Backup Solution and File Server

Gamma_Ray

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Hey all:

Could you help me find a solid backup and file server solution that's versatile and would let me stream a variety of files to other devices?

My main PC has 2TB storage, and I have two external HDD's for storage. (one HDD is 1TB and the other is 2TB)

From my research, I gathered that a Synology box would be ideal, and a FreeNas would be too much of a hassle. Input?

Thanks!
 

Dreamerbydesign

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If you want to basically set it and forget it, Synology is the way to go. You will pay more, and if you want real options you’ll need at least 4 internal Sata drives. Once you have all that, there’s a learning curve but it’s easier than most other solutions to set up.

Would work excellent as a backup solution and file server. As well as a many other things if needed. But it can be pricey to get started.
 

capt_cope

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I've had a number of synology devices and highly recommend them if they're in your budget. Extremely easy to setup and manage.
 

Gamma_Ray

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Cool, Thanks.

Could ya'll recommend me a synology box and hardrive package? Thanks!
 

Dreamerbydesign

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Cool, Thanks.

Could ya'll recommend me a synology box and hardrive package? Thanks!
That comes down to what you budget is and what you expect or need. They range from the $300 range to literally thousands depending. As for hard drives, again that really comes down to needs and budget.
 

Gamma_Ray

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That comes down to what you budget is and what you expect or need. They range from the $300 range to literally thousands depending. As for hard drives, again that really comes down to needs and budget.
Just a simple backup solution and streaming files. My budget is $1000 but I'm flexible. I'm willing to scale as needed to get a solution with 4 drives.
 

Dreamerbydesign

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I’d start with a 4 drive bay minimum model. You can add ram if needed depending on the model. I’m not up to date on the current models, so you may want to do a bit of research. Owning a Synology will still take a fair bit of research and setup. You can find good help though on the internet for Synology. Plus they have excellent customer service if you need help setting things up.

As far as drives I’d recommend cool running 5400 rpm NAS rated drives. Stepping up to 7200rpm NAS drives doesn’t bet much benefit for most home users.

Synology has a drive size calculator you can use to figure out how much usable space you’ll have after you decide which file system and raid type to go with.
 

Mermalion

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This would work great. It's a Synology 4 bay NAS. Just add whatever capacity drives you need.

Edit: The drives you get depends on how much storage you need. I always prefer to use Western Digital drives. The Western Digital reds are made for a NAS but any SATA drive will work. The NAS ones may be more reliable though. Make sure that whatever drive you get doesn't use SMR if you intend to write to them often.
 
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daglesj

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Ahh one of those...

Them - "Hey I want this and this and this, can you recommend me the best that would do that?"

You - (Goes away and thinks about and works out the best solution to be helpful) "Yeah sure after some thought you need this or this!"

Them (6 months later) - "Hey you sent me a list of things I should get...I can't find it in my email, can you send me another list?"

You - "FFS!"
 

Keljian

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Get a 4 bay synology + model, eg 420+ or 920+. Either will suit your basic needs. The 920+ will do more, but consume a bit more power.

Get three (3) large capacity nas or enterprise drives. Segate ironwolf/exos or WD red/gold, it doesn’t matter which variant of these you get for what you are talking about doing.

Be conscious you will only get the storage capacity of 2 drives in the setup proposed, one is for redundancy, so if one drive dies, you can replace it and not lose your data.

Run SHR1 and btrfs. (You will understand this when you do the install).

If, in time, you want to run more on the Nas, add an 8 gig stick of ram. Search reddit to find compatible sticks, or look at nascompare. Do not be tempted by 16gig sticks for a little more $, if you need 16gig in your nas, you should get a small server/nuc/raspberry pi instead to do what you need.

If, in time, you want more storage, buy another drive to add to the nas, do not buy this to start with as you will just use unnecessary power, and prices will go down in time, they always do.

Save this post so you don’t lose it
 
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Keljian

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I’ll just add one more thing: a nas can do many things, but ideally you shouldn’t make it do many things.

It is for storage and management of storage, first and foremost. Adding things like VMs and other random software is possible, but each thing you add to it means more load, more load means that it may not have as much power (when it needs it) to do the storage thing it is designed for.

That doesn’t mean you can’t add plex, or file sharing or stuff, just you shouldn’t think of it like a server(beyond a file server) or computer.
 
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lilfiend

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An older computer running unraid or truenas core is fairly easy to setup and usually less $$$ than off the shelf solutions. You can use urbackup to have a centralized backup solution or just use client side tools like the free version of veeam running on your PCs and backup to your nas location.

If you are looking for an easier setup than that you can run windows and something like drivebender which is extremely flexible in how you add/remove hard drives. You can enable/disable file duplication (sort of like raid 1, keeps copies on 2 drives) on a per folder level. It doesn't play nice with urbackup though so you'd be stuck with something like veeam. The 'nicest' feature imo is the underlying filesystem is still just basic NTFS so if you for some reason totally bork your drive bender and are just done with dealing with it you can just slap the hard drive in any machine and access the data that is on that drive. No dealing with rebuilding raid arrays or anything. A nice off-label feature is since it can run on plain old desktop windows you can use the cheap backblaze unlimited backup to keep an offsite backup.

There is an alternative to drive bender called drivepool and it does basically the same thing. The only real difference I've found with it is you can specify how many duplicates you want when you select a folder for duplication. Instead of just duplicating over 2 drives you can set it to duplicate up to as many drives as you want. Its a nice feature but I honestly feel like if you are that worried about losing your data you should be backing it up off site with backblaze or something.

As for hard drives, as someone with 1.2PB, I've seen no reliability difference between sas drives, sata drives, shucked external drives, or external drives just hooked up via usb. The only reliability thing I'd state for external drives is that seagate usb to sata adapters in externals crap out fairly often, leading to me shucking them and continuing to use the hard drive without issue. I've had no issues with WD externals. I do run low speed (~1krpm) fans on top of my externals but I don't keep them in a climate controlled room. I'd just go for whatever is on sale and meets your requirements. I run mostly 14tb drives but I have quite a few older 8tb drives I need to start phasing out for newer 18tb drives since they can be had on sale for around 15-16 cents a gb every now and then.

Word of warning though for truenas and unraid, they don't like external drives that much but drivebender / drivepool have no issues.
 

Keljian

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That is all well and good if you want to tinker. If you want turn key, never have to think/worry, and consider the storage requirements of the OP - the solution I provided will “just work” and allow things like:
  • replication
  • duplicate management
  • backups (easy)
  • ups monitoring
  • easy remote access
  • easy Plex setup
  • easy photo backup from phones
  • easy monitoring without having to set stuff up
  • straightforward upgrade path
  • lower power consumption
  • warranty/support
  • copy on write data integrity
  • growing the nas size by either changing up drives one at a time or adding drives

Etc etc

You can do all these things in all of the standard operating systems with custom builds but they are not easy or straightforward to do together.

Imnsho, for the majority of people, having more than 4-5 drives in a home NAS, considering current drive sizes, is not a good idea. You compromise on power consumption, and redundancy, and overall cost. More drives means more heat, more noise and more potential failure points.
 
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kirbyrj

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I see you said "stream" files to others. If you're going to use something like Plex and need to transcode video, I would look at one of the Intel Synology boxes with Quicksync. The 418 linked above is an ARM Realtek solution which is fine for files, but not for transcoding files.
 

Gamma_Ray

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Get a 4 bay synology + model, eg 420+ or 920+. Either will suit your basic needs. The 920+ will do more, but consume a bit more power.

Get three (3) large capacity nas or enterprise drives. Segate ironwolf/exos or WD red/gold, it doesn’t matter which variant of these you get for what you are talking about doing.

Be conscious you will only get the storage capacity of 2 drives in the setup proposed, one is for redundancy, so if one drive dies, you can replace it and not lose your data.

Run SHR1 and btrfs. (You will understand this when you do the install).

If, in time, you want to run more on the Nas, add an 8 gig stick of ram. Search reddit to find compatible sticks, or look at nascompare. Do not be tempted by 16gig sticks for a little more $, if you need 16gig in your nas, you should get a small server/nuc/raspberry pi instead to do what you need.

If, in time, you want more storage, buy another drive to add to the nas, do not buy this to start with as you will just use unnecessary power, and prices will go down in time, they always do.

Save this post so you don’t lose it
Thanks all. Gonna get this:
Synology 920+
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B087Z34F3R/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1

WD 2TB Red Plus
x 3 https://www.amazon.com/Western-Digital-Plus-Internal-Drive/dp/B08VH891FS/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=1LXU0S8XHD250&keywords=western+digital+red&qid=1655737113&sprefix=western+digital+reds+,aps,61&sr=8-1-spons&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExN1ZBMkdLME1BRlI0JmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMjAxNDU5M1U1UkdIMkxQUURFVSZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwMjc1NTE1M0lBRDI3VThPNkQ4QSZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU&th=1

Thanks again!
 

SamirD

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Since you've got the synology, you can also connect those external drives to the synology and then access them that way from the network. (y)
 

7th Angel

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Get a 4 bay synology + model, eg 420+ or 920+. Either will suit your basic needs. The 920+ will do more, but consume a bit more power.

Get three (3) large capacity nas or enterprise drives. Segate ironwolf/exos or WD red/gold, it doesn’t matter which variant of these you get for what you are talking about doing.

Be conscious you will only get the storage capacity of 2 drives in the setup proposed, one is for redundancy, so if one drive dies, you can replace it and not lose your data.

Run SHR1 and btrfs. (You will understand this when you do the install).

If, in time, you want to run more on the Nas, add an 8 gig stick of ram. Search reddit to find compatible sticks, or look at nascompare. Do not be tempted by 16gig sticks for a little more $, if you need 16gig in your nas, you should get a small server/nuc/raspberry pi instead to do what you need.

If, in time, you want more storage, buy another drive to add to the nas, do not buy this to start with as you will just use unnecessary power, and prices will go down in time, they always do.

Save this post so you don’t lose it
Keljian, I decided to take your advice to Gamma_Ray and save this post so I don't lose it. There is a lot of great information and advice in this thread.

Thanks to all who have taken the time to post their recommendations! 👍
 

SamirD

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I also know where a 920+ and a RS819 are at a discount so if you're interested in saving a few bucks, PM me. (y)
 

Gamma_Ray

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Get a 4 bay synology + model, eg 420+ or 920+. Either will suit your basic needs. The 920+ will do more, but consume a bit more power.

Get three (3) large capacity nas or enterprise drives. Segate ironwolf/exos or WD red/gold, it doesn’t matter which variant of these you get for what you are talking about doing.

Be conscious you will only get the storage capacity of 2 drives in the setup proposed, one is for redundancy, so if one drive dies, you can replace it and not lose your data.

Run SHR1 and btrfs. (You will understand this when you do the install).

If, in time, you want to run more on the Nas, add an 8 gig stick of ram. Search reddit to find compatible sticks, or look at nascompare. Do not be tempted by 16gig sticks for a little more $, if you need 16gig in your nas, you should get a small server/nuc/raspberry pi instead to do what you need.

If, in time, you want more storage, buy another drive to add to the nas, do not buy this to start with as you will just use unnecessary power, and prices will go down in time, they always do.

Save this post so you don’t lose it
I'm new to RAID setups. You say to use on drive for redundancy and to choose "SHR". For this part on setup, should I just only select the first two drives?


Thanks!
 

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Gamma_Ray

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Feb 2, 2022
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Get a 4 bay synology + model, eg 420+ or 920+. Either will suit your basic needs. The 920+ will do more, but consume a bit more power.

Get three (3) large capacity nas or enterprise drives. Segate ironwolf/exos or WD red/gold, it doesn’t matter which variant of these you get for what you are talking about doing.

Be conscious you will only get the storage capacity of 2 drives in the setup proposed, one is for redundancy, so if one drive dies, you can replace it and not lose your data.

Run SHR1 and btrfs. (You will understand this when you do the install).

If, in time, you want to run more on the Nas, add an 8 gig stick of ram. Search reddit to find compatible sticks, or look at nascompare. Do not be tempted by 16gig sticks for a little more $, if you need 16gig in your nas, you should get a small server/nuc/raspberry pi instead to do what you need.

If, in time, you want more storage, buy another drive to add to the nas, do not buy this to start with as you will just use unnecessary power, and prices will go down in time, they always do.

Save this post so you don’t lose it
Nope, you select all 3 like you have done.
Done. Thanks. Installed. As far as one drive being for redundancy in case of failure, I shouldn't put any data on it at all to get a complete backup, right?

Thanks all!
 

Keljian

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Done. Thanks. Installed. As far as one drive being for redundancy in case of failure, I shouldn't put any data on it at all to get a complete backup, right?

Thanks all!


No, that is incorrect

You have 3 drives in SHR, which makes the “space” of one redundant across those three drives.

That means, one of the drives (space) is used for parity.

Hypothetical/theory follows (I am aware this is not accurate in terms of bits and bytes, but the concept holds)

Let’s say you want to store 11 (two bits 1, followed by 1) of information, what the raid will do is store 112 (2 being the parity bits, 1+1=2) across the 3 drives.

So if you lose one drive you end up with 1_2, where _ Is the lack of drive. With simple math you can then calculate what _ was, and the raid will function like that (in degraded mode). When you replace the disk, it will recalculate/rebuild the missing data.

Now the way raid works is that different drives will be used for parity each time, so if you are storing 11 followed by 11 again, the result may look like 121, 211 or 112 (2 representing parity here, and which drive corresponding to the tens, hundreds then ones position). Therefore the actual data on any one disk is comprised of data, with parity interspersed.

So put data on it :)
 
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OFaceSIG

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I've used nas4free, then freenas, now TrueNAS for over a decade. I've used it on countless generations of Intel and AMD hardware and it always runs great. It supports Plex as a plug in and can run VMs as well. I would look into it. 100s of Youtube videos how to set it up exist. I use it primarly as a CIFS/SMB file share server on my network and it works great.
 

SamirD

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Ah! I figured. Would adding an additional drive fix this?
No, and this is why I don't use any type of parity raid such as 5 or 6 (6 has 2x parity drives). If you don't want to lose data and still want the speed, the only move is raid 0+1, which in theory can survive more than 2 drive failures if they are not mirrors of each other. Raid 1 is pure mirroring, and of course jbod lets you use each drive on its own and you can decide how to manage the backups (my preferred method after working with raid since the 1990s). The biggest advantage to jbod is that the hardware can trash itself and you can simply remove the drive and boot up a linux live cd and access your data right away--you don't have to worry about raid rebuilds or other raid recovery efforts.
 

SamirD

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Keljian

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This is all much more complicated than the OP needs.

Gamma_Ray you can add a second drive to give you SHR-2 (2 drive protection) however with modern NAS drives like the ones you have purchased, the chances of two dying at exactly the same time are very low, especially in your 920+, which has adequate cooling.

That said, as mentioned, raid is no substitute for backup, and backup is very easy to set up with hyper backup on synology. Google it and consider backblaze b2 or wasabi.
 

SamirD

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This is all much more complicated than the OP needs.
JBOD is actually simpler--it's just a drive and you have more than one. And any backup solution isn't a solution without a tested or at least well thought out restoration plan.
 

Keljian

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JBOD is actually simpler--it's just a drive and you have more than one. And any backup solution isn't a solution without a tested or at least well thought out restoration plan.
Yeah but for household stuff that plan could be as simple as pulling down a backup from the cloud, and using hyperbackup to extract the backup.
 

SamirD

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Yeah but for household stuff that plan could be as simple as pulling down a backup from the cloud, and using hyperbackup to extract the backup.
Unless the data is 1TB or more. Even copying 1TB locally takes time at full gigabit. And then another piece of software to extract the backup? What version software? What if there's bugs? Too much risk imo.

If you have multiple JBODs and if the whole unit fails and just one copy of the data survives on one of the drives, you're golden as any linux live boot will see it--no software or any of that to deal with. At least until file systems change, but that happens very rarely.
 

Keljian

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Unless the data is 1TB or more. Even copying 1TB locally takes time at full gigabit. And then another piece of software to extract the backup? What version software? What if there's bugs? Too much risk imo.

If you have multiple JBODs and if the whole unit fails and just one copy of the data survives on one of the drives, you're golden as any linux live boot will see it--no software or any of that to deal with. At least until file systems change, but that happens very rarely.

I'd argue that the majority of home users don't have 1TB or more of data that is irreplaceable. 3-2-1 still stands, 3 copies, 2 on site, 1 offsite.

example

2 on site : Nas -> PC hard drive or USB hard drive (not ssd)
1 offsite : Hyperbackup -> Backblaze/Wasabi/Syno C2/google drive etc etc.
 

SamirD

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I'd argue that the majority of home users don't have 1TB or more of data that is irreplaceable. 3-2-1 still stands, 3 copies, 2 on site, 1 offsite.

example

2 on site : Nas -> PC hard drive or USB hard drive (not ssd)
1 offsite : Hyperbackup -> Backblaze/Wasabi/Syno C2/google drive etc etc.
I would say it's definitely >1TB for most people or the demand for 1TB drives wouldn't be non-existent like it is.

3-2-1 is always going to be best, but I would augment that for even more redundancy and fail-safe capabilities, especially considering drives are the cheapest part of the equation when something goes wrong.
 

Keljian

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I would say it's definitely >1TB for most people or the demand for 1TB drives wouldn't be non-existent like it is.

3-2-1 is always going to be best, but I would augment that for even more redundancy and fail-safe capabilities, especially considering drives are the cheapest part of the equation when something goes wrong.
yeah >1tb drives are used for storage.. I meant irreplaceable storage - stuff like family photos..
 

jlbenedict

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I’ll just add one more thing: a nas can do many things, but ideally you shouldn’t make it do many things.

It is for storage and management of storage, first and foremost. Adding things like VMs and other random software is possible, but each thing you add to it means more load, more load means that it may not have as much power (when it needs it) to do the storage thing it is designed for.

That doesn’t mean you can’t add plex, or file sharing or stuff, just you shouldn’t think of it like a server(beyond a file server) or computer.

I agree with this... you see so many newbie tech "gurus" over in Reddit.. and they'll be on the hype train of running Plex, Docker, and VM's.. all on the NAS.. and then return complaining of issues..

a NAS is a NAS.. "Network Attached Storage".. it's not a server.. YES.. I get it... the specs one some of these new NAS's are nice as F and probably technically can handle running some "server" type applications, as they are nothing more than x86_64 computers.. but, asking these NAS appliances to do more than what they are intended for is asking for trouble
 
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