New NAS tips/recommendations

MaturityDodger

Well-known Member
Hi. What's a good NAS and disk combo to go for at the moment?
I have a QNAP TS-210 that I've had for a good many years. One of the HDDs is on its way out - giving me warnings. So I thought it might as well be time to replace the NAS and the drives at the same time.

I'd say I give it light usage - main uses are domestic backup, and as a music server. Music is to squeezeboxes (yes I've managed to keep LMS running on the 210) and also to my Denon AVR.

I now keep it in the room I use as a home office, so I don't want anything too noisy. Also energy efficient. It sits in a cabinet with limited ventilation. So low energy usage = low heat output = good.

Are SSDs ok for NAS? Obviously they cost more, and with network as a bottleneck I won't see the performance gains. I'm weighing up the fact that they're quieter against the fact that I think I heard that the way NAS uses/accesses them will degrade their life. Is there any truth to that?

And is the HDD noise actually significant relative to my TS-210 fans? I.e. if I get a fanless NAS but stick with regular HDDs, have I killed most of the noise? How often do NASs actually spin the drives up? I've had mine turned off since the drive went, and can't remember from before that.

I had a quick flick down some manufacturers' websites, and see that most now have HDMI out and USB in. Are they really suitable for hooking up to a monitor, mouse and keyboard, and then using as a low-powered PC?

And finally, what's the best thing to do when I get the new one? I'm pretty sure the two drives were in RAID 1, and only one of them is complaining (complaining but still functional). The other is fine.
 

spile

Active Member
I have a Qnap TS251+ that has been reliably running 24/7 for over 6 years. I upgraded the drives (raid 1), added more ram and don’t use the hdmi out. Access is by lan only and when remote I use a vpn server. I use it for duplicating documents, backing up, serving music and as an ip camera NVR.
 

WattsX99

Active Member
For whatever it's worth, I've got a Synology DS118 that i've had for a number of years without an issue. I know running a single bay drive is akin to heresy with NAS owners but I've had single bay drives for the last 10+ years and only ever had a single issue with a hard drive.

Noise-wise, it's basically silent unless it's downloading something but even that noise level is negligible.
 

next010

Distinguished Member
It depends on the drives you have when it comes to noise, with the cheapest low end QNAP NAS the enclosure is not all noise resistant so any loud drive inside it is very noticeable.

I would go with 2.5" HDD's or SSD's if you want to lower the noise the output in your home office.

Western Digital have a lower cost WD Red SA500 SSD intended for NAS use, it doesn't have the higher write endurance of more expensive NAS SSD as they do wear out with usage but it probably will be good enough for home usage.

WD's doc on the drive says it can do 600TB of writes on the 1TB model and 1300 on the 2TB capacity. For backup I would keep one drive outside the NAS via USB 2.5" HDD, and backup data to that, RAID arrays even in mirror mode are not full proof.

The commercial NAS run Linux as their OS, some of these NAS offer desktop modes but its more of a novelty extra from what I've seen.
 
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MaturityDodger

Well-known Member
Thanks for the tips. So trying to digest each of the comments and combine the wisdom, it feels like I should maybe just get fresh drives now, put them in my existing TS-210 and see how it goes? (check that it can take them first, obviously)

I just had a look at what's in my NAS right now - it's 2 x Samsung HD203WI. I didn't think I knew a lot about computer component specs back then, but actually this looks like a reasonably solid choice from the bit of reading I did just now.

The idea of just having one drive in the NAS, and having one external is interesting. What would that setup look like? I guess I don't RAID them together, but run a regular backup task? Would the NAS be able to manage this on its own, and totally shut down the external drive while not running the backup job?

At the moment, I have 2TB storage as mentioned above (actually 4TB total hardware, but obviously only 2 in real usage terms). That's been enough for me, but getting 4TB would totally futureproof me. Aside from WD red, any others I should be looking at?
Also, I guess I'd be better buying an all-in-one external drive, instead of buying an empty chassis and separate HDD? And as this would only be turned on once nightly, I guess it doesn't have any special requirements? Or are there some types that are best suited to this use?

Taking WD red as a sample, it is quieter than what I have now - the 2TB quotes 21dBA idle, while my current one quotes 2.6-2.7 bel (seems odd to use bel instead of dB, but they have). Also around half the power usage in idle and standby/sleep.
 

next010

Distinguished Member
Thanks for the tips. So trying to digest each of the comments and combine the wisdom, it feels like I should maybe just get fresh drives now, put them in my existing TS-210 and see how it goes? (check that it can take them first, obviously)

You can absolutely do that though the TS-210 is limited to QNAP OS v4, it does appear QNAP are still doing some emergency security updates to the NAS. Be sure to update firmware of the TS-210 and that its not exposed to the internet using remote access features.

The idea of just having one drive in the NAS, and having one external is interesting. What would that setup look like? I guess I don't RAID them together, but run a regular backup task? Would the NAS be able to manage this on its own, and totally shut down the external drive while not running the backup job?

Yes, you just schedule a back up in the QNAP OS to copy data at a certain time to the USB drive, once a week or month can be fine if data isn't critical and you have a RAID mirror. Drive will be in idle mode while not being used.

Also, I guess I'd be better buying an all-in-one external drive, instead of buying an empty chassis and separate HDD? And as this would only be turned on once nightly, I guess it doesn't have any special requirements? Or are there some types that are best suited to this use?

Commercial drives that come in their own case can be a bit quieter.
 

MaturityDodger

Well-known Member
Hi. I've had a think on this, and think I have a plan.

Notes:
  • I'll buy a new NAS now at the same time as drives. There's inevitably going to be some work for me at both changes, so I'll just take all the pain now.
  • I don't think I need the advanced features or a lot of power in the NAS.
  • I've looked at the cost of going without moving parts, with a fanless nas and SSDs. That's more than I want to spend.
  • I think that logitech media server will run on all modern qnap, given a bit of effort.
  • For backup, I think I'm going to forget about RAID. As a backup, it's already copied from somewhere else, and I don't have anything too time-critical. I think I'll just forget drive redundancy. I'll take a single internal drive, and then run a weekly backup to an external.

Shopping list:
  • Qnap TS-230 (or actually I see the 233 is available now, so probably that)
  • WD red (plus?) 4TB
  • External, bus-powered, USB3 4TB HDD

Remaining questions to the crowd:
  1. Any problems you can see with the above?
  2. Instead of the weekly backup from qnap to external, maybe I should actually get 2 internal, set them up as JBOD. Then I only use 1 in regular activities, and reserve the other solely for backup. Any reason this might be better or worse? Which is more likely to allow me to make sure the second HDD is inly spun up at nighttime when the backup job runs?
 
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spile

Active Member
Personally I would always use Raid mirroring on a NAS drive. As well as resilience (failed drives), it makes upgrading far easier. I only have a twin drive Qnap but it’s running Raid 1.
 

TheHighFlyingBirds

Distinguished Member
I think that logitech media server will run on all modern qnap, given a bit of effort.
I used to have LMS on my nas until synology upgraded the OS and prevented it. I believe Docker will allow for LMS to run (my ds118 doesnt allow for docker), guessing it will be the same method for qnap. The other option is a cheap raspberry pi, 2 or 4gb model which LMS can be loaded onto really easy, just a few command lines to download and install. Plus you can then run pihole on the pi, giving you ad free websites.
 

MaturityDodger

Well-known Member
Personally I would always use Raid mirroring on a NAS drive. As well as resilience (failed drives), it makes upgrading far easier. I only have a twin drive Qnap but it’s running Raid 1.
What do you mean, it makes upgrading easier? Upgrading the drives? Or you mean when I come to upgrade the NAS again?
For this nas upgrade, I was actually planning to do a fresh install with clean drives. Then do an audit of the data on the old one, and just copy across what I actually need, potentially reorganising as needed.

I used to have LMS on my nas until synology upgraded the OS and prevented it. I believe Docker will allow for LMS to run (my ds118 doesnt allow for docker), guessing it will be the same method for qnap. The other option is a cheap raspberry pi, 2 or 4gb model which LMS can be loaded onto really easy, just a few command lines to download and install. Plus you can then run pihole on the pi, giving you ad free websites.
For qnap, there's this Qnapclub Store: LogitechMediaServer which I don't think requires running docker (I'm not planning on getting a very powerful nas). I had heard of the raspberry pi method, but didn't really fancy running and maintaining a separate device either.
 

spile

Active Member
I needed to swap my drives after buying larger ones. Hot swapping using the Qnap tools took a long time but it did the job with no issues. Drives fail which is why I would always recommend Raid.

I keep my music as FLAC on the Qnap and have used Logitech MS in the past but now use a different streamer.
 

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