NAS: Storage solution, Media Streaming Options


I'm looking for a NAS solution that is redundant, durable, idiot proof for approximately 5 TB of data.  

It would be nice if defective drives could be hot swapped.  

USB 3.0 connectivity would be preferred as well as network option.

Hoping to use for data storage as well as streaming video/audio via PLEX.

Any input on product options?  Why do you like the recommended product?

Thank you in advance!
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Ryan SimmonsBusiness Analyst IIICommented:
For such a small amount of TB I would recommend a all in one solution such as Western Digital MyCloud 8TB option.

Plex states that they support Western Digital MyCloud:

Now this solution would not allow hot swapping of the drives. However it's also bit under $500.

I like the price point, ease of use/
Dean ChafeeIT/InfoSec ManagerCommented:
We use FreeNAS for this. It has many plugins for streaming video, yes Plex and the like as well as other services.  You can use commodity hardware and build JBOD or many other raid sets. It does require considerable install/setup, but it rocks. Open source.
nociSoftware EngineerCommented:
I would second the FreeNAS option, also QNAP produces such boxes.

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hiloguyAuthor Commented:
Thanks Everyone,

I'm leaning towards the FreeNAS option.  

I don't want to invest too much time in setup/install.  

The QNAP boxes look good.  Any recommendations on CPU, RAM, 4x or 2x HDD slots?  Any recommendations on product?

I appreciate the input!
nociSoftware EngineerCommented:
At least go for a 4x slot system,   a 2 slot machine can do only mirroring. with a 4 slot you can do raid 5 / raid 6.
Faster CPU is not a priority, more RAM will always help as cache.
I’d toss Synology NAS appliances into the mix for consideration. I have a number of these deployed, some for upwards of five years, and they just keep on working.
I have a FreeNAS box in my own network and I second the comment above about the input required to get them up and running.
As for idiot-proof solutions, over the years I’ve defeated no end of those...
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
there really is no such thing as idiot-proof.. idiot resistant  is a qualified maybe.
As for Free-NAS, UnRaid (my preference) you are using your own custom box so you'd have to ADD hot-swap drive bays Some people use the Synology OS in their beige boxes.. Drobo products are very good but their ease of use does come with a price tag
hiloguyAuthor Commented:
Thank you everyone.

Any comments regarding Synology vs QNAP (I don't want to build my own box)?

Any comments regarding optimal RAM when streaming video in a Plex situation (4GB, 8GB)?  Most likely only 1-3 users at a time max.  

I appreciate the input.
nociSoftware EngineerCommented:
4GB should be sufficient. I have no experience with Synology, i own a QNAP and i am satisfied with it.
(4 Slot, ARM CPU).. If i would buy a new one i might go for intel cpu. [ has better support in other external [ non-QNAP ] software ].
hiloguyAuthor Commented:
Thank you!

I'm leaning towards the QNAP TS-453A per:

As I've never used a NAS is there a "rule" regarding HD size combinations/vendor?  For example, should all HDs be the same capacity from the same vendor?  

Natty GregIn Theory (IT)Commented:
Since we are tossing stuff into the mix may I recommend Drobo, does what you want with all the bells and whistle--this is if you do not want to freenas -- I use open- source and do enjoy the learning curve
nociSoftware EngineerCommented:
When using RAID arrays the smallest disk defines usable storage. Say you have 3 3TB disks and 1 1TB disk then at most 1TB will be used from the 3TB disks (1st 1/3rd).  This has to do with RAID, not hardware. So buy equal sized disks.   (and if in the future that size isn't available anymore just replace it with a bigger replacement., if all disks are bigger later on the the extra space can be used).
When not using RAID, any disk may do w.r.t. size.

W.r.t. manufacturer..., there are only 2 fabs. left in the world. Although they make disks for a few brands.  there are some hosting/cloud providers that show their replacement statistics they had during a year. Like this
YMMV (that was data from the past..., it doesn;t predict the absolute future...)

More important:
When buying disks be sure to use NAS / Server type disks (they don't spin down to conserve energy by them selves.)
Laptop disks aggressively powerdown, Desktop system less aggressively, servertype disks dont (unless the host say so).
The difference is that start/stop will be the most damaging factor in the life of a disk.  Except for laptop disks, there moving the laptop during disk activity will ruin the bearings.

I have a server here that has had no trouble with it's disks for about 10 years non-stop running.  (The system recently broke down because the CPU cooler fell of due to broken clamp with metal fatige).
hiloguyAuthor Commented:
Thanks Everyone.

Is there any problem mixing server type disks and desktop type discs?  I have 3 unused 3TB WD Green, 1 barely used WD Red.  

Probably leaning towards the QNAP TS-453B for better transcoding with Plex.  

I appreciate the input!
Natty GregIn Theory (IT)Commented:
If data is important to you, then stick with the recommended - I'm not saying you can't get mileage out of the green disk, but the Red was built specifically for NAS use, mixing disk is fine, I just do not believe its appropriate for NAS
nociSoftware EngineerCommented:
The green ones do auto power down (helpfull in laptop-s & PC's) very quickly  those will most probably wear out in a NAS in a relative short time.  This might be within a year depending on exact usage patterns.
 For NAS you need RED ones (that DON't powerdown, but run continuously, those will serve for years provided you let the box stay in a fixed position and don't "walk" with it while disks are spinning.
So the RED is OK, the green ones i would use somewhere else.
hiloguyAuthor Commented:
Thank you all.

I learned a lot from this thread!

I will purchase the QNAP TS-453B for better transcoding with Plex.  

I'll use 4 3TB WD Red drives to start.
Natty GregIn Theory (IT)Commented:
That's a good start
nociSoftware EngineerCommented:
have fun.
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