Question NAS for Backing Up and Media Serving

rulocal

Well-known Member
I would really appreciate some answers to a couple of questions that have cropped up as I begin to think about setting up a NAS.

The external HD I make backups to has started making some worrying noises and needs replacing, so I thought I would look into getting a NAS instead as I can then use it to "serve" music to my Logitech Squeezebox as well as do back up duties.

I have done some reading and Synology look the way to go, given their good reputation, software, and support for Squeezeboxes. I do have a couple of questions, though, and would really appreciate some help. I am really in unchartered waters here, so, apologies if the questions make no sense... :)

Do I need a 2-bay solution if I am not concerned about RAID? i.e Do I need separate disks for backing up and server duties?

I am also trying to understand how I will actually do the backing up? This might all become obvious when setting it up, but, is it possible to configure the backup to act as a MAC Time Machine and also a "vault" for the music files on the NAS?

I hope the above makes sense...


Many thanks
 

Chester

Well-known Member
Some good questions there. In the world of NAS, two makes stand out from the crowd: QNAP and Synology, and they pretty much do the same job. I chose Synology.

You can get 2, 4, 5, and 8 bay NASes that don't take up much space and are power efficient. They go much bigger but then require more space and power. You can get 3.5" SATA HDDs up to 10TB now, but they're expensive. To choose the right one is a simple to work out: it's about the data you store now and allow for growth, but working out growth can be complex. It all depends what you intend to store. Disks can always be in-place upgraded, so don't worry too much about predicting growth into the medium/long-term future.

RAID is important. You don't want to go through re-ripping your media after losing everything to a JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Disks) failure. Disk redundancy mostly solves this issue by mirroring or striping the data across the array. Going above 2 disks, RAID 5's ability to provide parity data to recover from a single disk loss at the cost of losing the capacity of a single disk offers the best cost approach. Example: 4x 6TB disks, lose capacity of one disk less around 10% through decimal/hexadecimal conversion and formatting so usable space is 16.2TB. RAID 1 (mirroring) means you lose the capacity of 50% of your disks. If a 2 bay NAS is all you need as you can get the capacity of a single drive big enough, that's the cheapest overall solution.

We've talked about the physical configuration, but there is also logical disk configuration, and Synology calls this Volumes. You can create more than one Volume per Disk Group in Storage Manager. For Time Machine backups, this is important because of the way Time Machine works (keep consuming disk until full, then use FIFO (First In First Out) as a housekeeping method). You don't want Time Machine consuming the entire NAS, so use volumes to provide separate logical storage. Don't create too many volumes, or you'll have lots of small spaces to manage. Use different Shared Folders instead to create separate areas for different data; for example Blurays, Photos, Personal, etc. Permissions can be assigned per User or Group to protect data from being changed or deleted, or being accessed, so the family can use the NAS but not necessarily all Shared Folders.

External USB hard drives can be used to backup the NAS, and I always HIGHLY recommend this. Keep the USB drive off-site until you need to top-up your backup if you can, or store in a fire proof/heat proof safe. You can password protect (encrypt) the backup so no-one else can access the data. You can backup volumes separately if you wish.


Lastly, Logitech Media Server is a package for Synology DSM (the NAS operating system) to serve Squeezeboxes. And no idea, I've never used it! ;)


Hope this helps :)
 

rulocal

Well-known Member
Thanks for that in depth response.

If I understand correctly you are advising going dual-bay, but not because I need a "dual purpose" set up, but for a raid mirror configuration. So, would this work...

NAS Disk 1 - Split into 2 Volumes

Volume 1 - Use for time machine
Volume 2 - Data storage and installation of Logitech Server package.

NAS Disk 2 - Set up in RAID 1 to mirror disk 1.

External drive (or presumably some form of cloud storage) to back up one of the NAS Disks.

Cheers
 

bubblegum57

Well-known Member
As everyone says, RAID isn't backup. If a disk does fail, then you can replace the disk & rebuild quickly. But, as recommended, you still need to backup, ideally to an external hard drive.

My thinking is, why bother with raid that halves your capacity.

PS, I have 4 separate volumes in a synology, the main one with all the apps crashed last night. so I have had to rebuild that volume.
I am now in the process of copying all the files back from usb, it's going to take a long time.

:laugh:
 

tmurphy

Active Member
My only warning is to avoid JBOD, I had a 6Tb volume spread over two 3Tb disks, and one failed, but I lost all 6Tb of data, even using some fairly sophisticated RAID recovery tools I was unable to salvage a single media file from the remaining "good" disk.

It's all a balance of cost/capacity/risk that you want to take. If the file son your NAS are already backups from another location, then RAID will not be as important. If they are your only copy of them, then RAID will provide resilience but you would still need a backup of the data on the RAID array.
 

rulocal

Well-known Member
Cheers folks. I need to do a bit of thinking...

One other quick question. When I back up my Time Machine onto a volume, I presume it will not include the media files that are being hosted on the other volume? So I could get away with a relatively small Time Machine volume as the back up will predominantly be applications and settings?

Cheers
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
My only warning is to avoid JBOD, I had a 6Tb volume spread over two 3Tb disks, and one failed, but I lost all 6Tb of data, even using some fairly sophisticated RAID recovery tools I was unable to salvage a single media file from the remaining "good" disk.
That sounds more like you had a RAID0 "stripe set" than JBOD, or maybe "spanned" a logical volume across multiple physical discs. Usually with JBOD, each physical disc is completely independent of all the other and have their own individual volume structure. But I guess that's ancient history now.
 

Chester

Well-known Member
@rulocal Don't worry about the RAID configuration as such. A Disk Group in RAID1 will result in 1 Disk Group that utilises both drives. In fact, as you go through the wizard for the first time, that will be the default configuration.

Volumes: yep, spot on, but don't worry about where packages are installed too much. During installation, you will need to configure this, or at least 1 volume. You don't need to configure all of the space at the beginning, so a 2nd volume can be configured further down the line. Why would you want to do this? To get up and running faster but give yourself the opportunity to increase the 1st volume size (you cannot decrease it) if you want, before creating the 2nd.

External drive for backup: You get to select the packages to backup (and their corresponding data), and you get to choose the volumes to backup individually. If you don't want to backup the entire NAS (I don't!), that's fine.

Time Machine: Used to backup your entire Mac. Go to System Preferences if you want to add exclusions.
 

rulocal

Well-known Member
Thanks again.

@rulocal
Time Machine: Used to backup your entire Mac. Go to System Preferences if you want to add exclusions.
Great. I wouldn't want to exclude any of the standard TM items but was concerned about backing up the media files twice.
 

Chester

Well-known Member
@tmurphy & @mickevh Yeah, RAID0 is the worst! Lose any disk in the array (so the risk of loss statistically gets exponentially worse calculated by MTTF (Mean Time To Failure) to the power of number of HDDs) and you've lost the lot.

JBOD is still a supported configuration in Synology DSM. It's the only choice for single bay machines of course. I don't subscribe to the use of JBODs for cost reasons any more. Latest £/GB based on a 6TB Seagate IronWolf (definitely use NAS drives, not desktop ones that are not designed for 24/7 use) works out at 2x (£173/5587GB) = 6p/GB.

RAID1 will yield better read performance too; the control of each disk can be set to 'read ahead'.
 

Chester

Well-known Member
Great. I wouldn't want to exclude any of the standard TM items but was concerned about backing up the media files twice.
You cannot use your Time Machine backup for the Squeezebox server or anything else, as far as I know. The file structure is Time Machine specific. Same as you can't use imaging software or most other backup system files. Just double checking that wasn't your intention.
 

rulocal

Well-known Member
You cannot use your Time Machine backup for the Squeezebox server or anything else, as far as I know. The file structure is Time Machine specific. Same as you can't use imaging software or most other backup system files. Just double checking that wasn't your intention.
Cheers

Thanks for checking but that wasn't my intention.
 

rulocal

Well-known Member
think about the processor as well in the NAS, do you want to transcode on the fly any files?

Thanks, I don't think I need transcoding as I am not going to be streaming video.
 

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