Basic questions about getting a NAS

Harkon321

Well-known Member
New territory for me, but considering a move to a NAS for film storage. Got a few questions and any pointers appreciated.

Done properly, is it as reliable as a disk?
I can't be doing with blocky blacks due to bit rate, buffering or audio sync issues.

Can I buy something like a 4 bay NAS but just buy one or two drives and add as I need more space?

Backups
- If I have use a usb harddrive as backup, is this as simple as backing up and copying the files or does it require something more complex?

If you run space, can you expand the NAS? I read that if you put the drives in to another NAS it'll reformat them. Or do you have to start over and copy everything from a backup?

Am I better sticking to Synology/QNAP for ease of use etc?
 

rccarguy

Active Member
1) Well the OS is linux so more stable than Windows, also built in RAID options
2) Yes can just fit one drive, then add more as needed
3) Can use built in service to copy back and forth, or use windows explorer
4) They are in own partition system for security, so if you remove you won't be able to access them

I have a Synology DS418, I'm happy with it. Mainly used for music storage with LMS and squeezeboxes. Very fast, quad core, 2GB RAM. Takes one hour to scan 100,000 tracks

The higher end Synolgy allow you to daisy chain a synology type box with 8 HD multiple HD

I'm running individual drive, not RAID, with backup on a couple of spare 1TB drives.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Storing and/or playing back media from a NAS has no effect on picture or audio quality - it's just an alternate form of storage to optical media that you can access over a data network. If the tool you use to rip the media does a good enough job (I like MakeMKV,) it'll be indistinguishable from the original media.

The quality of the playback (or "rendering" into sound and pictures) is entirely dependent on the device you use to perform the playback, not the NAS or what is stored on it.

But...

A lot of poeple who want to use a NAS as a media tank like to use an "add on" to the NAS call Plex Media Server (other similar tools are available.) One of Plex's "tricks" is that it can re-encode media on the fly from the stored format to a different one for the benefit of playback devices that cannot render the media as stored. This is called "real time trans-coding" and certainly does effect the audio/picture quality, though whether you can discern this with any given combination of media and playback device is subjective.

If you avoid using Plex or something like it and just use the NAS as basic storage, and/or set up Plex so that it doesn't do real time transcoding, then the point is moot.

There is an FAQ about NAS pinned in this forums, and it's a frequent topic of conversation here if you care to browse/search for some old threads, though I'm sure the regular "lurkers" here will be more than happy to go over it again.
 
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bubblegum57

Well-known Member
If you have a nas connected to your home network, you can play movies onto other TV's.

Although, you will probably need a playback device, ie Android box, Fire TV stick.

If, your smart tv supports plex you can just use that.

You can buy nas with hdmi output, which you can just plug into a tv, disadvantage with this, is possible noise from the hard disks.
 

Sloppy Bob

Distinguished Member
Done properly, is it as reliable as a disk?
I can't be doing with blocky blacks due to bit rate, buffering or audio sync issues.
As above people comment, it's down to your playback device.

It's also down to your home network being able to manage the speed of data required.
If it's all ethernet cabled then no issue.
If it's wifi, unless you've spent a fair bit of cash on a Mesh system then forget 4K and most people have issues with full bitrate 1080p.

Can I buy something like a 4 bay NAS but just buy one or two drives and add as I need more space?
Yes, you can.


Backups - If I have use a usb harddrive as backup, is this as simple as backing up and copying the files or does it require something more complex?
It can be as simple as that. It's down to you. I use a Sync App and run it weekly.


If you run space, can you expand the NAS? I read that if you put the drives in to another NAS it'll reformat them. Or do you have to start over and copy everything from a backup?
If you put the drives back in, in the exact same order, in a similar or larger Synology NAS it will verify the discs over a few hours and then carry on as usual. It will only do this though from Synology->Synology. I don't know if other NAS brands can do this.

My advice, buy a larger Synology NAS than you think you'll need such as an 8 bay and stick older, smaller discs in it you may have hanging around, starting with the smallest first. If you buy a Synology you can use SHR (Synology Hybrid Raid) which means you can mix drive sizes, with some simple rules, and have single disc redundancy. Then as you need more space you buy larger discs and add or replace them as necessary.

I started off with 2, 4 and 6's in my NAS. It's all 10's now and all I ever had to do was remove a disc and replace it. It all just carried on as normal, just making a bit more noise for a day or so as it was working in the background to rebuild the redundant disc.

Note that redundancy isn't backup, it just means if a disc fails you can switch it out and carry on as normal rather than having to copy everything over from a backup.
If the NAS fails, if you lose 2 discs, if it gets stolen or has ransomware loaded onto it, if you accidentally delete something or an entire volume, you're shafted as you don't have a backup.
 
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ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
Backups - If I have use a usb harddrive as backup, is this as simple as backing up and copying the files or does it require something more complex?
3) Can use built in service to copy back and forth, or use windows explorer
Please be careful a good backup is not simply copying the files using something like Windows Explorer.

A good backup will copy all the data initially and store that in a format it can restore from, which might not be just a regular view of the data.

The next time it runs it should only copy the changes. Most importantly It should also keep a copy of the old and deleted versions of the file for a given retention period.

If you don't do this then you run the risk of data loss either via user error or malicious activity. Imagine you got a ransomware virus that locked your files. You don't realise at first and copy the files over using file explorer. Boom, just lost your backup... :(
 

Harkon321

Well-known Member
Firstly, thank you for everyone's input - much appreciated.



If you have a nas connected to your home network, you can play movies onto other TV's.

You can buy nas with hdmi output, which you can just plug into a tv, disadvantage with this, is possible noise from the hard disks.
Cheers, most TVs have ethernet near by and cabled back to the garage. (Last summer's project). NAS can sit in the rack in there.


My advice, buy a larger Synology NAS than you think

It's all 10's now and all I ever had to do was remove a disc and replace it. It all just carried on as normal, just making a bit more noise for a day or so as it was working in the background to rebuild the redundant disc.
Seems like good advice. So if you're running out of storage you can literally pull out a 2TB drive, put in a 10TB and it'll rebuild from the other disks in a raid set up?

If you don't do this then you run the risk of data loss either via user error or malicious activity. Imagine you got a ransomware virus that locked your files. You don't realise at first and copy the files over using file explorer. Boom, just lost your backup... :(
Is it possible for ransomware to transfer directly from the NAS to the harddrive back up? If so would people recommend keeping it offline except when it is completing a backup as good practise? I'd hate to have to copy all the films again.
 

Sloppy Bob

Distinguished Member
Seems like good advice. So if you're running out of storage you can literally pull out a 2TB drive, put in a 10TB and it'll rebuild from the other disks in a raid set up?
Yes, but only using Synology SHR. If you use traditional RAID then it will work, but only recognise the disk as 2TB instead of the 10.
Note that using SHR it will only recognise the 10TB as a 10TB if there's another 10TB drive in the NAS. If the largest disc is 6TB then it will see it as that up until you add another 10TB or larger and then it will expand and you'll get the full amount.
The largest disc is effectively always your redundant drive, so until there's 2 or more of it, then it won't see the full capacity.
 

Harkon321

Well-known Member
Ye that makes sense. Just having a look at the current synology range now. Quite a lot of models, and looking at the recent thread, new models coming out too. Will have a look now.

You mention in the other thread that you're running 2 x DS1718+. Do they act as one storage area? i.e. You expanded the first NAS and devices see one NAS?
 

rccarguy

Active Member
There's realtek and intel cpus. People on forums saying realtek too slow for lms. No fricking way it's fast, copy from local hd to internal I think 50-150mb sec. Way way faster than my old single core 300mhz. Plenty of ram.

Don't use transcoding feature though

As for data loss.dont have home internet connection.

Got a 3tb, 2tnb and a couple of 1.5tb
 

Sloppy Bob

Distinguished Member
You mention in the other thread that you're running 2 x DS1718+
The 2nd one is my backup.

They wouldn't work like that though as they'd have their own IP address. You can however buy an expansion module for the 1817's, you can add two 5-bay modules to it and it will see them all as one drive.
 

ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
Is it possible for ransomware to transfer directly from the NAS to the harddrive back up? If so would people recommend keeping it offline except when it is completing a backup as good practise? I'd hate to have to copy all the films again.
It depends is the answer...

The purpose of ransomware is to encrypt files of usually known types Word Documents, Photos and then possibly music and movies etc. If your Anti-virus doesn't spot it the first you will know about it a message asking to pay a fee or trying to play a file and it no longer works. Depending on the sophistication it will look at your local disk, but it also might look at your network drives and try those too.

Having said that you are probably as likely to inadvertently corrupt the file by saving or deleting for example.

With backup drives it is good practice to disconnect them, it protects them from nasties on the network plus if say there was a lightning strike that took our your NAS, if you drive was connected it would probably be toast too....

You need a backup strategy and then you can assess the risk. You need to think of different scenarios so having your computer backed up to your NAS is all well and good but if your house sets of fire or your get burgled how are you going to get it back. Thus you need to either use some sort of cloud storage or store a disk at a family member\friends.

What data do you have so, for example, you might go for something along the lines

1) Family Photos (relatively small storage) - Original Source: Phone, Backup: NAS, Second Backup: iCloud\Google etc - Cannot lose
2) Important Docs (relatively small storage) - Original Source: Computer, Backup: NAS, Second Backup: icloud\Google) -
3) Music (large storage) - Original Source: Downloads\CD Rips - Computer with copy on NAS - rerip\redownload
4) Moves (massive storage) - Original RIp only stored on NAS - Rerip

It all depends on how much storage you need too. You might be able to back everything up to one drive, I know I can't though :)
 

Harkon321

Well-known Member
Cheers for that. Yes, I guess I need to start thinking of it like I do with stuff at work.

Regarding media playback. I presume if it’s a 4k rip, then whatever device you used to play the file needs to be able to unpack and play that file? Obviously for TV or whatever this wouldn’t be an issue, unsure of tablets etc but that’s not really an issue at the moment.
 

rccarguy

Active Member
Yeah if the device can playback that file then sure just play from the directory, so you don't need a powerful Nas.

But if you want to transcode video from a decisive that can playback that file, then need a more powerful Nas with plex.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
An approach one could adopt if you have clients that cannot render super-duper 4K files is perhaps to store two versions on the titles - one super-duper full fat picture with multi channel sound and all the bells and whistles for the benefit of the "big" TV where it matter, one more mundane basic lower res. MP4 (or these days maybe H264) with basic stereo sound for the benefit of the phones, ipads, etc. where PQ is of less import and they cannot render multi-channel sound.

That would "cost" more in storage, but then one can trade off the cost of some extra storage against the cost of a NAS with mega CPU's. IMHO there's no such thing as CPU's "fast enough" to do real time trans-coding, especially if you need to serve multiple streams concurrently. Serving files is a very low CPU task - even across multiple streams - so almost anything will do. (It'll also run cooler and quieter without CPU's whizzing away trans-coding.)

That means you may need to engage in a big exercise in tran-coding each title to produce the basic version, but you only have to do it once per title with something like HandBrake and then you're done. The real trick will be to determine what the "lowest common denominator" format is for your particular mix of client devices. Even then it may only be needed on the 4K titles - lots of device, including phones, can render DVD/BD rips right out the box. (Though whether your Wi-Fi can handle it is another matter.)
 
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bubblegum57

Well-known Member
Instead of handbrake, you can create a trancoded version within Plex.
 

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