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NAS suggestions
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jszrules
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Oct 20, 2017, 08:52 PM
 
Hi - looking for NAS/personal cloud recommendations. Here are some of my preferences:
1) Comes with disks already installed (like WD)
2) Allows for control of encryption and permissions, etc. (like Synology)
3) Don't need more than 6GB total - 1-2 bays tops
Thanks!
     
subego
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Oct 20, 2017, 11:41 PM
 
I'm extremely happy with my Synologys.

I think Synologys can be bought pre-loaded, but I'm sure it's cheaper to buy the drives separately. Any reason you don't want to install your own? All that's necessary is securing the drive to a tray with four (supplied) screws, and sliding the tray in. It's much easier than IKEA furniture.

How are you planning to configure the NAS? As one big volume? If so, I need to be annoying and warn that's a risky way to use it. If one drive dies all the data is toast.
     
jszrules  (op)
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Oct 21, 2017, 12:30 PM
 
Thank you - that definitely helps me lean towards Synology. To answer your question about planned configuration, I know RAID protects against HD failure, but not against more extreme events (theft, fire, etc.). Sounds paranoid, but that's why I'd prefer to back up important data to more than one location versus one local RAID - let me know if you think I'm off base. A few clarifying questions now that I am leaning towards Synology...

1) They work well w/ Time Machine? The TM partition would be encrypted? I've read that Western Digital solutions have trouble with this, for example.

2) With Synology, I'd be able to select different permissions/encryption/access rights to different partitions on the NAS pretty easily? Again, I've read Western Digital doesnt allow this, at least the newest one.

3) I can hardwire the NAS in case there is no internet/WiFi?

4) Novice RAID question - If I needed 6 GB of space and decided to RAID, what size drives would I need?

5) Synology works well w/ phones, as well?

Thanks again.
     
reader50
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Oct 21, 2017, 01:46 PM
 
Synology and QNAP are the biggest NAS vendors. Both have good Mac support. Some people like Drobo too, though it's a much smaller brand.

3) To my knowledge, all NAS enclosures allow wired connection. A wireless connection is much less common - usually your router provides the wireless service.

4) I suspect you mean 6TB, as 6GB is nothing today. As you want local redundancy, use a pair of 6TB drives in RAID-1. The other types of RAID allow larger volumes than the physical drives, but your needs fall within existing drive sizes.

About your needed size, note that TM should have at least 50% more space than the data you're backing up, with at least 100% greater space a wiser solution. Also, data tends to grow with time.

How much data are you backing up? If you are likely to need more than 6TB within the next year or two, it might be cheaper to buy 2x 8TB today rather than have to upgrade later.
( Last edited by reader50; Oct 21, 2017 at 02:59 PM. Reason: typo)
     
jszrules  (op)
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Oct 21, 2017, 02:36 PM
 
Thank you. Yes, I meant 6TB, not GB! The data targeted for TM is about 400GB and growing, so I'm thinking 1-1.5 TB should do it. A second partition for my wife's TM. And a 3rd partition for large media (movies, photos) that we can access from all devices and Apple TV - probably 2TB.

That said, I wanted to go back to my question about my ability to configure access settings to different partitions. Would TM's be encrypted? Would I be able to encrypt/configure read/write access and permissions to other non-TM partitions?

Lastly, how does Synology work w/ iPhones?

Thanks!
     
subego
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Oct 21, 2017, 02:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by jszrules View Post
Sounds paranoid, but that's why I'd prefer to back up important data to more than one location versus one local RAID - let me know if you think I'm off base.
You're not being paranoid in the slightest.

The methodology I recommend for backup is known as "3-2-1"

3 copies of each file
2 different formats
1 copy offsite

The offsite is vital. If one is using Time Machine for the second copy, the offsite acts as the third copy, is immune to theft or fire, and if it's done in the cloud it counts as another format. I unhesitatingly recommend Crashplan. It looks like their current pricing is $100/year for unlimited backup.

Unfortunately, I don't use encryption, or interface with mobile, so I'm a blank on that. You can set permissions. My understanding is you can set up a Time Machine partition on one, but I've never done it.
     
subego
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Oct 21, 2017, 02:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
How much data are you backing up? If you are likely to need more than 6TB within the next year or two, it might be cheaper to buy 2x 8TB today rather than have to upgrade later.
My general advice is to avoid the largest capacity drives. Those tend to have really high failure rates.

I'd go at least one step smaller.

I checked about 6 months ago, and for WD Reds, even their 6TB was a little flaky compared to the 4TB, which is rock solid.
     
reader50
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Oct 21, 2017, 03:09 PM
 
The largest capacity drives today are 12TB regular / 14TB SMR. The 6/8/10 sizes are midrange. btw, avoid SMR drives. Bad write performance, and incompatible with RAID.

@jszrules, it sounds like 6TB is a reasonable storage target for you.
• your use: 400GB x 2 = 800GB recommended TM space.
• wife user: ?? x 2 = ??? recommended space.
• 2TB media server.

Unless your wife has over 1.5TB to back up, you'll be good. btw, are you backing up your media space? If it's purchased content, you can redownload. If ripped BR discs, it can be re-ripped. But your time required to rerip could be substantial. And redownloading could be an issue if you're on capped internet.

BackBlaze is another good online backup option, $60 per year. Assuming you have decent upload speed and uncapped internet. At least, uncapped on the upload side.
     
turtle777
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Oct 21, 2017, 04:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
BackBlaze is another good online backup option, $60 per year. Assuming you have decent upload speed and uncapped internet. At least, uncapped on the upload side.
You can't back up straight from a Synology (or any NAS) to Backblaze.
Backblaze only backs up locally connected HDs.

-t
     
reader50
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Oct 21, 2017, 05:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
You can't back up straight from a Synology (or any NAS) to Backblaze.
Backblaze only backs up locally connected HDs.
Correct, unlimited backup of internal and direct-connected drives. But if jszrules uses it like an offsite TM backup, that is enough. The only thing not backed up would be the media volume on the NAS.
     
jszrules  (op)
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Oct 21, 2017, 06:38 PM
 
Thanks all for the responses. Super helpful. I already use CrashPlan to back up all my data and media content, so that is my "3rd copy", offsite. Knowing that, does it still make sense to go with a 2-volume RAID or is one 4-6TB disk good enough?

Also, if the 4TB really is more dependable than the 6TB, I'll go with that.

How is user access to Synology partitions managed? Is this done through their software or something that has to be done with Finder/Disk Utility?

Thank.
     
reader50
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Oct 21, 2017, 07:00 PM
 
Given that you do have offsite backup, I don't see a need for a local RAID backup. Single-disk should be enough, unless you want to pay for a little more peace of mind. You could buy a 2-bay NAS, and leave the second bay empty for future upgrades.

It seems doubtful that 6's are less reliable - 4s are becoming an older design. The latest BackBlaze HD reliability stats show elevated failure rates for some older 4TB Seagates, but nothing unusual for 6s. I haven't heard of any class-action lawsuits at present against hard drive lines.

A NAS is handled like a router, it has a built-in web control panel. Apple's Airport line/Time Capsule is the only vendor who doesn't use web-based configuration.
( Last edited by reader50; Oct 22, 2017 at 03:26 AM. Reason: typo)
     
OreoCookie
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Oct 21, 2017, 09:55 PM
 
Another happy Synology customer here. The hardware is great and the software is best-of-breed and regularly updated. I bought a DS214+ a few years ago, and couldn't be happier. They might be more expensive, but it is definitely worth it. The only alternative I see is QNAP, but the hardware is noticeably uglier. I almost forget my NAS is there because it just works. I haven't had a single reboot due to a bug or so, just for software updates (which come quite regularly) or when the fuse is tripped.

The functionality of your NAS can be significantly expanded with apps, software packages. You can turn your NAS into a very powerful router (much more powerful than even very expensive consumer-grade routers), for example, create a print server, run your own private Dropbox, etc.
Originally Posted by jszrules View Post
1) They work well w/ Time Machine? The TM partition would be encrypted? I've read that Western Digital solutions have trouble with this, for example.
Yes, for the most part. Every 1.5-2 years it asks me to create a new backup, but other than that it works. In addition, I also use other backup tools on the Synology itself. You can encrypt volumes and the TM backup on the Synology by toggling a checkbox, but it isn't encrypted by default.
Originally Posted by jszrules View Post
2) With Synology, I'd be able to select different permissions/encryption/access rights to different partitions on the NAS pretty easily?
Yes. You can create users, groups and network shares, and then give read/write rights to various users and groups. It is very easy. You can also limit access to Synology apps.
Originally Posted by jszrules View Post
3) I can hardwire the NAS in case there is no internet/WiFi?
Yes. My model has two 1 GBit ethernet ports.
Originally Posted by jszrules View Post
4) Novice RAID question - If I needed 6 GB of space and decided to RAID, what size drives would I need?
I suggest you buy two 8-10 TB drives and configure them as a RAID1 where the content of one drive is mirrored on the other. I would also strongly suggest you buy drives that are slightly larger than what you think you need, the price differential between 6 and 8 TB drives isn't that big if you include the cost of the NAS.
Originally Posted by jszrules View Post
5) Synology works well w/ phones, as well?
Yes. Synology has various iOS apps that run on iPhones and iPads. You can access files with that, watch movies on your iPad, etc.
Originally Posted by jszrules View Post
I already use CrashPlan to back up all my data and media content, so that is my "3rd copy", offsite. Knowing that, does it still make sense to go with a 2-volume RAID or is one 4-6TB disk good enough?
You can even run CrashPlan on your Synology, although setting it up is a bit finicky.
Originally Posted by jszrules View Post
Also, if the 4TB really is more dependable than the 6TB, I'll go with that.
That's not the case anymore. 4 TB drives are small drives these days, the sweet spot in terms of price per TB are 6/8/10 TB models. I'd get 8 TB if I were you.
Originally Posted by jszrules View Post
How is user access to Synology partitions managed? Is this done through their software or something that has to be done with Finder/Disk Utility?
You do that in Synology's web interface, which looks like a Linux or Windows desktop. It isn't pretty by Mac standards, but gets the job done. But it is light years beyond web interfaces for routers as it works like a regular GUI for an OS.

Here is how you do it:
(1) Open the Control Panel and select User.
(2) Create the users you want to give access to your system to. Time Machine will get its own user.
(2) Select Groups and create groups if necessary.
(3) Select Shared Folders and create shared folders such as media or backup. Note that when you create users, Synology's software will automatically create home directories for that user. You can opt to have your share encrypted.
(4) Select a shared volume, click in Edit and select the Permissions tab. Now decide on the type of access you want to give to specific users and/or groups.

If you have used a computer interface recently, it is really, really easy.

By the way, you can also give quotas to network shares. Quotas are artificial restrictions to the size of network shares. For example, if you want to give Time Machine only at most 3 TB, then you can add a quota of 3 TB to the TimeMachine user.
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subego
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Oct 22, 2017, 02:39 AM
 
Originally Posted by jszrules View Post
Also, if the 4TB really is more dependable than the 6TB, I'll go with that.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
It seems doubtful that 6's are less reliable - 4s are becoming an older design. The latest BackBlace HD reliability stats show elevated failure rates for some older 4TB Seagates, but nothing unusual for 6s. I haven't heard of any class-action lawsuits at present against hard drive lines.
This is correct. I was working with old data. The Backblaze reports from 2016 had 6TB WD Reds with an 11% (!) fail. They're at an effective 0% now.

Sorry about that.
     
jszrules  (op)
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Oct 22, 2017, 01:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Here is how you do it:
(1) Open the Control Panel and select User.
(2) Create the users you want to give access to your system to. Time Machine will get its own user.
(2) Select Groups and create groups if necessary.
(3) Select Shared Folders and create shared folders such as media or backup. Note that when you create users, Synology's software will automatically create home directories for that user. You can opt to have your share encrypted.
(4) Select a shared volume, click in Edit and select the Permissions tab. Now decide on the type of access you want to give to specific users and/or groups.

By the way, you can also give quotas to network shares. Quotas are artificial restrictions to the size of network shares. For example, if you want to give Time Machine only at most 3 TB, then you can add a quota of 3 TB to the TimeMachine user.
Excellent, thanks. To confirm, "shared folders", "shared volumes", "partition", and "network shares" are all synonymous for the purposes of this discussion?
     
OreoCookie
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Oct 22, 2017, 10:31 PM
 
Nope, they are not the same, and it is important to distinguish between them.

First of all, a NAS is just a computer designed for server duties.

(1) Partitions are not visible to the network and cannot be shared*. They are just visible to the NAS internally. For instance, you could use two 8 TB harddrives into a RAID 1 and partition that volume in different ways. Usually you would create one big partition. This is where the NAS's OS lives as well.

(2) On this partition you can create folders (some are created automatically like user folders). You can elect to share some of them for some users.

(3) On your Mac you would usually mount them as network volumes or network shares.

In short: you create a RAID, partition it, create folders on it which you mount as a network volume. You would never share a partition.

* Technically, you can share a volume via iSCSI, but you don't want to do this.
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P
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Oct 23, 2017, 07:46 AM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
You can't back up straight from a Synology (or any NAS) to Backblaze.
Backblaze only backs up locally connected HDs.

-t
You sort-of can...

Either use NFS to share the Synology and set the mountpoint on the Mac to a regular folder, or use iSCSI and connect it as if it were a regular drive. Haven't tried it, though.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
jszrules  (op)
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Nov 11, 2017, 01:50 AM
 
Hi - thanks for everyone's help thus far. I ended up getting the DS116 and a single-disk 6TB WD Red drive. The NAS is connected and I finished the initial setup. As I'm fairly new to this and don't want to mess anything up given the numerous settings and options in the Control Panel, I have some more questions below:

1) ​There are many options for Security, Privileges, External Access, File Services, Users, Groups, etc. How should I configure all these settings to have strong security, but still allow me as the admin to access the NAS remotely and no one else?

2) For now, I'm thinking I need 1.2TB for my TM, 500GB for my wife's TM, 1.5TB for shared media (movies, photos), and another 500GB for large work files that only I should be able to access. How do I set these up? Do I even need to create partitions to do this? If so, I see the "Create" button is faded out under the Volumes settings tab even though I am logged and I am an admin...not sure why. All I've done so far is gone through the initial set up screens which established the one 6TB volume, but I don't think I've configured anything to mount on my Mac or anything like that. Not even sure how to do that!

3) I'd like passwords or encryption for each of the four portions above. How would I set that up?

4) Once this is all set up, how do I get CrashPlan to back up the stuff on 1.5TB shared media portion in the CrashPlan Cloud?

Thank you again for the help. Just want to make sure I don't do anything stupid.
     
subego
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Nov 11, 2017, 04:36 PM
 
Number 4 is easy. When you run the CrashPlan app, on the main page there’s a “Files” section, which has a “Change” button. It’ll let you add any mounted volume.
     
OreoCookie
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Nov 11, 2017, 08:06 PM
 
Here are some comments from my end:

Basic Setup
Start with basic volume setup. You have a NAS with only one disk, so there is not much choice: go to your Synology’s web interface, open the Storage Manager and verify that you have a volume created there that takes up your entire hard drive. If you haven’t, click in Create and follow the instructions. Do not partition your drive! If you have, I strongly recommend you start from scratch. With network storage, you restrict storage on volumes differently.
Originally Posted by jszrules
1) ​There are many options for Security, Privileges, External Access, File Services, Users, Groups, etc.
First of all, you need to create users for your wife, yourself and make a separate administrator account. Also create a user called TimeMachine which you will need later to configure Time Machine backups on your Macs. Your regular user should not have admin privileges for security purposes. To do that, open the Synology’s web interface, select Control Center, User and select Create. Follow the instructions there.
Originally Posted by jszrules
How do you recommend I configure all these settings to enable strong security, but still enabling me as the admin to access the NAS remotely and no one else?
Go to Control Panel, click in Shared Folder and create a folder TimeMachine (for backups), media (for your videos and music), CrashPlan (for your CrashPlan backups). Of course, add to that list as you see fit. Make sure you configure the Permissions properly. For example, only the user TimeMachine and the administrator should have read/write access to the TimeMachine volume. Your wife and you should be configured to have read/write access on the media share.

Do not create Shared Folders for yourself or your wife, this is done automatically when you create your accounts! Note that you have the option to encrypt your folders. If you think this is necessary, select the option, and make sure to choose a secure password (not name of pet plus birth year or so). Make a point of writing down the password and storing it in a safe place. If you lose this password, you may lose all of your data!

Go to File Services and enable SMB and AFP. Select the Advanced tab, enable Bonjour and click in Set Time Machine Folders. Select the TimeMachine folder you just created.

To disable web interface access for users, select the user in Control Panel > User and click in Edit. Select the Applications tab and search for the entry Desktop. Tick the box Deny and click in OK.
Originally Posted by jszrules
2) For now, I'm thinking I need 1.2TB for my TM, 500GB for my wife's TM, 1.5TB for shared media (movies, photos), and another 500GB for large work files that only I should be able to access. How do I set these up?
The easiest way is to use quotas. The way this Time Machine setup on the Synology works is that you can only use a single quota for both of your machines, so that would be 1.2 TB + 0.5 TB = 1.7 TB. However, make sure that 1.2 TB is not the size of your backup, but you need more storage for Time Machine to function properly and keep past copies. So if you want to back up 1 TB of data, I recommend you give Time Machine 1.5 TB of space. This is very, very important. Otherwise Time Machine will not work properly.

So to enable a quota, go to the Control Panel > User, select the user TimeMachine, click in Edit and choose the Quota tab. You will see a list of volumes, and because you only have a single volume, the list consists of only one. Go to the field Quota which is the second one from the right and add the quota in GB. If you want to give Time Machine 2 TB of space for you and your wife combined, enter 2000.

For all other users, I don’t think adding quotas in your setup is necessary or useful. But if you insist, add quotas for all other users that you wish to restrict.
Originally Posted by jszrules
Do I even need to create partitions to do this?
You do not need to create partitions. In fact, I advise against (more than one) partitions.
Originally Posted by jszrules
3) I'd like passwords or encryption for each of the four portions above. How would I set that up?
Each network share can be encrypted. I gave instructions above.
Originally Posted by jszrules
4) Once this is all set up, how do I get CrashPlan to see the 1.5TB shared media portion?
I was never able to get CrashPlan to run on my Synology.

Setting up Time Machine on your Macs
Go to your Mac, open the System Prefs > Time Machine and choose Select a Disk... Your TimeMachine share should appear. Select it and enter the user name TimeMachine and the password you have chosen. That’s it. Trigger a backup manually so that Time Machine starts the first backup. This will take time, and you may want to connect your Mac to the net work with an Ethernet cable. This way, the backup is faster.

Mounting Network Shares
Go to the Finder, look for Shared in the side bar (below Devices). Your Synology should appear here. Select it and click in Connect As... enter your user name and password from the Synology. A list of all available volumes should appear now, including a folder whose name matches that of your user on the Synology — this is your home folder that is automatically created. Once you click into one of them, they are mounted and you can access them normally.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
   
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