but we'll be looking into that as well to be sure.

In this house, we have a 1,1 Mac Pro for a home server that does nearly everything the OP wants. Well, except 5.1.
     
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Dec 8, 2013, 02:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by EstaNightshift View Post
Yeah. Honestly, though, a computer with its specs would be a LOT cheaper. $1300 or so at retail. I assume that the cost of the electricity for the NAS versus a tower will offset the purchase price over time, but we'll be looking into that as well to be sure.

In this house, we have a 1,1 Mac Pro for a home server that does nearly everything the OP wants. Well, except 5.1.
$1300 for a Mac maybe, but you could build a home-built tower for around $500.
     
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Dec 8, 2013, 03:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by simonjames View Post
I
Am I expecting too much or is there something I am missing?
Yes, you're expecting too much.

You seem to be wanting a NAS and a Media / home theater PC in one box.
Not a normal combination.

-t
     
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Dec 8, 2013, 06:43 PM
 
If you want a NAS NAS (as opposed to a HTPC/NAS combo), Synology is the way to go. I have 2 5+5 models and they rock. Great software. Had only one problem years ago which they fixed with a firmware update. Whisper quiet. One is actually in my bedroom. It's that quiet.

Stay well away from the Netgear ReadyNAS. They've dropped the ball. I've heard bad things about Drobos, though not recently. I've heard QNAP has quality control issues.
     
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Dec 8, 2013, 08:25 PM
 
Synology + ATV is the way to go if you don't mind a Mac running and serving up your NAS hosted iTunes library.

A jailbroken ATV can access a NSA directly via XBMC, but you can't jailbrake the current ATV3.

-t
     
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Dec 8, 2013, 08:51 PM
 
Thanks everyone.

Yes, I am being greedy by wanting a combined NAS and media server in one.

I held off buying for a while due to money constraints and the want for the unit to not chew through too much power. But the other day I knocked over one of my external hard drives and this killed it so this has given me the reason to finally get a NAS.

So, my requirements are cut down to just an energy saving NAS with 3 to 4 bays and time capsule compliant. The mini can live on as my media server.

I'll look into the Synology option but I've a question - how recently were they refreshed? I don't want to buy old tech.
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Dec 8, 2013, 08:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
$1300 for a Mac maybe, but you could build a home-built tower for around $500.
I should have been more clear. The NAS is $1300 at retail.
     
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Dec 10, 2013, 08:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by simonjames View Post
I'll look into the Synology option but I've a question - how recently were they refreshed? I don't want to buy old tech.
I honestly have no idea.
     
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Dec 27, 2013, 11:05 AM
 
My understanding is the Synologies are slightly older tech from a hardware/price standpoint, at least for their "media server" designs. (The QNAP 470-Pro looks great as a HTPC/NAS combo, but their software is not as enjoyable to use in my recent experience.)

I recently got a QNAP and then eventually returned it because I realized I was basically looking for external storage that I could run off my Mac mini, which is my media server. I got a Dat Optic 5-bay Thunderbolt external JBOD array instead, with a 10-foot TB cable that allows it to be stored out of sight in the basemet below - it's not exactly quite as elegant as running a NAS raid array (accessing the Mini headless with iPad via VNC is simply awkward, because MacOS is not really meant to be operated by touch), but it works pretty well overall.

I have a 1TB drive in the Mini, and four 4TB drives in the JBOD - two used for media storage, and the other two used for Time Machine backups of the three storage drives (including the Mini's drive). Will likely add a fifth drive for backup of the Mini's HD at some point, but I don't need the space yet. Following subego's advice, I also used some cheap external drives for manual back up and have stored them at the office in event of a house fire - I update them every few weeks or so. Subego is a big proponent of online/cloud backup, which makes sense, but at this stage I'm content with what I have.

A couple years down the road I may just get a NAS and use it solely for backup of this system.
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Jan 9, 2014, 07:33 PM
 
Like yourself ShortcutToMoncton I also have a couple of external drives that I use as offsite back ups (stored at work).

I saw this article from CES about some new Synology tech. Looks like I might wait another month or so.
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Jan 9, 2014, 09:31 PM
 
DSM is Synology's operating system, so that's a firmware upgrade. The new hardware they're releasing appears not to be upgraded silicon, just a ruggedized housing.
     
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Jan 9, 2014, 09:35 PM
 
@Shortcut and simonjames

As long as you have something off site, like you do by taking them to work, then you're all good. The only thing the cloud solution gives you at that point is automation.
     
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Jan 11, 2014, 09:50 PM
 
Thanks subego. The ruggedised housing should remove the need for an offsite backup. Hope it comes to Australia soon.
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Jan 12, 2014, 03:21 PM
 
Unfortunately, it doesn't... unless it's ruggedized against being burgled.
     
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Jan 12, 2014, 03:58 PM
 
Bingo.

I don't see the need for a fireproof onsite backup since it can not substitute for offsite backups.

-t
     
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Jan 12, 2014, 05:50 PM
 
I would guess the ruggedized version is aimed at the military. Who else really needs that?


Edit: I'd use it in an air-gapped network, but I'd still want offsite backup. Daily, too, if it's valuable enough to air-gap it in the first place.
     
   
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