Looking for a simple NAS (or similar) for home use

StewartR

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#1
At home we're finding that we're accumulating more and more files - photos, music, videos, etc - that are stored on our PC, but want to be accessed by other devices. For example we have a Sonos music setup, but we can't do anything with it unless the PC is also on. That can be a pain when the PC wants to shut itself down in power-saving mode.

It occurs to me that we'd be better off having some sort of server (a NAS box, perhaps?) which can be always-on, so that our files can be accessed via the wired LAN or wi-fi without the PC.

Can anybody recommend a suitable setup for me? The key criterion is that it has to be as simple as possible to set up and to access by non-PC devices. I don't need the server itself to have wi-fi support because I can easily locate it in the study and connect it directly to the wi-fi router.
 
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#2
Hi Stewart,

The two main NAS available are Synology and QNAP.

For music streaming either would work, if you want to decode the movies as it plays I believe you need a more powerful NAS.

You probably want to see what size i.e number of HDDs you want to hold the data and if you want it to also back up to second HDD.
 
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StewartR

StewartR

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#3
The two main NAS available are Synology and QNAP.
Thanks. I have a QNAP box in the office. To my mind it definitely fails the "as simple as possible" test, which is why I was asking for advice.

You probably want to see what size i.e number of HDDs you want to hold the data and if you want it to also back up to second HDD.
Sure. I can do that. I'm assuming that the number and size of hard disks is pretty much independent of the choice of system - in other words, I can choose a system based in the functionality if offers, and then decide what hard disks to put in it.
 
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#5
I've been running a Synology DS218j with a pair of WD 4TB red hdds in mirror raid for 18 months and it's been on 24/7 since day 1.
They seem to be on the ball with upgrades as well.
I also use it as media server as well as backups.
 
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#6
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Thanks. I have a QNAP box in the office. To my mind it definitely fails the "as simple as possible" test, which is why I was asking for advice.


Sure. I can do that. I'm assuming that the number and size of hard disks is pretty much independent of the choice of system - in other words, I can choose a system based in the functionality if offers, and then decide what hard disks to put in it.
I believe the Synology system is more straight forward. I have an old QNAP and that was okay to setup.
 
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StewartR

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#9
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#10
OOOOOhhh! I like the look of that. Reviews suggest it may pass the "as simple as possible" test. Would you agree?
Well I am an IT idiot and I managed to get it all working OK so I would say yes. I can even use the app to stream/download from it remotely when away from home.

I believe they have a whole range in various sizes, dome are double drive raid oojamaflips to give a level of backup, but personally I just keep a separate copy on another drive within my PC and can copy it over should the drive fail.
 
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#11
I have a QNAP TS-212P NAS and to be honest it is dead easy to set up and use. It's all done from the web browser and I can access it anywhere I want from all my devices.

Rather fun showing the lads at the pub a movie on my phone that is a few mile away in the house :)

I even have a Time Machine backup on it as well, runs pretty smooth for something around 7 year old.
 
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StewartR

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#14
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#15
I've looked at both, but it's a bit of a minefield TBH.

I'm pretty computer savvy, but it's the software that's the problem AFAICT - I'm out of date with it all now (retired seven years ago).

I expect I'll just build a server and use it locally as I'm not really interested in making it available on-line.
 
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#16
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#17
It is something that I have been looking at the moment as well currently have a WD 8TB My book Duo set up set up in a RAD 1 so two 4TB mirror drives which is currently just over 80% full. I have been trying to decide if just to get another drive to plug into it and just carry on another 8TB or maybe 12. I just use my desk top so don't really need any network drive but then again it might become useful. I was maybe thinking get a bigger drive maybe a NAS one copy everything across and just have my current drive as a backup
 
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#18
I would also recommend the Synology range. I've had a DS212j for a number of years now. I've upgraded the disks a couple of time (currently 2x 4TB Seagate) and it has been no trouble whatsoever. It is as simple or as complicated as you want it to be really.

I use mine for my SONOS music file store too. One thing to bear in mind with SONOS is that it only supports SMB1 currently and Windows now disables this by default as it is a real security risk. Offloading the music serving to the NAS enables you to disable SMB1 on the PC to prevent the vulnerability, but keep it enabled on the SONOS system so it can see your music share.
 
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#19
Wouldn't really touch a nas that isn't qnap or synology to be honest. The rest are either basic or just drive manufacturers playing at nas.

Qnap and syn are probably some of the easiest boxes to configure, default settings will generally be enough for most.

Out of interest what isn't simple about the qnap in your opinion?
 
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#21
I have a 4tb my cloud and it works perfectly!

Easy to set up and have never needed to touch it again in three years. I have it hardwired into the network and can work on some quite big design files stored on it without any lag. When away from home I can access the music and movies remotely. It is a single drive version I have (wished I went for double drive) but have a 4tb usb 3 hdd attached that I have set up as the backup.

Thinking about getting another one for the garage (30m from the house) and setting it to mirror, so technically an off site backup!

T
 
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#23
Wouldn't really touch a nas that isn't qnap or synology to be honest. The rest are either basic or just drive manufacturers playing at nas.

Qnap and syn are probably some of the easiest boxes to configure, default settings will generally be enough for most.

Out of interest what isn't simple about the qnap in your opinion?
Asustor should be added to your shortlist. It was formed when Asus poached QNAP's design team....
 
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#25
If a NAS is too complicated to set up, is the solution to just stop the PC wanting to power down?
It may not be the most elegant solution but it seems to meet your immediate needs i.e continuous access to files and “simple as”.
 
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#27
if it is any help i use a windows pc as a home server, i just run windows 10 and the case has ample room for hard disks. I have it set to wake on lan so that it hibernates when i don't need it to be on and using electric and i just use an app on my phone to wake it up. Windows isn't the most streamlined OS for a server but because i use it all the time i know where things are when i need to sort stuff out. It's powerful enough for plex and transcoding files and i can easily add storage as and when i need to as i have it set to windows storage spaces which just creates a drive pool rather than seeing multiple drive locations. Not everyone's ideal solution by any stretch but i have found that it works just fine for the last 6 years or so
 
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#28
It sounds like you need a supplier who will demo a system for you and if you are happy supply, setup then provide ongoing support. It probably wouldn’t be cheap but it would save you a lot of hassle.
 
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#29
If you set-up an NAS to be accessed from computers 'off-site' (e.g. from a phone), how do you stop google from indexing the drive and storing links to your data on line? I had a small NAS for work (internal use only) that came with an activated anonymous FTP account that was not mentioned in the documentation - google indexed all my confidential files. Since then, I've got rather spooked about security issues with NAS servers.
 
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If you set-up an NAS to be accessed from computers 'off-site' (e.g. from a phone), how do you stop google from indexing the drive and storing links to your data on line? I had a small NAS for work (internal use only) that came with an activated anonymous FTP account that was not mentioned in the documentation - google indexed all my confidential files. Since then, I've got rather spooked about security issues with NAS servers.
It sounds like you need a supplier who will demo a system for you and if you are happy supply, setup then provide ongoing support. It probably wouldn’t be cheap but it would save you a lot of hassle.
 
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#31
If you set-up an NAS to be accessed from computers 'off-site' (e.g. from a phone), how do you stop google from indexing the drive and storing links to your data on line? I had a small NAS for work (internal use only) that came with an activated anonymous FTP account that was not mentioned in the documentation - google indexed all my confidential files. Since then, I've got rather spooked about security issues with NAS servers.
Google has nothing to do with a NAS at home, you use the software for your particular Nas, in my case it is Qnap and I have there apps on my phone. It is best to set up the Nas from your own router then you have control over the security. Honestly you cannot go wrong with a Qnap Nas, it is a brilliant piece of kit and the software is dead easy to use with greta tech support as well.
 
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#32
Google has nothing to do with a NAS at home, you use the software for your particular Nas, in my case it is Qnap and I have there apps on my phone. It is best to set up the Nas from your own router then you have control over the security. Honestly you cannot go wrong with a Qnap Nas, it is a brilliant piece of kit and the software is dead easy to use with greta tech support as well.
I appreciate the information and reassurance. But, to clarify:

I understand that Google is not involved with running a home NAS. What happened in my case was that google's server, which was scanning the Internet from their site, found my NAS server and indexed it for their purposes, making all of my content available as part of their general search engine results. My device was a Buffalo NAS unit (this was before Qnap and Synology were available). This experience leaves me 'nervous'. If the new devices include security to block uninvited google scans, that it is excellent and warrants a 'clean' look at NAC options.
 
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#33
Can’t help but I’ve been thinking I need one of these too for a while now, would really appreciate you letting me know what you got and how “easy” set-up and use is, I don’t want to faff just set up and forget.
 
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#34
I appreciate the information and reassurance. But, to clarify:

I understand that Google is not involved with running a home NAS. What happened in my case was that google's server, which was scanning the Internet from their site, found my NAS server and indexed it for their purposes, making all of my content available as part of their general search engine results. My device was a Buffalo NAS unit (this was before Qnap and Synology were available). This experience leaves me 'nervous'. If the new devices include security to block uninvited google scans, that it is excellent and warrants a 'clean' look at NAC options.
The moment you mentioned Buffalo I understood completely.

I assure you, the Synology will NOT put you in this situation, in fact the security centre will harass you for a long time if you make a configuration change that it believes is insecure!
 
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