What is a good NAS with a RAID setup and media server capabilities?

Fred G May 2, 2013
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I have an old WD WorldBook (1TB – H1NC) that keeps disappearing from my network. Rebooting it doesn’t always work. I can’t find a solution to this online, but it does appear to be a common problem.

So I am looking for a replacement. Wishlist:
– Some sort of Raid setup
– Can act as a media server.

Also I’m not sure if the best option is to buy a complete unit (including HD) or get the components separately.

Thanks in advance!

  1. Rob H
    May 2, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    I settled for QNAP - 4 hot swappable bays but these levels of kit don't come cheap and the software, though very capable is also a bit "technical". I believe Synology software is more straightforward.
    I was keen on hot swappable having just had to replace a failed HD in an aged Buffalo Terastation - seemed like about a million screws to undo and cables to unplug, took me about half an hour.

    One major issue to look out for is if you are getting an empty system make sure that the disk make & model you buy are certified compatible by the guys who make the NAS. Note that most HD makers used to guarantee them for 5 years, now they offer 2 or 3 models, the cheaper ones with 1 year guarantee

    Also, and this may sound stupid but bear with me, consider starting out with a single disk, upgrade to a second, mirrored after a while and upgrade later.

    There are 2 reasons. I once experienced a failure of 2 disks in a 4 disk raid which meant total data loss (this was a long time ago and luckily I had a reasonable tape backup). The reason was all disks had come off the same production line on the same day and were subject to near identical usage so why shouldn't they all fail at once? In practise very unlikely but as I learnt, not impossible.
    The other reason is that disks are getting progressively higher capacity and lower price so you might work with a plan to upgrade to bigger disks when they are available at a good price. With that plan in mind you might even start with a smaller disk than you would otherwise have considered if doing so represents a good cost saving and with a plan that it will eventually be phased out when you can buy someting 4 times the size for the same price. That does complicate things quite a lot, there is software to make full use of arrays with mixed disk sizes but I'm not sure I'd trust it.

  2. Dany Bouffard
    May 2, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    If you have the techical knoweledge to pull it off and some spares parts you can build yourself a FreeNAS its a very good solution if you can understand how to make it work at home a have a FreeNAS myself an love it.FreeNAS even have some nice add-on like a torrent client you can add to it. etc...etc...

    Here is the page project
    http://www.freenas.org/

    • Fred G
      May 3, 2013 at 12:11 am

      That looks great, but probably take too long for me to get it up and running.

  3. Oron Joffe
    May 2, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    I too am a great Synology fan, but QNAP also have a good reputation (they're very similar in features and price). You haven't said what kind of price point you're looking too, but both companies make units both for home and SOHO use.

  4. Jan Fritsch
    May 2, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    My personal favorites in NAS devices are all Synology.
    They offer a lot of functionality out of the box, have an easy to use package manager for extra features and in case you need support emailing them is pretty straight forward.

    As for media server capabilities they offer packages for Media Server (DLNA/UPnP), iTunes Server (shares the music folder like it was an iTunes library in the same network) and for newer models they also have a Plex Media Server package (which is compatible to all Plex apps and clients).

    My personal experience in comparison to other NAS is that they are probably the most robust ones. I have one running with WD Green hard drives for almost 4 years now, not a single failed drive yet and it survived multiple power outages booting up like nothing happened.