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NAS - Build, buy, or what?


Jazman
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I wasn't really thinking about Plex. There seems to be some forum members that like blending a media server and an HTPC. At face value the ASUSTOR seem to be a good fit.

Agreed but for those that are thinking they are going to run Plex Media Server on this box I wanted to make it very clear that its not a good fit. Its a great looking box for storage though and just another alternative for Synology or QNAP.

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my build was documented in this post from back in August

 

http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/9835-low-power-consumption-quiet-operation-windows-10-home-server/

 

I ran the passmark benchmark when I first got the system fired up  and that is what I got

 

in any event,  it transcodes a MKV blue ray rip  right to a Roku 3 without any issues -  but only single 

Al thanks for the update, I am not sure y you got the PassMark score you got back then for the J1900 but its clearly not correct. Well based on the PassMark score of 1885 for the J1900 and the Plex specs one stream of a BD is correct but I have also seen post that users are getting more then one stream for the J1900 and that's y I ordered one for in-house testing so we shell see just what this J1900 will do. I will post my results in the media forum with in the next week or so.

Edited by itGeeks
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Windows 10 and Plex both server & client. How many streams will you be running @once from Plex? How many of those streams will be direct-play vs trans-coding?

 

1-2 streams at most. Given my Plex library is already in mp4 DVD quality video will significant transcoding be needed. Most of the time we view

everything through the FireTV in the living room. Rarely a 2nd stream on a mobile device.

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1-2 streams at most. Given my Plex library is already in mp4 DVD quality video will significant transcoding be needed. Most of the time we view

everything through the FireTV in the living room. Rarely a 2nd stream on a mobile device.

mp4 is a good start but there is still many factors that could invoke trans-coding. If is was ripped using the correct profile for the devices that are playing it then chances are you could be OK but if something is wrong Plex will try and trans-code it. If you where using the "Plex Home Theater" app soon to be "Plex Media Player" then it could do direct-play and in this case no trans-coding would need to be done. With all other Plex apps like FireTV, Roku, ect the device needs to support the codec or trans-coding will take place unlike when using there full blown 'Home Theater" app. Plex refers to this as "Light Client" Device needs to have the supported codec and "Fat Client" client does not need to support the codec because "Plex Home Theater" as all the codecs built-in.

 

My Gigabyte NUC with the J1900 Celeron came in yesterday :) I just need a bit of time for getting it up and running and doing some heavy testing with Plex to see what it can/cant do. I will report back in the media forums how it went so stay tuned.

Edited by itGeeks
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1-2 streams at most. Given my Plex library is already in mp4 DVD quality video will significant transcoding be needed. Most of the time we view

everything through the FireTV in the living room. Rarely a 2nd stream on a mobile device.

Also If you have not done so install the Plex Channel and have a listen to there podcast, It talks about all this hardware stuff. Its worth a listen. :)

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Note: As this seems to have veered off course slightly I am going to ignore most of the discussion above, specifically the talk around streaming media

 

Having skimmed through the posts I am surprised that no one has mentioned support, and I am not just talking hardware or software here. Looking at it from a professional point of view (as this is the kind of BS I take on in my time to help out family and friends companies) and as this is essentially a business use scenario, I would strongly suggest staying away from a "cobbled" together system, and recommend you go with a commercial solution (I am a Synology fanboy so therefore I would use them personally) I have used their tech in many places including deployment in large corporate and government sites in the past few years, and I am yet to have a problem with it.

 

So why this emphasis on support, what happens if you get hit by a bus, drown or otherwise meet an untimely demise whilst on your way to fix this system that has gone tits-up. Is there someone in the local area (ideally a professional, as they are on-call where as enthusiasts, volunteers, etc and others are not always available) that could manage the system. With a Synology, QNAP, Windows Server (NOT home server), FreeNAS, etc the answer would be yes there is someone around who can manage it in an emergency, this is not necessarily true of a "custom" system, this is why I have started to remove my custom implementations at smaller sites and even at home for the generic storage (my home lab is another matter). Although many of these sites have small custom tweaks to their systems to do things they want, these are not part of the main system are are designed for graceful failover.

 

Therefore I recommend a commercially available solution as (like I said I am a Synology fanboy so I am referencing their tech here)

 

It can achieve either through official or unofficial packages what you are trying to achieve above with things such as;

 

  1. Sharing files out via SMB therefore Windows, OSX, and other *nix based systems can access it. It is essentially as many of these devices are, a cut down and customised *nix distrobution.
  2. Crashplan can be installed by a third-party application and is therefore able to be used, through either the VPN as mentioned below, opening a port or SSH tunneling you can even manage it remotely.
  3. VPN server is a standard package, I have not configured one yet but I do believe it is easy enough. Then just need to poke some holes in the NAT to get it working.
  4. Replication of specific folders: I do not know if it is capable of doing this, perhaps if you can create and run a cronjob or similar it could be achieved, it certainly does the RAID as requested as well, and their SHR software raid system seems quite good a reliable. I have not had any issues with it so far.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey guys - Just an update on this with where I stand.  Thanks Shadow for bringing this back on topic!

 

I've decided to go with a pre-built solution.  Ease of support for me is the main reason but also since others might support it down the road.  I haven't decided 100% between QNAP and Synology but leaning strongly toward Synology since their software seems more solid than QNAP.  I'm going to watch for sales over the next few days and see what comes up as making the most sense financially and need/want.

 

Question:  For the drives, I have a few WD green drives that only have a 20 hours or so on them.  Will these work at all in a Synology and QNAP or do I REQUIRE reds?  Performance is not a concern for this application.  Any sort of mediocre transfer rate would do.  It would allow me to re-purpose those and then get some new stuff for my personal use.

 

Because the second thing I'm now looking at is the home solution.  I'm using WHS V1 and should be updating that system before it implodes.  I don't care about client backups.  I use the shared storage feature completely.  This is an application where selective data replication would be strongly desired.  For example, I want to duplicate my photos and files, but not waste the space duplicating movies and TV shows.  I use Crashplan to off-site files and photos as well (this one is actually a crashplan subscription stored on their servers).  QNAP may be a better solution for home where I want performance at a better price and can manage any difficulties in software myself.  

 

Keith

 

 

Note: As this seems to have veered off course slightly I am going to ignore most of the discussion above, specifically the talk around streaming media

 

Having skimmed through the posts I am surprised that no one has mentioned support, and I am not just talking hardware or software here. Looking at it from a professional point of view (as this is the kind of BS I take on in my time to help out family and friends companies) and as this is essentially a business use scenario, I would strongly suggest staying away from a "cobbled" together system, and recommend you go with a commercial solution (I am a Synology fanboy so therefore I would use them personally) I have used their tech in many places including deployment in large corporate and government sites in the past few years, and I am yet to have a problem with it.

 

So why this emphasis on support, what happens if you get hit by a bus, drown or otherwise meet an untimely demise whilst on your way to fix this system that has gone tits-up. Is there someone in the local area (ideally a professional, as they are on-call where as enthusiasts, volunteers, etc and others are not always available) that could manage the system. With a Synology, QNAP, Windows Server (NOT home server), FreeNAS, etc the answer would be yes there is someone around who can manage it in an emergency, this is not necessarily true of a "custom" system, this is why I have started to remove my custom implementations at smaller sites and even at home for the generic storage (my home lab is another matter). Although many of these sites have small custom tweaks to their systems to do things they want, these are not part of the main system are are designed for graceful failover.

 

Therefore I recommend a commercially available solution as (like I said I am a Synology fanboy so I am referencing their tech here)

 

It can achieve either through official or unofficial packages what you are trying to achieve above with things such as;

 

  1. Sharing files out via SMB therefore Windows, OSX, and other *nix based systems can access it. It is essentially as many of these devices are, a cut down and customised *nix distrobution.
  2. Crashplan can be installed by a third-party application and is therefore able to be used, through either the VPN as mentioned below, opening a port or SSH tunneling you can even manage it remotely.
  3. VPN server is a standard package, I have not configured one yet but I do believe it is easy enough. Then just need to poke some holes in the NAT to get it working.
  4. Replication of specific folders: I do not know if it is capable of doing this, perhaps if you can create and run a cronjob or similar it could be achieved, it certainly does the RAID as requested as well, and their SHR software raid system seems quite good a reliable. I have not had any issues with it so far.

 

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I cannot comment on the WD greens as I have not had anything but issues with WD but I can state that you would be better going with something designed for the job, rather than something that is not. I will however caveat this with stating I have used desktop class, and now archive drives all working correctly without issue, and a RAID design further reduces the risk of data loss. Depending on the number of drives once you get to 8 I would highly recommend a 2 drive redundancy.

 

As for the home solution, it really depends on your technical competence and your willingness to hack a solution together, therefore this decision can only be made by you. The device may be able to use a cronjob or similar to do sync (I have used custom PHP/batch/shell scripts in the past to achieve similar things) personally however I achieve limited replication (between devices not drives/partitions) utilizing BT sync

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Just to close the loop - I ended up ordering a Synology DS215j for my church application ($192 shipped).  I ended up ordering a QNAP TS-451 (1Gb variant) to try for home ($330 shipped).  I know the TS-451+ was also on sale but it was $105 more (+30%) and I couldn't see enough in the specs to justify it. 

 

I haven't decided what to do about drives quite yet, but those are regularly on sale.  I've got some things I can start playing with so we'll see how it goes!

 

Thanks for the input and insight.

Keith

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Just to close the loop - I ended up ordering a Synology DS215j for my church application ($192 shipped).  I ended up ordering a QNAP TS-451 (1Gb variant) to try for home ($330 shipped).  I know the TS-451+ was also on sale but it was $105 more (+30%) and I couldn't see enough in the specs to justify it. 

 

I haven't decided what to do about drives quite yet, but those are regularly on sale.  I've got some things I can start playing with so we'll see how it goes!

 

Thanks for the input and insight.

Keith

The DS215j is very low powered, If your only going to use this for a small number of peoples storage then you probably fine. I would use something like the DS215j as a backup target. As for the QNAP TS-451 vs TS-451+ There is a very big difference in the RAM + Processor and in my humble opinion worth every bit of the 105.00 more depending on what your going to use it for https://www.qnap.com/i/en/product/contrast.php?cp%5B%5D=196&cp%5B%5D=143

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