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DIY NAS

 
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Smithcraft
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2014 3:51 am    Post subject: DIY NAS Reply with quote

I think this is the right subforum for this...

Anyways, I've been thinking about putting the media library and setting up a back up system on a NAS. I've been thinking much more about this since one of the drives in my JBoD seems to have died. Or maybe it's just mostly dead...

Since it's going to be mostly for the media library, it needs to run the Plex Media Server.

I was thinking about the Synology DS1513+ but the CPU is a bit old and for an empty case it's a bit pricey. Drobo won't let the public into their support forums so I can't see what issues people are having, so Drobo is out!

So now I'm thinking of building a NAS, and I'm looking at cases, drives, and what OS I will try to get running.

I'm looking for guidance on these iTems:

I'm considering OS X as I am slightly familiar with it, and it seems that Plex is mostly best supported for OS X, but Win7/Win8, or even some sorta *nix would be OK too. Which would you pick?

Since it's gonna be a DIY, I think I'll need to go with a newer version of OS X than 10.6. Which version of OS X beyond 10.6 is the least lame version that I would want? I'm guessing 10.8 as I hear people love it. Would OS X Server be worth it?

Which RAID level would you pick? Please note that I'm going with minimum of six storage drives and maybe an SSD or similar for a boot drive.

Since this will be a Hackentosh, I think I'll be able to get a board with a bunch of SATA ports. Would this be good, or would a PCI RAID type card be better?

For running/managing the RAID, would (if they are there) the Apple tools be good to use, or would RAID management software be substantially better? If so, what software should I get?

That's about all I can think of for now. As always, if you wanna steer me away from something feel free to let me know what's bad as well as what's good.

SC
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ez061111
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2014 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've come close over the last few years to doing this but could never pull the trigger on an NAS. Close with a few different models of Synology and my impression is that they are on the upper end of name brand.

Drobo I looked at but based on various reviews, speed comments, failure comments and price moved on pretty quickly. Although some of the new models look intriguing still wasn't wowed enough.

I don't have an NAS but do have a few 4-disk RAIDs. For a media server you don't really need RAID0 speed, except perhaps for the speed of copying files. RAID5 has come under a lot of criticism as not a very good system as drive sizes have gotten larger, but that makes up a few of mine as I like being able to rebuild relatively quickly with a one disk failure, but redundancy is key to keeping from losing it over lost data.

One of the better things I did a couple of years ago was purchase SoftRAID. Infinitely more flexible than the RAID portion of Apple's Disk Utility which I have had several corruption issues with in the past. Also has a few nice features that keep me more comfortable that Apple just doesn't offer. I've actually quit using a couple of hardware RAIDs as my current set-up is so much easier and less stressful.

The only negative that I can note with SoftRAID is that it isn't recognized by Windows; in fact I need to remember to turn the drives off before booting Boot Camp as they induce the BSoD. Most NAS's I think are all-terrain so it shouldn't be an issue, but should you decide on just a RAID box connected to a computer and utilize Boot Camp, keep in mind a hardware RAID might be a better option.

Since you are using Plex, I am not sure that OS X server would really be necessary, unless you have need for enhanced File Sharing and really wish to set up a more robust user set-up. Beyond that I use it for VPN etc while on the road. But when it comes to Plex, I've been pretty happy with Plex Media Server and how I can watch media remotely without having to set much up on my end.

I've actually been more or less happy with most of the OS's, but 10.8 was pretty stable. The visuals all the way up to current Yosemite just don't bother me much, it's looking more and more like a toy but a week into it and it all looks the same to me. 10.7 was a bit of a headache though and didn't really feel ready-for-primetime.

Can't comment regarding SATA, eSATA or PCI RAID as I've not used them. At this point all of my boxes are one flavor of Thunderbolt or another.

Hope this has something useful.
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Smithcraft
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2014 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks ez061111.

This is just going to be a box of drives sitting on the network and so the OS it's running won't make too much of a difference. Making it more than just a simple NAS, and letting it run the Plex Media Server is the reason I was looking at the Synology set up. Plus, I would need at least two 6 TB drives to handle the media collection, and that wouldn't provide any back up for disc failure. Plus those 6 TB drives are expensive!

Over all, I don't need speed, I just need storage. If I were not adding devices to the media experience in the house (nothing fancy, just putting the old teevee[Chromecast] in the bedroom and serving to the tablet) then just replacing the failed drive in the JBoD would be fine, but I would like something to run PMS all the time.

I spent sometime looking over the RAID levels again, and I think I might just get some more 2 TB drives for Plex, and then have two 4 TB drives for backup now and add another 4, or 6 when they are cheaper, TB drive later.

Thanks for the advice on SoftRAID, I'll give that the once over twice.

SC
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[Desktop] Intel mini - 2.16Ghz 2GB 60GB HDD - Newer miniStack v2 500GB - 10.5.8

[Media System] Intel i5 mini - 2.33Ghz 8GB 500GB HDD - 4 x Hitachi 2TB HDD in a qBOX-SF - 10.7.5 (Thanks Phil!)

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Cypher
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2014 2:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a similar setup with Plex as my media server.

I run Plex Media Server on my Mac Mini 2.53GHz Core2Duo 4GB Ram which is now running Yosemite. I also have Yosemite OS X Server running on this Mini

The media is stored on an Netgear ReadyNas NV+ which is a bit slow by todays standards but works fine for me. This is connected directly to the gigabit LAN. With the Mini's Plex server indexing the media on it and serving it around the house to Roku's and my iMac etc.

I back the media library up to a Drobo, but I have been bitten twice by loosing data on the Drobo after drive failures, so I would never rely on a Drobo alone. This Drobo seems to eat drives, its so temperamental. Its had more new drives in it than any computer or storage device I've ever bought. Its really is great when it works but I've definitely lost confidence in them now.

If I were doing this again I would probably look at either a Synology NAS or a newer Netgear one capable of running Plex Media directly on the NAS. Both options are pricey. Alternatively I'd maybe just get a thunderbolt or usb3 raid enclosure connected to an old mini. Given I have a few Mac's and iOS devices I'd prefer to stay with OS X as the OS rather than running Linux or Windows on the NAS.
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Cypher
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2014 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smithcraft wrote:
I might just get some more 2 TB drives for Plex, and then have two 4 TB drives for backup now and add another 4, or 6 when they are cheaper, TB drive later.


I've also done as you mention with the Drives. My NAS started out empty and I added 2x1TB drives to get me going. As my library grew I added more 1TB drives until I maxed it out. I then upgraded it 3x2TB and have since added another 2TB. So its currently max'd out at 8TB of drives and giving me around 6TB of Storage (5.5TB in real terms) and running about 75% full at the moment.

I've just this week started buying 3TB drives ready for the next upgrade cycle. I was tempted to go straight to 4TB but the cost per drive is much higher. In the UK a 3TB WD RED would be equivalent to around $135 where as a 4TB WD RED would be just over $200. I probably should have gone straight to 4TB's really.

{edit} Just looked on Amazon US and the 3TB WD Red is $121, so we pay about $15 dollars more in the UK. The 4TB is $169 around $30 cheaper than the UK.
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mooblie
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2014 5:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I built my own NAS based on an HP N40L Microserver, which was available here in UK for around 160 with HP's cashback offer.

I used Nas4Free (free!) software:

http://www.nas4free.org/

... and now run a great cross-platform home server for my Mac and Windows LAN. Real server hardware, with ECC-RAM supported RAID configuration, giving around 500Mbps read/write over the gigabit network with AFP (and a bit slower with SMB). Five 3.5" drives in a quiet, small, low-powered c.9" cube.
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Last edited by mooblie on Mon Oct 27, 2014 4:42 am; edited 1 time in total
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Smithcraft
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2014 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the info guys!

That HP is a pretty nice looking option.

SC
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Grumpy old man of computing.

[Desktop] Intel mini - 2.16Ghz 2GB 60GB HDD - Newer miniStack v2 500GB - 10.5.8

[Media System] Intel i5 mini - 2.33Ghz 8GB 500GB HDD - 4 x Hitachi 2TB HDD in a qBOX-SF - 10.7.5 (Thanks Phil!)

Make sure it has pins!
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