The storage needs of home users are ever growing, such that the capacity of dual-layer DVDs appears miniscule, and backing up CD looks desperate. Many are now turning to network accessible storage systems that not only allow data storage in the home, but also provide HTTP, FTP and cloud services for when you’re on the go. The …
My vote also goes on the Readynas or Synology kit. Can't say anything good about Thecus. I've got an early 2006 Readynas (Infrant before Netgear acquired them) that hasn't missed a beat despite numerous power cuts. Switches itself on faithfully every morning (except the weekends), switches itself off at night, uses bugger all electricity, supports Active Directory, FTP's its backups and sends an email alert if the backup location is missing. I could WASTE my time knocking up a homebrew NAS but these things are now cheap as chips and most businesses are after something with proven reliability, after-sales support and a long warranty. If noise is an issue then a stock Thermaltake silent(ish) case fan goes straight in.
Any why test a 4 bay NAS with Raid 0?
Re: @ZFS Fanboys:
the arcane spells that need to be typed into the shell, and so on.
With most distros, at some point in the install process (which is just as graphical as Windows') you get to the point where it wants to know what disks it can use. You click the appropriate disks, you click that you want those in a RAID set, you click that you want the lot formatted, and there you are.
On top of which, I'd also have to order all the parts and wait for them to be delivered.
You can do other things between ordering and the parts being delivered, you know. Which is roughly the same length of time as a complete system, or a NAS box being delivered. And less time than involved with driving to a shop, finding that they don't have the kit you need, driving to another, finding they do, but only with smaller disks which you (or the shop's techie) needs to replace.
Re: @ZFS Fanboys:
> the arcane spells that need to be typed into the shell, and so on.
Like what RAID level you want? Yeah, I could see how that could be a bit of a burden. Then again, that crowd probably isn't even aware of NAS appliances at all.
Re: @ZFS Fanboys:
"...I'm worth £300 day as a technical author...the arcane spells that need to be typed into the shell..."
TMBSDOTW "technical" OWIWNPA
I too thought it was odd that the boxes were tested in RAID0. Especially for a 4-bay box, RAID0 is just asking for trouble and - to my eyes - the fact that most of them achieved similar data transfer rates implies that there's a networking bottleneck, but I have also found that speed can vary enormously with the file system in use. It would have been nice to see comparative performance for at least RAID5, which is probably the best compromise at home for a unit like this.
We have two QNAP devices at work, one ARM-based, the other Atom-based. Both have four discs in RAID6 and the difference in processor power really shows, especially on writes. The ARM-based processor quickly hits 95% or more according to the GUI's meter and manages perhaps a third of the throughput that the Intel box does. RAID6 is particularly heavy on the processor because of the need to calculate a second, somewhat complex, checksum.
I built a FreeNAS box at home based on an AMD 450 (seriously considered the HP microserver but was put off by needing to throw out the RAM and wanting to use 2.5" discs rather than 3.5") and for work I built a third NAS based on an AMD A4 chip. That has space for 16 2.5" drives (in some very nice caddies which let you slot 4x2.5" discs into a 5.25" bay) and 16GB of RAM. Parts cost (without discs or case) was about £650 IIRC, but this includes three additional SATA cards and the drive bays. On those terms the hardware was a couple of hundred quid cheaper than the larger QNAP. In terms of read and write speed to its current 8 drives in Z2 (equivalent of RAID6) it wipes the floor with the QNAP devices, but I am having some problems with (I think) the onboard LAN. Should have spent an extra few quid on a nice NIC, but that's something I can do later.
Should be working. Better go :-)
What is never tested : warranty and service.
I've had a Buffalo BAs sitting on a shelf somewhere for over 2 years. It was bought in a pinh by a colleague in Japan and brought over on a project.
The power supply failed at some point. I have emailed and phoned with Buffalo in three continents, and with their main suppliers an dealers all around, AND I've even posted on their forum, asking to send me a replacement power supply. I have offered to pay for it and the shipping.
I have been given the run around from japan to the US to Europe, and ultimately I've been sent packing. They can not provide me with a replacement PS.
So before you part with your hard earned, take into consideration that there's some things that are never tested in a product review.
I want a NAS that supports Windows HomeGroups*
Homegroups are how I share resources at home, and I find that it works very well. In fact, it's a great feature if you've got Windows 7 or above.
But where is a NAS appliance that runs Windows 7 (or 8)?
If a NAS ran Windows 8, I'd get ReFS and storage Spaces too. All very nice.
I do get it that many here at the Reg will think this is too 'consumer grade' for IT professionals. But these NAS boxes are for *home* use. Why should I have to make a low power PC with a few USB-attached drives to build my own NAS. I want an appliance that does this for me, but without losing basic functionality that I get with a PC.
* No, not workgroups, homegroups.
A decent Reg review, at least. But I have to say the speed on the TS-419 looks a little low. I have its TS-219 twin and I get much faster speeds than that.
And yes the Microserver is a great option, but some people just want a small, quiet, power-sipping box that they turn on, stuff in a corner and leave. Get over it.
Anyone thinking of going the DIY route needs to be aware of the FreeNAS seven series fork Nas4Free. I'm a satisfied user: http://www.nas4free.org/
At least check it out.
Qnap are quite good
I have a qnap ts-410 4 drive NAS. I had one glitch with the drives in it, when I got it a couple of years back, in that I was using drives that werent recommended. However, I did a scan on the drives and everything came good again and it is now going great guns. I also have a D-Link DNS-323 2 drive NAS and I quite like the D-Links as well. However, the Synology has an added feature where you can add in a 2 or 5 drive expansion box and just plug it into the back of their NAS's and it allows you to add to your existing structure without having to setup a whole new NAS. If I was starting all over again, I would either go for a HP Microserver and FreeNAS or I would go for the Synology option.
considering this is a site with a target audience of IT professionals, this review is all but pointless.
a) these should all be rack mount servers, not silly square boxes that have their place sitting on desks at home
b) no mention of support for business NAS requirements, such as ISCSI, interface teaming, encryption, Auth via AD, LDAP etc...
"these should all be rack mount servers"
The Reg caters for a big range of hardware - from serious consumer to IT pro. If you want rack-mounted enterprise-grade kit, take a look in the servers and storage sections:
"considering this is a site with a target audience of IT professionals"
This is The Reg - I don't know what the 'target' audience is but the actual audience is a bunch of schoolkids playing technological Top Trumps and arguing about who's adopted mega-corporatiion is the best.
Alternative cost-effective solution: Raspberry Pi, £30.
Re: How expensive?
4 bay USB nas on a pi? That'll be quick with RAID 6 I bet.
Re: Re: How expensive?
"....That'll be quick with RAID 6 I bet." Probably not, especially with a rebuild, but it could make for a cheap disk archive rather than high-speed NAS. If you could cluster two Pi systems you could even build a redundant archive in a small(ish) box with very modest power and cooling requirments.
Another advantage of the ReadyNAS (certainly the Pro and Ultra versions) that doesn't appear to be mentioned is they are on the VMWare HAL, therefore, if you have a home ESX lab you can use it as an iSCSI or NFS datastore, that I believe is not something you would get from building your own NAS (although I have used FreeNAS as a ISO datastore on ESX).
Did we not think it would be relevant to actually discuss the functionality of the reviewed units. For example, what kinds of authentication and access control are supported?
Most NAS appliances / features aimed at home use only support giving unfettered access to everybody on the network. A compromise I'm sure most of us would not find acceptable.
Yes I want my files to be accessible on various devices, no I do not want the risk of it all being deleted with a single erroneous click or keypress.
Re: Authentication? Security?
Synology boxes do username/password control on shared folder access as well as semi-automatic creation of personal (private) folders and can apply quotas.
You can also define which users can access the management interface.
I'd be surprised if the other boxes didn't do similar
Thanks, that's useful - but my point was really that a "review" should have at least mentioned these things.
Synology user report
I have one of the fewer-bay Synology NAS devices (in the performance-enhanced '+' version), and the fan is fairly quiet (it runs non-stop in a main room of the house, and is not concealed behind a TV or anything). It is so quiet that I hear the hard drive when there is access.
I've been running it non-stop for probably two years now, so for me reliability is good. I don't have to perform any housekeeping or maintenance on it.
Just looking to get a NAS of some some - would the HP be a good buy? Currently available for about £100 with cashback.
Looking to host & share photos, videos and music (in an iTunes library) via iTunes home sharing & DLNA to an DLNA capable AV amp and TV and to backup multiple Macs via Time Machine.
Recommendations on FreeNAS or some flavour of Unix/Linux?
Does FreeNAS play nicely with DLNA? Anyone configured the HP for Time Machine backups using AFP?
In a word, LaCie
While I realise this article only reviewed four-bay NAS boxes, it missed the clear winner, by any standard. LaCie's 5big Network 2 NAS box comes with five 3TB disks. Flawless operation, plenty of ports, and only $1200 for 15TB.
Mine's full already! http://www.lacie.com/products/product.htm?id=10485
Missed a treat
You can get the HP microserver (with 100 cashback), windows home server OS and 4 x 2TB for £440 or there abouts. Which is cheaper and better than most of the offerings in this list.
You have ones over a grand for a few extra whistles which are minority stuff for a lot of users who just want managed backups and data security.
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