What is the point of a NAS?

Discussion in 'SSDs & Data Storage' started by KazeoHin, Jun 1, 2017.

  1. Ranulfo

    Ranulfo [H]ard|Gawd

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    Right, still a 4bay. It can look like a sub 1k build is great but it really isn't in my experience. Its far easier to just grab a matx case and a hot swap dock from icy dock or whoever and the cost can be $100-150 depending on quality case and number of docks you want. But its not small or as small. Thus, the off the shelf stuff looks better even if the cpu is weaker etc..

    The u-nas also requires 1U power supplies.

    This is one of the better options I've come across (thanks to this forum) for itx, but you're buying the hotswap bays or 5.25 converter bays etc.

    https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811165597

    or this Norco, I haven't tried it though. 1U psu again.

    https://www.amazon.com/Norco-Mini-I...12UO63TK/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_sims?ie=UTF8
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2017
  2. Luke M

    Luke M Limp Gawd

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    A lot of wifi routers also do NAS, anyone go that route?
     
  3. Dullard

    Dullard 2[H]4U

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    I have a 3TB eSATA external drive hooked up to my router, as well, just because I wanted to see the feature in action. We had a lot of these USB/eSATA drive enclosures at work, discovery drives from a lawsuit (we won). The drives the lawyers put in them were shitty little 80GB things, I bought a $68 refurb 3TB Ultrastar off Amazon and it's been purring along ever since.
     
  4. xx0m3gaxx

    xx0m3gaxx [H]Lite

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    Well I mean if you are talking cheap of cheap setup..... Use a raspberry pi 2/3 with usb drives and use OpenMediaVault.
    Ended up doing this for a friend who was in need of storage but only had 100$ gave him two 1TB hdd with usb adapters all mounted in a itx case.
    Power supply switch turns it on and off (used a old power supply tester that had a broken lcd to allow it to always turn on plus has a built in warning alarm lol).
    Used an itx coolmaster case from an old HTPC build.
    3D printed a mount for the pi and it was powered from the 5V rail from the psu.

    Total cost to him 40$

    I am not saying this is by any means a great setup but it does what it needs to with very little cost and fits his needs.

    From what I have learned working with people is that they will pay sometimes twice the price for easy to use and for the CHANCE of less headache later.

    KazeoHin
    I think it comes down to you know how to do things that seem simple to you and the luxury of the premade systems do not appeal to you.
    But when people run into a problem they panic and they would rather throw money and not worry then take time to do something, TIME is always
    more valuable to people then money will ever be.
    This is just M.H.O. on things I could be wrong.
     
  5. HDriscoll

    HDriscoll Limp Gawd

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    I use a NAS for simplicity and space. My Drobo 5N fits perfectly on a shelf under my printer (there's room for two more if I need them). Right now I have just some files on there but I plan on ripping movies to them.
     
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  6. daglesj

    daglesj [H]ardness Supreme

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    Sounds like a hot mess. o_O
     
  7. xrayos

    xrayos n00b

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    ^ true. I had a synology for 5 yrs. easy. Added drives to less than a minute each. Plugged it in and it just worked.

    Just I needed something a little more powerful for plex transcoding. Didn't want to spend over $2k for the DS36xx series. Google'd diy nas and just built a xpenology box (feeling guilty) but I like the software too much. Guess I'm the enthusiast with a diy nas. Total outlay was about $900, fractal 304 case, wd reds, CPU, etc
     
  8. ND40oz

    ND40oz [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Or you could just continue using the Synology for storage and run PMS on a different box. You don't have to have your storage on the same physical box as your Plex Media Server, just mount the shares from your NAS and point your libraries at the mounted drives.
     
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  9. Blown 89

    Blown 89 2[H]4U

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    Not everyone has time to tinker with a server. I don't want the power draw, noise, heat, or size of a server for something that's just going to host media files. There's a time and a place for complexity and storage simply isn't one of them.

    This thread reminds me how bad tech people are at seeing things from other people's points of view.
     
  10. techbob

    techbob Limp Gawd

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    Consider the memory too...ecc vs. non-ecc and compatible CPU and MB. Some NAS use ecc memory!
     
  11. daglesj

    daglesj [H]ardness Supreme

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    Oh boy that's the truth.

    I didn't start in IT, I started from post boy to filing clerk to office guy etc. etc. I finally moved over to the IT side 20 years ago. So I had plenty of knowledge of how 'average users' worked. I was appalled (and still am) at how bad most 'IT Guys' are in handling customers and making wild or lazy assumptions about customers needs.Whenever I was given a new customer to look after I would arrange to sit with their staff for a day or so to find out how they worked and what worked for them and what didn't. That really used to annoy the other IT managers as they liked to hide away and bunker themselves.

    IT guys love spending other people's money and often for no good reason. I've seen £5000+ worth of server rolled out when a 32GB USB stick would have done the job a lot better.

    I managed several years ago to stop £10000 worth of top of the line digital cameras being purchased by the IT guys to give out to our roving investigative staff that worked from home and still used film based cameras. They were ready to bite my head off till I told them that they were still all connected up to Head Office by 33.6k modems and maybe digital uploads of dozens of hi-res pictures was not something the investigators wanted to do every night when they got home.

    Another time I was working on a project to rollout 60 tablets (this was the early WindowsXP Tablets) to claims engineers who would go out and inspect cars. They would contain expanded diagrams of cars to tick off parts and get costings. Their old ones needed replacing. So I asked what was really important and we got the right kit in for the job. I then had the Head of IT come to my desk furious and demanding why I had added another mobile device to the portfolio when he had just specced and approved the Panasonic Toughbook to the company list for such outdoor users.

    "Simple!" I said. "The tablet I have approved is the only one that actually works properly in outdoor daylight for outdoor use! I take it you checked the Toughbook works in bright sunlight?" Knowing full well he hadn't (I'd checked) as his face caved in and he walked away very quickly.

    I never did see any Toughbooks.

    The average IT Guy mantra is "Give them what I think they want!" rather than "Give them what they really NEED!"
     
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  12. Dead Parrot

    Dead Parrot 2[H]4U

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    In 2011, before the great Tialand flood which spiked HD prices for years, I purchased a Dlink DNS-325 two bay NAS and a pair of 2TB HD. Total price was about $350. The empty NAS was $190. Would have been real hard at the time to build a standard server in the small size of the DNS-325 and the ~1 Watt quiet draw. Included a gig network port, USB port for adding an external HD and a print server. Since the OS isn't installed on the HD, they could be swapped without needing an OS reinstall. Shares usable with both Linux and Windows machines. Unit with original HDs is still in service today.

    Bottom line, simple low cost turn key solution if the primary need is network storage for home use or a small office that requires near zero maintenance.

    As your performance and storage needs increase, the benefits of a NAS over a special built server will likely decrease since the larger NAS units seem to charge a price premium.
     
  13. MrCrispy

    MrCrispy 2[H]4U

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    Are you asking what's the point of a commercial NAS like Synology/Qnap, or the concept of a NAS?

    People buy Synology for the same reason they buy Dell vs building their own pc, or buy a Sonos, or MBP, or really any premium product that is easier to use for the average user. Its not targeted at your [H] user who by definition knows much more.

    I'd love to buy one of their enterprise units with lots of hdd bays, but the price is easily 3x what it should be. The other point people ignore is that just like Apple products, these hold their value really well, and you can sell them used for a good return.
     
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  14. MrCrispy

    MrCrispy 2[H]4U

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    This is the right approach. If a friend asked me for advice, I'd steer them towards a NAS drive (many options), then if they really want to run actual programs on the NAS, get an actual NAS, and only if they are somewhat tech savvy and won't wake me up all the time for help, a used pc off ebay and setup software they need.
     
  15. EvilWays

    EvilWays [H]ard|Gawd

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    I purchased a NAS set-top box for ease of implementation. I had one computer where two of the hard drives were slowly dying off (Seagate Barricuda) and I was tired of backing up the data just to dump them on to the replacement hard drive (as I would do prior to owning my Synology box). I didn't want to deal with setting up and running yet another PC just for file storage. I'm also using it to rip my movie library to so I can watch them anywhere in the house, as well as using it as another backup for my work files.

    While I am using my NAS appliance for file storage only, I could also turn on other features as I want to such as print server, set it up as a personal email server or whatever else thanks to the add-on packages (both from Synology directly or the third party community).

    The only things I've had to do were apply power, 4 Cat6 cables (running 802.3ad, but poorly no thanks to the MikroTik router), add 4 GB RAM, throw in the hard drives, some basic configuration (including telling it to auto update at night) and then toss files at it.

    Would I consider running a full-fledged file/whatever server at some point? Maybe, but only if I could justify needing it and a NAS appliance doesn't meet the needs.
     
  16. kdh

    kdh Gawd

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    Depends on the work load.

    If you have some chumpy machines in your house, then its a tough call. But in that situation, a nas is great to share the same data across centrally all those machines. Think pc in the bed room, downstairs, and in the garage. All 3 would have access to music and videos. Sure you can designate one of those servers to do the same thing. They can also be used as a backup solution.

    In the real world, we use nas devices as a way to store large amounts of data cheaply and deeply locally onsite. I can deploy Isilon for pennies per gig vs from my all flash block Vmax3 arrays for dollars a gig. Most Nas have the ability to serve up the same filesystem to both Windows and Linux systems. This allows either OS to share a common file system to easily transfer files between platforms with out complicated file transfer processes, and services accounts that need to be kept track of.
     
  17. Dullard

    Dullard 2[H]4U

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    Not only do I have a Synology NAS, but also have Sonos throughout the house. I've seen other people's Raspberry Pi attempts at duplicating a "Sonos" experience and while some are pretty slick, I still think Sonos beats them. Much of it is the GUI, but the different independent or combined zones all controllable from basically any device I have as well as the wifi mesh the things set up on their own. Tough act to (completely) follow by anyone short of coding their own GUI.
     
  18. Zangmonkey

    Zangmonkey I Realize My Disabilities - You Do Too

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    Delegation of trust.

    I *could* utilize my time and effort to build a NAS device but I'd rather pay a minor premium to delegate trust to a company which spends thousands of hours thinking about NAS design.

    I'd rather invest my time in developing my expertise in my chosen fields.
     
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  19. tangoseal

    tangoseal [H]ardness Supreme

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    The OPs question make sense to a point. There is a fine line where consumer NAS's are just not worth the cash.

    However,

    when you get to where you need a real solution. I for one have 30TB of NAS running on ZFS on a FreeNAS appliance Ibuilt with a Xeon E5-1620 socket 2011 and 32 GB of RAM and a 10Gb card and multiple Gig cards.

    I use mine to store a wild variety of stuff as well as I used to use it for business I no longer do. So is a nas worth the money over a small el cheapo home server? This depends on your need.

    I am pretty much running a SAN due to the face I am running 10g and using iSCSI. A nas will not be able to handle iSCSI at high rates of IOPS in most consumer level devices until you pay good money for them. Depends on the needs.

    I would summarize with this.... if you have to ask "Do we really need a NAS?" then you do not need one and should look elsewhere for your storage solution.
     
  20. Seagate_Surfer

    Seagate_Surfer Official Seagate Rep

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    Honestly? We spend a lot of time on NAS forums interacting with people about Seagate drives/products that may come up, and a lot of people just love the simplicity of a NAS unit with an easy to understand interface in a neat, aesthetic little box. As some people have mentioned here, not everyone is an uber-knowledgeable tech enthusiast, and a lot of people have the needs of one but don’t have the time or desire to dedicate to being one.

    NAS units are very simple and offer a lot of plug-and-play type convenience with a pleasant, easy to use and understand interface that allows you to pick from a preset list of apps for certain uses. Some NAS products have quite friendly interfaces and can even be used as a home theatre unit, some even have wonky features like karaoke stations built into them (lookin at you, QNAP). They want a small unit they can slip the drives into, stick in the corner, go about their work/play or whatever they have it for, RAID their data with, and not deal with a lot of hassle.

    Yes, you can get a lot of the same benefit off of building your own server, in some cases probably more, but that requires the time, attention, and know-how to do that, and usually comes with more setup and maintenance considerations as well.

    Yes I can toss my own burger on my grill out back, but that means prep time, effort, and the know-how to cook it right. Sometimes I like the burger from the joint down the street better for whatever I'm doing. Sometimes I just want someone else to deal with making it for me.
     
  21. wtf, we have a Seagate rep?
     
  22. muz_j

    muz_j Limp Gawd

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    Not sure if this has been pointed out, but in a large enterprise environment, NAS'es are typically on a dedicated network of their own.
    This permits you to offload storage data transfer from your main network, which is being used to service client devices and as a result, is a large performance benefit.

    Enterprise NAS'es also scale to levels that are pretty ridiculous and offer things like image based on the fly backups and automatic management of file versions etc - giving you a level of data backup and redundancy that's hard to match. The performance of these features too is very impressive, as the device is handling it itself.

    In a large environment using virtualisation, NAS'es are very worth while - from a performance, backup, management and scalibility perspective. Typically virtual data stores are assigned to dedicated logical units within the NAS, which again permits impressive performance & storage management - and logical units can be modified on the fly, whilst the storage system is actively in use - i.e. no down time.

    I have very little interest in a NAS in my personal life - but in a professional context, pretty much every large environment I have worked in has at least one NAS.
     
  23. Bandalo

    Bandalo 2[H]4U

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    So, official Seagate rep, sell me on IronWolf vs WD Reds....I'm looking to buy a 4TBx5 array in the next few months, and the 2TB Reds I use have been solid for 4-5 years now.
     
  24. Iratus

    Iratus [H]ard|Gawd

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    I literally checked the date as I thought it was a necro.

    The answer is because it's simple and it works.

    They started off as an enterprise solution because Netware was dying a death and Windows 2000/3 were terrible for file servers, only supporting 400 users per server and not having much disk space, had no ability to thin provision and were generally shit. NAS was a good way of decreasing costs by not needing a large SAN array with expensive server heads.

    They scaled down from there and we're taken up because of simplicity.

    Modern ones are basically servers, my synology runs my domain controller, local git repo, hosts a couple of vm's that I keep on it for 24*7 operation to save money over running my server all the time and importantly is easy to access from remotely. Aside from a disk issue I'd have had with any storage device, it just works.

    Could I get the same setup with servers, yes. Have I got that time in my life, no. For SME's the answer is the same, just ease of support, operation and good reliability. Yeah you can do cheaper and if you're an enthusiast you'll enjoy it but it comes down to opportunity cost for a business, you're not going to get any competitive differentiation for your business from saving a few hundred dollars and it's one of those things that you want to just work.
    If you've got an edge case where proprietary devices aren't suitable or would be too expensive then you already know it
     
  25. /dev/null

    /dev/null [H]ardForum Junkie

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    ...and usually less complexity.
     
  26. firas

    firas 2[H]4U

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    sorry off-topic but i'll make it quick
    I work at a small company, about 9 employees, cheap laptop for each one. no network, no nothing. just a 2 gig dropbox.
    we use our own email domain which stores emails for 60 days on the web-server and the rest of the emails are stored locally on each employee laptop
    whats the best thing to do here? a NAS? does it require that we setup a network first? can we do it without a network? is there a network solution that doesn't require wires in the walls?
     
  27. kaigame

    kaigame [H]Lite

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    My previous Thecus NAS was about to die, so i decided to go down the mini server route:
    Using the DS380B Chassis as a base, i've built a nice little box, Core i3 processor, 8GB RAM, runs windows 10, Using a highpoint 642L RAID controller and multiplers, i have 8 drives internal(could do 10 but only 8 bays), and future expansion of an additional 10 external(2x5). Which should be enough storage for my needs. Boots from an SSD.

    It's a bit more flexible than your average NAS, runs my Phillips Hue emulation(HABridge & Domoticz), have a Linux VM running on it for DHCP/DNS, it handles my usenet downloads, plex, couchpotato, sonar, Shoko Anime DB using MySQL, and i've still got plenty of resources free!

    I could not do all of that with a traditional NAS, a pre-built NAS(with room for expansion) would have cost me more anyway.
     
  28. Durpity

    Durpity n00b

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    Just dropping my 2 cents in here.

    Having a pre-built NAS is more about the simplicity of it. Could I build a file server cheaper? Would it be able to do more? The answer is yes, I could. However, do I have the time to deal with doing those things, making sure that everything works well with each other, and maintaining the system if something goes wrong? That answer is no.

    I've build machines in the past, in fact at one point I probably even said that I'd never buy a machine from a major producer. Now I have exactly zero machines that I've built myself. On my company network I have an 8-bay Synology NAS (+ 2 5 bay expansions) that is providing not just files but is also serving as the domain controller. It also serves as the repository for the VMs that I run on 3 Intel NUCs. That is more than overkill for my small company's needs. Could I have built systems that would suit my needs cheaper? Definitely.

    Remember that the companies that design, manufacture and sell these NAS devices do not make the bulk of their profits from consumers. They make their big money from business purchasers.

    TLDR: Pre-built NAS just plain work. That is what you're paying for.
     
  29. Seagate_Surfer

    Seagate_Surfer Official Seagate Rep

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    We aren't here to badmouth any other companies or brands. We are happy that your NAS drive experience has been a good one. Our goal here isn't to try and sell you something, it's to participate in a way that provides useful contributions to these discussions when relevant. If what you're looking for here is some more info on Seagate IronWolf series drives, we'd be happy to provide that.

    Ironwolf drives are the first of drives to be optimized for NAS equipped with rotational vibration (RV) sensors (capacities 4TB and over have RV sensors). If you decide to go with an IHM-enabled Synology NAS and 4TB or larger IronWolf drives, you will get IronWolf Health Management (IHM), which is great for ensuring the proactive health of your drive and going above and beyond standard S.M.A.R.T monitoring. Standard S.M.A.R.T monitoring looks at only 20 drive parameters, IHM monitors over 200. S.M.A.R.T simply reports pass or fail status, IHM provides proactive options ahead of specified potential fail events. S.M.A.R.T doesn't really do baselines on drive health, IHM consistently compares parameters to a baseline for any potential warning signs of drive issues.

    Our AgileArray firmware is designed for optimized 10Gbe performance with higher bandwidth streaming and managing multiuser high-usage spikes.

    In sizes 6TB and over, IronWolf drives expand from the standard 5900 RPM speed to 7200 RPM with the standard for all IronWolf Pro drives being 7200 RPM. Seagate Rescue Services are only $5 a year for IronWolf, and free for 2 years for IronWolf Pro.

    If you'd like further details on IronWolf drives, you can find the spec sheets here for standard IronWolf and here for IronWolf Pro.

    Regardless of which drive you end up feeling is right for your needs in the end, we do want to say thank you for considering Seagate!
     
  30. Bandalo

    Bandalo 2[H]4U

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    That's what I was looking for. Some solid tech benefits of one over the other. I am a Synology fan which is why I started looking after I read about the "IHM" integration. And I really appreciate your professionalism in directly providing info and not bashing a competitor. My hat is off to you, sir.
     
  31. Biznatch

    Biznatch 2[H]4U

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    Same reason iphone became so popular. NAS = watered down version of a local server sharing storage and just about any joe schmo with almost no technical knowledge can setup/use it.
     
  32. M76

    M76 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Even if you have the expertise buying a NAS for networked file storage is much faster and easier than building a server. And of course power draw / footprint. Readily available features like FTP, and HTTP and others. All takes considerable time and effort to set up on a server. On a NAS it's readily available with a click of button.
     
  33. M76

    M76 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Most off the shelf NASes have 100x more features than they'll ever be used for. Watered down compared to what? I see more pride talking than actual arguments. Just because you need less expertise to set up a NAS doesn't mean it's a worse solution. And trust me the average joe schmo isn't able to set up even a router, not to mention a NAS where you have to install hard drives and choose raid level, and create shares, at the minimum.
     
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  34. csshih

    csshih Gawd

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    watered down compared to a full file server. that's exactly what it is, a simplified version of a local server. there was no argument that I could see, just a comment of how they became popular, which makes sense.
     
  35. Bandalo

    Bandalo 2[H]4U

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    What can a "full file server" do that a low-range Synology or QNAP can't?
     
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  36. M76

    M76 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Define full file server. And specify what are those features that are missing in a NAS but available in a home built server and a must for a network storage in a small business or home?

    "Watered down" is not an argument. It's empty rhetoric.
     
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  37. rkd29980

    rkd29980 Limp Gawd

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    What is the point of eating?

    No, seriously, I'm just going to turn it into poop anyways.

    I just don't get it.
     
  38. kdh

    kdh Gawd

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    Performance and Scale out. Synology or QNAP can't handle an enterprise demand, and just doesn't grow when to an enterprise solution such as an Isilon install. I am currently maintaining 2 500TB isilon clusters.. If I fill them up, I just add additional nodes. Additional nodes = disk space, and compute power. You don't get any of that with a Synology or QNAP device. There is something to be said with scale out vs scale up.
     
  39. KazeoHin

    KazeoHin [H]ardness Supreme

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    Thats like asking "what's the point of storing files?" We need to store files. I'm asking why people choose one method over another.

    It's more like eating organic versus just eating.

    Explain to me how organic foods are beneficial. Both just end up as poop, and I personally cant tell the difference except for the price.
     
  40. Blue Fox

    Blue Fox [H]ardForum Junkie

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    This thread isn't about comparing enterprise solutions to pre-built NAS, so your argument really doesn't matter given the context. It was about building your own whitebox server vs pre-built.
     
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