Need NAS Advice - Is there anything better than Synology?

dba

Moderator
Feb 20, 2012
1,478
181
63
San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA
I'm in the market for a relatively low cost NAS (<$1K) for home use. I have a list of uses for the new box:

  • Mac Time Machine backup (~2TB)
  • Windows laptop backups (~1TB)
  • File Server (~4TB)
  • iSCSI boot disks for lab machines (~3TB)
I also have two important goals:

  • Low power - I'd love to stay under 30 watts, but I'd settle for 50
  • I don't want to build my own because I doubt that I could meet my power consumption goal

And finally some "nice to have" features:

  • Built-in DNS server
  • Expandable to support more disks
  • Runs Wordpress or Joomla right on the box
  • Storage and viewing of security video streams

I'm very new to home NAS devices, so any advice is appreciated.


Update:
In the end, I decided to set up the following:
1) A small/slow Synology 4-disk NAS running 24x7 intended to handle everything above except for iSCSI boot disks and ad-hoc backups of large data sets.
2) A larger and much faster, but louder and higher wattage DIY NAS for iSCSI and large file storage based on an HP DL180 G6 with Infiniband. This one will only run when needed, saving power.

Someday, probably in two weeks since I just bought a Synology, someone will come out with a small, quiet, low power 6-8 disk 10GbE NAS that's under $1K. Until then, I'll use two different solutions.
 
Last edited:

nitrobass24

Moderator
Dec 26, 2010
1,083
127
63
TX
Honestly dude - I was in the exact same boat 4 months ago. I drug my feet forever because i just could not bring myself to buy something like the synology when I am so used to building my own servers, etc. etc.

I have seen the light. Purchasing my DS1812+ was hands down the best technology decision I have ever made.

Go search the larger forums, arstechnica, anandtech, hardforum....you wont find the nice Synology products for sale, or even previous sold ones...people don't want to get rid of them, because they are a top notch piece of kit.
 

seang86s

Member
Feb 19, 2013
143
12
18
I'm in the market for a relatively low cost NAS (<$1K) for home use. I have a list of uses for the new box:

I also have two important goals:

  • Low power - I'd love to stay under 30 watts, but I'd settle for 50
  • I don't want to build my own because I doubt that I could meet my power consumption goal
Really? With all that hardware you already have running, 50 watts seems like an insignificant drop in the electron bucket... :)

Seriously tho, I recommended a 1512+ to a friend who had a home brew server that was wiped out by hurricane Sandy. He's very happy with it especially with the built in apps and iSCSI capabilities.

I also purchased a 1512+ for my parent's place (and my DR for critical data) but sold it when I had the need for the 8 drive version. I waited for the 1813+ to come out which it did in the past month but haven't ordered it yet. The 1513+/1813+ uses the same Atom processor unforutunately, so no upgrade in CPU performance. It does come with 2 Gigs of RAM standard now and has four 1 Gbps ports that support LACP. You might want to consider the newer model since iSCSI is on your list. All the xx12+ and xx13+ are compatible with the same 5 bay expansion chassis so you can scale to 15/18 drives (up to 2 chassis).
 

dba

Moderator
Feb 20, 2012
1,478
181
63
San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA
Really? With all that hardware you already have running, 50 watts seems like an insignificant drop in the electron bucket... :)
You'd think so, wouldn't you! The NAS will join the ranks of 24x7 home equipment, and with that I'm on the ragged edge of my exponential electricity rate plan in such a way that a good month costs $150 while a bad month, in which I use not much more electricity, can easily top $250.

Anyway, thanks for the recommendations. That's two recommendations for Synology and so far none for any other vendor.

Here, by the way, are the 2011 Gartner rankings of NAS vendors by number of units sold:
1/ Netgear 108,876
2/ Qnap 97,554
3/ Synology 94,538
4/ Buffalo 90,955
5/ EMC 81,032
6/ NetApp 58,687
7/ HP 12,402
 
Last edited:

Jeggs101

Well-Known Member
Dec 29, 2010
1,484
222
63
NetApp, and EMC are a different class and probably don't do wordpress. Why not a HP microserver gen8? Bet those will be low idle power.

Netgear and buffalo of the ones remaining would be my bottom 2. QNAP and Synology good. where is drobo?
 

PRIMEZ

New Member
Jun 9, 2013
29
2
3
Synology NAS is ATOM + DSM. People love the easy use of their DSM. I assume you don't expect hardware RAID for the NAS. You can try to load DSM on your VM see if you like it. As I know a lot of people use HP ProLiant G7 N54L to load DSM and said it's much faster thanSynology. But it's a hack.
 

dba

Moderator
Feb 20, 2012
1,478
181
63
San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA
My plan was to wait for a nice used Synology box to appear on eBay. That, it turns out, was a very bad plan. Why? The Synology warranty explicitly prevents warranty transfers.

Here is an excerpt from the Synology warranty document:
The warranty set forth in Section 2.1 will terminate upon Customer's sale or transfer of the Product to a third party.

In my experience, preventing warranty transfers is a very unusual practice for computer hardware, at least the server-grade stuff that I'm used to. It seems that it's not that unusual for NAS devices. The following vendors ALLOW or EXCLUDE warranty transfers:

Buffalo: EXCLUDE. Quoting: This limited warranty also does not apply to any product ... (that) has been sold as second-hand...

Drobo: EXCLUDE. Quoting: We are very sorry, but no, warranties are not transferable.

HP: ALLOW. They explicitly allow warranty transfers.

NetGear: EXCLUDE. The 100 series documentation states: The warranty is only valid for the original purchaser and cannot be transferred. They have a warranty FAQ that describes warranty transfer for home products, but adds: Applies to Home products only. Does not apply to ReadyNAS storage products

QNap: EXCLUDE. Quoting: QNAP provides a limited warranty for its products only to the person or entity that originally purchased the product from QNAP or its authorized distributor or retailer.

Synology: EXCLUDE. Quoting: The warranty set forth in Section 2.1 will terminate upon Customer's sale or transfer of the Product to a third party.

Thecus: ALLOW. No warranty transfer language at all, which means the warranty is transferable.
 
Last edited:

dba

Moderator
Feb 20, 2012
1,478
181
63
San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA
You may be on to something there. The Thecus 7700 Pro V2 is around $800 new, the same price per disk slot as a Synology 1813+ or less, but as you say can be upgraded to 10GbE. I just need to find out how well the 10GbE version performs for iSCSI and file transfers.

Update: The prior version of the N77000Pro rates around 500MB/s on 10GbE. The newer versions nclude an upgraded CPU and a switch to a 64bit OS, and so should do even better. Not bad. The Pro (but not the Pro V2) supports ZFS with snapshots, which is appealing. On the other hand, Thecus is noisier and a bit more power hungry than Synology.

What about a Thecus N7700-series and an Intel 10GbE NIC:
http://www.thecus.com/download/comp...Series_N8900Series_WSeries_Extra_NIC_list.pdf

You get the warranty but only 7 HDD. Just a thought.


John Treble
Ottawa, Ontario
 
Last edited:

Jeggs101

Well-Known Member
Dec 29, 2010
1,484
222
63
You may be on to something there. The Thecus 7700 Pro V2 is around $800 new, the same price per disk slot as a Synology 1813+ or less, but as you say can be upgraded to 10GbE. I just need to find out how well the 10GbE version performs for iSCSI and file transfers.

Update: The prior version of the N77000Pro rates around 500MB/s on 10GbE. The newer versions nclude an upgraded CPU and a switch to a 64bit OS, and so should do even better. Not bad. The Pro (but not the Pro V2) supports ZFS with snapshots, which is appealing. On the other hand, Thecus is noisier and a bit more power hungry than Synology.
get them to send one for review on sth to try out?
 

integrase

New Member
Jun 15, 2013
4
0
0
Greetings,

Synology's DS1513+, DS1812+ and 1813+ hit all ten bullets you've listed. WordPress and Joomla (and Drupal plus many other packages) run though there are some minor configuration tweaks to be done to Apache and PHP before all the automated stuff works properly. The expansion bays are relatively expensive at around $500.

I've been using, installing and recommending various Synology units for the past 6 years. The only knock I have against the Synology option is that web services can be somewhat pokey especially when the unit is hosting multiple virtual domains while doing all the other good stuff it's supposed to be doing. Somewhat laggy on the Atom-based units, quite noticeable on the Freescale models which you wouldn't be evaluating anyway.
 

dba

Moderator
Feb 20, 2012
1,478
181
63
San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA
Update: In the end, I decided to set up the following:

1) A small/slow Synology 4-disk NAS running 24x7 intended to handle everything above except for iSCSI boot disks and ad-hoc backups of large data sets.

2) A larger and much faster, but louder and higher wattage DIY NAS for iSCSI and large file storage based on an HP DL180 G6 with Infiniband. This one will only run when needed, saving power. dl180g6 - $170, L5520 CPU - $34, Mellanox ConnectX-2 DDR Infiniband - $60, RAM, disks and trays - existing. Total: $264.


Some day, probably in two weeks since I just bought a Synology, someone will come out with a small, quiet, low power 6-8 disk 10GbE NAS that's under $1K. Until then, I'll use two different solutions.
 
Last edited:

dba

Moderator
Feb 20, 2012
1,478
181
63
San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA
Quick update:

The Synology DS212j is small and ultra quiet, uses very little power, and has fantastic software - a swiss army knife of features. I'm a fan. On the other hand, it's extremely slow relative to what I'm used to - as in <10MB/s when copying large folders of small files and never more than around 80MB/s.

In contrast, the single-CPU dl180 G6 with a single-port QDR Infiniband card is insanely fast as a storage server using Windows 2012 and SMB3. Maximum speed, achieved when testing a Storages Spaces pool of eight SSD drives over IPoIB, is 3,210MB/S (that's three thousand two hundred megabytes per second).
Even small transfers are very fast - I get 81,000 IOPS when testing 4kb random reads over a 28GB test file. I haven't fully tested the 36TB SATA storage pool since it's still formatting/silvering, but I saw 575MB/s during a quick test, even with the background format running.
Lastly, I tried creating a file on the new server and then sharing that file as an iSCSI target. Even that was fast - 2,207MB/S and 20,100 IOPS.
Power consumption right now is 143 watts with all twelve large SATA drives spinning wildly. That's the same as the Synology RS10613xs+.

If you need a screaming storage server, get yourself one of these old HP machines!


Update: In the end, I decided to set up the following:

1) A small/slow Synology 4-disk NAS running 24x7 intended to handle everything above except for iSCSI boot disks and ad-hoc backups of large data sets.

2) A larger and much faster, but louder and higher wattage DIY NAS for iSCSI and large file storage based on an HP DL180 G6 with Infiniband. This one will only run when needed, saving power. dl180g6 - $170, L5520 CPU - $34, Mellanox ConnectX-2 DDR Infiniband - $60, RAM, disks and trays - existing. Total: $264.


Some day, probably in two weeks since I just bought a Synology, someone will come out with a small, quiet, low power 6-8 disk 10GbE NAS that's under $1K. Until then, I'll use two different solutions.
 
Last edited:

nawaz

New Member
Nov 9, 2014
1
0
1
30
In my experience, preventing warranty transfers is a very unusual practice for computer hardware, at least the server-grade stuff that I'm used to. It seems that it's not that unusual for NAS devices. The following vendors ALLOW or EXCLUDE warranty transfers



_____________
Nawaz