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Windows 7: Recommendations for NAS

10 Jun 2013   #1

Win 7-64
Recommendations for NAS

After concluding that I cannot afford an LTO-5 tape backup (who can?) and learning that BDXL Blu-Ray is just too darned tricky, I have settled on the obvious - a NAS. OK, now here's my problem. Every NAS seems to get both positive and negative reviews, the negative ones I believe to be coming from home users who are not tech savvy.

Briefly my requirements are simple:

1) 2 bays - that will accommodate 2 X 3 TB or 2 X 4 TB HDD's
2) A diskless NAS - I prefer to buy my HDD's separately

The major NAS manufacturers (most respected) are:

1) Synology Synology DiskStation 2-Bay (Diskless) Network Attached Storage DS213

2) Netgear

3) Iomega

4) Qnap

5) Buffalo

Right now I'm leaning toward the Syology (hence the link).

What do you more knowledgeable guys think? I could really use some sage advice here.

One final and critical question: I built a computer for a kid (misguided altruism) who turned out to be more interested in being a rap music star or debuting on the TV show First 48 Hours.

Anyway this computer is pretty nice: ASUS M5A97 Evo - AM3+ - 970 - SATA 6Gbps and USB 3.0 with an AMD Quad Core CPU and 8 GB DDR-3 RAM.

If I sell it on eBay, I probably won't get my money back. So my question:

Would I be better off to buy the Snology that I mentioned before or should I just download the NAS software and load this computer with lots of HDD's?

My System SpecsSystem Spec

11 Jun 2013   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ult. x64 Windows 8.1 x64

It would be far cheaper to buy additional disks for the existing computer - you could create a RAID or JBOD if you require, or just use the disks as normal. You can't download specific NAS software - this software is actually the operating system that the NAS uses.

Use the existing PC as your backup, use SyncToy to perform the backups.

SyncToy - Backup User Data
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jun 2013   #3

Win 7-64

Thanks for the direction to SynToy. Actually I bought and have used Allway Sync, which I absolutely love. They both do the same thing, however - and may be better than what I'm going to say next. First of all I'm going DIY for sure, but:

Now that I'm drilling down into NAS, I have found:

1) ZFS is best for NAS and that Windows Server 2012 file system is or is not ....?

"ZFS does away with the concept of disk volumes, partitions and disk provisioning by adopting pooled storage, where all available hard drives in a system are essentially joined together. The combined bandwidth of the pooled devices is available to ZFS, which effectively maximizes storage space, speed and availability."

OK, this makes sense for speed, but not for security. Also, what the heck happens if you fill up 2 hard drives, for example, and then add a third? Also, also, also ... what would I do if/when one of my hdd's dies??

2) Openfiler is somewhat broken and clunky.

3) The new name for FreeNAS is NAS4Free

4) OMV (Open Media Vault) is new and untested

Here are my concerns:

1) I don't want to ascend any more learning curves than is absolutely necessary.

2) Eventually I want to architect my website to go on my paid-for URL (

3) Linux (Ubuntu) which I am just now learning is of course Open Source. Most iterations of Windows I have used and know well enough. So in that sense Windows Server 2012 would be the easiest to learn for me, but then there would be licensing to worry about if I use it for a commercial website. Not with Linux though.

So it kind of looks like dedicated NAS software is a dead-end street. And that it's more of a choice between Linux and Windows Server 2012 for my NAS.


However, as you suggested, I could keep it simple, stupid, and just use Allway Sync (or SynToy). That way I could control the hard drives I write to for backup. That might be too stupidly simple and obvious for me to have even considered. I just put NAS in my head and went from there.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

11 Jun 2013   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ult. x64 Windows 8.1 x64

I toyed with a NAS once, just for backups - a cheap version called a Thecus with 2 x 1TB drives in a RAID1. I was bitterly dissapointed - the documentation was poor, the connection speeds terrible and the unit in general was a bit flaky.

I removed the disks and built a RAID5 in my spare desktop and it has been flawless, so I've never gone back.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jun 2013   #5

Windows 7 Professional 64bit SP1

Qnap NAS's are suppose to be really good. Any decent diskless NAS will work fine, the trick is getting HDD's that are NAS compatible.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jun 2013   #6

Win 7-64

Golden and KHBrady, very good to see you guys again. I recall you helping me much in the past.


1) HDD's that are NAS compatible: I thought Western Digital RED were just fine.

2) Also, I've been reading and it kind of seems that for a NAS OS it's a choice between Linux (Ubuntu) and Windows Server 2012. Because I don't want to get into licensing costs when I finally set up my website (Plus Linux/Unix seem to be better for ftp, etc., just better and more "acceptable", for website hosting) plus I'm thinking of migrating to Linux anyway, I might be better off going with Linux?

Please feel free to hit me on the head with a large mallet, if you think I'm being idiotic (again).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jun 2013   #7

Windows 7 Professional 64bit SP1

Yeah, the WD Red drives are made for NAS's, but I've read some really sketchy reviews of them. If you aren't having to make every penny count, get some WD or Seagate Enterprise grade drives. Or check out the new Seagate NAS drives.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jun 2013   #8

Win 7-64

"I've read some really sketchy reviews of them."

Yep, I read the same reviews myself. It seems that many people on SevenForums, probably because I'm a newcomer, have profiled me as being completely ignorant. Well, in some ways we all are.

As for hard drives, I've been buying them, lots actually, for 25 years. I can tell you who used to be good and who is good now. As for who is good now, the emphatic answer is nobody - not WD or Seagate, and no matter the price. Why? Well, it depends on where the drives are made. If they are made in Thailand, they are reliable. If they are made in China, well as Clint Eastwood said, "Do you feel lucky ..?"

I can honestly tell you that I will buy WD Red, because of the architecture being specific to NAS. Also, I currently have about 30 TB of WD HDD's (1, 2, and 3 TB internal and external) - and I have never had one fail over the years.

WD Red is a specialized hard disk drive, designed for use in NAS systems where only sequential accesses matter, especially large sequential accesses. Its other features like vibration-control, lower noise and thermal output as well as low power consumption are attractive, even to desktop users. However, it would be a very bad idea to use a WD Red as your desktop's boot or system hard disk drive, because its poor random access performance will make your system feel slower than an equivalent WD Green drive.

But you should heed Western Digital's recommendation for using only up to five WD Red drives in a single NAS unit. While it is possible to load your larger NAS units with more than five WD Red drives, the lack of more advanced vibration control may result in lower reliability. For NAS units that use more than 5 drives, Western Digital recommends their new enterprise-grade Western Digital RE drives.
Please do read the reviews. You will see that the WD Red and the Enterprise both fail, usually out of the box - and that's convenient. With Enterprise I will pay lots of money for concierge service. If a hard drive fails, I could care less about how good the service is, if all my files are lost.

OK, thus endeth my mini-sermon for the day.

Any thoughts on Linux as a NAS OS? I think I'm kinda answering my own question there, if that doesn't sound too presumptuous. Linux is the best choice for a website; it's free; and the Ubuntu forum is super helpful.

As is SevenForums where most everyone really tries to help. Thank you for helping me in my decision-making process. And Linux ...?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jun 2013   #9

Windows 7 Professional 64bit SP1

I understand, I just was throwing out options. I guess as far as the OS, it is really what you are comfortable using and if you are using it for anything specific, making sure it works with Linux. Linux is a popular choice for NAS' for a reason, more than likely.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jun 2013   #10

Win 7-64

Linux is a popular choice for NAS' for a reason, more than likely.
kbrady1979, you have always been very kind and helpful.

I was coming to that conclusion as well. And what does that mean? Well, it means that life goes on and I still have something new to learn. I guess that's good.

Thank you so much. I shall bother you fellows no more - today at least. This is one helluva great forum btw - lots of smart and helpful people here.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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