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Seeking Advice on NAS


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There seems to be a lot of NAS experts on this forum, so I am hoping one of you can help me. I want to purchase a NAS, then load my audio and video content onto the NAS. Once loaded, I plan to stream the audio content from the NAS to my Sonos system. I plan to stream my video content from the NAS to my iOS devices (iPad, iPhone) and to my Apple TV.

 

All of my audio content is in Apple lossless format and resides in my iTunes library on my iMac. All of my video content is in H.264 m4v files, and also resides in my iTunes library. My content is DRM free. I plan to copy my iTunes library (not move my library) onto the NAS.

 

I've narrowed my NAS choice down to two devices: the QNAP TS-251 and the Synology DS214play. On paper, the QNAP has better specs (a 2.4 GHz quad core processor versus a 1.6 Ghz dual core on the Synology), more USB and LAN ports, and an HDMI port. Plus the QNAP is about $60 less expensive.

 

But most people on this forum seem to lean more toward Sinology devices, so maybe I am missing something? Can anyone comment on the QNAP versus Synology devices that I am considering? Thanks

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Have owned both brands. QNAP had terminal hardware failure, the 4 Synology NAS I have been flawless. This can of course go either way, so check warranty. Given the difference in processor (not that would need it) performance and the pricing, the QNAP seems to represent better value.

 

Is a 2 bay NAS big enough for music and video? Get the biggest HDDs you can, and run RAID 0.

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Have owned both brands. QNAP had terminal hardware failure, the 4 Synology NAS I have been flawless. This can of course go either way, so check warranty. Given the difference in processor (not that would need it) performance and the pricing, the QNAP seems to represent better value.

 

Is a 2 bay NAS big enough for music and video? Get the biggest HDDs you can, and run RAID 0.

 

I'm not sure why you would run a RAID 0 for this application in an NAS? I don't believe you will see any performance benefit, and you double the risk of HD failure.

 

If anything, I would run RAID 1 to have a duplicate drive in the machine, but as many people have said in the past, RAID is not a backup solution, so that is really unnecessary, unless your music/video files are mission critical... which I somehow don't think is the case.

 

I think you are better off running as a JBOD in the NAS, and keeping a duplicate somewhere else anyway.

 

My Synology has been flawless as a source for my Sonos system for the past 4 years or so. I previously had a WD NAS which died at just over a year.

 

My only complaint with the Synology is that it takes a bit of time to wake up when first called for a music file, so the Sonos will fail trying to find the music initially, and then it will work without problems after it has spun up and can access the files.

 

 

---Michael

Server ---> Rpi ---> Audiophilleo2 ---> Metrum Octave ---> Audio Horizons Pre ---> Pass Labs XA30.5 ---> Sonus Faber Liuto Towers

Computer ---> Audio Hardware ---> Air ---> Ears ---> Brain

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I'm not sure why you would run a RAID 0 for this application in an NAS? I don't believe you will see any performance benefit, and you double the risk of HD failure.

 

If anything, I would run RAID 1 to have a duplicate drive in the machine, but as many people have said in the past, RAID is not a backup solution, so that is really unnecessary, unless your music/video files are mission critical... which I somehow don't think is the case.

 

I think you are better off running as a JBOD in the NAS, and keeping a duplicate somewhere else anyway.

 

My Synology has been flawless as a source for my Sonos system for the past 4 years or so. I previously had a WD NAS which died at just over a year.

 

My only complaint with the Synology is that it takes a bit of time to wake up when first called for a music file, so the Sonos will fail trying to find the music initially, and then it will work without problems after it has spun up and can access the files.

 

 

---Michael

 

I agree with your comments, except RAID 0 does offer better performance than JBOD, useful for video in particular. Disk failure on a JBOD array is the same result as for RAID 0. In theory, you can recover data from the remaining disk which you cannot with RAID 0, but it is not so easy in practice. The only reason to use JBOD over RAID 0 is to use unequal size disks.

 

I cannot see the logic in using RAID 1 in a 2 bay NAS, and sacrificing half of the storage potential. More effective, and much safer, to buy a low cost external drive and back up the data to that.

 

As you said, the redundancy benefit is for mission critical data access (hardly applicable to home environments) and absolutely not as an alternative to a backup. Further, performance during both the failure and the rebuild period is so degraded that it is not useful for computer audiophiles. Also, rebuilding RAID arrays ranges from slow to glacial, depending on RAID type. Much faster to disk copy from backup/original files. I'm not sure the hardware in consumer NAS devices have a MTBF any better than the hard drive. As per your experience with WD and mine with QNAP.

 

The ideal redundancy solution is to have a second (or more) NAS on which the primary NAS will duplicate files (specified folders) via rsync. This works flawlessly with Synology NAS devices, and can offer better network performance depending how many users there are and how it is configured.

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Just want to comment on RAID 1 vs RAID 0.

 

Yes you lose write performance with RAID 1 bur depending on the RAID controller, read performance can be as quick with RAID 1.

 

It's true that RAID 0 does not negate the need for backups but in most cases, such as failure of one disk rather than both, it really does give you an advantage. As for performance when rebuilding a RAID, it depends, it can be very slow and it can be quite fast. For disk systems with lots of write it can take a very long time but for this applications which is probably 95% to 5% write, if not more write, it is usually not that bad.

 

You can fit 2 6 TB disks and even with RAID 0, which gives you 6 TB of storage space, you have plenty unless you already had a NAS or multiple disks in a computer, that us quite some space even if you choose to use uncompressed file formats rather than FLAC or similar.

 

Personally, I've had two disks report problems one different occasions since beginning of 2011 (in a DS1511).

I was fortunate enough to get the notice before failure and could replace disks, without any loss and without having to restore. Saved me quite some downtime and as for performance during rebuild of RAID 5, the performance was still good enough for multiple players and LMS as well as a pure file server (NFS and SMB) for XBMC with BluRay rips and all my normal needs.

 

So it's not all black and white and the ability to still use your NAS and not having to restore from a backup, which might be corrupt, RAID 1 and upwards is often quite good.

 

FTR, I also migrated from 2 TB disks to 4 TB disks, that really took a while, but during the conversion the system was up and usable all the time.

 

Cheers

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OK, thanks for the perspective on the RAID levels... I would be somewhat surprised if the processor in these NAS devices can do too much with the increased throughput of a RAID 0, but there are benefits there, possibly for video or multiple streams. At 16/44, there is plenty of throughput on a non-RAID setup to run two streams simultaneously in my network (to the Sonos). I've not tried more than that, so I don't know where the point of failure is.

 

That said, I am moving to an actual server for the music files (and also for file duplicates of non-media files). They are inexpensive anymore, and I believe I will be more satisfied with that approach overall. The NAS will be relegated as a backup device once that is up and running.

 

---Michael

Server ---> Rpi ---> Audiophilleo2 ---> Metrum Octave ---> Audio Horizons Pre ---> Pass Labs XA30.5 ---> Sonus Faber Liuto Towers

Computer ---> Audio Hardware ---> Air ---> Ears ---> Brain

Link to comment
Just want to comment on RAID 1 vs RAID 0.

 

Yes you lose write performance with RAID 1 bur depending on the RAID controller, read performance can be as quick with RAID 1.

 

It's true that RAID 0 does not negate the need for backups but in most cases, such as failure of one disk rather than both, it really does give you an advantage. As for performance when rebuilding a RAID, it depends, it can be very slow and it can be quite fast. For disk systems with lots of write it can take a very long time but for this applications which is probably 95% to 5% write, if not more write, it is usually not that bad.

 

You can fit 2 6 TB disks and even with RAID 0, which gives you 6 TB of storage space, you have plenty unless you already had a NAS or multiple disks in a computer, that us quite some space even if you choose to use uncompressed file formats rather than FLAC or similar.

 

Personally, I've had two disks report problems one different occasions since beginning of 2011 (in a DS1511).

I was fortunate enough to get the notice before failure and could replace disks, without any loss and without having to restore. Saved me quite some downtime and as for performance during rebuild of RAID 5, the performance was still good enough for multiple players and LMS as well as a pure file server (NFS and SMB) for XBMC with BluRay rips and all my normal needs.

 

So it's not all black and white and the ability to still use your NAS and not having to restore from a backup, which might be corrupt, RAID 1 and upwards is often quite good.

 

FTR, I also migrated from 2 TB disks to 4 TB disks, that really took a while, but during the conversion the system was up and usable all the time.

 

Cheers

 

Johann,

I think you meant RAID 1 in your second and third paragraphs, but I understood the points you were making. I also have a 1511, and do use RAID 5 on that. But I use the 1511 primarily as a NAS, as in storage device, rather than as a file server. What I am finding is that despite the continual growth in HDD sizes, file sizes and quantities are growing at a much faster rate (for me at least) with hi-rez music, HD video, and photo files. The 50% storage overhead of RAID 1 is too high for the negligible benefit, in my view. But I have no problem accepting the views of others are equally valid :)

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Johann,

I think you meant RAID 1 in your second and third paragraphs, but I understood the points you were making. I also have a 1511, and do use RAID 5 on that. But I use the 1511 primarily as a NAS, as in storage device, rather than as a file server. What I am finding is that despite the continual growth in HDD sizes, file sizes and quantities are growing at a much faster rate (for me at least) with hi-rez music, HD video, and photo files. The 50% storage overhead of RAID 1 is too high for the negligible benefit, in my view. But I have no problem accepting the views of others are equally valid :)

 

Glisse,

 

Yes did mean RAID 1, thanks for pointing that out.

 

I partly agree with you but for someone new to NAS, 6 TB of storage will probably last a while.

When that is full, one can always create a RAID 0 volume on the disks and restore the data from the backup, right? :)

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Glisse,

 

Yes did mean RAID 1, thanks for pointing that out.

 

I partly agree with you but for someone new to NAS, 6 TB of storage will probably last a while.

When that is full, one can always create a RAID 0 volume on the disks and restore the data from the backup, right? :)

 

Yes, you can do that easily enough, and it is a reasonable option.

 

But you need to factor the current and future HDD costs into these decisions. Further, you could use enterprise class 3TB drives running RAID 0 which will cost less than consumer class 6TB drives running RAID 1. There are plenty of options :)

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