NAS Advantages?


#1

Can the networking experts tell me if there are advantages to using a NAS compared to my Mini daisy chained FireWire working and backup drives ? I don’t see a need to access these music files from my network, eg,I have no other music computers, or am I missing something ? I backup with Time Machine. Thks for any comments.


#2

I’m not a network expert, but I do run a Synology NAS. There is not necessarily any advantage, the potential advantages are:



1. Access music from multiple locations. (This is not an issue for you.)

2. Avoid the need to run a computer when playing music. This does not necessarily provide better SQ, although it might, depending on your exact setup. Is the computer that plays music used for other things, or can you configure it for best SQ by turning off other processes etc.? Do you have a Bridge? The Bridge can be finicky, but some people find it provides better SQ than the USB input on the PWD. YMMV.



I don’t have a place to put a computer in the music room, and I just like not having to run one to play music–an iPad or Android tablet makes a nice controller. Plus it’s convenient since I can download, tag, and backup files from either of my networked computers.


#3

Yes I have a tweaked, dedicated Mini. And a Bridge but with my current USB cable and Empirical A Short block, no longer prefer it. One reason I posted this is to see if anyone thought my backups might be more secure with a NAS. For my daisy chained backup drive I have two which I rotate monthly, keeping one off site. I run JRiver with JRemote on my iPad for control.


#4

I think Magister has given the main points. I’d add that the media library is likely to be the largest collection of data one has. It is nice to have the protection that an NAS offers (through RAID) and its independence from any particular computer. Individual drives in an NAS can be replaced easily when they fail, and an NAS can be used through changes of the main computer for reasons (e.g., faster graphics performance) that don’t affect the usefulness of the NAS.


#5

Some NAS users like me don’t use raid but have multiple volumes to keep disks off site.


#6

Mike, could you elaborate pls on what you mean by the protection offered through a RAID. Thks for everyone’s comments


#7
Mike, could you elaborate pls on what you mean by the protection offered through a RAID.

Multi-drive NASes will let you configure RAID (originally, Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) which, at the cost of some disk space, provides protection against failure of an individual drive.

For example, a two-drive NAS should support RAID-1 when you use two drives of the same capacity. You see only the space on one, as the NAS automatically mirrors all data to the second as you write. This provides faster reads, but more importantly, it gives complete protection against failure of either drive (but not both at once!).

I am using a four-drive disk station (not NAS) for some data storage. I have this set up in RAID-5, which uses 25% of the space to provide parity protection. Any of the four drives could fail, and when I replaced it with a blank drive, the array would be rebuilt with no loss of data.

All disk drives fail eventually, often suddenly. RAID in my opinion does not replace backup, but it's a tremendous tool for data protection.

For more information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID


#8

Good explanation, mike48.

You also have JBOD, but this principle does not provide any form of protection.


#9

Just a Bunch Of Disks - for those if you who are wondering. Separately addressed disk drives sharing an enclosure and data path.



J.P.


#10
mike48 said: RAID in my opinion does not replace backup, but it's a tremendous tool for data protection

mike48 was being too modest; remove that phrase "in my opinion." A simple two-disk, RAID-1 setup such as mike describes, same as I use, does provide excellent protection on a day to day basis. But there is the unlikely, although very real, danger from flood/fire/lightning strike etc. I back up my music every few days to an external disk, and have two such drives, one of which is stored off site and rotated every month or so.

Even if it meant nothing to you to spend the money to replace your music collection, consider the hours you have spent tagging and organizing -- particularly for classical music. I don't know if I would ever have the heart to redo all my custom tagging; it would involve a huge amount of time and drudgery. Do the backups. Just do it.

I had never set up a RAID system before I got my Synology NAS. This stuff can be pretty arcane, but I was impressed with how easy the Synology software made it. (Other NAS makers may provide equally good software, I just haven't used it myself.)

#11

Synology also have their own proprietary ‘RAID’ setting which mimics RAID 0 (striping) if I remember correctly.


#12

+1

I’ve had a Synology 412+ for 3 months - very easy to setup and use. Similar backup strategy to that of magister: Synology version of RAID on the NAS + eSATA connected disc for weekly backup + pair of USB connected disks for backup to be stored off-site in rotation.


#13

more or less the same for me, but I use it as JBOD.


#14
+1
I've had a Synology 412+ for 3 months - very easy to setup and use. Similar backup strategy to that of magister: Synology version of RAID on the NAS + eSATA connected disc for weekly backup + pair of USB connected disks for backup to be stored off-site in rotation.


Pls explain the weekly eSATA and additional 2 disk USB's, i.e., how are they used and why aren't the 2 USB's enough.


#15

What he is talking about is done weekly or what ever cycle you wish. Plug a USB external strange to one of the USB slots on the back and there a built in backup software that automatically backs it up the the USB hardrive at this point now you need to remove it and store it off site for safe keeping.



For me I maintain about 6 external nas drives but share the important data over the web and private network

I use simple mirror raid , so each system has two drives .



Al


#16

Maybe I didn’t make myself clear, what is the external eSATA for ?


#17
I had never set up a RAID system before I got my Synology NAS. This stuff can be pretty arcane, but I was impressed with how easy the Synology software made it. (Other NAS makers may provide equally good software, I just haven't used it myself.)

Synology has a tremendous reputation for software and hardware reliability and ease of use.

#18

@rogerdn

Sorry if my post was a bit cryptic.



It may be helpful if I explain the rationale behind my backup strategy:



1) the Synology NAS running RAID gives protection against the failure of 1 of its discs: probably the most likely failure mode.

2) an external hard disc (LaCie) is connected directly to the NAS eSata port on the back of the Synology, and the Synology backup package is used weekly to copy the NAS data to the LaCie disk: this gives protection against multiple failures on the NAS (a couple of discs or the controller), a less likely failure mode.

3) two USB discs are used in rotation for a separate backup every few months to provide protection against the worst (and least likely I hope) failure case: house fire, lightning strike, flood or other act of god, by dismounting the disk with backup and storing it at a physically remote location. I started out using the USB socket on the NAS but changed to using a USB connection on a Mac Mini on the network to do this backup as the Synology disc format is ‘own brand’ and hence would be unreadable unless I had another Synology NAS. By using the Mac Mini’s USB connection I could use a more universal disc format. I use Chronosync for backups across the network.



All sounds OTT and costly but in fact it did not cost anything as I had 6 spare external disks available after I’d got the NAS up and running, and it gives me peace of mind.



David


#19

davidl, got it, thks for the detail. I now have one FireWire connected to my Mini as a working drive and a second daisy chained which I rotate monthly to off site. If I get a NAS RAID is it difficult to copy my working files over to the RAID ? Would the Synology s/w do this ?


#20

@rogerdn

I had my music data (iTunes media library) on a Firewire disk connected to a Mac Mini before I got the Synology NAS. There should be no problem copying files across. If you are moving an iTunes media library there is some good guidance here:

http://arstechnica.com/apple/2012/12/how-to-offload-your-itunes-library-to-a-nas/



If you are moving a non-iTunes library then a simple copy is fine; you can use the Mac or Synology software to do this. There are plenty of online resources giving guidance in the use of Synology software.