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help me decide between HP microserver vs Synology NAS


capall
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Hi all,

I'm new to this server stuff and trying to decide between an off the shelf NAS or a WHS box. My needs and decision points are listed below. I'm not looking for a "which is best answer", which is a poor question, but trying to get pros/cons/features of each so I can make my own decision. Thanks

 

I've narrowed it down to Synology DS212j with 2x2TB drives mirrored and the HP microserver, same drives. I'd like an off the shelf solution rather than build my own, (the microserver seems to be the only budget WHS at the moment)

 

1. Backup 2 laptops and store images

2. Be able to restore an image to a new drive installed in a laptop, when the existing one fails

3. Space requirements are about 2TB for near future (30GB files, 300GB music, 50GB photos, videos starting out)

4. Would like mirroring to reduce down time when a drive fails

5. Stream video, photos, music for playback, to htpc or media player, max 2 streams at the same time

6. Would run client backup each night, and probably server backup to external drive also

 

Q's

1. How do you back up the data in each unit (I'm viewing my mirror as ..not a real backup), just a case of attaching a ext. USB or esata drive?

2. can you easily back up the WHS OS in case of drive failure?...downtime is not critical, so mirror not required

3. What happens when a system component fails in the NAS..dead in the water? vs the same happening to the microserver (ie motherboard fries). (Understand the microserver is more servicable than the NAS)

4. Do either monitor drive health and is it that important

5. Should I just get the NAS for now, and wait and see what happens with Windows 8 (server)

 

Thanks

capall

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  1. you are correct; RAID of any level is not a substitute for a good backup. RAID provides resiliency, not redundancy. I have a 5-bay Lian-Li EX-503 external eSATA box for my nearline backup. I also have 2 sets of drives for offsite backup. I backup to 1 set each night, then swap it for the other set at the offsite location which, of course, comes back to my place for the next nightly backup. The EX-503 is connected eSATA and the 2 drive sets get plugged into Thermaltake eSATA disk docks.
  2. yes, you can back up the WHS OS drive. WHS2011 has that feature built in.
  3. this is when you find out how good your backup strategy is ;) Seriously, if you have your main data pool on a RAID add-in card, you can migrate the raid array(s) to a new server. pcdoc has stated several times that this works well with RocketRaid cards.
  4. I don't think either provide good disk monitoring themselves (someone else may know better). I keep hoping CoveCube will release Stablebit Scanner for WHS2011 as it seemed to be a really good ongoing disk monitor.
  5. I feel pretty sure that any box capable of running WHS2011 will also be able to run Windows 8 Server.

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I think the only RAID levels offered by the MicroServer are RAID 0 and 1. The hardware requirements for Server 8/2012 are the same as 2008.

 

No way to install a RAID Card in the HP box. All the drives plug directly into the backplane. Well, you can install it, just not use one.

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I agree with ikon that RAID is no substitute for backups. A RAID provides fault tolerance allowing you to lose 1 or more drives depending on the RAID, and not lose your data. If you delete a file on a mirror, the file is deleted off of both mirrors, no backup.

 

NAS vs WHS is comparing a network attached drive to a network server providing services. WHS 2011 gives a complete file server package for a small group of users, a much more robust environment.

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thanks guys,

yes, microserver is only raid 0,1...which is fine for the moment as I'm just starting out, I only have about 350GB, and should be a while till I get to 2TB

 

on the microserver, even with another 2GB RAM it can't really do transcoding (which I don't know if I would need it). I know that you would have a full server OS in it, but it seems like its just a slight upgrade to a NAS but with the hassles of maintaining a server OS. I almost feel that if I needed a full server OS then that would push me towards a more powerful box (core i3), especially if its the only server.

 

Whs also has a 2TB backup limit which brings me back to the idea of say a dual bay nas, with 2 or 3TB drives mirrored.

 

good comment on the mirror operation, "If you delete a file on a mirror, the file is deleted off of both mirrors, no backup."

 

 

There's also the cost

DS212j is $200 and can handle 2-3 streams at a time

Microserver is $200-270, +another $40 for 2GB ram

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Some arguments for the Synology approach.

The Synology box supports Amazon S3 if you need an offline storage mechanism. It DOES provide good hard drive status monitoring. It will give you the health of your drives via smart data. I've found it to be very good in this area.

PC backups will be data only on the Synology. WHS blows it away in this comparison but you can run 3rd party software to accomplish image backups.

 

If you start with the Synology NAS you can always build a WHS later. You can then use it to backup your WHS shares. It will always be useful even with a WHS in the household. Read up on the box at the synology website especially about the hard drives you plan on putting into it. They have some good info.

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thanks dave, good points

yes, amazon S3 would be a good option for critical backup,

So I would use, for example acronis for image backup to the nas? whereas whs has this built in,correct?

So no problem connecting a nas to my whs as a backup?

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You can use a Synology as backup storage for the WHS or to extend it's storage. Acronis is a good choice and a lot of guys here use it. WHS is built in and it works. It works great. The biggest benefit of it vs anything else is it's ability to use single instance storage. If PC backups and imaging are your number 1 concern I don't think you can go wrong with WHS.

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Hi all,

I'm new to this server stuff and trying to decide between an off the shelf NAS or a WHS box. My needs and decision points are listed below. I'm not looking for a "which is best answer", which is a poor question, but trying to get pros/cons/features of each so I can make my own decision. Thanks

 

I've narrowed it down to Synology DS212j with 2x2TB drives mirrored and the HP microserver, same drives. I'd like an off the shelf solution rather than build my own, (the microserver seems to be the only budget WHS at the moment)

 

1. Backup 2 laptops and store images

2. Be able to restore an image to a new drive installed in a laptop, when the existing one fails

3. Space requirements are about 2TB for near future (30GB files, 300GB music, 50GB photos, videos starting out)

4. Would like mirroring to reduce down time when a drive fails

5. Stream video, photos, music for playback, to htpc or media player, max 2 streams at the same time

6. Would run client backup each night, and probably server backup to external drive also

 

Q's

1. How do you back up the data in each unit (I'm viewing my mirror as ..not a real backup), just a case of attaching a ext. USB or esata drive?

2. can you easily back up the WHS OS in case of drive failure?...downtime is not critical, so mirror not required

3. What happens when a system component fails in the NAS..dead in the water? vs the same happening to the microserver (ie motherboard fries). (Understand the microserver is more servicable than the NAS)

4. Do either monitor drive health and is it that important

5. Should I just get the NAS for now, and wait and see what happens with Windows 8 (server)

 

Thanks

capall

 

The book Windows Home Server 2011 Unleashed is a good resource also:

 

1&2 check the video's on SBS and SBSe 2011 at http://homeserversho...s-for-sbs-2011/ which are very simular to WHS 2011 and they show you how you will work in it

1 you can set up automatic back ups to an external drive like a WD Essential 2TB -- get two and you can/should rotate the backup drives off site -- I rotate mine to my Safety deposit box. the videos will show you how to do a Raid 1(in software in WHS 2011) AND set up automatic backups

2 yes, the Videos will show you how to back up the OS and your client backup's backups

3 the microserver can be repaired just about anywhere that repairs HP's

4 Yes it is important. you can use Stable bit scanner on WHS 2011, SBS 2011, SBSe 2011 http://stablebit.com/

5 both have their plus and minus

 

Another consideration -- in a few months HP will likely release a new MicroServer with a N54L which will improve it's CPU performance significantly.

 

Though, For basic server applications the N40L is very good IMHO. So far I've loaded a SSD in mine for the OS drive and am running 2008R2-Enterprise on it -- it's very stable and was easy to load.

 

Check Jazzerjay's latest post at http://homeserversho...?showtopic=3541 on running WHS 2011 and ESXi. A number of other people on this forum are running WHS 2011 on MicroServers. For instance Tim Delano has some good videos at http://usingwindowsh...-video-edition/

 

Also check out the posts in the MicroServer sub forum.

 

In the MicroServer sub forum check out the links to the forums in the N40L user groups (in England and Australia) and all the different systems they are building. http://homeserversho...roserver-links/

Edited by Joe_Miner
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