Is it worth buying a NAS with a 'proper' CPU? Is it worth buying a NAS with a 'proper' CPU?
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    Default Is it worth buying a NAS with a 'proper' CPU?

    When I was last looking at NAS I was leaning towards something with a Celeron chip as it allows much more 'server' behaviour, you can run Plex and VMs, etc. But it ups the cost quite a bit.

    I don't actually want to run a VM or a webserver on my NAS right now, but my argument was I might later, and I'd hate to have to buy twice.

    But then I was thinking today, wouldn't a microserver be better for that stuff anyway? i.e. buy a cheaper standard home NAS now, and buy a microserver later when/if I want an always-on server.

    All I want now that's in any way special is the ability to stream my audio and video to my various TVs and Kindle Fire things, without a load of faffing.

    Better to over-spec now, or just buy what I need?
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    After both my HP Microservers started acting up and the expense of other 'proper' NAS devices I decided to downsize to a piNas with dual USB 3.0 SSDs for storage, so inaudible.

    Based it on a Raspberry Pi 4 4gb for £40ish and another £20 or so for the case, power supply, 32gb microSD card for OS/boot. Admittedly the 2TB SSD cost £130 and could have had a 2.5" HDD equivalent for half the price but I prefer a silent solution.

    Did get a couple of other microSD cards to try different stuff, just swap cards for a different OS.

    After trying Twister OS I went back to Raspbian and set up DLNA, SAMBA, and Plex Server for now. Replaced most of my TV streaming devices with a Roku 4k capable stick which has a Plex client app, along with all the other main streaming apps (NowTV, Amazon Prime, Netflix, ...), so now have a minimised set up that does all I need for now.

    Setting up the stuff on Raspbian is easy enough using the online guides, though using the command line (Linux) feels cute in an old skool way. I set up RDP so can leave the piNas always on and remote desktop in from my main PC to do any tweaking or install new software.

    So I don't see the point or feel the need to spend hundreds on say a Synology NAS or other poncy overpriced 'prosumer' gear. The only thing they may offer is beefier cpu for transcoding but I've re-encoded my old stuff to h.264 mp4 that is broadly compatible so no transcoding required.

    Works for me, for now.
    Maybe tomorrow, I'll want to settle down. Until tomorrow, I'll just keep moving on.

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    My view is one thing for one purpose. I use my NAS for backup. Now, people say I shouldn't "what if your house burns down", but I keep mine in my nuclear bunker... Anyway, I did toy with also serving video - but I bought a separate one for that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NotAllThere View Post
    "what if your house burns down"
    That's why I had two HP Microservers when they were a no brainer with the cashback, so could keep one off-site for easy syncing.

    Now I just have the HDDs out of those as a bunch of disks for cold archive storage, a set at home and a set offsite, accessed via usb sata dock when necessary, and a 128gb usb stick (for just over a tenner on Amazon) for the files I need to hand that I don't want sharing on a NAS.

    All secured with bitlocker.

    No cloud, or raid, or expensive NAS devices.
    Maybe tomorrow, I'll want to settle down. Until tomorrow, I'll just keep moving on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobosapien View Post
    That's why I had two HP Microservers when they were a no brainer with the cashback, so could keep one off-site for easy syncing.

    Now I just have the HDDs out of those as a bunch of disks for cold archive storage, a set at home and a set offsite, accessed via usb sata dock when necessary, and a 128gb usb stick (for just over a tenner on Amazon) for the files I need to hand that I don't want sharing on a NAS.

    All secured with bitlocker.

    No cloud, or raid, or expensive NAS devices.
    As long as you regularly update the cold storage and know how much data you'll lose inbetween the copy cycles to the USB stick!

    RPO is often way more important than RTO...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobosapien View Post
    After both my HP Microservers started acting up and the expense of other 'proper' NAS devices I decided to downsize to a piNas with dual USB 3.0 SSDs for storage, so inaudible.

    Based it on a Raspberry Pi 4 4gb for £40ish and another £20 or so for the case, power supply, 32gb microSD card for OS/boot. Admittedly the 2TB SSD cost £130 and could have had a 2.5" HDD equivalent for half the price but I prefer a silent solution.

    Did get a couple of other microSD cards to try different stuff, just swap cards for a different OS.

    After trying Twister OS I went back to Raspbian and set up DLNA, SAMBA, and Plex Server for now. Replaced most of my TV streaming devices with a Roku 4k capable stick which has a Plex client app, along with all the other main streaming apps (NowTV, Amazon Prime, Netflix, ...), so now have a minimised set up that does all I need for now.

    Setting up the stuff on Raspbian is easy enough using the online guides, though using the command line (Linux) feels cute in an old skool way. I set up RDP so can leave the piNas always on and remote desktop in from my main PC to do any tweaking or install new software.

    So I don't see the point or feel the need to spend hundreds on say a Synology NAS or other poncy overpriced 'prosumer' gear. The only thing they may offer is beefier cpu for transcoding but I've re-encoded my old stuff to h.264 mp4 that is broadly compatible so no transcoding required.

    Works for me, for now.
    That's interesting although I assume you had to sacrifice RAID? I thought SSDs were not really recommended for NAS, or is that just because they cost more rather than reliability?

    A cheap ARM-based NAS is not a huge amount more than your setup to be fair... dual-bay we're talking £120 and I saw under £100 for single-bay. For the ease of setup I'd consider that worth it though your way is probably more fun.
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    Quote Originally Posted by d000hg View Post
    That's interesting although I assume you had to sacrifice RAID? I thought SSDs were not really recommended for NAS, or is that just because they cost more rather than reliability?

    A cheap ARM-based NAS is not a huge amount more than your setup to be fair... dual-bay we're talking £120 and I saw under £100 for single-bay. For the ease of setup I'd consider that worth it though your way is probably more fun.
    Yeah, I avoid raid anyway, not worth the aggro when data is pretty static for media file sharing over home network so easy to sync a backup now and then whenever content changes.

    SSDs in a NAS are probably not a good idea if updating the content often but even then there are reports of some SSDs in servers having had many TBs of writes and still working fine, the bigger the SSD the more space there is to balance the wear rate.

    One area HDD is still better than SSD in terms of reliability is long term cold storage, which is fine for me as I am using the old HDDs as cold storage for redundancy backups.

    I do have an old Dlink dual bay NAS that I paid under £100 for some years ago, got a couple of 2TB HDDs in it but got fed up with the fan noise, even if not active the fan kicks in if the ambient temperature is warm enough. So migrated the less frequently access files to cold storage and the more frequent to either the piNas for sharing over the network, or onto my main PC's data drive (bitlocker encrypted) for my own private access for files not wanting or needing to share with others.

    Sure, my approach takes a bit more tweaking and a more manual process to ensure anything important is backed up properly but then a NAS isn't a backup device, so not saving much hassle going for a super-duper Synology etc. I don't need hot swap, transcoding, or any of the other niceties it offers for the price, though its popularity means plenty do like what it offers as a one box to do most things solution.
    Maybe tomorrow, I'll want to settle down. Until tomorrow, I'll just keep moving on.

  8. #8

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    I'm fortunate to have a place to keep the NAS (a cellar, which is where our network hub is already) so noise shouldn't be a concern.

    I can see your point on RAID, in my case everything important will be synced to something like GoogleDrive and when it comes down to it most of this stuff is write-once, the really important things are typically small documents.

    The big files will be video and here the question is about rebuilding in case of failure - all very well having it backed up but multiple TB is not trivial to move around even in 2020.

    How do you handle that, or backup in general? All the consumer NAS seem to have options to sync via USB so you can have 2 external disks and keep one in your car/whatever and swap them weekly/monthly, but I don't really know how that is done. It seems perfectly adequate for music/films.
    As an extension of that I have seen people use two NAS, so they mirror each other. If one fails you don't have to rebuild the disk just swap units.
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    Yeah when talking about TBs of data then raid becomes convenient and the additional cost worthwhile, depending on how much impact unavailability of the data has. The more critical the more redundancy required.

    With raid, hot-swap a new drive and no downtime experienced.
    Without raid then it's how long to set up a new storage device and populate it from a backup.
    Maybe tomorrow, I'll want to settle down. Until tomorrow, I'll just keep moving on.

  10. #10

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    For Plex you'd want good CPU with iGPU that can compress/decompress modern formats.

    Just got QNAP NAS for myself actually, not a cheap game especially with lots of 18 TB disks involved


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