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Home Data Storage + NAS

Posted on 2013-10-22
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-12
Hi im am used to dealing more in a SMB environment so working with SBS servers etc but have got a question for a home user on data storage etc.

Im just looking in NAS devices as I haven't really used them much I get the concept but for a home user would you use them as just a backup device or would you use them to just store the data on?

So would the PC still have a large secondary HDD to store the data or should it all be moved to a NAS device?

Im guessing that a good NAS will come with backup software to backup the home PC etc so that's not a problem but if you are using the NAS to store all the data how do you then backup that in case of fire etc?

Do any NAS devices come with off-site "Cloud" backup or can you get separate software that will allow a remote backup of the data?

Currently the user is using SkyDrive to sync his pictures folder but all the other data is just held on a single HDD in the main PC would is not the best setup?

Any advise on a NAS solution or off-site backup would be great thanks.
Question by:RedDoorSupplies
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Accepted Solution

ecarbone earned 2000 total points
ID: 39590343
Synology brand NAS devices are great. You can get a 2 or 4 drive configuration. The device is managed using a web interface and it is very well done. Once it's up and running you can add features (apps) to it, such as backup destination for the home computers, remote access, backup to cloud. You can even make it a tiny web server or ftp server. You can even use it as a recording device for security cameras. Check out the demo on their site.

As far as setting it up as the default save-to location for your home computers - that's up to you. On the NAS you can certainly make shared folders that are convenient for everyone to access (such as your music, pictures, etc). But make sure the NAS itself is getting backed up. Your family would not be happy if you taught them to save all of their files on the NAS, and then the NAS takes a crap.  ;-)   So, maybe your home computers back themselves up to the NAS, and the NAS backs itself up to the cloud.

Author Comment

ID: 39590379
Ok great thanks that was kind of along the lines I was thinking.

So basically the PC doesn't really hold any data just the OS and all the data sits on the NAS.

You say the Synology device can backup to cloud is that via their own service or do you have to use a compatible 3rd party?

Sorry one other thing I don't quite get all the NAS devices seem to be promoting themselves as "Media Players" but that would only apply to data actually stored on them right?
What I mean is say I just use the NAS as a auto-backup device for my Windows PC are you still going to be able to view and stream the data from other devices?

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Expert Comment

ID: 39590476
Where your files live, is your choice.
As you suggested, your computers could have small hard drives that really only hold the OS and applications. Create shortcuts or map drives to the NAS device, and tell all users to save their files there.

But if you go this route, make sure the NAS device itself gets backed up. (Either to the cloud, or to an external hard disk).

Synology has its own built-in cloud backup which is compatible with Amazon S3.

But there are third party cloud backup solutions as well.

Check out this article for more info.

Finally, as far as using your NAS as a media player - if you have a device that supports Airplay or DLNA (like a newer TV), then you can save movies onto the NAS, and stream them to your TV. It applies to the data actually stored on the NAS. But with a big enough drive, you could store all of your movies, pictures and music.

You can configure the NAS as the backup destination for your PCs, but at the same time you could ALSO create a shared folder that stores all of your movies, pictures and music. If you configure the NAS as a media server, then you can stream them across the network to your stereo or a computer or a TV.
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by:Gary Case
ID: 39590495
Just remember that a NAS is NOT a backup if it's the primary drive for your data.    It does make a nice backup device for data stored elsewhere, but if you use the NAS as your primary data store than it is NOT a backup -- even if it's fault tolerant (e.g. a RAID).

I've seen FAR too many folks who think a RAID-1, -5, or -6 eliminates the need to backup.   It does NOT !!    Fault-tolerance is NOT backup.

As for your question ... it really depends on the volume of data involved.    For many home users, a good cloud-based backup (e.g. Carbonite) is all they need.   But for those with TB of data to backup, the cloud-based solutions area really not very viable, due to the limited bandwidth of their connections.    In those cases -- or in cases where folks simply want the backups at home -- a small NAS is a very good solution.

Author Comment

ID: 39590523
Great thanks will have a look!

Its not a massive amount of data im just trying to think of the best way to get everything setup well for now and the future.

I don't have a problem sitting all the data in a NAS drive so taking it away from a HDD sitting in the PC but as you say its the backing up of that that im worried about.

Backing up the pictures to SkyDrive works quite well as it just syncs the folder you dump the pictures into but would be good to have all data secure incase something happened!
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Expert Comment

ID: 39590543
Hi we use QNAP that have the facility to back up to cloud also. very good products.
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by:Gary Case
ID: 39590649
"... Its not a massive amount of data im just trying to think of the best way to get everything setup well for now and the future. "  ==>  For modest amounts of data (< 100GB)   I almost always recommend Carbonite.    I don't personally use it, as I have over 10TB of data to backup ... but for most folks I help it's by far the simplest approach => once it's set up, there's no concern over a failed drive;  it provides offsite protection against fire or theft that a local unit wouldn't; and it's very modestly priced.

Author Comment

ID: 39591445
Just having a look at the Carbonite and Crashplan sites that look good, does anyone know of a UK company offering the same service?
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Expert Comment

by:Gary Case
ID: 39592685
Google "Cloud backup in UK" and you'll see several alternatives -- although some of these are just UK re-directs for US-based services, so I'm not certain they are all actually useable in the UK.

Expert Comment

by:Oliver Wastell
ID: 39593641
I have a client that has NAS storage in the office and at home.  The two are synced over the Internet and he therefore avoids the monthly cost of cloud storage.  I think he is using the Synology brand mentioned in an earlier post.
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Expert Comment

ID: 39593828
I've had really good luck at home with an HP ProLiant Microserver and Windows Home Server.

The combination does this;
1) Users keep data on their systems, but it's automatically backed up to the Microserver.
2) WHS keeps track of the users' MS patches and alerts them and me (through Microserver console) if they need important patches or if the antivirus has a problem or is out of date.
3) I'm old school -- have a tape drive to back up the Microserver -- but there are solutions such as a free-for-home-use solution that sets up a private cloud to replicate the Microserver to a second machine (offsite, please) you control.
4) Media files that they want to share and play on the main room television or stereo can be uploaded to the Microserver and streamed there (or to any other computer on the network)

I personally would not have users store personal files on the server or NAS device; having it on local PC/laptop means you can back it up to the server and have it in two places.

Note that, if you're depending on RAID in your server, whether NAS or an HP Microserver or equivalent, you need to make sure you're running disks that are certified in a RAID environment.  There are many tales of woe here on EE, that detail people who cheaped out and bought cheap desktop disks, only to find a series of catastrophes ending in disaster when the cheap drives didn't have the ability to recover from common errors in a RAID enviromment.

Kudos for GaryCase for pointing out that RAID is not backup -- they protect against different things, and one is not a substitute for the other.

Note also that online backup offerings like Carbonite and Mozy often charge much more to back up a machine running a server OS than a desktop OS, so be sure you price them out before assuming the home plan is a workable solution.

Author Comment

ID: 39594110
That's great SelfGovern thanks for the detailed response.

I guess im used to looking after networks running Windows server or SBS and the data sits on the server in a RAID which is backed up by tape every evening and cloud but as for home setups I wasn't quite sure, probably over complicating it!

I think im going to continue to store the files on the local pc (second hard drive) then get a NAS to sit in a cupboard and that can backup the pc and data then will find a suitable cloud storage company to backup the NAS.

That should cover any failures that may happen!
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ID: 39604252
How did you get on

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