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View Full Version : Which NAS to Purchase Along With Transporter



sammie
2006-10-13, 05:56
Hello, I'm looking to purchase a Transporter with an Infrant ReadyNAS system, but I'm not sure which NAS would be best. I hope to use this NAS as way to store my CD collection, but also eventually store movies, photos, other files, etc. Most important at this point, however, is the capability to work well with the Transporter. The NAS can be configured quite differently with various drives, memory etc, depending -of course- on how much $$$ one is willing to throw down. The newer NV models have Seagate Barracude ES Enterprise HDD drives, X-Raid, along with various memory confirgurations. Is it vital to get the newer more expensive series with the Barracuda HDD drives? Or will the regular Seagate drives do the job just fine? Also, how important is memory (which is quite expensive)? Some systems can be configured with 256MB all the way up to 1GB. Of course I think I already know the answer, more is better, but how much better? Thanks for your help!>

Heuer
2006-10-13, 06:32
Try the ReadyNAS NV which will hold 4 x 750gb disks. Only problem is the fan noise level precludes its use in a living room. You will need to house it in a basement, outhouse or attic. Later versions are shipping with a quieter fan but not sure how silent they are. Infrant also sell a Media Centre NAS which runs fanless but it is expensive.

The Seagate NV and Barracuda disks are hardened for NAS usage and are designed to run hotter and longer between failures. They are probably worth the extra money but it depends on how lucky you feel!

Qnap have the TS-401 which is the NV equivalent but I have no experience of it. The TS-101 works well (and is almost silent) but is currently limited to 500gb which is unlikely to be enough if you have a large lossless music collection and want to store video.

Main problems with a NAS device is the need for Slimserver to be embedded so you need to buy one with this feature.

Other thing to consider is the processors are very slow, enough for a NAS but they struggle with Slimserver 6.5 if you want to use the web interface. Adding memory (possible with ReadyNAS, difficult with Qnap) seems to have minimal effect on general performance. I upgraded my NV to 1Gb but Slimserver interface is no quicker than my standard TS-101.

The Transporter will place the same 'load' on the NAS as an SB3 so no need to be concerned about that.

LMonch
2006-10-13, 08:29
from the web site...

"... the four-bay NV+ adds several key features to the previous NV models, including a quieter design, LCD status window, and the RAIDiator 3.0 firmware that boasts enhanced power-saving features and improvements for Mac users..."

sammie
2006-10-13, 14:40
I did have my eye on the NV+, although it doesn't seem to have better/increased processing power, which makes me worry. Folks who have been using the Infrant set up seem to continue to report difficulties with the NAV running slimserver and streaming FLAC file music seamlessly. I did notice their fanless server, Repitoire, but this is too much money. BTW, the server will be housed in the basement with wireless router, so I'm not worried about the noise.

Chander
2006-10-13, 15:00
Just take a look at the Synology products. For me, it seems better than the ready NAs...

sammie
2006-10-13, 18:46
Chander, thanks. I looks like the Synology Server does not run Slimserver, which I'm counting on to avoid the use of my computer in the audio system. I'll contact Synology to find out if Slimserver can be added. Do you have any idea abou this?

Chander
2006-10-14, 03:05
Chander, thanks. I looks like the Synology Server does not run Slimserver, which I'm counting on to avoid the use of my computer in the audio system. I'll contact Synology to find out if Slimserver can be added. Do you have any idea abou this?

Sure it will run the slimserver ! Just go the wiki page of slimdevices, under slimserver you wil find the now famous SSODS ( :http://oinkzwurgl.org/software/ssods/)

And say a big thanks to Flipflip !

Milhouse
2006-10-14, 08:16
According to this (http://www.infrant.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=38145&highlight=#38145) post on the Infrant forums all NV models shipped in the last seven weeks have been using the new passively cooled PSU which is far and way the main source of NV noise. The NV+ also uses the same passive PSU.

Apparently the only noise from the NV (with new PSU) and NV+ is from the 92mm fan, which is itself very quiet. I own an original NV and can't wait for the PSU upgrade (http://www.infrant.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=38171&highlight=#38171)...

notanatheist
2006-10-14, 23:39
If you care about the performance of your audio enough to buy a Transport then I'd think you'd be better off with an actual fileserver. A dedicated fileserver will outperform a NAS especially if you want to stream other digital media in the future. Personally, as much as I want to try a ReadyNAS I'm going to stick with my fileserver. When I run out of drive space I don't need to replace drivers I can just add another controller card with more drives! Also I know it's easier to update Slimserver and plugins. Your needs may be different so if you just want a NAS then in all honesty the Infrant boxes are the most highly rated. So well so that even SlimDevices sells one as part of a kit!!

Pascal Hibon
2006-10-15, 05:05
I agree.
I have investigated quite some time in evaluating different NAS solutions and I desided to go for the fileserver as well. I have an old PC which I will upgrade with a RAID controller and a couple of 320 GB discs running in RAID 1 mode. The total HW upgrade of my old PC is way below $500. Compaired to the Infrant solution this a lot cheaper, while keeping the flexibility of a PC.

Heuer
2006-10-15, 10:05
You can have the best of both worlds - use your old PC to run Slimserver and network it to the ReadyNAS. Always on and you can let the NV take care of RAID.

sammie
2006-10-15, 18:17
Notanatheist, Pascal, Heuer: Ok, just so I understand....a file server is simply a PC, right? I have a Laptop running Windows XP with Centrino processor with 60GB HD, that I can dedicate to Slimserver if need be (although I'd still like to use it as a laptop, but we are getting a Mac for primary computer duties). Do I need to make any changes to the laptop to transform it into a file server? How does this work? Will this machine run server os software? BTW, thanks for all of your guidance.....

WSLam
2006-10-16, 02:49
Pls note that Transporter requires SS6.5+. ReadyNAS officially only supports up to 6.31 as of today. I am sure they are working hard to get 6.5 to run on ReadyNAS...

Heuer
2006-10-16, 07:23
Not quite true. SS 6.5 is available from Infrant but is bundled with a Firmware beta. It seems 6.5 needed some deep level firmware change so they had to release a "beta" to perform the upgrade. All previous/future SS releaes did/will not require anything other than a software download. So in theory SS 6.5 is not supported as it requires beta firmware but in fact the Infrant guys are being very helpful. Both the firmware and SS 6.5 work fine incidentally.

Heuer
2006-10-16, 07:33
Notanatheist, Pascal, Heuer: Ok, just so I understand....a file server is simply a PC, right? I have a Laptop running Windows XP with Centrino processor with 60GB HD, that I can dedicate to Slimserver if need be (although I'd still like to use it as a laptop, but we are getting a Mac for primary computer duties). Do I need to make any changes to the laptop to transform it into a file server? How does this work? Will this machine run server os software? BTW, thanks for all of your guidance.....

A 'server' can mean many things depending on the use it is put to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Server The laptop will run Slimserver and can either hold your music library locally (on the 60Gb disk) or could access a NAS (external hard disk(s) usually running a RAID application to prevent data loss) for external storage. In either case it is running as a server with a client (in this case the SB3) accessing it. Semantics really!

The NAS box has its own processor, memory and software to manage the disks and data storage. Hence you can run Slimserver on it and it thus becomes a server for any clients attached to it.

ob_kook
2006-10-16, 07:52
Let me preface this post by saying that I am an employee of the company that I am about to mention, and I hope this does not break any no-advertising rules.

But, you could look into DataCore Software SANmelody Lite. It manages up to 3TB of disk which you can use to create virtual disks and "serve" them to any PC residing on your network.

I use this for my Slimserver, HomeTheater PC, as well as serving disks I use to back up every PC and laptop in my house. For me it is a great alternative to NAS as I have dedicated one old PC as my storage server.

There is more information about it at http://datacore.com/products/prod_SANmelodyLite.asp

Kook

georgem
2006-10-16, 09:02
All NAS servers have shortcomings - performance, price, proprietary software etc. If you build your own file server you are controlling all of the above aspects. Since you are willing to invest significantly into Transporter why would you want to compromise ? When building your own fileserver you can have performance you want including the fastest processors, biggest SATA hard drives (750GB), excellent data protection (RAID) and non-proprietary software like Linux distributions (Fedora, Gentoo, Debian, Ubuntu, etc...). You can also control amount of noise by using the right cooling components. Your file server is also scalable if you need to install another 2TB... And all of this for the cost of hardware and your own time to put this together. There is plenty of free advice avaliable of how to do it.

Personally I'm running a small NAS server based on kurobox, mostly out of curiosity to see if this can be done (hardware cost is 150 USD + hard drive). It is quiet (less than 20db), I have installed 750GB Seagate hard drive. It is little sluggish on the web interface and when I browse music folders, but perfectly workable and there are no issues when streaming music. I will move to a file server soon and use kurobox as a backup device.

Heuer
2006-10-16, 09:13
All boils down to whether you want a plug 'n play system or are prepared to invest some time building a more bespoke (and probably better) fileserver. The various proprietary NAS solutions are designed to plug into your network and be running within 15 minutes out of the box. I have never done it (though I fancy having a go) but I guess a bespoke fileserver is a solid week of your time. George?

georgem
2006-10-16, 10:29
I have never done it (though I fancy having a go) but I guess a bespoke fileserver is a solid week of your time. George?

Assuming that you have all the hardware in place, the amount of time required to set it up would depend on 2 things: your requirements and your Linux (or Windows) skills.

My requirements are very simple - lots of avaliable disk space (I intend to use fileserver for mythtv video as well), data protection (RAID 5 plus backups to another device, kurobox probably) and decent performance. I do not intend to worry about user management and disk quota or enterprise level security.

My Linux skills are more than newbie - I have successfully installed few opensource projects and get better at it each time I do it.

I do not plan to spend more than a weekend on this, more like a day.

I'm very close to start the file serve build project (need to find a new box for Asterisk VoIP) and will report to this forum how long did that really took.

WSLam
2006-10-16, 11:28
Not quite true. SS 6.5 is available from Infrant but is bundled with a Firmware beta. It seems 6.5 needed some deep level firmware change so they had to release a "beta" to perform the upgrade. All previous/future SS releaes did/will not require anything other than a software download. So in theory SS 6.5 is not supported as it requires beta firmware but in fact the Infrant guys are being very helpful. Both the firmware and SS 6.5 work fine incidentally.

that's why i said officially.

sammie
2006-10-16, 20:32
From what I've gathered from you nice folks, along with info from other posts, building a file server certainly appears to be the best, most cost effective route to SB audio bliss. One problem: I might as well be trying to design a space shuttle let alone trying to build a file server. Aside from chronically bugging you guys with private messages, like I did George earlier today, anyone know of any available detailed instructions for this sort of undertaking? I'm very excited to give this a go!

georgem
2006-10-17, 07:17
Sammie;

I've been bookmaking fileserver links for a while. Here they are:

http://www.linux.ie/articles/teraserver/
http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1697,1646531,00.asp
http://techbuilder.org/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=181500611
my favorite http://www.finnie.org/text/terabyte/
and last but not least http://www.openfiler.com/

Openfiler is a Linux distribution that creates fileserver with all kinds of bells and whistles (user management, quotas, fancy web interface, samba for windows clients etc...). It might be an overkill for audio server on the home network, I also do not know how easy is the slimserver install.

I will most likely follow a simple fileserver as in http://www.finnie.org/text/terabyte/. When you start reading instructions, please make an adjustment for a new hardware, hard drives are bigger, SATA rules in place of parallel hard drives, processors have also changed.

georgem
2006-10-22, 09:42
I'm following up on a promise to report how long does it take to build a file server. In my case it took a weekend. Most of the delays were related to hardware, not software. My bottlenecks were:

- I looked into openfiler NAS distribution. It's biggest advantage is administration via web (raid create, lvm, formatting etc...). I've got stuck on ldap configuration and gave up. Also they don't use rpm for package installation.

- I had to drill mounting holes for my hard drive cage (http://www.kricomputer.com/shop/ search for BR2to3) in Dell SC043 case.

- Seagate 750GB hard drives have only SATA power supply plugs - trip to the store for an adapter/splitter

- when installing Fedora Core 5 on the first pata drive, GRUB will automatically install on the MBR of the first drive (in this case SATA-0). During installation I had to use "advanced option" and move /dev/hda to the top of drives listed. Another, easier way, is to disconnect all SATA drives when installing os. Took me a while to figure this out.

After install of standard FC5 is complete, I did the following:

- add multimedia support in case you want to encode on this box (rpm -ivh http://rpm.livna.org/livna-release-5.rpm)
- update to the latest and greatest (yum -y update)
- install Raid-5 array and LVM
- format file system
- export slimserver share via NFS
- install slimserver from rpm package

And this is it. I have 3*750GB SATA drives running under software RAID-5 on a 3GHZ dual core Pentium 4 box. Total space available on raid volume is 1.5 TB nominal (reality more like 1.35TB). If I run low on space, it should be relatively easy (and cheaper by that time...) to add another 750GB hard drive to the array for a nominal 2.2TB storage. If this is not enough, there are raid controllers that will let you connect a 4 drive housing to the fileserver box via infinity bands (high performance). Another nominal 2.2TB.

Worth trying...