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What NAS solution should I buy?

This topic contains 16 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  rpedde 12 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #984

    smbrannan
    Participant

    Want to buy a NAS product to add to my home network. Will use for backup and also music serving.

    I have 5 Macs running OS X and a Soundbridge M1000 on the network.

    I am no UNIX geek and would like something that doesn’t need to be hacked to get it working.

    What NAS products would the fine folks on this forum recommend?

    #8399

    fizze
    Participant

    It depends, how much data you gottahave to backup.
    Most NAS do have a rather low I/O performance.

    The Linksys NSLU2 f.i. has a peak I/O of about 3-4 MB/sec.

    On the other hand if you “hack” it (which isn’t all that hard, really) you can get a 24/7 music server and more for the SoundBridge, and whatnot.

    If you need better i/o performance, the linkstations or terastations do really look great. They offer internal and external ports for harddisks, plus a gigabit network plug on some devices, at least.

    #8400

    CCRDude
    Participant

    The Kurobox is the “open” version of the LinkStation (installing a custom Linux to allow for the mediaserver is kind of a hack with the Linkstation or Terastation). Just one internal harddisk (two USB ports for more if you want), but a nice thing with low power consumption. Speed is about the same for all those devices (Kurobox/Linkstation/Terastation) from Bufallo… about 5-6 MB/s with the standard ext3 file system, and I’ve read with xfs you could get one or two more.

    #8401

    Iris
    Participant

    Prior to purchasing a NAS I too had similar concerns. After reading this tutorial I purchased a Maxtor MSS+ 300g and couldn’t be happier.

    It works quick and transparently with the SB and our laptop.

    Good Luck!

    – Iris

    #8402

    richdunlop
    Participant

    @smbrannan wrote:

    I am no UNIX geek and would like something that doesn’t need to be hacked to get it working.

    Unfortunately the built in media servers that ship on off the shelf NAS devices are somewhat lacking e.g. don’t support search. In addition you become dependent on the NAS vendor to resolve any issues you have. Mod’ing a NAS box really isn’t as tough as it sounds and there are setups that mean you don’t need to know a whole lot about linux. Check out the MSS and NSLU2 install guides at http://wiki.fireflymediaserver.org.

    #8403

    smbrannan
    Participant

    Thanks for the suggestions and advice folks. I knew you would steer me right.

    I’ve actually thought about it a bit more and decided to go another route.

    With 5 macs in the house, and only 4 family members, it makes sense to take the extra Mac in the kitchen, beef up its hard drive, and use it as a backup/music server. I know enough about OS X to be confident that I can make it work. And I already have Chronosync so should be able to set up a regular backup schedule that works.

    Thanks again.

    S

    #8404

    mas
    Participant

    Oh of course it would work.

    You have a noisy 150W (or more) server then however.

    A NAS is typically a <25W server while serving and <15W while standby. And its small and makes no noise as it has no fans.

    So we comparing different things here.

    #8405

    smbrannan
    Participant

    Good point mas.

    But the “extra” Mac would be running anway (I like the convenience of having a networked machine in the kitchen so that I can track the family calendar and to-do lists, see the latest newspages, etc.)

    So by using this as a server too, I’m actually arresting the further proliferation of energy eating appliances in the house. No?

    As an aside — how much power consumption are we talking about here? I know that any un-needed consumption should be avoided, but compared to the fan in my furnace/air conditioning (which runs all day) and the pump for my pool (runs May to September), is the difference between a PC and a NAS device really material?

    #8406

    rpedde
    Participant

    @smbrannan wrote:

    As an aside — how much power consumption are we talking about here? I know that any un-needed consumption should be avoided, but compared to the fan in my furnace/air conditioning (which runs all day) and the pump for my pool (runs May to September), is the difference between a PC and a NAS device really material?

    I always thought a mini probably wasn’t too bad power consumption-wise. Seems like it’s a laptop design anyway, which is pretty low power.

    Was thinking about something along the same lines myself, actually.

    #8407

    CCRDude
    Participant

    The NAS I use is a Kurobox, it’s using 17 Watt, meaning about 150 kWh/a. In Germany, that’s about 28 Euros for non-stop power.

    A good desktop machine might use about 100 Watt, which means an additional cost of 137 Euros. Two years, and the Kuro will have paid itself.

    Might well be a MacMini is less power hungry than the above 100 Watt (on the other hand a server might have even more, see mas), and energy in the US for example is cheaper than here.

    edit: from Apple site on the MacMini: Maximum continuous power: 110W

    #8408

    rpedde
    Participant

    @ccrdude wrote:

    The NAS I use is a Kurobox, it’s using 17 Watt, meaning about 150 kWh/a. In Germany, that’s about 28 Euros for non-stop power.

    A good desktop machine might use about 100 Watt, which means an additional cost of 137 Euros. Two years, and the Kuro will have paid itself.

    Might well be a MacMini is less power hungry than the above 100 Watt (on the other hand a server might have even more, see mas), and energy in the US for example is cheaper than here.

    edit: from Apple site on the MacMini: Maximum continuous power: 110W

    Hrm. So maybe the nslu2 with the spun-down drives is still the best answer, if power (or temp!) is your biggest concern.

    — Ron

    #8409

    S80_UK
    Participant

    @rpedde wrote:

    Hrm. So maybe the nslu2 with the spun-down drives is still the best answer, if power (or temp!) is your biggest concern.

    You said it. I just measured 5 (FIVE!) watts in standby with my slug and 320GB Western Digital drive (also unslung to a stick). That comes to 11VA if I also take the power factor into account caused by the switched mode power bricks. Active, while doing a scan to build the database, its just about 9 watts (and maybe 20VA).

    Cool! (literally!)

    #8410

    mas
    Participant

    And that 110W MiniMac is already very good in power consumption compared to what is normal. That ca. 100W is rather typical for a laptop I think.

    Modern PCs have sort of a power problem. They use plenty, especially when a nice graphic card is installed.

    A fully equipped PC with a high-end graphic card can take 300W. With a dual graphic SLI solution over 400W. Insane but nothing too special any more. After all 600W power supplies are not considered exotic any more. Once they were. Now 800-1000W (you can buy such ATX power supplies!) is exotic.

    Ok, noone is gonna use such a system for a server unless he’s nuts. But buy any standard PC and you already get some mid class graphics that will add up with all the other compounds to quite a bit of power consumption.

    CCRDude got is exactly right. Calculate how fast a NSLU+ext. spinning down drive will be amortized and you get dizzy.

    [offtopic rant on]

    But thats the same thing with the light bulbs. 2/3 of the friends I have use normal light bulbs. OMG. That takes not even 6 months to amortize the 10 extra bucks for a good energy saving “lightbulb”. Let alone the hassle that normal light bulbs have to be exchanged 10 times more often for defect. That alone should be enough but well, the majority of people still use normal light bulbs. And man that adds up over time. 10W vs 60W is 50W saved. Have a few bulbs on every evening. Quite some money I prefer using on nice computer gear. 8-P
    And a friend of mine once complained that he had double the electricity bill than I have despite me having some electronic gadgets. LOL I could only lough. He halike 20 conventional bulbs in his rooms, an old washing machine of -likely- energy class Z etc. pp.
    Count it all together it can be as much as 30-40 bucks/month if you compare low energy equipment with the worst that is there and do that consequently for the whole house.

    [offtopic rant off]

    #8411

    jfrogg10

    I use an Infrant ReadyNAS at home. It actually supports AFP, performance blows the slug away, and it comes with mt-daapd preinstalled. Problems with it though, are 1) it’s relatively expensive; and 2) it uses an old version of mt-daapd. But it sounds like they’re testing a newer SVN FireFly version and it should be included in their release soon. Power consumption is more than the slug (which is why it’s faster), but it’s still much less than running another desktop (peak is ~75 watts with 4x750GB hard drives spinning).

    #8412

    rpedde
    Participant

    @jfrogg10 wrote:

    I use an Infrant ReadyNAS at home. It actually supports AFP, performance blows the slug away, and it comes with mt-daapd preinstalled. Problems with it though, are 1) it’s relatively expensive; and 2) it uses an old version of mt-daapd. But it sounds like they’re testing a newer SVN FireFly version and it should be included in their release soon. Power consumption is more than the slug (which is why it’s faster), but it’s still much less than running another desktop (peak is ~75 watts with 4x750GB hard drives spinning).

    Hrmph. I might have a higher opinion if they offered hardware at cost to developers of the software they bundle. 🙂

    j/k.

    Does look like nice hardware. Too rich for my blood, though.

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