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NAS confusion..


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Hi, would appreciate any help with NAS – I am, to put in simply, thoroughly confused about my options. A bit of background first.

I run 2 systems – details will be found below – pls bear in mind that the headphone system uses a PC and the 2 channel, a mac mini. The 2 external hard drives I have, a Maxtor and Seagate Desk are showing signs of moving on to wherever drives go when they die. I have only had them for about a year so yes, I am disappointed. I have about 1800 or so cds in each of them in flac. If they both fail, I will be left without a backup. But that’s ok as I realised much later that my rips were not right as I had not configured my dbpoweramp right to begin with. I have a Plextor 880U on its way to me and I am looking forward to ripping my collection again.

 

Now, with the 2 drives on their last legs, I have been thinking about NAS – the Onnto looked perfect – direct connection to the host computer. I was hoping that I could connect the Onnto to the pc [usb] and the mac [firewire] but I understand from Onnto’s downloadable manual that this is not recommended. Even if this is ok, I am not sure if the Onnto can support the pc and the mac at the same time. I don’t want a situation where I can only read off the mac and not write – which is the problem I have with my external drives now.

 

The distributor for Onnto is also the distributor for Synology. They have suggested the 410J but it uses an ethernet connection. I was told that I could route this to my wireless modem router [which is connected to the pc], which has 4 ethernet ports and stream music wireless or connect with an ethernet from the wireless modem router directly to the mac mini. Personally, I don’t like this as I don’t know if this will compromise the sound quality. I could be very wrong about this though but having the cable hooked up to the modem is still something that I am not pretty keen on.

 

The Drobo looks nice, I like the company. Its an attractive package but its expensive compared to the Onnto and Synology and I heard it runs slow.

 

I could go with the Onnto but instead of getting a 4 bay system, get 2, 2 bay systems with 2tb mirrored in each - one for the pc and the other for the mac. Costwise, for 2 Onntos with drives, it works out just a shade cheaper than the 4 bay system. But I would need to transfer massive data from one to the other – I don’t know if this is doable and how.

 

As you can see, I am indeed thoroughly confused and desperately need a nudge in the right direction and would appreciate any advise.

 

Thanks,

Mike

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maxtor 1tb > Vista PC > Trends UD10.1 > Monica2 DAC > Cavalli Jones DIY Tube Headphone Amp > Sennheiser HD 600/AKG 271/Denon 2000/Allesandro MS1/Grado SR80[br]Seagate 2tb > Mac Mini > HagUSB > Monica 3 DAC > DIY EL 34 push pull amp > Spendor S3/5 speakers[br]All cables [powercords/interconnects/speaker cables] - diy\'d using Jon Risch recipes or twisted upocc solid core wire.

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Hi Mike,

 

This scenario is what they invented LAN fileservers for.

 

You could do yourself a huge favor connecting a NAS to your router, thus making it accessible for your mac and pc. It will save you loads of time in comparison to a scenario where you would have to synchronize two NAS's manually.

 

If, for the sake of argument, you would opt for 2 separate NAS's, you could periodically connect them both to your pc and use Microsoft's excellent (and free) Synctoy to keep their content in sync.

 

To speed up the process you may want to use eSATA external drives (if your systems support it) in stead of USB or Firewire, both of which are really slow for massive file transfers.

 

Personally i'm hesitant using WiFi, so i'm using a cabled lan. Afaik there's no degradation to the sound quality in this setup.

 

Simon

 

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for your views Simon. So we've established that I do need a networked system if I am going to have 2 systems drawing from the same source and if using an ethernet cable through a modem router poses no problem and does not compromise the sound quality, then , excellent.

 

Any suggestions on which NAS I should go for? Has anyone any views on the Synology 410J or is there something else that would suit my purpose?

 

another dumb question - on my pc, I use JR Media Centre and on my Mac, iTunes, probably with Pure Music which I am demoing. With a networked system, can I continue to use these different platforms?

 

Thanks!

Mike

 

Maxtor 1tb > Vista PC > Trends UD10.1 > Monica2 DAC > Cavalli Jones DIY Tube Headphone Amp > Sennheiser HD 600/AKG 271/Denon 2000/Allesandro MS1/Grado SR80[br]Seagate 2tb > Mac Mini > HagUSB > Monica 3 DAC > DIY EL 34 push pull amp > Spendor S3/5 speakers[br]All cables [powercords/interconnects/speaker cables] - diy\'d using Jon Risch recipes or twisted upocc solid core wire.

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'I am looking forward to ripping my collection again.'

 

Ok. I do understand the joys of this... but best to avoid ripping and tagging them a third time!

 

Duplication of boxes in the way you describe is a bit of a compromise. It's much better than nothing from a back-up point of view, but it's not backup worthy of a well-ripped 3500 cd collection. And administratively, it presents an unnecessary synchronisation job for you, keeping both in sync (what happens if you find you want to makes changes to the way you tag, or your folder structure, or just need to make a few small edits?)

 

For the 'live' filesystem, I would have just the one box, which both the mac and pc will use. You'd need a file system both the mac and pc can talk to (I'm not familiar with macs so can't be more specific).

 

You could probably squeeze all those CDs onto a two box system, but I'd get a four box and think about a RAID 5 NAS. With this, one drive can fail, and you would lose no data, and by replacing the failed HD with a new one, the RAID system will build up the new hard drive so that you are once again protected from a single drive failure. In a sense, this is about the easiest 'system restore' you can do following a drive failure, because all you have to do is plug it in. But, it's not a proper backup system. (edit - actually the number of bays should be determined by a projection of how much storage you expect to need, how big the individual hard drives can be, the physical size of the hard drives (3.5" drives = higher capacities than 2.5" but are said to be noisier - I think it's probably because 3.5" drives are more 'enterprise' class and tend to have higher spin speeds, unnecessarily high for most domestic use. But if you can find a quiet one, and the higher capacity allows you to get only a one- or two-bay NAS... you get the picture). More drives also lead to more noise, nothing dreadful, but prob not suitable to have a six bay RAID juggernaut in a living room.)

 

Other things than hard drive failure can lead to data loss - fire, theft, the failure of the NAS's power supply (which could take all the disks with it). For this reason, you should keep a backup of your NAS offsite! For this, you could use a second NAS, but I would go a bit simpler and cheaper, and use a couple of large hard drives (actually perhaps 1 modern large hard drive would be plenty). Connect them to your NAS by eSATA (it's the fastest, similar to the connection used by internal hard drives, so for this approach, make sure your NAS has at least one eSATA port), copy everything over, then store them at the office, with family, in a shed. The backups need to be updated periodically, or after you've made enough changes to the live system that you think the changes should be backed up (say after ten ripped and tagged cds, for the sake of argument).

 

You would not be crazy to keep two backup copies, so that one is in a separate location while the other is being updated...

 

ZZ

 

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Thanks ZZ for your thoughts on this. I certainly do not intend to rip a third time. I might enjoy it but the third time might just take the fun out of it. A NAS system would be the only way to go then as opposed to a direct attached storage device like the Onnto. Ive been reading on how Raid is not a backup and all that and it would therefore make good sense to back up whatever is on the NAS. Given my not too pleasant experiences so far with the single disk Maxtor and Seagate drives, I would wholeheartedly agree that making 2 backups would not be a crazy idea.

So, having established that I need to go the NAS route, I now need to decide which NAS. I have looked at Synology 410, Readynas NV+ and Drobo FS.

I like what Drobo does. I like the flexibility it offers and it looks good, not that it matters much. But, I have been seeing a fair bit of negative things being said about Drobos on the net that I am having second thoughts. Synology on the other hand,seems to have far less issues than Drobos. I know I may have answered my own question but any thoughts on this would be appreciated. thanks!!

 

Maxtor 1tb > Vista PC > Trends UD10.1 > Monica2 DAC > Cavalli Jones DIY Tube Headphone Amp > Sennheiser HD 600/AKG 271/Denon 2000/Allesandro MS1/Grado SR80[br]Seagate 2tb > Mac Mini > HagUSB > Monica 3 DAC > DIY EL 34 push pull amp > Spendor S3/5 speakers[br]All cables [powercords/interconnects/speaker cables] - diy\'d using Jon Risch recipes or twisted upocc solid core wire.

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I don't know the market very well, but the Synology 410 looks alright to me - I hear generally good reports, specs say it works with Mac and PC, and it has eSATA which will be a boon for backup.

 

Please don't move just on the basis of my recommendation, especially as I don't use Mac and you have a mixed Mac and PC environment, but if I just wanted a NAS for storage I'd be happy enough with this model.

 

For backups, you can buy drive enclosures very cheaply, around £15, maybe a little more for ones with both eSATA (for speed on the home NAS) and USB (for compatibility everywhere). Then you can buy the hard drives separately. Very easy to do, and gives you a bit more flexibility.

 

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Mike11,

 

I have been using a Readynas NV+ for about three years now. I too was looking at the Drobo but went with Netgear because it came with Squeezecenter already installed. Since I use a Squeezebox Duet for my music it was the obvious choice for me.

 

I have been very pleased with the NV+. I've heard some complaints about it not being very fast, but it works fine for my system. I really like the UI. It's very user friendly and easy to navigate.

 

Mine came with 2X750GB HDD, but I will be adding a third drive soon because I'm running out of space. Netgear also has a very good community base so if you have a question or just want to learn more about it, the forum should have what you're looking for.

 

I've been thinking about selling my NV+ to move up to one of their more current NAS systems, but love my NV+ so I'm still in the "thinking about it" stage.

 

BTW, I use it with my Windows 7 system, but my son has been able to access it with his Mac as well.

 

Doug

 

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ZZ and Doug for your comments. The Synology looks tempting with its features.Yes, the usb and esata ports will be very useful for quick backups. The Readynas NV+ is just as appealing as I think it comes close to matching the features that Drobo is known for.

Doug, what would you replace the NV+ with if you did decide to sell it and move to another netgear product?

It boils down to Synology and Readynas now.

:)

 

Maxtor 1tb > Vista PC > Trends UD10.1 > Monica2 DAC > Cavalli Jones DIY Tube Headphone Amp > Sennheiser HD 600/AKG 271/Denon 2000/Allesandro MS1/Grado SR80[br]Seagate 2tb > Mac Mini > HagUSB > Monica 3 DAC > DIY EL 34 push pull amp > Spendor S3/5 speakers[br]All cables [powercords/interconnects/speaker cables] - diy\'d using Jon Risch recipes or twisted upocc solid core wire.

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quick note on this - USB will be good for slow backups, esata for quick ones, hence my preference for esata.

 

Not sure how it's implemented on NASs but on PCs, USB tends to utilise processing power of the CPU. On NASs, the CPUs aren't that powerful and are busy controlling the NAS. esata, on the other hand, is a native drive interface - it's almost like plugging in a drive to an internal bay.

 

You could easily get 3 times faster backups with esata that usb. Depending on library size, that can mean saving hours and hours.

 

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Mike,

 

I love my NV+ and for the price you really can't beat it. They're much less expensive than the newer models. It works great for what I use it for. Primarily being back-ups and music streaming through my Squeezebox.

 

If I were to upgrade, I would consider the Netgear Ultra 4. It runs on a 64-bit Intel processor and Netgear recently switched to a new platform which will allow back-ups, streaming video, etc... to run faster. I would imagine the firmware will be updated more regularly than the old platform as well.

 

For me it would come down to the Ultra being more "future proof".

 

Doug

 

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indeed is attractive in its features and I've been looking at the ultra 4 as well - great product but not available yet where I am. It will be another month to two before it gets here.

Thanks again for your thoughts :)

 

Maxtor 1tb > Vista PC > Trends UD10.1 > Monica2 DAC > Cavalli Jones DIY Tube Headphone Amp > Sennheiser HD 600/AKG 271/Denon 2000/Allesandro MS1/Grado SR80[br]Seagate 2tb > Mac Mini > HagUSB > Monica 3 DAC > DIY EL 34 push pull amp > Spendor S3/5 speakers[br]All cables [powercords/interconnects/speaker cables] - diy\'d using Jon Risch recipes or twisted upocc solid core wire.

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  • 1 month later...

I'm going to stick with my NV+ for now. It just does a great job in my situation.

 

I am interested in getting a separate HDD, something like an Oyen Digital MiniPro, just for my music. I would then use my NV+ as a back for all my "stuff".

 

I like the size of the MiniPro and the fact that it does FW800 is a bonus because I will be hooking up my Mac Mini to an external DAC via USB. I may wait a while when SSD's drop in price. I've heard that the speed factor with those is fantastic!

 

Back to my NV+. Like I said before, It's been a great no hassle NAS for me and my computer audio needs.

 

Hope this helps,

 

Doug

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Doug, I need to do a bit more research on the ReadyNAS NV+ & NAS's in general. My understanding on the NV+ is that it is fan less & that a fan is an option. Is this correct? In your opinion, how is the noise level? Have you ever had to deal with customer support for the NV+? If so, how would you rate them?

 

iBook G4 1.33 GHz Power PC 1.25 Ram - iTunes 9.2.1 - 2nd Gen. Drobo via FW400

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does have a fan. I have mine in the basement so noise isn't a problem. I can just barely hear it at approx. 10' away.

 

I really like the UI for Netgear. It's easy to configure and use. It shows me how fast the fan is running, the status of the HDD's, etc... If there ever is a problem with anything, it can even be set up to send you an email so you can (hopefully) take care of the issue before it becomes a big problem.

 

I've had mine for roughly three years and haven't had any issues, so I can't comment on their customer support. They do have a forum that addresses just about anything you can think of. If you want to check it out, you can find it at http://www.readynas.com/forum/.

 

One of the main reasons I bought the NV+ was it's ability to have Squeezecenter preloaded onto it. This way I can stream music straight to my Duet.

 

Please don't take this is as a sales pitch because there are many NAS products out there and you should take the time to get informed on many different models. Find out what will work for your situation.

 

Hope this helps,

 

Doug

 

 

 

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Thanks Doug, I appreciate any opinions & in particular opinions on NAS devices as pertaining to streaming audio/media to help narrow my focus. I too plan on using a NAS with Squeezecenter on it. One thing I'm trying to determine is what kind of performance do I need in a NAS product? I have over 2 TB of audio files & about that much in video. This storage need will probably double in the next year (so I like the ReadyNAS's ability to upgrade "on-the-fly"). Reading various reviews here & there on different NAS's I see performance complaints now & then. One review on the ReadyNAS NV+ said it's media streaming performance becomes sluggish on large libraries. I wonder if this is true or not? What kind of demands is the reviewer placing on their NAS? Are they doing something more than streaming? Are they streaming different media at the same time to different users (how many users, etc.?)? At the time of the review did they have something not set properly (maybe something not updated)? Any opinions on what these performance issues might be?

 

iBook G4 1.33 GHz Power PC 1.25 Ram - iTunes 9.2.1 - 2nd Gen. Drobo via FW400

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