Looking for a home NAS

Motley

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Hey everyone,

I am looking to add a NAS on my home network. Was looking at the synology 4 bay and QNAP 4 bay with 4TB Seagate ironwolf drives.

I plan on using this as network shares, backup, and media server. I know nothing about these things. Do they have a web GUI to configure them? Is it easy to setup?

Which is better? Synology or QNAP, they both are around the same price with drives $880.

Thanks I appreciate any advice on these.
 

Ripskin

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I have used Synology for a number of years. I wont say that they are the best but I have been extremely happy with them. I started back in 2009 with a 4 bay unit and now have an 8 bay.

They run Linux and have a good GUI. Lots and lots of options, supported apps, can unlock to get non supported apps and so on. A plethora of good things mostly just needing a few things configured on your end, router configurations and you are off to the races. While I could build my own I wanted a low profile low power system that did not need a lot of maintenance and I have been extremely happy.

Overall set up is easy, you can go as deep as you want and get a lot of control or keep it surface level. I'm in the middle somewhere.

I use mine as DVR for my security cameras, audio media server, video media server, drop box style cloud storage, auto backup of my parents computer, photo storage (cool photo app), multiple accounts, stores my content, installs, backups, documents and so on. I watch content when I'm on business trips, at families houses, on my phone etc. Very handy. Most have the functionality so this is not all unique to Synology I have just been very happy with their overall support and app development. The smart TV app's at least for Samsung TV's is pretty good as well.
 

jordan12

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Asustor also makes great NAS devices. I have had mine for 7 years and no issues at all. Works well, and uses A version of Unix. Very easy to work with and they really look great too
 

kirbyrj

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I have a Synology 5 bay. I can't complain at all. I do most of the things you described in the OP and it will routinely run for months without any interruption. Usually the only time I have to touch it is if I have to move it or if there's an update. Other than that I basically forget it is there and running. I have mine set up with a UPS so it will run through power outages.
 

Abula

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Synology is among the best prebuild setups, some say they are too expensive for the hardware they come with, but you pay for their OS, easy of use, reliability and continue to develop without any cost to you.

Recommended you invest into intel based synology in case down the road you are into PLEX, Synology DiskStation DS1520+ or Synology DiskStation DS420+
 

Smoblikat

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I manage both in my orginization, personally I would prefer a QNAP to a synology, but both of their UIs are terrible. The QNAP seems to be a little happier to do things like bind to LDAP or to setup a data sync to a non-QNAP device, but it still isnt the most intuitive process.

If cost is an issue, I would just throw together any computer (dual core + 4gb RAM is plenty) and stuff some drives in it. You could run somthing like FreeNAS on it, or use a hypervisor such as Proxmox and really dial into your storage allocation.
 

Motley

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Thank you everyone, some very good advice here. I just watched some videos on youtube on both Synology and the QNAP. It appears that the QNAP has a bit more configuration options in the gui.

I think I will go with the QNAP, probably sometime next week I will order it.
 

Archaea

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I have a Qnap 2 bay with 10GB drives mirrored RAID1 and it’s been great. It feels as fast as local storage for pictures and video browsing. I use the qnap app to sync all the pictures from my phone automatically. I can access all my files remotely. I’ve even used it for a bit of torrenting and Plex server. Fantastic device for the $160 I paid for it.
What I know is that Qnap has more access to the underlying OS for a power user and more admin/config/technical options. The Synology is more like an apple product in that there are fewer options and they more intend to just give you what you need to avoid confusion or misconfigure. So to some degree you can decide if you like to be a power user, or just set and forget type admin to help decide between the two products. Both have access and integration to free SLL certs.

I’ve used both. I like both. The synology has their own file system that lets you run mismatched drives in RAID and even lets you replace one mismatched drive at a time with bigger drives. That’s a really cool feature and quite useful if you have hodge podge drives that you update over time. QNAP doesn’t have that. You have to rebuild the whole array with matching drives if you want to expand storage like a traditional RAID array. Backup for both units to external USB is absolutely painless and reliable.

QNAP technical support is great, responsive and knowledgeable, and their ticket system and log upload is nothing more than a button press in rhe GUI and it uploads all the logs they need. I’ve not had call to work with synology Support - so can’t speak to their support or ticketing system.

Do not buy SSDs for disk caching. It’s simply not worth it for the 1GB LAN interface that can’t even saturate the spinning drive arrays. My experience and benchmarks with that here: https://hardforum.com/threads/a-tal...d-the-performance-delta-between-them.2005425/

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jmilcher

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I have used both Synology and QNAP. I have also tried rolling my own with trueNAS. Here are my conclusions:

Synology: Learn the ecosystem, set it and forget it. Extremely helpful community and plentiful answers readily available on the internet. A bit of a learning curve. Can do pretty much anything I would ever expect a NAS to do and more. Software is enterprise level, polished and it really shows. Downside: rather pricey initially. The fact that I can use different size drives is a must for me.

QNAP: Power user friendly. Harder to configure, pickier and less polished in my opinion. Apps are half baked and no where near the enterprise software type level Synology offers. Downside: Cannot use different sized drives. Must use all equal sized drives and rebuild array. This is a slow nightmare if you have tons of data to migrate. Less help IMO in general and less support was my experience compared to Synology.

trueNAS: I had the advantage of much beefier hardware when I made my own NAS server. What I did not have was polished and just easy to click software. Setting things up for access outside my network was a nightmare, and I am rather tech savvy and know my way around consumer networking. In the end it was not "accessible" enough for my needs remotely. Community support was nice though.

Conclusion: I just ponied up and bought the Synology and crammed it with 14TB WD Red drives. I would suggest a Synology 4 bay+ model, Intel based and at least a quad core model that supports 12+ GB of DDR4 ram. Learn it, set it and forget it. It just works.
 

ND40oz

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I’ve used both. I like both. The synology has their own file system that lets you run mismatched drives in RAID and even lets you replace one mismatched drive at a time with bigger drives. That’s a really cool feature and quite useful if you have hodge podge drives that you update over time. QNAP doesn’t have that. You have to rebuild the whole array with matching drives if you want to expand storage like a traditional RAID array. Backup for both units to external USB is absolutely painless and reliable.

You don't have to rebuild the array with QNAP if you're running QTS. You can easily add more drives to the raid group, and then expand the pool or if you are out of drive slots, you can replace each drive one by one and once all of the drives have been replaced, you can expand your pool. If you're using QuTS, you can't add drives to the pool because it's ZFS under the covers, but you can replace each drive one by one with larger drives and once all are replaced you have the option to expand your pool.
 

Archaea

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You don't have to rebuild the array with QNAP if you're running QTS. You can easily add more drives to the raid group, and then expand the pool or if you are out of drive slots, you can replace each drive one by one and once all of the drives have been replaced, you can expand your pool. If you're using QuTS, you can't add drives to the pool because it's ZFS under the covers, but you can replace each drive one by one with larger drives and once all are replaced you have the option to expand your pool.
That's a fair and valid clarification and I actually did exactly this myself on my personal qnap when I moved to two 10TB drives, so I can validate that yes this works.
Ultimately you can't have mismatched drive sizes in the QNAP and still take advantage of the extra space like you can with Synology's SHR file system. If you have mismatched drives - you would only get the capacity identical to the smallest drive on the larger drives until you match all drives and then do the expansion. This may or may not be a purchasing decision point, but it's a point worth making when considering the two units.
 

Archaea

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I have used both Synology and QNAP. I have also tried rolling my own with trueNAS. Here are my conclusions:

Synology: Learn the ecosystem, set it and forget it. Extremely helpful community and plentiful answers readily available on the internet. A bit of a learning curve. Can do pretty much anything I would ever expect a NAS to do and more. Software is enterprise level, polished and it really shows. Downside: rather pricey initially. The fact that I can use different size drives is a must for me.

QNAP: Power user friendly. Harder to configure, pickier and less polished in my opinion. Apps are half baked and no where near the enterprise software type level Synology offers. Downside: Cannot use different sized drives. Must use all equal sized drives and rebuild array. This is a slow nightmare if you have tons of data to migrate. Less help IMO in general and less support was my experience compared to Synology.

trueNAS: I had the advantage of much beefier hardware when I made my own NAS server. What I did not have was polished and just easy to click software. Setting things up for access outside my network was a nightmare, and I am rather tech savvy and know my way around consumer networking. In the end it was not "accessible" enough for my needs remotely. Community support was nice though.

Conclusion: I just ponied up and bought the Synology and crammed it with 14TB WD Red drives. I would suggest a Synology 4 bay+ model, Intel based and at least a quad core model that supports 12+ GB of DDR4 ram. Learn it, set it and forget it. It just works.
Curious about your point on half baked apps? I've used QNAP as my personal NAS now for 3+ years, and haven't seen anything I'd consider half baked. Is that an older opinion perhaps? Or could you provide more specifics?
As far as I can remember I've had one lockup in three + years on my NAS. It's dependable to the point of being like a good router or appliance. No reboots except for the occasional update. Set and forget.

I think Synology probably has a bit more shoe shine in the GUI (as I mentioned previously - like Apple's ecosystem - simpler/classier GUI - less overwhelming to learn if unfamiliar with storage technology and terms) - but I've not found anything in the world of QNAP that I thought felt beta or unfinished and my experience with two trouble tickets to QNAP could not have been easier. They were rockstar experiences. I'm not pushing QNAP over Synology - I've used both - both are excellent. When my NAS dies I will very likely buy one of these two vendor's products again. Like you say, the SMR filesystem allowance for mismatched drives using varying capacity might be enough to convert me to Synology next time as well. However the fact I can just drop my existing drives in any new QNAP and it just picks up all the old OS settings, config, permissions and I basically don't have to do anything at all is a big win too -- in swaying me to keep with QNAP hardware.
 

jmilcher

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Curious about your point on half baked apps? I've used QNAP as my personal NAS now for 3+ years, and haven't seen anything I'd consider half baked. Is that an older opinion perhaps? Or could you provide more specifics?
As far as I can remember I've had one lockup in three + years on my NAS. It's dependable to the point of being like a good router or appliance. No reboots except for the occasional update. Set and forget.

I think Synology probably has a bit more shoe shine in the GUI (as I mentioned previously - like Apple's ecosystem - simpler/classier GUI - less overwhelming to learn if unfamiliar with storage technology and terms) - but I've not found anything in the world of QNAP that I thought felt beta or unfinished and my experience with two trouble tickets to QNAP could not have been easier. They were rockstar experiences. I'm not pushing QNAP over Synology - I've used both - both are excellent. When my NAS dies I will very likely buy one of these two vendor's products again. Like you say, the SMR filesystem allowance for mismatched drives using varying capacity might be enough to convert me to Synology next time as well. However the fact I can just drop my existing drives in any new QNAP and it just picks up all the old OS settings, config, permissions and I basically don't have to do anything at all is a big win too -- in swaying me to keep with QNAP hardware.
You are correct my last QNAP experience was 3 years ago, and prior to me owning the Synology box. So I am guessing things have improved.

I never had an issue with stability on either system. It just came down to software preferences.
 

likeman

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i recommend getting 5 bay NAS so you can use RAID 6 and still have 3 disks worth of space (assuming your not buying 2 nas's) don't use RAID5 if this is your only local copy (ideally don't use RAID5/SHR1)

using RAID6 minimises the risk of total data failure (but does not eliminate it, still should backup as raid isn't a backup) i properly wouldn't use SHR 2 mode due to needing to replace 4 disks before you can gain more space (replace all 5 and only have 1 RAID6 slice, with SHR you can end up with multiple raid slices as you upgrade to larger disks)

can't go wrong with Synology (all nas's have a web page control panel)

i avoid Qnap main one is security (if you don't expose it to the internet directly they should be ok)
 
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schizo

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Synology has a nicer UI, but you get much faster and more feature-rich hardware for your money with QNAP. You can't go wrong with either.

Also, don't expose your NAS to the internet.
 
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I've been running a Qnap 4-Bay Turbo NAS Server (TS-469-PRO-US) at home for almost 10 years now. Works like a champ. Upgraded all the drives from WD Green 2TB to HGST 4TB Deskstar drives 4 years ago... Still runs great. Would buy Qnap again in a heartbeat. Zero issues. I don't have it talking to/using their cloud services though and have its security locked down.
 

Motley

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jmilcher

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Yes I did just here about the QNAP attack on some youtube video also. Looks like I will be staying away from QNAP. I will now go with the synology nas.

Abula, what happened to your system? Did you lose all your data? Were you able to recover?

Goddamn hackers (probably Russian) are out of control right now.
I’d spring for at least a 4 bay, possibly a 5 bay Synology. Intel based, and grab another 8 gb of ram for it. If it has nvme ssd cache storage options, I would t worry about those. For almost all home use cases they do not help and some times slow down transfers. There’s extensive posts and info out there on that.
 

null

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For those that have used Synology, QNap, etc., and have configured storage in some kind of RAID array, what's your experience been like? E.g. how easy was it to configure? Or to add additional storage later? If you experienced a failed drive, how easy and reliable was the rebuild?
 
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For those that have used Synology, QNap, etc., and have configured storage in some kind of RAID array, what's your experience been like? E.g. how easy was it to configure? Or to add additional storage later? If you experienced a failed drive, how easy and reliable was the rebuild?
With Qnap pretty much dirt simple. Easy/intuitive graphical interface.

After having a Raid 5 setup for a number of years, I've had one drive start to fail on me (this is with a four drive bay configured as a Raid 5 device array). Occurred roughly at the end of about 4 years of continuous use/operation. I was notified of the drive errors via email from the Qnap storage manager. I simply ordred a new replacement drive. When it arrived, I pulled the old drive and inserted the new one. It registered the new drive and rebuilt the raid array in a few hours - I never had to do anything else.

At the 6 year point, I decided to double my drive capacity. I bought 4 new 4Tb drives and simple inserted them one at a time - giving the Qnap NAS enough time to rebuild each drive as I removed one and replaced it with a higher capacity drive. Took a few hours per drive, but again, simply insert, forget about it, and come back a few hours later and plug the next one in... rinse and repeat until they are all humming along together again.

Qnap has tons of capabilities as a NAS device (all kinds of apps like a dozen different backup services, media servers/streamer, plex, music station, photo station, home automation, security apps, camera monitoring, FTP, torrents, etc.) I've only used maybe half of its full capabilities. For home use, the bulk of what my NAS is primarily devoted to music/video and family photos/files. I DO NOT treat the NAS as a backup repository for files. It is a primary, "always on" storage device, with backup duties going to two stand alone external drives which are not connected unless I'm actively performing a backup from the NAS or a desktop drive.
 

Motley

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I’d spring for at least a 4 bay, possibly a 5 bay Synology. Intel based, and grab another 8 gb of ram for it. If it has nvme ssd cache storage options, I would t worry about those. For almost all home use cases they do not help and some times slow down transfers. There’s extensive posts and info out there on that.

Thanks man, I was going to get the 4 bay with 4tb seagate ironwolf drives, and raid 5.
 

schizo

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Synology supports SHR, "synology hybrid RAID", which is just standard mdraid behind the scenes but offers a ton of flexibility with different size drives as it breaks up each physical disk into contiguous chunks and RAIDs those. This can greatly increase the amount of usable space without compromising redundancy.

So if you started out with 4 4TB drives, you would of course have 12TB of usable space with single parity. But say a drive fails 3 years later and you replace it with an 8TB, and then a year after that replace another one too. With standard RAID5 you'd still have 12TB of usable space, but with SHR you'd have 16TB. This is great for home users.

https://www.synology.com/en-us/support/RAID_calculator
 
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daglesj

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Once you set up whatever you buy then go through and switch off/uninstall everything you don't want, need or use.

I'm about to decommission a SOHO two drive RAID1 QNAP NAS on Friday. It's been running solid supporting 11 staff for file sharing and backups for 5 years. Wasn't too much bother in all that time. A lot cheaper than the 24core 32GB Dell Server it replaced they were paying a massive support contract on.
 

OFaceSIG

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I'll be the first person to say that TrueNAS/FreeNAS has obnoxious permissions controls. But once you get past the permissions, the performance is fantastic for quite literally a free product. I peg a gig link with just two hard drives in a mirror with no SSD caching. I can't complain. And as you can see the hardware is in my SIG, it's nothing high end at all. CPU/mobo/RAM used off ebay.
 

schizo

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IMO, TrueNAS (and thus ZFS) is a poor choice for most home users, because you can't add disks to a pool and get any additional storage out of them unless you replace all of them, meaning you need to replace (or add) multiple disks at a time, which is a pain in the ass. SHR addresses that problem. UnRAID's solution does too.
 

Bowman15

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IMO, TrueNAS (and thus ZFS) is a poor choice for most home users, because you can't add disks to a pool and get any additional storage out of them unless you replace all of them, meaning you need to replace (or add) multiple disks at a time, which is a pain in the ass. SHR addresses that problem. UnRAID's solution does too.

Yes you can. Its not that hard to create another vdev and mirror the existing pool increasing the original. If you are smart enough to set up a NAS you can certainly accomplish that.
 

jmilcher

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I'll be the first person to say that TrueNAS/FreeNAS has obnoxious permissions controls. But once you get past the permissions, the performance is fantastic for quite literally a free product. I peg a gig link with just two hard drives in a mirror with no SSD caching. I can't complain. And as you can see the hardware is in my SIG, it's nothing high end at all. CPU/mobo/RAM used off ebay.
This is a good option if you want to tinker and spend time getting things all setup. The only disadvantage imo is the flexibility of using different sized drives, and the lack of software options for using the nas remotely over the internet.
With Synology I have access to pretty anything remotely. I also have lots of easy to use management features, and well developed phone apps. It takes a lot of fuss out of the setup process. And for me, time is worth money. I’m all about tinkering and configuring, but sometimes you just don’t want to spend large amounts of time on it. I was set up and going pretty quick, and I had never touched a Synology product. So yes the hardware isn’t much for what you pay, but the software and support is worth the price. You do not need high end specs for a NAS.
 

OFaceSIG

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This is a good option if you want to tinker and spend time getting things all setup. The only disadvantage imo is the flexibility of using different sized drives, and the lack of software options for using the nas remotely over the internet.
With Synology I have access to pretty anything remotely. I also have lots of easy to use management features, and well developed phone apps. It takes a lot of fuss out of the setup process. And for me, time is worth money. I’m all about tinkering and configuring, but sometimes you just don’t want to spend large amounts of time on it. I was set up and going pretty quick, and I had never touched a Synology product. So yes the hardware isn’t much for what you pay, but the software and support is worth the price. You do not need high end specs for a NAS.
Ease of use, no doubt, synology. But once it's set up, I can access any of my files over my VPN through my pfsense box. All secure, all good.
 

jmilcher

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Ease of use, no doubt, synology. But once it's set up, I can access any of my files over my VPN through my pfsense box. All secure, all good.
Pfsense is a whole different ballgame. But that also requires specialized setup and hardware configuration.
I guess if you are an average home or soho user, and just want things to work almost right out of the box, Synology or Qnap is the answer.
 

philb2

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So not to be contrarian, but what if you have a full tower or supertower with lots of empty drive bays. And you run some of those bays with drives in RAID, and share them out to other systems. Do you still need a NAS?
 

OFaceSIG

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Pfsense is a whole different ballgame. But that also requires specialized setup and hardware configuration.
I guess if you are an average home or soho user, and just want things to work almost right out of the box, Synology or Qnap is the answer.
Either you spend a lot and get it now. Or you spend a little and invest a little time. Up to you. I learned all I needed to set up pfsense and truenas with some googling and youtube. All with cheap ebay hardware except for new drives.
 

OFaceSIG

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So not to be contrarian, but what if you have a full tower or supertower with lots of empty drive bays. And you run some of those bays with drives in RAID, and share them out to other systems. Do you still need as NAS?

If you're bringing your own hardware then we're talking a roll your own, like TrueNAS or similar. I wouldn't use a hardware RAID controller for TrueNAS. ZFS is the file system it uses and wants direct access to the drives. You need to use all your SATA ports and/or a RAID controller that has some form of "pass-through" mode that will let TrueNAS form it's own ZFS RAID directly with the drives.
 

philb2

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If you're bringing your own hardware then we're talking a roll your own, like TrueNAS or similar. I wouldn't use a hardware RAID controller for TrueNAS. ZFS is the file system it uses and wants direct access to the drives. You need to use all your SATA ports and/or a RAID controller that has some form of "pass-through" mode that will let TrueNAS form it's own ZFS RAID directly with the drives.
Sounds good. Is there any good reason not to roll your own?
 

OFaceSIG

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Sounds good. Is there any good reason not to roll your own?
As others have said, you'll need to invest your time into it. To some that's too precious for them. For others they want to put in the time. TrueNAS when properly set up is amazing. I've been running it since nas4free, freenas, and now TrueNAS. I run it on a simple dual core, 8GB, twin HDD box and I can transfer to and from at 1Gbps all day long. My next box will be a quad core, 16Gb ram, 10Gbps NIC machine and I'm truely looking forward to it.

I would also enable the encryption options if the CPU you're using supports AES-NI, just in case you need to warranty any of your drives.

Just be mindful, you're building your own solution with no support. That being said, I have run this solution in all it's forms for about 10 years now and have never lost data. I back it up periodically, and rebuild the machine usually when the drives are 5 years or so old with new drives just in case.

If you're smart about it, you can get a lot of performance for the money, and have some fun while you're doing it.
 

likeman

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if your only buying one nas (not a local backup) use a 5 bay nas in raid6 to minimise the risk of total data loss

if your using 8TB or lager disks strongly recommend only using raid6 due to rebuild times, higher chance of a dual fault with such large disks

Note Synology hybrid raid SHR1 requires 2 disks of same size to be replaced before space increases,,SHR2 requires 4 disks to be replaced before you gain space,, generally recommend using straight raid6 even on synology as your likely going to replace all the disks any way (SHR can make rebuild times significantly longer once you have installed larger disks,usually faster to just delete the pool and recreate the array and restore from backup when using SHR with larger disks upgrades)

if your going to be using ZFS make sure you keep 20% space free as there is no defrag on ZFS (ZFS still has other limitations as well)
 

schizo

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This is true, but in a home setup replacing piecemeal you often have a bunch of different sized drives. Typically I do see more space after replacing each drive. That's why I like SHR (or UnRAID, I suppose) for home use.

Once ZFS supports adding drives to a pool and increasing space it'll be much more useful for typical home users. Right now I don't recommend it for most people. If you want to roll your own NAS, UnRAID is a better choice.
 
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