DIY NAS vs QNAP vs Synology

ed_co

n00b
Joined
Dec 18, 2010
Messages
12
Hello people, I am pretty new here, and I want to say thanks to all the people, that can help others, that makes this forum a fantastic place to get knowledge.

I am a person that I am leaving in different countries every year, because of my job. As I have my parents home in my country, and they have a really nice internet connection, I was thinking about buying/making a NAS/server, to storage:
- Movies and music.
- Software.
- Documents.

The goal of it, is access through internet to all the contents (and if I am in my country, at home, obviously locally, but is just 3 or 4 months every year and a half). But access through internet is the main goal.

So the main use of it could be:
- File storage for documents.
- Movie streaming (with transcoding obviously, having access through internet). 1080p transcoding should be accepted.
- Software server, for mac, windows and linux.
- Do some torrenting...
- TV streaming (synology has it in the latest beta 4.1... ;)). Optional, but should be awesome. Almost mandatory.
- In order to have consistency of my docs (I am not sure how it works, I need help and info for it, but when all the others things are finished):
* Link the server as documents folder (sharing a folder and link it) OR
* Regular back-ups from my laptop/desktop (just for docs, I never did) OR
* Having portable profiles (virtual machine? or not, I don't know), and load it locally, and then transfer it when it finished...

Requirements:
- Should work 24/7.
- Should be realiable. I would like to have it in RAID 5, in order to have redundancy, as I need reliability, and if one disk fails, it can be replaced, but I accept suggestions. So, the minimum quantity of diks should be 4-6.
- Low power.

I am sure that there are requirements, that I forgot now. But I will try to keep the post updated.

I am software engineer (mostly CG and CG pipeline) but not specialized in networks, but I can learn quick, so I am not scared to build my own system from scratch if worth it, as I do with my CG workstations.

I was thinking about getting a prebuild NAS, like:
QNAP: 459 Pro II or 469
Synology: 1512+

I was starting thinking in QNAP, because it has a lot of fame, but after reading for a while, I realized that there are a lof ot people dissapointed, for the service, etc... but I don't know what to think.

After that, I have seen a lot of people really happy for the synology 1512+, performance and features, and besides the really nice OS (that supports even TV streaming with a TV dongle).

Having almost decided that, I have seen that for 1080p transcoding, the Dual 2.13Ghz Atom processor is not enough, for QNAP or synology. And they are pretty EXPENSIVE for the hardware they have, doing a DIY, you have much better hardware for less money.

So I was thinking about doing a DIY NAS. Something like:
- Lian Li PC-Q25 or PC-Q18.
- Motherboard H67/Z68/H77/Z77. Not sure which. If I could find something with a lot of SATA ports and avoid a controller better. If not, I don't care.
- Processor i3-2125/i3-3225. It is supposed that is really nice and clean.
- Graphic card (could it be needed for transcoding acceleration maybe?? I don't know, as I don't care about any other thing except that).
- 4/6 3TB/4TB 24/7 hard disks.

I want in any case to keep as low power as max (so I prefer as newer hardware as possible for power efficiency).

I was researching about OS for DIY NAS, and I have seen freenas, ubuntu, WHS and others... Sadly, I don't know what OS to put:
I have seen here that freenas is not a good idea, but maybe Nexenta / Napp-it (I guess Nexenta is the OS and Napp-it, an application... but I don't know exactly...).

I have read in forums about putting Windows Home Server. I want to keep as more power efficient as possible... so I don't, know seriously.

I think that for DIY NAS, the complicated thing is what OS to put, and there is nothing outside enough kick ass, and most of the commercial NAS are more efficient.

So now I am really confused about getting a QNAP, Synology or DIY NAS.

Sorry for the big post. And hopefully people can help me here in order to achieve this small project.
 
Last edited:

eod

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 22, 2000
Messages
254
Well this is [H]ardOCP so a lot of people will be in the roll your own camp because that is what we do here. You might want to look at getting a HP N40L Microserver. It is great with power consumption, plenty of drive bays and you can get remote access cards to basically allow you to admin that thing from anywhere.

I think the biggest question would be what OS do you go with to have it run hands free. I think this is where the QNAP/Synology start to shine a bit.

What is your experience with *nixs?
 

bbenz33

Limp Gawd
Joined
Dec 8, 2004
Messages
382
I rolled out my own using an AMD fusion CPU/MB combo and 8GB of RAM. The one I got has 6 SATA 3 headers and I run the OS off of a thumb drive. I went with FreeNAS for the OS and it was rather easy to setup. I do have a strong Linux background, but feel that it wasn't really needed.

However, you ought to think about remote administration and/or what your parents are capable as well in case it does take a dump.
 

Nate7311

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 11, 2001
Messages
3,320
As stated, Roll your own for the Geek factor :)

But if you are looking for set it and forget it. QNAP. I've had REALLY good luck with them. Any appliance-type product will be lower power than any roll-your-own solution that relies on standard PC parts.
 

bitgod

Gawd
Joined
Feb 20, 2003
Messages
995
I decided to be lazy for mine. A friend was loving his Synology 1010+, so I picked up a 1511+ last year and just got a DX510 to expand it. It would have been cheaper to roll my own, but I'm happy with my experience so far.
 

odditory

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Dec 23, 2007
Messages
6,482
$500 for an expansion box to hold 5 drives? Thats a whole lotta lazy. These SOHO NAS companies are getting away with murder
 

Lucian0

n00b
Joined
Sep 7, 2008
Messages
19
So, to review...
Requirements:
- 24/7 Operation
- Low Power
- 4-6 Disks
- Redundancy (raid 5 was listed)
- 1080p transcoding

I would say a DIY option. I have the N40L, and it works great for me; but, I don't think its powerful enough to transcode HD efficiently.. If you don't need the HD transcoding, I would go with the N40L
 

AthlonXP

Fully [H]
Joined
Oct 14, 2001
Messages
20,418
I am actually about to add another synology. I know the N40L is a great option but I just wanted something just simple and it works.
 

ed_co

n00b
Joined
Dec 18, 2010
Messages
12
Sorry guys, I was outside for a while because of my work.
Thanks for all the suggestions.
N40L looks really nice, but doesn't have RAID5 (which is mandatory to have the abitily to replace one disk if it fails), and is not powerful enough. If there were another one of HP with that size and better performance, will be the perfect choice, seriously.
The OS is one of the most important parts here. I work with linux every day, but not as admin or server management. But I think I have the skills to get the knowledge quickly.
Obviously I should able to manage remote administration, because I can't relay in my parent, in something more that turn on, or off the server.
So I think that if I do a custom server, the most important part is the OS, and I don't have anything clear. I was thinking about Windows (7, WHS, Server), OS X server, or linux... what do you think that could be better?
Thanks guys.
 

eod

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 22, 2000
Messages
254
Sorry guys, I was outside for a while because of my work.
Thanks for all the suggestions.
N40L looks really nice, but doesn't have RAID5 (which is mandatory to have the abitily to replace one disk if it fails), and is not powerful enough. If there were another one of HP with that size and better performance, will be the perfect choice, seriously.
The OS is one of the most important parts here. I work with linux every day, but not as admin or server management. But I think I have the skills to get the knowledge quickly.
Obviously I should able to manage remote administration, because I can't relay in my parent, in something more that turn on, or off the server.
So I think that if I do a custom server, the most important part is the OS, and I don't have anything clear. I was thinking about Windows (7, WHS, Server), OS X server, or linux... what do you think that could be better?
Thanks guys.


* OI + NAPPIT setting up a ZFS raidz is probably the most popular method on here
* FreeNAS is an option but OI & NappIt is about as easy to setup
* WHS is cheap but pretty much abandoned by microsoft. Nothing overly wrong with it. Nothing impressive about it in the storage arena. You'd probably want to put something like StableBit on it depending how you setup your storage
 

hotcrandel

Gawd
Joined
Feb 26, 2010
Messages
781
I've built something similar, H61 chipset, 5x 2TB hitach drives, and the Lian-Li Q25 case, with ESXi and freenas on top of it. Works great so far, but using RAIDZ1. Wish I could get ECC memory for a reasonable price, but it works fine for now as a backup machine.
 

ed_co

n00b
Joined
Dec 18, 2010
Messages
12
I've built something similar, H61 chipset, 5x 2TB hitach drives, and the Lian-Li Q25 case, with ESXi and freenas on top of it. Works great so far, but using RAIDZ1. Wish I could get ECC memory for a reasonable price, but it works fine for now as a backup machine.

What RAID controller?
What OS?
Why RAIDZ1 and not RAID5?
Could you explain to me ESXi for dummies?

Thanks and greetings.
 

blurp

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 15, 2006
Messages
238
ed_co. Here is another message I wrote lately. I just built an affordable yet expandable FreeNAS server with those parts for less than 280$

Coolermaster Elite 343 (cheap)
Intel Pentium G630 (more than enough CPU power, low power usage)
Kingston HyperX 2x4GB
Antec Basiq VP350
Intel DH77EB mATX (6 SATA ports and intel NIC)

I put 3 x 2 TB HDs in RAIDz1. This setup works great. I installed a miniDLNA plugin to stream music and movies to all devices (WDTV live, iPad, iPodtouch, laptop, desktop)aound the house. Works great. FreeNAS8 is getting more and more polished.

Honestly, with your knowledge of Linux (better than mine I guess), you can't go wrong with an homemade FreeNAS server. I enjoy mine so far. One drive failed soon after I got everything transferred. I was a breeze to replace it with no data loss.
 

tangoseal

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Dec 18, 2010
Messages
9,089
So, to review...
Requirements:
- 24/7 Operation
- Low Power
- 4-6 Disks
- Redundancy (raid 5 was listed)
- 1080p transcoding

I would say a DIY option. I have the N40L, and it works great for me; but, I don't think its powerful enough to transcode HD efficiently.. If you don't need the HD transcoding, I would go with the N40L

QNAP TS-659 669 459 can do all of this and more. The Atom 2.13ghz and 1.8ghz dual cores with hyperthreading can easily transcode 1080p to like 3 devices at the same time. I have tested it on mine. I am about to sell my 669 though and get a Thecus enterprise 12 bay or 8 bay. Not sure yet. I am over home built because they lack the software features and constant support of the big dogs .
 

Bookmage

Gawd
Joined
Sep 2, 2004
Messages
670
It's all about management. IF you want the quick and easy to manage, u get the QNAP or Synology. If you have time to fiddle and troubleshoot and get things working on your own, you build your own. I use the QNAP 2U rackmounts at work for ISCSI/NFS file sharing. I have a QNAP at home that I used to share files and stream videos, but now use it as an NFS share for VMs. It could transcode fine. I built a Linux Software Raid5 server w/5 drives in a lian li case for a DIY option. I only recommend the DIY if you have the time to play with it because something will go wrong and you will have to spend lots of time troubleshooting it. Otherwise the QNAP is less hassle and saves you lots of time.
The big question is how do you fix it when something goes wrong, especially if you're not around. For remote management, being able to SSH into a Linux server to test and fix is a great plus. Although it is easier to walk someone else through the web interface of the QNAP or the Synology if you can't connect to it. You can always join.me or webex and troubleshoot remotely. Commercial NAS's are also labeled nicely and look pretty, so you can tell someone else to pull out the drive labeled 3 and replace it. If I was sticking a server somewhere else, I would stick a QNAP or ReadyNAS at their place and setup remote access. Quick, simple, and frees up my time and effort to playing w/my own server.
 

LeftSide

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 14, 2003
Messages
502
What RAID controller?
What OS?
Why RAIDZ1 and not RAID5?
Could you explain to me ESXi for dummies?

Thanks and greetings.

ZFS does not need a raid controller. It is software raid. RAIDZ1 is comparable to RAID5. It stripes your data with 1 parity disk. He is probably referring to Open Indiana as the OS, as that is the popular one around here, and for good reason. ESXi is a Virtual Hyper-visor, it is the OS that runs and manages all of the Virtual Machines you are running on a computer.

So, I am running ESXi 5 on my home computer, one of my VMs is OpenIndiana, and I have ZFS managing a mirrored 2TB dataset.

More info here: http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1573272
 

Ruffy

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Mar 31, 2001
Messages
2,011
exactly what im doing, but because of small apartment + 2 year old im going a nonstandard route. I need something small (Fits in my tv stand for space reasons) and locks.


Silverstone GD07 case http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811163195&Tpk=silverstone gd07

Icy Dock 3 in 2 Drive Bay Cage (got it for $35 shipped) http://www.icydock.com/goods.php?id=105 Will perhaps get another 3n2 cage down the road.

Still debating CPU/Motherboard. I have a Asus Z68-v le but it lacks video. I was considering building an esxi box out of it but Virtual-D cost too much for me atm. So weaker cpu\memory is being looked at.
 

/usr/home

Supreme [H]ardness
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Mar 18, 2008
Messages
6,161
Dude, Synology. I love mine to death. It can do almost anything. The interface is awesome.
 

mwroobel

Supreme [H]ardness
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Jul 24, 2008
Messages
5,008
exactly what im doing, but because of small apartment + 2 year old im going a nonstandard route. I need something small (Fits in my tv stand for space reasons) and locks.


Silverstone GD07 case http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811163195&Tpk=silverstone gd07

Icy Dock 3 in 2 Drive Bay Cage (got it for $35 shipped) http://www.icydock.com/goods.php?id=105 Will perhaps get another 3n2 cage down the road.

Still debating CPU/Motherboard. I have a Asus Z68-v le but it lacks video. I was considering building an esxi box out of it but Virtual-D cost too much for me atm. So weaker cpu\memory is being looked at.

If you want the expansion options of a storage rack but have the space constraints of a small tv-stand size you can always do a LackRack from Ikea.
 

chizzle

n00b
Joined
Mar 12, 2009
Messages
18
I don't know much about video encoding....

Why would QNAP or Synology have to transcode to 1080p to stream to a device? Wouldn't the movie file already be transcoded?
 

Bigdady92

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jun 20, 2001
Messages
5,767
Inexpensive solution, possibly viable:

Pogoplug with 4 bay USB RAID array?

I have one of these setup at my In-Laws house hundreds of miles away and it does just fine for getting documents, videos, music, etc from my 'Cloud'.

Not the sexiest solution but a simple one that's easy to setup and runs damn well everything out there.
 

eod

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 22, 2000
Messages
254
USB RAID.. Sounds shifty. Rather root the Pogoplug and setup the USB devices to rsync between each other.
 

Bigdady92

Supreme [H]ardness
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Messages
5,767
USB RAID.. Sounds shifty. Rather root the Pogoplug and setup the USB devices to rsync between each other.

The RAID array I have has onboard raid controller, plugs into USB.

Yes, rooting the Pogoplug is fun, but may be a bit on the overtechnical side.
 

Goride

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 23, 2004
Messages
276
I have a Synology DS 211j and I love it.

It does everything I wanted it to do (and more).

It streams HD content to my xbox 360 and ps3 great.

However, it does not transcode if the movie file is of the sort the 360/ps3 does not support. The 211j just does not have enough cpu power to do the transcoding. So you cannot stream .mkv content, but you can just put it into a container that the ps3 accepts, and that will work fine.
 

ed_co

n00b
Joined
Dec 18, 2010
Messages
12
Dude, Synology. I love mine to death. It can do almost anything. The interface is awesome.

After A LOT of consideration. I went through the dark side. I bought the Synology 1512+ and it is not too bad at all. Didn't test the 1080p transcoding. For the rest, awesome.

Just one thing I noticed. Sometimes when I am transfering through Ethernet, it is slow. Sometimes is fast. Could be something wrong in it? There is any way to test it messuring?

Cheers.
 

ed_co

n00b
Joined
Dec 18, 2010
Messages
12
One thing more. I want to build a mini-itx setup, but not as a server. Is to have a powerful workstation, but portable.
I need suggestions of the cooling system with that configuration:
- Lian-Li PC-Q18
- i7 3770K (and I want to overclock it).
Please, post it here: http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1721135

Thanks guys!!
 
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