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Storage Which home NAS? Best Budget and Access?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by lukemm, 9 Nov 2013.

  1. lukemm

    lukemm What's a Dremel?

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    So it's been a long while since I last did some home tech housekeeping and I've realised just what a mess all my photos, images, movies etc all are across a multitude of devices and systems! I'm ashamed, but probably not alone!

    I'm about to move house and have the opportunity to really use this as a driver to do something about it!

    I want a network access storage system that I guess is really 'no frills' but functional and that can be simple enough for my wife to use. I want to be able to add it as a shared area that laptops and android devices can access. Raid would be nice if the price is right and it probably needs Wake up on Lan? I don't think I need wireless because I think I can plug it in near the wireless router.

    Accessing via the laptops is probably pretty simple, and could virtualsubst to create as a drive - I could probably then sync this drive with dropbox or something for some cloud backup. Any ideas on Android access? I've heard that maybe ES File Explorer can do something like this?

    I've used a netgear ReadyNAS system at work but my understanding is that this is pretty expensive, but I figure two drive bays would be required. and 1TB of storage would probably keep me going for a long while.

    Advise and suggestions please!

    Many thanks.
     
  2. YEHBABY

    YEHBABY RIP Tel

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    I'd recommend taking a look at the Synology NAS range. They're great pieces of kit.
     
  3. DaveMon

    DaveMon The end is nigh! Repent!

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    +1 for the Synology, very good bits of kit.

    ES File Explorer will do the job nicely on Android.
    Allows you to access the file share directly and you can also stream videos through it as well.

    On iOS take a look at FileExplorer which does the same job.
     
  4. andrew8200m

    andrew8200m Modder

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    I personally would buy ASUSTOR.

    The 20xTE series are superb! They offer pretty much everything symbology and qnap offer (the same brain child created all 3 brands) as well as xbmc out the box direct hdmi to tv meaning you won't need a media centre pc ever again. They also come with 4 CCTV licences over the 1 that's offered by the other brands.
     
  5. Cleggmeister

    Cleggmeister Of reasonable knowledge...

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    If you fancy a project get a HP Proliant N40L (or the latest model) and install OpenMediaVault (free) and your own choice of discs. Far more powerful than most off the shelf NAS's, great value and a good learning curve. I'll post a wee guide if you're interested.
     
  6. j_jay4

    j_jay4 Minimodder

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    +1 for the guide, I've got one coming at christmas
     
  7. Rapp

    Rapp Minimodder

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    Would be very interested in seeing the guide.
     
  8. Kovoet

    Kovoet What's a Dremel?

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    Absolutely love my NAS synology, if I can play with it anybody can.
     
  9. RichCreedy

    RichCreedy Hey What Who

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    you could pick yourself up a cheapish HP N54l microserver, and install windows home server, with the added advantage it has 4 bays so could be upgraded with more drives as required
     
  10. Cleggmeister

    Cleggmeister Of reasonable knowledge...

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    OK, bear with me, will put something together this evening...
     
  11. Rapp

    Rapp Minimodder

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    Did you put anything together in the end? Been thinking about getting a MicroServer.
     
  12. Sheiken

    Sheiken Wat?

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    I bagged myself a Zyxel NSA325v2 in the recent black friday sale, and it does everything that I want it too and more, and it is one of the cheaper 2bay nas devices.

    Works wonderfully both with windows and osx, and most importantly it streams to my samsung smart -tv and it was very simple to set up. Speeds are decent as well :)
     
  13. Margo Baggins

    Margo Baggins I'm good at Soldering Super Moderator

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    I use QNAP just about exclusively now at work.
     
  14. Atomic

    Atomic Gerwaff

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    We've got a cheap rackmount QNAP at work, works fine for basic storage.

    At home I've got a HP N54L Microserver with Windows 8, works perfectly for media storage and PC backup.

    For only a 1TB NAS, I don't see much difference between the low end 2-bay QNAP or Synology units.
     
  15. Cleggmeister

    Cleggmeister Of reasonable knowledge...

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    My apologies, I didn't. I will over Christmas though I can't recommend the Microservers highly enough. If you can build a PC you can build a Microserver, then just choose an operating system. I went for OpenMediaVault and love it. Full NAS functionality, for example:

    DLNA media serving to my HiFi, wdtv, phones, etc
    Shared folders for users, backups, etc
    Network printing, even from androids, phones etc
    Bittorrent client and server

    And loads more. Really enjoyed learning something new too!
     
  16. Cleggmeister

    Cleggmeister Of reasonable knowledge...

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    Cleggy's guide to building a NAS based on the HP Microserver N40L

    Buying:

    Most folks pick these up when HP run their generous £100 cashback deal. To qualify you should buy from an authorised HP vendor as you'll need to submit the receipt and serial number to receive the cashback. HP state you need to submit the documentation via post and will receive a cheque, as I did, though I have read about folks corresponding via email for their cheque.

    What you'll receive:

    My N40L came with one 250GB hard disc installed, the server itself and an IEC mains lead. The design of the server is really rather cool, so on the inside of the hinged front panel you'll have a sufficient number of drive retaining screws and an allen key to turn them. The front panel is lockable, key supplied, though it wouldn't take much to bust it open. Note that there is no optical drive supplied, rather a 5.25” blanking plate where you could mount one if you need.

    What next:

    Acquire up to four big blank SATA discs (for your data) and two cheap 2GB USB pen drives (one for the operational OS, one for the installation)

    Decide how to interact with the thing:

    Out of the box there is no OS installed so you'll only be able to interact with the BIOS. At this point you'll probably want to plug in a monitor and keyboard into the onboard VGA/USB sockets. And plug it into your network too via ethernet.

    Then:

    Decide what OS you'd like to run on it. After a lot of research I went for OpenMediaVault based on my requirements as follows:

    1) DLNA media serving – music to my hifi and film/pictures to my TV.
    2) Anything else was a bonus

    As it happens OMV provides you with plenty of NAS type functions, many of which I now rely on, such as:

    3) Print server
    4) SMB shares
    5) BitTorrent
    6) Pretty much everything else I've ever seen on a NAS and a lot more besides

    Of course it being a pretty reasonable computer you could run Windows, Linux, whatever on it. Mine came with 2GB RAM as standard, though I ditched that and for around £30 dropped 8GB in for the hell of it.

    So, let's assume you've gone for OMV as your OS of choice:

    This is where a bit of thought is essential. OMV uses an entire drive for it's own needs, regardless of that drives capacity, so wasting the free 250GB drive (and more importantly the drive bay) seemed a little unnecessary. With all of the USB ports on the server I decided to make a bootable USB pen drive and use this as my OS disc instead, thus leaving me with all 4 SATA bays free for storage.

    NOTE: I have heard people saying it's a “no-no” to run a USB drive as your boot/OS drive, largely due to the possibility of the USB pen drive failing after multiple writes. My experience has been fine in nearly two years, and to be honest it doesn't really matter if the pen drive fails as it can be replaced for a couple of quid with a fresh OMV build and no data loss.

    That's quite critical with OMV – the OS can live, die, mutate, be upgraded, whatever, since your actual data remains safe in the format of your choice on your physical SATA drives. CAVEAT: I don't use RAID. For me RAID in a home environment is daft since I'm only using the server to feed music, movies, pictures and to backup my computers. By way of safety I then frequently backup the server to large capacity USB drives.

    Create a bootable USB pen drive onto one of the two you've set aside:

    Download an ISO of OMV from here: http://www.openmediavault.org/download.html . Make sure you get the 64 bit version otherwise it'll not see more than 2-3GB RAM in your server should you install more. You're downloading this to your PC.

    Stick one of the USB pen drives in your PC.

    Then, on your PC, follow the instructions on the same webpage for creating a bootable USB stick using the ISO you just downloaded. A 2GB stick has served me well for years. Note that at this point you're still working on your PC since you're just creating the bootable media.

    Have a cuppa/cigarette

    Now is the fun bit. Physically install the SATA discs using the included drive caddies, screws and tool.
    Then stick your bootable USB pen drive into the server, bearing in mind this is a temporary insertion so you should use one of the exterior ports. Stick the other (blank) USB pen drive into the interior USB port, bearing in mind this one needs to live in there forever since it'll be holding the OS.

    Plug your keyboard and mouse into the server.
    Power it up.

    You'll probably need to tell the BIOS to boot from the exterior (bootable) pen drive. Go for it.
    As the installer runs it'll ask where to install to. Choose the other (blank) pen drive sitting in the interior USB port.

    Choose your parameters like time zone, etc, passwords, etc, and let it run its course.

    Once done you can remove the bootable pen drive, your mouse and keyboard and you can talk to your new NAS by simply typing in it's IP address into your browser.

    That's all for now, I need a top up and the news is about to start. More to come...

    ***EDIT***

    TL; DR? I picked all this up from a bit of googling, and it was a lot of fun. I'm left with a NAS which is way more powerful and configurable than anything I could have bought for the same money. Give it a whirl, it's fun!
     
    Last edited: 19 Dec 2013

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