• Last Updated:
  • Nov 16th, 2017 3:29 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Nov 16, 2008
73 posts
Brampton

Looking to setup a NAS

I am new to the whole NAS thing and am looking to set one up. I have narrowed it down to the following models below, unless someone suggests another unit that's better. I decided to go a step up from the entry models for future proofing.

I am looking for advice on which model to go with, keeping in mind reliability and price.

Western Digital My Cloud PR2100
SYNOLOGY DS218+
SYNOLOGY DS218

Thanks
36 replies
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2004
25391 posts
2750 upvotes
East Gwillimbury
I always suggest building your own. But if you have to go with a prebuilt, get the Synology

Whatever you do, don’t buy the 218. You need more than 2 bays. The minimum should be 4 bays
Deal Addict
Aug 4, 2008
2421 posts
490 upvotes
Toronto
sm30 wrote:
Nov 13th, 2017 7:23 pm
I am new to the whole NAS thing and am looking to set one up. I have narrowed it down to the following models below, unless someone suggests another unit that's better. I decided to go a step up from the entry models for future proofing.

I am looking for advice on which model to go with, keeping in mind reliability and price.

Western Digital My Cloud PR2100
SYNOLOGY DS218+
SYNOLOGY DS218

Thanks
What's the purpose?

Just to hold locally shared files? Plex? Details would help.
Deal Addict
Nov 18, 2005
4371 posts
773 upvotes
Kitchener
What do you want it to do? Run apps like Plex and itunes or just be a file server? I have a DS213j and it's too slow for most apps, but it's been a great file server. I have a USB drive connected to it that it automatically backs up everything every couple of days. If you want more than a file server the DS218+ is the one to buy
[OP]
Newbie
Nov 16, 2008
73 posts
Brampton
Gee wrote:
Nov 13th, 2017 7:32 pm
I always suggest building your own. But if you have to go with a prebuilt, get the Synology

Whatever you do, don’t buy the 218. You need more than 2 bays. The minimum should be 4 bays
Any particular reason(s) for not buying the 218/218+?

Can you give me an example of why 2 bays are not enough?
[OP]
Newbie
Nov 16, 2008
73 posts
Brampton
rebel_rfd wrote:
Nov 13th, 2017 8:29 pm
What's the purpose?

Just to hold locally shared files? Plex? Details would help.
I will start off with locally shared files, and backup of personal pictures/files etc. As I learn more and get into it I will most likely do more with it.
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2004
25391 posts
2750 upvotes
East Gwillimbury
sm30 wrote:
Nov 13th, 2017 11:36 pm
Any particular reason(s) for not buying the 218/218+?

Can you give me an example of why 2 bays are not enough?
You can't do RAID5 with 2 drives.

Your only options are stripe or mirror. If you stripe, you get speed but no redundancy. If you mirror, you get redundancy, but you don't get any space. It's basically a single drive.
Deal Addict
Aug 4, 2008
2421 posts
490 upvotes
Toronto
sm30 wrote:
Nov 13th, 2017 11:36 pm
Any particular reason(s) for not buying the 218/218+?

Can you give me an example of why 2 bays are not enough?
Redundancy.

If one drive fails, there goes everything.

Better to go with a 4 bay setup, easier to upgrade too, since you can replace one drive at a time to rebuild and migrate the array.
[OP]
Newbie
Nov 16, 2008
73 posts
Brampton
rebel_rfd wrote:
Nov 13th, 2017 11:48 pm
Redundancy.

If one drive fails, there goes everything.

Better to go with a 4 bay setup, easier to upgrade too, since you can replace one drive at a time to rebuild and migrate the array.
For a 2 bay setup using RAID1, you can still swap out a drive if one fails correct? From the link Gee posted that's my understanding.
Deal Addict
Aug 4, 2008
2421 posts
490 upvotes
Toronto
sm30 wrote:
Nov 14th, 2017 11:25 am
For a 2 bay setup using RAID1, you can still swap out a drive if one fails correct? From the link Gee posted that's my understanding.
Yes, but its not worthwhile investing into a NAS for just two bays.

Get a Mediasonic instead to keep costs down.

Like he said, Raid 0 you get speed boosts because it takes both drives and makes it into. Raid 1, you lose the one drive since one drive is being copied onto the other.

Going 3 or more is best for backup and peace of mind.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Oct 14, 2010
843 posts
328 upvotes
Barrie ON
Last year I read a thread here on RFD where the OP had been told that if he put his data on a backup drive, he would never lose it. He went to Best Buy and purchased a device that said "backup drive" right on the package. Apparently he went home and moved all his photos, music, and gigabytes of other data that he wanted to keep forever onto the "backup drive". Well, suprisingly the "backup drive" failed a few months later and he lost everything. He was complaining on RFD that "backup drives" were just a gimick because he still lost everthing.

For those that didn't catch the humor here, you need to know that making a backup requires keeping your data on two or more different physical locations. In fact everyone should follow the 3-2-1 rule. Have at least 3 copies of your data, store it on 2 different types of media, and keep 1 copy offsite. This gentleman thought that buying a "backup drive" would guarantee his data forever.

In this current thread I hope the OP intends to backup all the personal files on his computer to his NAS. Better yet would be to make a disk image and save that on his NAS. This procedure now gives him 2 copies of his data, one on the computer and the 2nd on the NAS. He still hasn't met the 3-2-1 recommendation.

So what value does a more expensive 4-bay NAS bring to the table.

A 2 bay NAS can hold a lot of data with a couple of large drives, so if you can get enough data on a 2 bay NAS to meet your requirements, then I suggest saving your money and just buy a Synology 2-Bay model. When a drive in the 2-bay NAS fails (both drives are mounted as separate volumes), you rebuild the replacement by copying data back from your primary location. If you are mirroring the 2 drives, then the replacement drive will be rebuilt automatically. Of course mirroring costs you 50% of your total disk space, and the only benefit is the automatic rebuilding of a replacement drive. If the NAS is stolen, or burns up, you have lost all your data, and a cheaper NAS. If the NAS controller develops a defect, it could just write garbage across both drives making the mirror useless and causing total data loss.

By getting a 4-bay NAS and running Raid 5, I don't think it makes your data any more secure. This configuration only provides a single backup location, making it no more reliable than a 2-bay NAS. In fact with double the number of drives, there sould be twice the number of disk failures. When a drive fails in the 4-bay NAS (all running as separate volumes) you rebuild the new one by copying data back from your primary location. If you are running Raid 5,then the replacement drive will be rebuilt automatically. but at cost of 33% of your total disk space. So once again the only benefit of raid is the automatic rebuilding of a replacement drive. If the NAS is stolen or burns up, you have lost all your data and an expensive NAS. If the NAS controller develops a defect, it could just write garbage across all 4 drives making the array useless and causing total data loss. A big disadvantage of Raid5 in a 4-bay NAS, is that you will see lower performance from your NAS server because of the large number of write operations because of the parity overhead.

So to summarize the differences, a 4-bay NAS costs more and it will run slower when using Raid5. A Raid5 array in a 4-bay device will use 33% of your disk space vs 50% for mirroring in a 2-bay unit. Four drives in NAS will fail twice as often as two drives. In the event of fire or theft or controller meltdown, you will lose all your data in either size NAS. A 4-bay NAS does make your data any more secure than a 2-bay NAS.

My recommendation (in fact what I am doing) is to get a 2-bay Synology and mount the drives as separate volumes. There are a large number of add-on packages made for Synology. One of them being "Cloud Sync". Cloudsync can automatically backup selected folders on your NAS to Cloud backup services like Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox,etc. If you have some free accounts at these locations, you might already have enough space for your backups. By doing this you meet the 3-2-1 rule by getting your 3rd backup, on different media, at an offsite location. Other Synology add-ons include a web server and VPN server, and File Station which allows remote access to all your files.

In addition to the 2-Bay Synology, I re-used an inexpensive Western Digital "My Cloud" NAS. The total cost was less than a 4-Bay Synology, and the WD counts as a third backup location. You can let the Synology serve your files and run it's add-on packages, while you hide the cheaper WD somewhere in your house where it is less likely to get stolen or burn up in a fire. The Synology can back up all it's data automatically to the WD, using Rsync protocol, or you can do it from the PC at the same time you make the Synology backup. As an alternative you can alternate backups between the 2 NAS's to give you a couple of historical version to recover from.
Deal Addict
May 2, 2010
2196 posts
1536 upvotes
Markham
sm30 wrote:
Nov 13th, 2017 11:41 pm
I will start off with locally shared files, and backup of personal pictures/files etc. As I learn more and get into it I will most likely do more with it.
I started NAS with a cheapo DLINK DNS-320L (2 bays) and it does all the things you mentioned.
I have since not found any other NAS features I need.
http://shop.us.dlink.com/shop/d-link-sh ... -320l.html

Start from basic is my recommendation.
Deal Fanatic
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Aug 23, 2004
7709 posts
1217 upvotes
London
Gee wrote:
Nov 13th, 2017 7:32 pm
I always suggest building your own. But if you have to go with a prebuilt, get the Synology

Whatever you do, don’t buy the 218. You need more than 2 bays. The minimum should be 4 bays
+1 to Synology and 4 bays, I have a DS413 with three 4TB drive and one 3TB drive, storing all my MP4 which I convert from my VHS tapes collection, DVD ISO from my DVD collection and Bluray (not as much) ISO to play them via Kodi with my Nexus player.
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2004
25391 posts
2750 upvotes
East Gwillimbury
apvm wrote:
Nov 14th, 2017 6:23 pm
+1 to Synology and 4 bays, I have a DS413 with three 4TB drive and one 3TB drive,
Are you running a RAID on the three 4 terabyte drives?

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