Project: Home/SMB NAS Setup -- Need ur advice



  • Okay... so I have been searching for a great home/smb NAS system.

    For my home uses, here is what's driving it:

    • Large family: 2 adult, 5 kids (means TONS of media -- videos/photography)
    • My wife and I are both photographers (30-50mb raw image files)
    • Plex Media Server (for our video library, plus family photo stuff)
    • Possible corporate backup for my software company (big maybe here)

    So... for home stuff, I want to be able to collect data from:

    • 2 Macbook Pros (both with 1TB drives)
    • 1 iMac (with a *1TB)
    • Multiple iPhones and iPads (all with 128gb storage)

    I want to do regular backups of these devices to the NAS, and have a central image/video repository for the family. In addition, we want a general file share... In other words, in some instances (like the video library, central fileshare for the family, or the image/video repository) this will be the primary copy of the data (we'll focus on funneling this content onto the NAS and then backing it up after. In other instances, like a timemachine backup of one of our main computers, the NAS is the backup.

    My budget is fairly large for a home NAS setup...

    I started by looking at standard solutions like Synology stuff:

    • DS1517+ -- but then I read about all their CPU problems
    • Also the DS1817+

    But I sorta got turned off of Synology for some reason... their weird Hybrid RAID, CPU issues, etc... (even though I know people who love them)

    Then I started looking at QNAP systems like:

    Then I starting thinking about FreeNAS and a DIY route... I am a former software engineer (now in management)... so I love the idea of a project, but realistically I'm somewhat limited in my time. I've been stewing over a NAS solution for my home for months reading up on what I want to do, and then came across this forum and wanted to get ur advice. Would love your take @scottalanmiller...



  • @markl Synology's recent offerings actually have very strong CPUs with them. The 17 series are mostly modern XEON, and the newest ones (DS1817+) will have the new AMD processors with even more cores to throw at workloads.

    Still, I'd go with a server box if I had someplace to put it. I'm not sure where you're located, so I don't know if xByte is available in you're area. @xByteSean


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    So the needs here are big storage, but not high performance (within relative terms), SMB protocol for the Macs, Plex.

    My first thought there is Fedora. You have the option of software or hardware RAID depending on what you want to do. Software RAID is more flexible, hardware RAID is a lot simpler (drive fails, just swap it!)



  • If you plan on running the Plex app from the NAS, you're not going to be happy if you have need for any transcoding unless you're running one with one of the Xeon chips. Anything else and it'll be much too anemic to transcode. You'll get nothing but stutter and disappointment. If you have a separate Plex server and all you want to do is serve-up the files from the NAS, you'll do fine.


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    Something to consider is getting refurb enterprise server gear. This can give you high quality hardware RAID, good chassis, good components, CPUs that can do the transcoding without breaking the bank. For home, a tower server likely makes the most sense.

    Check out xByte. We use them for most things like this. @xByteSean @ryan-from-xbyte @BradfromxByte @Lyndsie_xByte



  • The way to get around transcoding is to stick to formats that your device (Roku, Apple TV, etc) can play natively, but I second @scottalanmiller on xbyte. My home server is an xbyte server.



  • @travisdh1 I live in Utah... are you asking if xByte is local? Can they mail equipment?


  • Service Provider

    @markl said in Project: Home/SMB NAS Setup -- Need ur advice:

    @travisdh1 I live in Utah... are you asking if xByte is local? Can they mail equipment?

    They are US based and can easily ship anywhere in the US. They can ship outside of the US too, but they don't normally.



  • @scottalanmiller So again, part of my ask here was related to my other thread on how you think of reliability when building a NAS platform (at least in terms of the example given). It sounds like:

    a) You focus on the quality of the underlying hardware (hence the refurbed enterprise suggestion) -- cpu, chassis, power supply, etc...
    b) You seem to favor hardware raid...

    You recommend Fedora for the OS (which I'd love to understand compared against Ubuntu or other distros).

    So let's say I do that... the QNAP I was looking at supported 8 bays... originally I thought I'd just pay the diff to get some extra bays so that I had expansion room. I was thinking of starting with 4 x 6TB drives running RAID 10...

    Does that input trigger any other thoughts?


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    @markl said in Project: Home/SMB NAS Setup -- Need ur advice:

    b) You seem to favor hardware raid...

    Simpler, doesn't require the same expertise. If a drive fails, you just swap in a new one, that's the total process. I've seen too many people lose all of their data because of the high level of expertise needed to swap a failed drive in ZFS' software RAID. Get one command wrong, all is lost. Even people who do it full time in production accidentally waste those systems with some regularity.


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    @markl said in Project: Home/SMB NAS Setup -- Need ur advice:

    So let's say I do that... the QNAP I was looking at supported 8 bays... originally I thought I'd just pay the diff to get some extra bays so that I had expansion room. I was thinking of starting with 4 x 6TB drives running RAID 10...

    At eight bays and larger, you are into rackmount sizes and while the QNAP will likely work fine, you'll pay more and get less than from an enterprise server. Although likely it will be more quiet.

    An eight or twelve bay like an R510 is likely vastly higher quality, much easier to service and more power for less money. Although we'd have to check on the drive options.

    @BradfromxByte ?


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    @markl said in Project: Home/SMB NAS Setup -- Need ur advice:

    You recommend Fedora for the OS (which I'd love to understand compared against Ubuntu or other distros).

    Easier for non-experts, doesn't play the weird LTS / Current game causing ecosystem support inconsistencies, better set of tools for server use (Ubuntu is exceptionally non-friendly to storage and high availability systems), better public documentation and user community, built with a more stability use case focus, etc.

    Fedora is the rapid release sibling of RHEL. You want a rapid release because you want modern features. Ubuntu is not in the same class as the Red Hat and Suse families. It's not bad, but it's not on par. And as a non-expert / non-full timer you don't want to be introducing that complexity for no reason.



  • I can suggest you to look into drobo, in particular the 5N2 model. It has a lot of ready-to-install applications (as Plex, Transmission, CouchPotato, NextCloud etc..), it is a NAS Bay with automatic RAID ("BeyondRAID™") essentially.

    Some friends of mine (a team of 8+ people) is using it to do backup + Plex + transmission, but I never used it, so I don't know if it suits your needs.


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    @Giggiux said in Project: Home/SMB NAS Setup -- Need ur advice:

    I can suggest you to look into drobo, .... it is a NAS Bay with automatic RAID ("BeyondRAID™") essentially.

    It's just a silly brand name for RAID 5 and RAID 6.


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    Problem with the Drobo is that it is massively underpowered (that's why it doesn't offer NFS, it doesn't have the power for the protocol - that's straight from engineering) and only does parity RAID with just five drive bays. So you have to do RAID 6 as RAID 5 isn't safe at all there, but that means you can only get the capacity of three drives and it is dog slow unless you tier with the SSD and that's only fast by having no RAID on it at all and only the amount of data that is tiered in the SSD is fast in any way.



  • @markl said in Project: Home/SMB NAS Setup -- Need ur advice:

    @scottalanmiller So again, part of my ask here was related to my other thread on how you think of reliability when building a NAS platform (at least in terms of the example given). It sounds like:

    a) You focus on the quality of the underlying hardware (hence the refurbed enterprise suggestion) -- cpu, chassis, power supply, etc...
    b) You seem to favor hardware raid...

    You recommend Fedora for the OS (which I'd love to understand compared against Ubuntu or other distros).

    So let's say I do that... the QNAP I was looking at supported 8 bays... originally I thought I'd just pay the diff to get some extra bays so that I had expansion room. I was thinking of starting with 4 x 6TB drives running RAID 10...

    Does that input trigger any other thoughts?

    @bj @david


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    @markl your point about RAID 10 is spot on. At this size, even with consumer drives, you would be pretty safe on RAID 6, but if you grow you are heading into a danger zone. It's home use, so an extended outage due to a rebuild might not be horrible. RAID 6 tends to be popular for backups. If you have high end drives like WD RE, doing RAID 6 would be fine, but you pay a premium for those drives (they are enterprise with a low URE rate.) But if you use cost effective consumer drives like WD Red or WD Red Pro then RAID 6 is edgy at the larger scales and your RAID 10 lets you safely scale much larger and have better performance.

    So at eight large drives, RAID 10 is pretty nice. But you would still be okay with RAID 6. Really, even 8x 8TB drives I might feel confident with RAID 6. That's a 48TB URE risk domain which is large, but not crazy.



  • @scottalanmiller okay, that's awesome. So curious about your thoughts on "backups"... let's say you got 15TB of data you want to do backups on. Are you building a separate RAID array for backups? How does it's use change your thinking on build specs and setup? Do you use different RAID options?


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    @markl said in Project: Home/SMB NAS Setup -- Need ur advice:

    @scottalanmiller okay, that's awesome. So curious about your thoughts on "backups"... let's say you got 15TB of data you want to do backups on. Are you building a separate RAID array for backups?

    That would depend, if it is backups from somewhere else, which seems to be your description, then I'd keep it all on a single array. Splitting up your array will significantly diminish your performance and options at this size. It'll be much less flexible. This way you have one strong RAID. That your backups and unrelated home data are on the same array doesn't create any additional risk.


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    Now if you need to backup the primary data that resides on this device, that would need to go to a completely different device.


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    @markl said in Project: Home/SMB NAS Setup -- Need ur advice:

    How does it's use change your thinking on build specs and setup? Do you use different RAID options?

    Production data tends to be on RAID 10, archival and backup data on RAID 6 (or RAID 7 in rare cases.) RAID 6 is less safe and less performant than RAID 10, but for backups this is normally of trivial concern. The speed of taking the backup is not normally a huge deal (especially if it is a remote backup) and the speed loss on RAID 6 is all in the writes, not in the reads, so a RAID 6 will restore just as fast as a RAID 10. RAID 6 is riskier, but that doesn't mean risky. Just not "as safe."

    The big reasons you would go to RAID 10 here over RAID 6 is that RAID 6 can experience extreme periods of unavailability during a recovery from a drive loss. If you have one drive fail and you replace it, you won't go "down" and you won't lose data, but your system might be effectively offline or slow to the point of useless while it recovers. This can last for days or even weeks. So if your system having that risk is of concern you would lean to RAID 10. But that's only in the situation where you have been saved from a disk failure, so often you put up with some inconvenience during this time because the RAID has already saved your bacon.

    RAID 10 with 8 bays (or any size) you lose 50% of your disk capacity.
    RAID 6 with 8 drives you lose 25% of your disk capacity. So in this case, your total usable size would be 50% larger with RAID 6 than with RAID 10.

    If you went to a larger array, like 10 or 12 disks, RAID 6 gets riskier, but the wasted space gets smaller.



  • @scottalanmiller wow, even in that explanation is seems like RAID 10 over RAID 6... except I suppose because you can better leverage your total diskspace. Is that the primary motivation?

    So to summarize:
    RAID 6 = Good backup solution due to higher use of available disks in the array (although consider 10 depending on the size of the array... larger array pushes you to RAID 10)
    RAID 10 = Good for production use -- high availability... faster disk failure recovery, etc...
    RAID 0 = For total high performance (we leverage this in our business for specific uses)... requires duplicate array for any form of redundancy/availability...


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    @markl said in Project: Home/SMB NAS Setup -- Need ur advice:

    @scottalanmiller wow, even in that explanation is seems like RAID 10 over RAID 6... except I suppose because you can better leverage your total diskspace. Is that the primary motivation?

    Correct, the sole motivation for RAID 6 is that you can get more capacity at lower cost and quite often, that is a really big motivator. Speed and reliability, once you have "enough" might not be worth losing additional money over. And with moderately sized arrays, the capacity benefits of RAID 6 can be quite significant. Like in a 12 disk array.


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    @markl said in Project: Home/SMB NAS Setup -- Need ur advice:

    So to summarize:
    RAID 6 = Good backup solution due to higher use of available disks in the array (although consider 10 depending on the size of the array... larger array pushes you to RAID 10)
    RAID 10 = Good for production use -- high availability... faster disk failure recovery, etc...

    Some additional high level guidelines...

    http://www.smbitjournal.com/2015/03/practical-raid-choices-for-spindle-based-arrays/
    http://www.smbitjournal.com/2012/11/choosing-a-raid-level-by-drive-count/


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    @markl said in Project: Home/SMB NAS Setup -- Need ur advice:

    RAID 0 = For total high performance (we leverage this in our business for specific uses)... requires duplicate array for any form of redundancy/availability...

    If you have a duplicate array, then it's really RAID 01.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Project: Home/SMB NAS Setup -- Need ur advice:

    @markl said in Project: Home/SMB NAS Setup -- Need ur advice:

    @scottalanmiller wow, even in that explanation is seems like RAID 10 over RAID 6... except I suppose because you can better leverage your total diskspace. Is that the primary motivation?

    Correct, the sole motivation for RAID 6 is that you can get more capacity at lower cost and quite often, that is a really big motivator. Speed and reliability, once you have "enough" might not be worth losing additional money over. And with moderately sized arrays, the capacity benefits of RAID 6 can be quite significant. Like in a 12 disk array.

    In what scenario would you personally use a raid 6 @scottalanmiller? Double parity is a huge penalty for cheap redundancy. Low capacity low iops server that only sort of matters?


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    @wirestyle22 said in Project: Home/SMB NAS Setup -- Need ur advice:

    @scottalanmiller said in Project: Home/SMB NAS Setup -- Need ur advice:

    @markl said in Project: Home/SMB NAS Setup -- Need ur advice:

    @scottalanmiller wow, even in that explanation is seems like RAID 10 over RAID 6... except I suppose because you can better leverage your total diskspace. Is that the primary motivation?

    Correct, the sole motivation for RAID 6 is that you can get more capacity at lower cost and quite often, that is a really big motivator. Speed and reliability, once you have "enough" might not be worth losing additional money over. And with moderately sized arrays, the capacity benefits of RAID 6 can be quite significant. Like in a 12 disk array.

    In what scenario would you personally use a raid 6 @scottalanmiller? Double parity is a huge penalty for cheap redundancy. Low capacity low iops server that only sort of matters?

    Any scenario where it meets the minimum requirement and the driver is lowering the cost of capacity. I'd almost always use it in backup and archival storage where I've not moved on to RAIN.



  • The Netgear ReadyNAS line has three desktop models that will take eight drives- I don't know if this would help any..

    • RN628X - 130tb
    • RN528X - 130tb
    • RN428 - 80tb

    I have a ReadyNAS 4 bay, runs great, little maintenance - thought I suppose I could / should do more with it. It mainly just sits as I am slow working on the project of moving my media over to it.


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    @gjacobse said in Project: Home/SMB NAS Setup -- Need ur advice:

    RN628X

    Diskless, that unit is $2,082.27. That's limited to eight bays. Going with an enterprise server, like an R510, would be under half that price with far more power and flexibility. And not limited to SATA.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Project: Home/SMB NAS Setup -- Need ur advice:

    @gjacobse said in Project: Home/SMB NAS Setup -- Need ur advice:

    RN628X

    Diskless, that unit is $2,082.27. That's limited to eight bays. Going with an enterprise server, like an R510, would be under half that price with far more power and flexibility. And not limited to SATA.

    Good point


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