I use a fairly generic NAS, an Asustor AS1004 V2 which is four bays. Not very equipped but on the other hand my NAS is more like a diskstation only really, connected to a media player that does all the work and from where I run the apps. Ethernet cable of course, hi res files tend to stutter over wifi.
Others go for more advanced NAS:es with lots of features. I don’t have that need really.
edit: I should add that the admin panel (ADM it’s called) is pretty user friendly from bigger screens (ipads and up) also RAID is supported anywhere between 1/5/6/10. I use an iphone and ipad and no problem accessing ADM or using official as well as third party apps for file transfers in between. One down side is using an iphone and logging straight into ADM, not very well adjusted in compability however. When I actually need to enter ADM I always use my laptop.
I built my own about 10 years ago using an HP N40L Microserver and a copy of unRAID - total cost was about £100 for the N40L, and $50 for a two-license copy of unRAID that I split with a friend, and the cost of drives (originally 5 x 2TB, recently upgraded to 5 x 8TB), and a £10 hot-swap dock to turn the 5 1/4 external bay into another internal drive bay.
I've done a few upgrades along the way, including adding a 500gb SSD cache drive and a USB 3.0/ SATA/eSATA breakout card.
Overall I couldn't be happier, it was a fraction of the price of what one of those all-in-one systems like Synology or QNAP would've cost me, and 10 years later it's still ticking over like a champ, rarely reaching much more than 15% CPU utilization, so I can't see myself upgrading any time soon, aside from if I need to expand my storage pool.
@gene_stl Don‘t underestimate your drive capacity requirements. It becomes expensive when you need to replace existing drives for larger in the future.
Once you use a NAS you’ll find all sorts of files to store there. Not just files for audio playback like FLACs etc
Your ISO or disc folder structure rips (large) - disc backups
Your MKV rips (large) - your conversions
You may well decide to also playback Concert Video rips (huge) plus video file to play back
Photos and other digital documents, computer backups etc
All my FLACs and other audio files: about 6TB
I have about 250 Concert BDVs and DVDV converted to MKV files on my NAS: about 7TB
Disc backups (ISOs and Disc folders): maybe 20TB I haven’t checked recently
Favourite movies from BDVs?
With all the BDA and BDV disc failures you probably should rip all you own ASAP. You may never be able to replace rare disc if it fails. Drives are cheap compared to the cost to replace your disc collection.
I recently discovered 3 BDVs with disc rot. Dire Straits Alchemy, The Police Certification and Porcupine Tree Anethetize.
I have a Synology DS418 Play. It works great for me, It comes with a very good app for videos, that integrates well with other devices, like AppleTV. Unfortunately the music integration with Apple products isn't great. You may have better music options in the Windows world.
Have Synology, Netgear and D-Link (last two bought 2ndhand for pennies), Syn running for mch, Net for video stuff and D-Link for cd-audio. The two thing that you really need to check are :
- wired network, gigabye better, very important for mch
- ram, the more the better.
backup system for the nas. Even a simple USB drive updated periodically is ok.
Great interface, good RAID options (I use Synology default with 32 TB), allows external HDDs to be added but you can't upgrade the CPU and I found it really struggled as a Plex Server, so I use my PC as the Plex server pointed at the NAS drives. Not the solution that I wanted but it works.
Synology has a really nice user interface that you run in your browser from a PC, MAC or iPad etc. That’s easy to use and control everything. They all come with 1GBE ethernet, some higher end can do 10GBE but you 10GBE on other devices to get any benefit.
I have a 2nd gen drobo which was given to me the only thing that is good about it is its simplicity , its technically not a nas as its not networked its hooked up usb2 , I do have the drobo fs which would allow me to network it but its slower than usb 2 so its hooked up to usb, the newer drobos are supposed to be better but?
To be honest, there is not a lot to them as far as daily interaction. You seldom have to do anything with/to the NAS. I have a 4 bay QNAP.
1. Heed the warnings regarding buying more disk space than you think you need. Also note that you will want to run a RAID scheme, which can double the storage requirements depending on the RAID scheme chosen (ie: 2TB will be required to store 1TB + its mirrored backup copy).
2. Get a brand that provides regular updates. Both QNAP and Synology offer frequent firmware updates and OS patches. You still have to worry about viruses and such infecting the NAS. Frequent updates help with this. The same advise goes for modems.
3. I like that the QNAP has its own OS, CPU, RAM, etc. It runs on a linux OS internally, but interfaces with windows or macs seamlessly. It allows me to make full backups and disc copies from USB ports on the NAS itself, so no need to go over the network. When I first got it, I used it to run Kodi and JRiver directly from the NAS, without the need for another PC. It is also controlled the way Homer described... with a browser based UI. There are dozens of apps that can be loaded on it. Want to dump home surveillance video onto it? check. store videos and photos? check. You want a server you can access from a different location over the web? check. Apps galore are available. Mostly free.
4. Remember, the drives themselves do not come with the NAS. They are purchased separately. I ran my 4 bay with only two installed drives for quite some time. My NAS required all the drives be the same size (or you would be limited to the size of the smallest one in use). If you go with 2TB drives, the best you can do even without RAID is 8TB. But 6TB drives will give you 24TB, and the drives themselves only increase in price moderately in going from 2TB to 6TB. I couldn't start with 2TB drives and then add two additional 10TB drives at a later date hoping to get storage space beyond 8TB. I would still be stuck at that 2TB limitation. I'd be better off removing the two 2TB completely and using only the two new 10TB drives (20TB total storage vs 8TB) . Other NAS brands may not work this way, so YMMV
5. You will get various opinions on the different drive brands, but I've had the best luck over the years using Western Digital. Whenever I've had to replace a drive in a PC or laptop it always seemed to be a Seagate drive. I use four 6TB WD reds.
For video, personal files and backup, Synology RS3614XS with two RX1217 expansion bays, 36 mixture of 6TB and 10TB HDs/Total 274 TB and Intel X550-T2 10GBE Dual Port Copper Network Adapter LACP LAG. Netgear Pro Pioneer NAS with six 3TB HDs/Total 18TB used as my Music server because it is quiet and doesn't use as much power. I retired three Netgear Ultra 6 Plus NASs when I got the Synology NAS and basically just use them for backup. Three Netgear XS512EM 10GB/Multi-GB 12-port managed switches tie all my devices together with CAT6, CAT7 and CAT8 ethernet.
And here I am with hard drives inside my primary machine like some ludite...
I thought you just used an old machine you have kicking around for a NAS? Unless you suddenly need purpose built performance. I was actually thinking of doing this very thing with an old machine one of these times. My main Mac Pro tower has 4 3.5" and 2 5.5" drive bays though so I'm not short on space.
Any opinions on WD vs Seagate nowadays? (Or anyone else. Toshiba?)
My sense from reading reviews, using them myself, and servicing other machines is 6 of one and a half dozen of the other at this point. In other words, but the enterprise model with the 5 year warranty with the best price today. WD isn't even making their 'Black' models anymore. I don't see anyone just reading Seagate the riot act anymore either.
Anyway, the last drive pair I just bought was a Seagate 10TB Exos 7200rpm and then a WD 10TB Elements USB for its backup.