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nrf

how many NAS applicances / home servers are enough?

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nrf

I'm not sure where the best place is for this topic as it is not specific to one particular hardware or software platform...

 

Suppose one had a pile of servers (or smart NAS devices etc.) available to them, and a set of functions to be performed... how would they best be applied to the task?

 

I've watched some threads over the years where someone tried to cram an obsessive number of hard disks into a single micro sized case, suggesting one server does it all for them. Others try to cram many VMs into a single box suggesting they need different functions to be on separate OS instances yet desire only a single "box" for them.

 

there are trade-offs here such as each box be it virtual or physical requires 'administration', and each hardware box consumes power, as well as the impact on your functionality in the event a single box should fail.

 

and in thinking about this subject, many of the NAS products these days appear nearly indistinguishable from a home server so I think the scope is still appropriate for the 'reset' forum...

 

should I be "proud of" getting all my functions into a single NAS or server box? only one thing to power, watch over, and provide backup for, but if it stops I lose all the functions at once. Should I be calmed by the fact that if my client backup solution gets a hardware problem my security videos continue to get saved on another box? or maybe I should look at redundancy technology...

 

anyone think about this stuff when they can't sleep at night?

Edited by nrf
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ShadowPeo

How long is a piece of string? There is honestly no "right" answer for this what is right for one is not going to be for someone else.

 

Personally, I have multiple NAS devices at multiple sites and also run multiple servers of various configurations to achieve what I want, and ultimately I will probably end up with one server at home, with two NAS devices but that is not set in stone.

 

I want to consolidate as much as I can on to as few servers as possible, and utilising virtualisation on one "large" server is more viable for me than to utilise multiple small servers. My advantage on this is most of my clients renew servers every 3-5 years so I can pick up some ex-Lease servers that are in an excellent condition where they have been kept on UPS power and air-conditioned environment their entire life for cents on the dollar. On top of these virtualized servers, I also use a Docker container system to further reduce my overhead on physical requirements. In my case, I need the processing power of these higher end boxes to do some work at home occasionally, but also to enable some functions for family use that simply require raw horsepower, transcoding 4K Blu-Ray streams on the fly for one, even with a higher end NAS taking care of it, it still struggles transcoding and it is not unusual to get warnings and have it stop transcoding if left to run on the NAS itself.

 

Some of the NVR and Home Automation software I have been trying also requires some serious processing at times. Storage is also a large requirement hence the larger NAS devices and HDD's

 

I am also aware that for home use I need to keep it as simple as possible as if I get hit by a bus whilst on my way to work for instance it is going to be up to someone else to manage and maintain the system for my family

 

I have (partially) mirrored NAS's at four different locations (two are at home, one in an outbuilding about 100 meters from the main house) for data with external HDD for backups.

 

Whilst I advocate for consolidation and simplicity and believe NAS's especially when coupled with systems such as Docker can achieve most things for most home uses, with the best outcomes, this is not always the case as I said above, my situation is my situation and it is not right (or wrong) for anyone else.

 

Having said that I would love to get Synology to offer some decent hardware specs at a reasonable price, something in the i3 or i5 range with 8-16 gig for transcoding would be fantastic

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ShadowPeo

Cloud storage/infrastructure is fine until the internet goes down. I utilise it for some things but these are either non-critical services that do not matter if the internet is down, or they are services that help but do not affect anything locally if they do not work

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JackoUK

The architectures I have found work, or not so much, are:

 

1. Everything in one box is typically dangerous (SPOF), compromised (good for storage but bad for virtualisation) and expensive (e.g. server licenses). Not going there.

 

2. A minimum working set for home use (i.e. not an SMB setup in a pros home, as at Tinkertry or ServeTheHome) consists of a 'workstation' for power jobs: graphics, virtualisation, ... with SSD storage, CPU power and memory; an inexpensive storage server; with some external media to take data offsite. NAS boxes are convenient but expensive (which is why the HP Microserver was such a success) and cloud storage is very expensive (which is why all the unlimited options have died out).

 

3. RAID is fine for availability ... but why not 2 identical  storage servers? Scale out not up. My 4 microservers cost £600 (OK I was lucky with the Windows licenses because I followed existing Win 7, £25 to Win 8 Pro, free to Win 10 Pro).

[I think the days of a microserver for £125 have gone.]

 

4. One can trick out a microserver to add disks (good) ... but a faster CPU? I'd spend that money upgrading my workstation not adding unnecessary power to a storage server (which is why NAS boxes have such wimpy CPU's - you don't need much power to drive a storage box.

 

5. 10G networking is getting close now. I can see the logic in building an 8-disk RAID 5 storage or 4 column mirrored  Storage Space subsystem on a workstation and storage server ... and linking the two without the cost of a 10G switch i.e. treat the storage server as DAS: a sort of hyper-converged design without the all the clustering/virtualisation overhead and cost.

 

6. Containers. Interesting. But I tend to have one function in one low power box ... and only the boxes I'm using switched on.

 

7. I'm too lazy to move my storage boxes to *IX, which is where I think I should be: they only export shared folders.

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Dave
 

Having said that I would love to get Synology to offer some decent hardware specs at a reasonable price, something in the i3 or i5 range with 8-16 gig for transcoding would be fantastic

 

That sounds like a QNAP.  Synology seems to target lower end CPU's but have shown they can run higher end Intel processors.  QNAP shoves big CPU's into their boxes but they are so expensive I can't afford them.  When they do, they are usually a ton of drive slots further increasing the price.  I would also like to see a big CPU in a small package that can do media chores, VM's, etc.  Currently, the DS415+ is handling that for me although it is just an Atom CPU. 

 

To somewhat address the OP, I have chosen to minimize server and storage as much as possible.  So much that I have copied all my ripped DVD and blu-ray disks to a single HDD for offline storage.  If it dies on the shelf I still have the discs. It wont be the end of the world if I have to get up off my tush and put a disc in.  ;) 

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JackoUK

Other typical synthetics are:

 

Number of disks owned:desired = 1:2

Amount of data stored:accessed regularly = 10:1

 

:D 

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ShadowPeo

yup, that sounds about right. It's sad when you have 32TB of data and still need more space. I am getting more and more concerned about backing up the mass, media data as it would take ages to get it all back, never been an issue in the past but in my drive to get rid of physical disks its become more of an issue

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JackoUK

More detailed exposition of my view at

 

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Dave
 

The correct answer to the OP question is of course N+1 

 

Where N is the current number of servers owned :D

 

This post wins the week.  

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