NAS recommendations

Discussion in 'Tech Talk - Gadgets, Gizmos and Technology' started by dmspen, Jul 27, 2020.

  1. dmspen

    dmspen Hall Of Fame

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    I have decided we need a NAS at home. My wife, an amateur photographer has a gazillion pictures on about 3 different computers and several external drives.

    What has worked for you fine peeps?
     
  2. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    I've had good luck with Synology.

    I recommend a matched pair located as far apart as possible so that you can implement a good automatic backup plan. RAID 1 (mirroring) offers some security but if you don't check on your NAS (or set up e-mail alerts) fairly frequently, it may not offer the protection you think.

    Linux-based NAS appliances arguably offer many more backup options and are perhaps less susceptible to malware from other devices on your LAN. NAS devices that come with proprietary backup solutions will always have you over a barrel.
     
  3. Mark Holtz

    Mark Holtz New Texan

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    Meet Vaultron....
    Vaultron.png

    Vaultron was assembled in mid-2016 utilizing off-the-shelf server-level components (Supermicro motherboard, Intel Xeon processor, 64 GB of ECC memroy) and runs the FreeNAS software. With the exception of a two-week downtime when it was moved from my room in California to a closet in Texas, this has been operating almost continuously since mid-2016, with only one "crash" and reboots due to software upgrades. In fact, at the moment...

    FreeNAS_-_192.168.1.2_-_Google_Chrome 2020-07-28 04-19-15.png

    My system is configured with eight 5 TB drives configured in a RAIDZ2 configuration, giving me effectively 27TB of storage. Fault tolerance means that two of the eight drives can fail without losing anything, although the system will run in a degraded state. Having said that, I still have backups made from the FreeNAS server to several external drives.

    The primary reason I built Vaultron was to have a file server so that my computers in my home can automatically back themselves up overnight while I'm sleeping. The secondary reason is that it is serving as a Plex media server which includes, among other things, a Photo Gallery. This will allow up to upload the photos and then share them among multiple devices.

    Here's the nice part.... because it's "free", you can find an old computer, repurpose it as a FreeNAS server, and spend a month or two playing around with it, including several network shares. That's what I did with an old office computer that I rescued from the junk bin (it has no memory or hard drive). While it was limited to 8 GB of memory, with a 1 TB drive, I was able to get some practical experience so that when I assembled my production system, I had some idea of what I was doing. (The YouTube videos helped!) Did my server cost me a pretty penny? Oh yes, but so worth it. Some of the consumer-level NAS systems are a bit underpowered in terms of processor performance.

    Piece of advice... avoid the SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording) NAS drive like the plague... especially for a system that utilizes the ZFS file system (like FreeNAS). See Buyer beware—that 2TB-6TB “NAS” drive you’ve been eyeing might be SMR. Also, make sure you have UPS attached and configured to your NAS server.
     
  4. dmspen

    dmspen Hall Of Fame

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  5. Sep 1, 2020 #5 of 20
    dmspen

    dmspen Hall Of Fame

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    Got my Synology DS420+ NAS up and running, on UPS, and all set up. Auto pic uploading from family's phones, backups, etc. I love that it's quiet and unobtrusive. Very responsive on my network. I even stream music from the NAS to my phone to my car. Nifty!
     
  6. Mark Holtz

    Mark Holtz New Texan

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    FWIW.... From Ars Technica:

    Western Digital releases new, larger Red Pro and Purple drives
    It feels like yesterday when 8TB drives were “really big.”
    FULL ARTICLE HERE
     
  7. dmspen

    dmspen Hall Of Fame

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    You could store the world digitally on these things!
     
  8. billsharpe

    billsharpe Hall Of Fame

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    Just got a 2 TB Seagate external drive that is now only 10% full and will probably remain near that amount for some time. I'm keeping my Acronis backups and Windows File History files on it as well as a lot of music and picture files. My first computer, a VIC-20, kept files on cassette tapes.
     
  9. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    That used to be the case, but that was before phone pictures started running >4MB each and software packages were too large to fit on DVDs.

    I was going through some old software boxes today and most of the applications fit on a few floppy discs. Windows XP fit easily on a CD (<700MB) and Windows 7 fit on a DVD (<4.3GB) but Windows 10 is just short of 8GB.
     
  10. Mark Holtz

    Mark Holtz New Texan

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    More functionality = more code = bigger file sizes.

    Also, the higher the resolution, the more pixels you have.
     
  11. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I did a lot on a computer with 16k of memory - then upgraded it to 256k and added a floppy drive for storage (when one came available). Now I can't write a two line document without it consuming 4k of hard drive space.
     
  12. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    How much beyond 4MP is really necessary for the typical consumer?

    You are getting my point though. What used to be relatively efficient and quick to get the job done is now bloated in ways that don't stubtantially improve the user experience. Then there's the downside of all of the monetization and monitoring tools that have been baked in.
     
  13. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    Part of this stems from the fact that a very large majority of the population has been convinced that the tools they need to use are the ones that are designed for professionals because that's what the people at work use.

    The other part comes from Microsoft's cop-out on UTF where they decided to go with UTF-16 with its minimum two-byte representation (four bytes if necessary) of every character when the rest of the Free World was using UTF 8 which can use from one to four bytes per character as needed. Microsoft also chose to use the BMP format for bitmapped pictures which which, while lossless, embeds an uncompressed version of the image matrix.

    On the Mac side with the default "word processing" application is perhaps Pages and if you look at a Pages document, you'll find that it holds a PDF of the document within the file (presumably for quick preview) among a lot of other metadata.

    Seeing the horror of what they had done, both Word and Pages documents are zip compressed.

    The fascination with XML (and to a lesser extent, JSON) hasn't helped either. They've turned simple data files into a database of human-readable code. And we thought that TeX was incomprehensible:

    TeX - Wikipedia
     
  14. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    It was a statement, not a question - but the real answer has more to do with how space is allocated on a hard drive than how the text is formatted in a file.
     
  15. billsharpe

    billsharpe Hall Of Fame

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    Not to nit-pick, but I just created a 2-line file in Notepad that takes up 80 bytes. But you're right if you are talking about Word documents. The same file takes 12 kb when saved as a .docx file.
     
  16. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    In the case of a two line text document, the file format used will almost certainly determine the space allocated.

    If the file is small enough (as in your example), the contents will be fit into the metadata of the Master File Table entry. Windows will still report that 4KB of storage space have been used, but it may be considerably less (perhaps even zero). The size of an MFT entry is 1KB and how much space that requires depends on whether a new cluster had to be added to the MFT.

    I did an experiment saving a two line text document in both .txt and .docx formats and the file size was larger for the .docx file by 4,114 bytes (after compression). There were four folders and nine XML files embedded. The .txt file was stored in the MFT while the .docx file required an additional two clusters (in addition to the MFT entry).

    It should also be noted that if the volume size is >16TB, the NTFS cluster size jumps to 8KB.
     
  17. scooper

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    Hm, I like the idea of using 8KB clusters on SD (or Micro SD) cards used for GPS data (FAT32). For USB flash drives - whatever is default for the size of the media - or partition.
     
  18. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    FAT32 jumps to an 8KB cluster size at 8GB, a 16KB cluster size at 16GB and a 32KB cluster size at 32GB.

    exFAT uses 32KB clusters for popular SD card displacements (256MB to 32GB) so maybe you'll like it even better. Over 32GB it goes to 128KB clusters... nirvana!
     
  19. scooper

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    I've noticed (on a Win10 machine) that IF you manually change it, you can use whatever cluster size you want on any size drive. exFAT doesn't work for GPS use.
     
  20. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    The numbers I offered were Microsoft's default/recommended cluster sizes.
    That's an extraordinary criterion indeed.
     

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