NAS Server

7esh

Solid State Member
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United Kingdom
Hi All!

Been looking online for some NAS Server / Personal Cloud options to integrate my data, music and videos across multiple devices. I need some advice on making a decision

Let me try and help by giving you my requirements and then preferable options...

The Requirement

Main Requirement
- This has to be to get all my stuff centrally located and secure within my own home and not on a free cloud!
Music - I'd like to able to hold my music at this central location so I can access anywhere! I currently have an iPad and iPhone so need to keep these updated. I also have my music used by my parents when they want to play on the TV (via PS3).
Videos - Ideally, I'd like to store my videos on here so I can play them around the house and sometimes if I'm away from home as I travel with work. The main place I'd play videos would be via my laptop and PS3 or if possible, my TV (need to check)
Documents - I need access to lots of documents and often use Dropbox to do this however sometimes i'd like to have access to sensitive documents and Dropbox isn't the way forward. So having a server at home where I can access these from would be ideal!
Users - I'd need access to this as well as my family members. Ideally it would be good to have access via Websites, Map a network drive (when home - if possible?!) and also via an App - again, if possible?
Low Power - ideally have something which doesn't consume a lot of power
Size - Looking at maximum 2TB and then look at a backup option. Seem mixed reviews on having a RAID setup but this could work as a failsafe (when I'm away from work) but also look at other back up options which I have available for "core data"
Price - I'm not really sure just yet but probably looking at a maximum of £300 - again, if possible. Willing to spend a little more if the justification is there

The Options
So these are the 3 options I think I have but wanted to get some advice!
SeaGate Central - So I've seen this product and seems to fit the bill but how much of the above requirements does it fit and does it allow customisation?
MyBook Live - As above, seen this online a few times
Server - so I have seen some customer NAS servers. I know quite abit about computing etc. but Networking was never my strong point so wasn't sure on what the performance and energy consumption is like on these devices - i.e. how much electricity will it use/will my bills go up a lot? Also, where do I start - any recommendations for products?
If I did go with this option then it appears there are various OS's that I could use, including OwnCloud, if you can recommend one that would be much appreciated!

Other Stuff

I've also seen some talk about a Gigabit Network - would this also be required if I went for any of the options? I'm not sure if my router is able to handle this so would need to check! I know my Laptop can but this wouldn't be a wired connection however I have Powerline connectors, again, not sure if this impacts?
 

Celegorm

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I've worked with servers before and know they could do all you want, but that will likely be above your price range. Having not used the seagate or WD products I cannot comment on those.

To answer the last question, gigabit isn't really a requirement but usually a good idea for something like this. Any gigabit devices plugged into a 10/100 network will run at 10/100 speeds without issue. People (myself included) recommend gigabit for the extra bandwidth it provides. The extra room it provides on the line will allow more people to stream without any noticeable drop in performance.
 

7esh

Solid State Member
Messages
7
Location
United Kingdom
I've worked with servers before and know they could do all you want, but that will likely be above your price range. Having not used the seagate or WD products I cannot comment on those.

To answer the last question, gigabit isn't really a requirement but usually a good idea for something like this. Any gigabit devices plugged into a 10/100 network will run at 10/100 speeds without issue. People (myself included) recommend gigabit for the extra bandwidth it provides. The extra room it provides on the line will allow more people to stream without any noticeable drop in performance.

Thanks for your reply Celegorm. What price range would I be looking at if I did go down this route?

And with regards to Gigabit, I'm assuming I'd need a compatible router? I know I have the hardware at the other end - i.e. PS3 and laptop. And therefore, would I just need a switch coming off the router if it is compatible?
 

Celegorm

Site Team
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The price really depends on how much you think you'd grow and what operating system you'd want to use. I've only used Windows as a server and that's not free but installing and configuring Linux might not be right for you depending on your comfort levels in tinkering.

Assuming you don't find a killer combo deal, a case would be about $20-30 for something cheap, while i don't recommend cheaping out here a power supply can be $30, CPU+RAM+Motherboard can be found as a combo usually, should be no more than $150 for all of that, and a 2-TB drive I've seen range from $80 to $150 based on sales & brand recently. I personally like this route as more money spent up front gives you extra SATA ports to allow you to grow, change things up to do a RAID setup if desired for data backup or whatever else you might want in the future. But maybe someone here has done the other two options you're looking at and can give you feedback about those.

And yes you would. Depending on what you have, you might also need new network cable as well. You'll need to have all your cabling be CAT5e or CAT6 if you want to connect at gigabit speeds. This is usually printed multiple times along the length of the cable.
 

root

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the Ps3 if I recall correctly can stream media from regular SMB shares? (like a shared folder on a PC).


If I were in your situation I'd do it like this.

Set up a no-ip or DynDNS account (I'd use the free version, but some prefer the DynDNS as it can be built into your router and update if it restarts etc.

Setup a file sharing service, (such as FTP) with password protection on a NAS.

configure your router to let you get access to FTP for this device.

(that's external access all sorted for accessing documents, you likely will find streaming from inside your house to outside your house a poor experience).


Inside your house you really want to setup regular shared folders on a NAS.



if you're looking at a proper NAS, even a low end proper NAS, you're going to find the power usage excessive. (when I say proper I mean a big server based/rack mounted one)

so stick to the consumer grade stuff, like the world book,

the world book will do just about all you want.
a guy I work with has had good success using a synology NAS, it does all you;re asking for, with a very low power foot print, and it's quiet enough that it sits downstairs in the living room and doesn't disturb TV watching etc...




of course you can use an old workstation, computer or whatever with an old copy of windows, this will allow you to setup your shares easier, and perhaps install more programs to give you more external access ideas.

AND let you run something like media crypt that will just let you stream directly to the PS3.

but you'll find that uses a lot of power too...



the absolute most flexibility is probably going to be found with a computer based solution, - have you considered using a Rasberry Pi? with a large USB drive? that will let you share a huge amount of data, and will let you run whatever programs you need to stream data etc without any issues.


Regards the bandwidth,
I setup what you are suggesting many many years ago when I had a wireless 11B (only 9Mbps) that was fine for streaming music, but rubbish for streaming movies.
using wireless G (54Mbps) is perfectly good for streaming non-HD content, (I've not tried streaming HD content with that setup).

in general, the faster network connection to the device that you'll share data from should be as fast as possible...

but unless you have the latest greatest router, you're likely to find anything you received from your telco when you started your contract will only have 100Mbps ports anyway, any may not use wireless N so the to-your-device speeds will be limited even further.
 
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7esh

Solid State Member
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Location
United Kingdom
Thanks Root - much appreciated

I've now gone for the Synology DS112+ with 3TB space and the WD Red drives!

I'll be back no doubt if I have any questions on setup etc!
 

evan.briggs

In Runtime
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283
I honestly would have gone with one that has 2 nic cards because you could bind them which means more bandwidth locally as well as alittle quicker going through your cloud. Doing what ROOT said would be nice! Good experience for you as well, i did it and it worked out pretty nice. Once you get the hang of it it worked pretty well. Also what kind of router will you be using to network the NAS?
 

7esh

Solid State Member
Messages
7
Location
United Kingdom
Yeah, I did consider that however due to my time available at the moment I was looking for something out the box and that I could just kick off with from the start.

I'm using a Talk Talk HG533 router (Huwaei) which isn't great but I've attached a TP-Link 5 Port Gigabit device in front so I can transfer data between the Synology and other devices a lot easier than via the router. The downside is that setting up the Port Forwarding hasn't been easy but think I'm there. I just need to be careful around the security side!

Does anyone have any good tips on how to best manage users and enabling others to access the device. I've setup a DNS so I can access from outside the LAN but would others have to setup their own DNS so they can access? They'll have their own username and passwords to the DS itself but wasn't sure how best setup for access outside LAN.
 

evan.briggs

In Runtime
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283
as long as you have you DNS setup for external use then all the users would have to know is your DNS ip or the name. are you doing FTP or no?
 

7esh

Solid State Member
Messages
7
Location
United Kingdom
Ah brilliant. Will play around with it. Having trouble with connecting sometimes though but might be a settings issue.

Yep - I will be using FTP although haven't configured that yet. Need to open up the ports on my router first before I can try.
 
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