Assembling a high capacity NAS

carlmart

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After doing some research and asking some friends, I am assembling a video & audio network to hold all my digital files.

Instead of buying an expensive dedicated NAS, I will use a desktop I have that I do not use, housed on a smaller case that can hold up to six 3.5" HDDs.

So my question is which HDDs you recommend to use.

As the total size will probably be close to 30TB, large HDDs are essential. 8TB is the minimum size I'm thinking of.

I've been looking at some WD and Seagate large size HDDs that do seem affordable. In the long time I guess I will go to SSDs, but that is unthinkable at the moment.

So what disk brand and type would you use or recommend?
 

IdiotInCharge

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Doesn't matter much; shucked WD drives (out of USB enclosures) seem to be popular.

Another note is that performance doesn't matter, really at all, unless you're trying to do a bunch of streams, and that's not really related to the drives as much as the CPU and GPU used.

You can also use almost any OS including Windows for the purpose of serving. FreeNAS is a popular choice with the ZFS filesystem (and is free and dedicated for the purpose), while unRAID is a popular inexpensive option that combines a bunch of Linux-based technologies in a manner that is similar to the better dedicated systems from NAS hardware vendors.
 

carlmart

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Thanks. Your comments agree with those I already had.

Particularly that you can use any OS and that you can use a free program to manage it all.

I'm still not sure what HDDs are the most reliable. I already know that they don't need be 7200rpm.
 
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FWIW, I've been using a number of the WD Red 6 TB HDDs in my FreeNAS (RAID-Z2) box for years now. No problems at all, easily saturates a 1 Gb link R/W.

HGST NAS HDDs are another option to consider, as a lot of people seem to like those.

I think that the only objective data you'll find on HDD reliability is from the Backblaze reports.

SSDs for a basic file/media storage NAS won't be sensible for a looooong time (if ever).
 

EniGmA1987

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Pretty much every HDD these days is around the same reliability. I have used a combination of WD, HGST, Toshiba, and Seagate. I have used the most seagates since they have higher RPMs and thus more speed than WD NAS drives. Reliability has been excellent. 6TB is my smallest size drive, 8TB is what most are. I also have a pair of 10TB and 12TB seagates. Though I have had no problems with my HGST or Toshibas, they both run louder and hotter than my WD and Seagates do. COuld be a coincidence of the single model series they are but just wanted to point it out.

Currently 8TB is the sweet spot in price to capacity.
Seagate is releasing new 16 and 18TB drives this year too which will hopefully lower then 8-12TB capacities down $30-40.
 

carlmart

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One thing I never got a definitive answer for is if the HDD turning on to run, and off when not using, instead of continuously affected the drive's life span. I think you could program the NAS to turn off the HDDs that are being used.

7200rpm HDDs run hotter and noisier, two things I do not want or need, particularly the latter. I read some complaints about the HGST being very noisy, at the same time that being a bit costlier and and quite reliable. They belong to WD now, don't they?

Yes, I would love to have this NAS assembled all with SSDs, but drives that size are in the several thousands dollar range for now. I don't want to wait. But some reliability reports are useful, like the Backblaze.
 

carlmart

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I'm not in the US: I live in Brazil.

But I can buy stuff from US stores and have them sent to an US address, then they ship it to me.
 

Dead Parrot

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I have 5400rpm drives in my dedicated Dlink NAS. Plenty fast enough. It auto powers down the drives after some period of not being used. Been working fine for many years that way. Really depends on how many folks are using it and how often.

Research the brand, model and hardware version before buying. Sometimes a particular batch of drives turns out to be problematic while the next batch in the same line will be OK. Not sure at this time there is a definitive goto HD.

Buy an extra of whatever drive you decide to go with. Really helps when one fails in a raid setup. Not always possible to buy a similar drive two years after your initial purchase when one fails. If you are doing just a bunch of disks, then don't worry about spares.

Don't forget extra power cables for the PS. It is a rare older desktop PS that has 6 sata power ends long enough to reach the HD bays.
 

EniGmA1987

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One thing I never got a definitive answer for is if the HDD turning on to run, and off when not using, instead of continuously affected the drive's life span. I think you could program the NAS to turn off the HDDs that are being used.

7200rpm HDDs run hotter and noisier, two things I do not want or need, particularly the latter. I read some complaints about the HGST being very noisy, at the same time that being a bit costlier and and quite reliable. They belong to WD now, don't they?

Yes, I would love to have this NAS assembled all with SSDs, but drives that size are in the several thousands dollar range for now. I don't want to wait. But some reliability reports are useful, like the Backblaze.

It is far more damaging to the drive to constantly park the heads than to just leave things going.

New 7200rpm drives from Seagate run quieter and cooler than last gen WD 5400rpm drives.
 

Abula

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New 7200rpm drives from Seagate run quieter and cooler than last gen WD 5400rpm drives.
Any chance you share which drives? i mean there are ironworlf, barracurdas, nighthawk, even enterprise, and if you are also talking about helium or not?
 

EniGmA1987

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Any chance you share which drives? i mean there are ironworlf, barracurdas, nighthawk, even enterprise, and if you are also talking about helium or not?
Both IronWolf and Enterprise drives, 12TB and 10TB models both have the same low vibration and quietness. Compared to 6 and 8TB WD Red's that are NAS drives at 5400rpm.
Went with Seagate at this high capacity because they are $50 less per drive than Western Digital. It would be nice to try one of the new gen WD's too, but at that much higher cost I cant justify it simply to see how it is.
 

EniGmA1987

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But that's not an internal HDD, that I can put inside a NAS.

Amazon is the place I will probably buy from.
People like to suggest buying externals cause they are cheaper for some reason and then open it up and take the drive out and put it in a tower. You get cheaper drives this way, but the firmware is not meant for high performance at all. I did this twice and both drives had awful performance compared to any other internal drive I had bought. Probably because the firmware is designed for saving power as much as possible

If you dont need high performance though, you cant beat the price. Thats around $100 off per drive compared to actual internal drives you would buy from WD or Seagate.
 

carlmart

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I'm not sure how high the HDD performance has to be for a video & audio high resolution server. Do you know that?

My guess is it has to be high, but I am not an expert to know that.

Which are the Seagate models, in 8TB or 10TB size you would recommend?
 

Abula

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Both IronWolf and Enterprise drives, 12TB and 10TB models both have the same low vibration and quietness.
Thanks for the reply, just ordered 2x Ironwolf 12TB for a Synology DS718+, hope they are not so loud.
 

EniGmA1987

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I'm not sure how high the HDD performance has to be for a video & audio high resolution server. Do you know that?

My guess is it has to be high, but I am not an expert to know that.

Which are the Seagate models, in 8TB or 10TB size you would recommend?
The Ironwolf line has been very good for me.
playing back a video file doesnt need anything close to what any HDD can do. It is more copying files to the drive or reading files off it, or if you have multiple people reading video files off the drive. Im sure those external ones can probably handle 2-3 people reading video files just fine. If thats all you want and you dont mind a 100MB/s performance hit then they would be worth the cost savings to you.
 

carlmart

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One important thing that is not too obvious on those external HDDs is how you open them.

I have a small WD My Passport, and I can't figure how to open it.
 

carlmart

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I just did a check on Newegg's 10TB HDDs, to see the users feedback, which in the past has helped me more than reviews.

The one that seems to be the preferred one by many is the WD Red Surveillance. The Ironwolf does not do too well on the feedback.

If you lower the feedback universe to about 60-70, then you find two recommended ones: WD Purple ans Seagate Skyhawk. They are surveillance types too.
 

EniGmA1987

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One important thing that is not too obvious on those external HDDs is how you open them.

I have a small WD My Passport, and I can't figure how to open it.
You just get a small screwdriver and find a seem and shove it in and crack the thing open. Youll never use it again and it is not supposed to be user serviceable.


I just did a check on Newegg's 10TB HDDs, to see the users feedback, which in the past has helped me more than reviews.

The one that seems to be the preferred one by many is the WD Red Surveillance. The Ironwolf does not do too well on the feedback.

If you lower the feedback universe to about 60-70, then you find two recommended ones: WD Purple ans Seagate Skyhawk. They are surveillance types too.
Red is a NAS drive.
Surveillance drives have firmware that is write focused. NAS drives have firmware that is read focused.
 

notarat

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One thing I never got a definitive answer for is if the HDD turning on to run, and off when not using, instead of continuously affected the drive's life span. I think you could program the NAS to turn off the HDDs that are being used.

7200rpm HDDs run hotter and noisier, two things I do not want or need, particularly the latter. I read some complaints about the HGST being very noisy, at the same time that being a bit costlier and and quite reliable. They belong to WD now, don't they?

Yes, I would love to have this NAS assembled all with SSDs, but drives that size are in the several thousands dollar range for now. I don't want to wait. But some reliability reports are useful, like the Backblaze.
Responding to the bolded/underlined part about the HGST Drives... I use 6 of their 8TB Drives. The drives are less than a meter away from where I sit. I have zero complaints about noise. That's just my experience. As always, YMMV...
 

carlmart

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Red is a NAS drive.
Surveillance drives have firmware that is write focused. NAS drives have firmware that is read focused.
Denominations are a bit confusing. You said WD Red is NAS, but they call it surveillance. Should I pick a Red?

I'm not sure I've seen HDDs specified as NAS.

Next thing is size. Drives seem to jump $100 up when they go from 8 to 10TB.
 

Luke M

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But that's not an internal HDD, that I can put inside a NAS.

Amazon is the place I will probably buy from.
Inside is a normal SATA drive. Opening is a bit of a pain, but can be done without damaging the case. You can put an old drive in the case after removing the new one, so it's worth it to take your time and not wreck it.
 

Luke M

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One important thing that is not too obvious on those external HDDs is how you open them.

I have a small WD My Passport, and I can't figure how to open it.
2.5" USB drives (except for some Seagates) have integrated USB controllers. They aren't SATA drives.
 

EniGmA1987

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Denominations are a bit confusing. You said WD Red is NAS, but they call it surveillance. Should I pick a Red?

I'm not sure I've seen HDDs specified as NAS.

Next thing is size. Drives seem to jump $100 up when they go from 8 to 10TB.
Regardless what Newegg calls it, WD calls it a NAS drive:
https://www.amazon.com/Red-4TB-NAS-Hard-Drive/dp/B07D3MWMNZ/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=western+digital+red&qid=1550612902&s=gateway&sr=8-1&th=1

https://www.amazon.com/Seagate-Iron...n+digital+red&qid=1550612902&s=gateway&sr=8-5
https://www.amazon.com/Toshiba-3-5-...s=Toshiba+8TB&qid=1550613240&s=gateway&sr=8-2


Costs from 8 to 10 jump between $80-90 on Amazon. If you look at the cost of a 2TB drive they are around $80 so it really isnt any different on the larger side at this range. It isnt until you make the jump to 12TB and then to 14TB that the differences get larger than $100. It gets harder and harder to make high capacity drives so it makes sense that in that extreme upper range the costs rise more each step.
We will get our first HAMR drive this year that is 16TB in capacity. This will have less platters than current 14TB drives because density per platter is higher, but there is extra cost of the laser and complexity so they will still likely cost more than current 14TB drives. Once these first gen HAMR drives pass real world usage then Seagate and WD plan to release drives 2-4TB larger each year beyond until around 40TB per drive by 2025. So in a couple years when multiple HAMR drives are out we should see 18TB drives around where 12-14TB drives cost now.
 
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Abula

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I just did a check on Newegg's 10TB HDDs, to see the users feedback, which in the past has helped me more than reviews.

The one that seems to be the preferred one by many is the WD Red Surveillance. The Ironwolf does not do too well on the feedback.

If you lower the feedback universe to about 60-70, then you find two recommended ones: WD Purple ans Seagate Skyhawk. They are surveillance types too.
Go with WD PURPLE over RED if your primary use will be Surveillance, the drives are similar but with different firmware oriented for their intended use.
 

carlmart

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My primary use is video & audio server, NAS, not surveillance.

Except if my application can be considered surveillance too.

Now I saw why people are picking external WDs and taking the HDD out to use it as regular SATA drive. A WD Red 10Tb costs $349, and the external is $249. A$100 savings!

Perhaps I should try that too.
 

Argentum

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Now I saw why people are picking external WDs and taking the HDD out to use it as regular SATA drive. A WD Red 10Tb costs $349, and the external is $249. A$100 savings!
Not to mention that the bare drive rarely if ever goes on sale while you can find the 10TB externals on sale for $180 or less. I've shucked 40+ drives over the past couple of years and they have been very reliable.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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As has been mentioned, in the end reliability doesn't matter much, as with something like this, you absolutely want sufficient redundancy, because with many drives you are pretty much guaranteed a couple of failures in the 3-4 year timespan, regardless of what brand you choose.

A better shopping criteria would be for how good their RMA process is, so when you start detecting read/write difficulties on a particular drive, you can easily RAM it with a quick turnaround time, and pop the replacement back in and resliver.

Also, you don't want consumer drives. No WD Greens or anything like that. At a minimum you want NAS Drives like WD's Red line or Seagates Ironwolf line. Enterprise drives are even better, but ultimately not necessary. These drives have TLER, allowing the drives to continue functioning in an array without dropping out when there is an error. WD Greens also have particularly bad head parking issues in NAS applications. I used them in my my first NAS in 2010 because I had them kicking around and wound up with some 700k head parks and ultimately failure because of it.

If you are paranoid, try getting drives from different production lots, shipped separately, that way if there is a production lot issue, or a shipping issue, you wont have multiple drives fail at or about the same time, causing data loss even with redundancy.

My second NAS build (2014) used 12x 4TB WD Red's, configured in FreeNAS (which uses ZFS) configured in two RAIDz2 VDEV's of six drives each, so 4 of the 12 drives were redundant, and equicalent of hardware RAID60, but much much better (because ZFS!)

Since then I migrated away from FreeNAS to ZFS on Linux (on my KVM/LXC box) and have replaced the drives, but still kept the two 6x RAIDz2 vdevs. End of 2017 I replaced my 4TB WD Red's one by one with 10TB Seagate Enterprise drives.

In order to satisfy the paranoia, I bought the drives two by two, two weeks apart as follows:

1.) First two drives from Amazon; wait two weeks.

2.) Second two drives from Newegg; wait two weeks.

3.) Third two drives from B&H; wait two weeks.

4.) First two drives from Amazon; wait two weeks.

5.) Second two drives from Newegg; wait two weeks.

6.) Third two drives from B&H; wait two weeks.

Each time I received two drives, I'd pop them into a spare computer and first run SMART conveyance tests on both, followed by full badblocks tests (3 passes, including writes). Once this completed after a couple of days, I considered them ready to be popped into the server to replace two 4TB drives (one from each vdev)

I'm not sure any of this actually helped, but at least it made me feel better, and with the whole array up and running with heavy load now for more than a year, I have zero errors. (Knock on wood)

Also, keep in mind, if you want to run ZFS (highly recommended, it is great) you will definitely want ECC ram, and lots of it. The rule of thumb is to have 1GB of RAM for every TB of disk space, but I am not convinced this is actually necessary.


Anyway, this is my experience. Take from it what you will :p
 
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IdiotInCharge

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Also, keep in mind, if you want to run ZFS (highly recommended, it is great) you will definitely want ECC ram, and lots of it. The rule of thumb is to have 1GB of RAM for every TB of disk space, but I am not convinced this is actually necessary.
This is true/necessary in production environments where IOPS count with real workloads; for a 'home NAS', ZFS is no better/worse off than other forms of software RAID with varying levels of memory and ECC support or not.

I've run my FreeNAS instance (it's in Hyper-V with direct access to drives) without ECC, with the minimum 8GB of RAM, and still pushes ~700MB/s across 10Gb with only four Ironwolf drives.

[to be fair, if I hadn't been reusing consumer parts, I would have endeavored to acquire an ECC-capable system; if I were doing it today, I'd be using Ryzen, or perhaps the new C246 boards with an 8000-series i3, which now support ECC]
 

asheron42

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It is far more damaging to the drive to constantly park the heads than to just leave things going.

New 7200rpm drives from Seagate run quieter and cooler than last gen WD 5400rpm drives.
This is right, but there's a "it depends" that goes along with this. Drives tend to have a load average that consists of around 300k cycles. If you burn through a bunch of cycles every day by parking, then this is pretty destructive. If you do this once or twice a day then the heat and power savings will extend your drive life. I would never consider powering down drives in a datacenter or office scenario. At home, I have a 2 hour access time to keep the drives awake and then go to low power mode. 1: I don't have dedicated cooling for my NAS and I can guarantee that heat will kill your drives much faster than cycling 2: my usage for my NAS is to have it host media, which I may use for a few hours once a day. I may go many days without using the NAS.

Most NAS software will also store configuration or other things on the primary drive pool by default. So make sure to move this to usb/ssd instead of on the spinning disks. I bought a few low speed small sized SSDs for the same price as USB for a big performance boost and stays cooler.
 

techguymaxc

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I rolled my own NAS as well, in the form of a media server. Been using nothing but Toshiba and Hitachi drives for the past 3 years in this build running 24x7. Started with Toshiba 7200RPM 4TB desktop drives and have been slowly migrating to a mix of Toshiba and Hitachi 7200RPM 8TB NAS drives. These things are real work horses. Fast too.
 

Biznatch

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I'm running 2.5" Seagate 4 & 5 TB Z2 arrays, and since they are so low powered I set them to never spin down. It's the starting/stopping that kills the drives, and replacing the drive itself is more expensive than the power I would save. The 4tb array has been running for over 2 years now.
 
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so I am running a server 2019 machine... and im not running raid at all.. im running stablebit drivepool. love it.. as I have 2 pools. 1 for all my SSD and 1 for my spinning drives. kool part is different size drives are ok and its not really a raid.. but a theoretical file level raid.
 
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Deleted member 126051

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Go with WD PURPLE over RED if your primary use will be Surveillance
But not if you are RAID'ing the drive.
Purples aren't really meant for that environment and will drop from an array.
And joining new ones to an existing, populated array generally only results in drive overheats and URE.
 

carlmart

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Finally getting ready to buy my first 10TB HDD for the NAS, following the advice to go or the WD RED, and to take advantage of buying it on the external version.

Unfortunately the large price difference between both version, internal and external, in favor of the latter, no longer exists.

External is $249 and internal $280. There's still any advantage in going for that external?
 

She loved E

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Yup usually one of the WD externals (mybook, elements) is on sale. I've been checking B&H, Amazon & Best Buy regularly to see who's running the best deal ATM. Also different capacities are cheaper per GB at any given time so if you're open to a 6 or 8TB drive you can jump on a current sale.
 
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