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Storage Best way to implement a NAS?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by ModSquid, 14 Jun 2020.

  1. ModSquid

    ModSquid Active Member

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    Yo!

    I've recently been sorting through a bunch of old hard drives and trying to consolidate my backups. Some of them I'm going to try and implement in a new build for the Small People, using Rapid Storage, but I also noticed that the USB caddies I use seem to have formatted my larger drives down to the older Windows-accepted state ie. a 3TB disk now shows as 2TB with a load of unallocated space and can't be read without being in the caddy. Obviously this isn't ideal, so if I were to look at setting up a NAS box, what's the easiest/most convenient/"best" way of doing so? I have no prior experience with this and primary objective would be to back up data, although a media server would be a bonus.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. David

    David Take my advice — I’m not using it.

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    An old PC running FreeNAS, OMV, XPEnology or numerous others will do the trick - most NAS OS installs support the likes of Plex for media serving. You can use Windows if you like, but I found a dedicated OS was more suitable for my needs.

    Obviously, if you have the money to spend, there are plenty off the shelf NAS boxes to choose from. Research is key though, some boxes have great features and others have a great price, but finding the balance is the key. Some cheaper ones look the part but may have a weak CPU which can hurt you for media serving.

    If you go for prebuilt - buy with an eye to the future. GbE LAN is on the way out and newer NAS boxes offer 2.5GbE as standard though 10GbE has been around for a while. Obviously you can't take full advantage immediately if your PCs and switch are limited to GbE but NAS boxes are long term purchases, so models with 2.5 GbE or an expansion slot for a nbase-t card would be a better bet.
     
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  3. ModSquid

    ModSquid Active Member

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    Dude - that's some good insight - appreciated.

    Some questions (if you don't mind):
    • If my old disks are all different sizes and types (JBOD?) is an old PC "server" better off? I'm assuming so
    • 2.5GbE?! Not seen that yet, but that's obviously only going to matter if the kit can take it, like you say. On that basis, the old PC is surely the way to go, as that's more easily upgradeable. What's the minimum requirement for such a system? I'm thinking fairly basic
    • GbE should be fast enough, right? On the basis that all my other gear is limited to that
     
  4. David

    David Take my advice — I’m not using it.

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    You can configure JBOD on any NAS, but you lose redundancy. That may not matter, depending on your backup regime.

    2.5GbE is fairly new and becoming common on latest gen mainboards. It's also a sweet spot when you consider disk performance as the bottleneck on a network/NAS, not counting SSDs - a spinning disk array can easily saturate a GbE link when moving data around. Obviously this is dependent on all aspects of your network supporting that speed.

    Re-working an old machine as a NAS is fine and you can add a faster network card down the line, as you say.

    GbE is fine, if that's what you've got - it'll work just fine for streaming media. I was just pointing out that it's probably not going to be the standard for much longer.
     
  5. nimbu

    nimbu Well-Known Member

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    When you say media server are you planning to just host the files or will you be transcoding?

    If you are just going to be hosting then consider an old gen 7 microserver and unraid.

    I've had all sorts of solutions over the years but I am in the final steps of migrating from a Synology unit to a gen 8 microserver unraid based setup.

    Don't get me wrong off the shelf can and does work but I found that over time I needed more CPU grunt. Also cost, got a lot of cash tied up in my 8 bay Synology.
     
  6. ModSquid

    ModSquid Active Member

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    No, it'll just be hosting the files at this stage - music and photos mainly, but a few films etc.. Can't imagine I'll transcode to watch though, just stick with whatever resolution they're recorded in (the high-res stuff can come straight from streaming services).

    Thanks both - I'll start doing some research into the suggestions!
     
  7. cobalt6700

    cobalt6700 Active Member

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    Can also recommend something like a Gen7/Gen8. My little Gen7 started out with freeNAS and ended up running Unraid (I find Unraid easier to use) as a NAS with 1 parity, 3 data and 1 cache, and did so very well. I only recently upgraded to a quad core I7 system as I wanted to play with VM's :)
     
  8. ShakeyJake

    ShakeyJake My name is actually 'Jack'.

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    Whilst many of the prebuilt solutions are brilliant (I'm personally particularly fond of Synology) there's not really a substitute for a 'proper' server IME. For two reasons, both of which are assumptions bit I think given that you're a member of Bit-Tech.net they are fair assumptions.
    1. Eventually you will want to tinker too much and there'll be something that any given pre built can't do.
    2. The hardware is 'free' as a server can be made from old main rig parts.

    I have a small Supermicro server case with about 18TB of disks, an older i3 4150, 16GB of ram and a Quadro p600. Running Debian stable it serves files, runs/transcodes plex amazingly well, backs up 3 pcs and hosts a variety of VMs. Most pre-builts can do most of those things, plenty can do all of those things, but probably not as powerfully or as easily, with an infinite upgrade path.
     
    Last edited: 20 Jun 2020
  9. play_boy_2000

    play_boy_2000 It was funny when I was 12

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    If you want something that can run VMs too, Hyper-V is free and can be poked with powershell to set up SMB shares. I'm currently on 2012 R2, which was fairly easy to setup, but I'm poking around with 2019 right now and it seems a bit more of a pita. I had to disable driver signing checks and manually install my intel NIC driver from the inf because microsoft hadn't certified the damn driver, not to mention that non-domain management is still broken (Windows admin center works, but is a bit clunky imo).
     
  10. Fingers66

    Fingers66 Kiwi in London

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    Despite being a dedicated Synology convert, I would agree with this.

    I used to run OMV on older hardware in a Fractal R5 as a backup NAS for my Synology primary, was perfect for the job and easy to change hardware or upgrade. I have since changed, firstly to another Synology then to a USB 3 external HD as backup, I ran out of space to keep all the kit and it was loads cheaper to sell the old Synology and buy the USB drive than to upgrade all the high mileage drives, I wasn't using the backup NAS for anything other than storing backups. If you have the space and inclination, build your own. I can highly recommend OMV as an O/S for ease of installation and maintenance.

    IIRC, doesn't UnRaid cater for differing size hard drives?
     
  11. creative

    creative 500rwhp

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    Unraid is great.

    Different size disks doesnt matter so long as you have a parity drive that is the same or larger than the biggest disk in the array. Run dual parity to have upto 2 disks fail at the same time. I have a 5tb parity and several disk sizes ranging from 4tb to 500gb. Easy to upgrade hardware in the future as it runs off a usb stick and doesnt care if you change something...
     
  12. Yaka

    Yaka Well-Known Member

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    aye i'd give unraid a look as well. spaceinvader has very good youtube channel on almost everything unraid related.
     

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