Network attached storage

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brianyoung
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Network attached storage

Post by brianyoung » Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:26 pm

I was wondering if any members have experience with this subject?
I never thought that I could possibly fill up my little Macbook Air, but I am getting very close. It is about 97 percent full, and I sometimes get a message that I cannot download something because there is no space. I know it is the photos in particular, but I don't want to get rid of them, and having these things on a USB drive or CD is too inconvenient. So I am thinking about a NAS. I have looked at Synology DS212, and products from LaCie. I have two Apple laptops, and I would like to not only back-up my files, but I want to get most of them off the laptop, but still have them readily available. I know from the office I work in, with six PC's on a server, that this works well. Does anyone have experience with such an arrangement for a home set-up?

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Jay Cline
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Re: Network attached storage

Post by Jay Cline » Thu Aug 22, 2013 7:59 pm

The Macbook Air is a very nice computer but storage space is limited.

I've always thought a NAS, Network Attached Server, would be the best option for multicomputer households. I don't have experience with the Synology unit but from reading a little about it on the web you can set up different user accounts with the web interface.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOTepq2mwdg
Last edited by Jay Cline on Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Stephen Hart
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Re: Network attached storage

Post by Stephen Hart » Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:01 am

There's quite a lot of discussion of NAS on Macintouch. My understanding is that a number of manufacturers are now making wireless-equipped hard drives.

If you have a desktop in the house, you can easily use a simple wired hard drive on that Mac and access it from other Macs on your LAN. If you have other uses of a server, you could set up a mini for this purpose.

I haven't paid much attention to NAS, but if I were in need of a shared situation, I'd set up a server.
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Jay Cline
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Re: Network attached storage

Post by Jay Cline » Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:13 am

I think the beauty of a NAS is there is no need for a server as those functions are built in to the NAS. A NAS is likely beyond the needs of most home situations and I'd suggest a RAID where you have dual drives that mirror each other in the event of a drive failure.
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Stephen Hart
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Re: Network attached storage

Post by Stephen Hart » Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:45 pm

I think the beauty of a NAS is there is no need for a server as those functions are built in to the NAS.
But what that really means is that the NAS contains an itty bitty computer server using a proprietary OS which is inaccessible (and transparent) to the user. The server is still there, and still capable of going wrong.

Macintouch has had a lot of discussion of RAID technology too, including the ability to swap drives--or not, as some people have found out to their dismay.

There are some products that I guess are NASs, but are advertised as personal cloud devices.

At any rate, any time you move data off a main, internal drive, you must be sure to back up both the internal drive and the external one, whether it's an NAS or a server.

I tend to think of a MacBook Air as a specialty computer, not as merely a very lightweight version of a main computer.
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brianyoung
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Re: Network attached storage

Post by brianyoung » Sat Aug 24, 2013 11:09 am

Thanks for the input. I did see the youtube that Jay listed. And I will search on Macintouch. The Synology 212 looks like a good option. I will report back in detail after I buy and install one of these devices.
When I bought the little Macbook Air I could have gotten it with much more storage, for a substantially higher price. It would have been well worth it, but I did not realize that at the time. I bought the 11" model because I wanted a travel laptop, and it is great! At home I have it plugged into an external monitor, with an external keyboard, and almost never open the laptop itself.
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Re: Network attached storage

Post by brianyoung » Sun Oct 13, 2013 5:02 pm

About Network Attached Storage (NAS)

I finally settled on a LaCie NAS, the D2 Network 2, with 3TB of storage. There are many good NAS options available, and I used a lot of time researching them. They are probably all good, and my choice of the LaCie unit was based on a variety of factors. One of the main selling points for me was that the unit is self-contained, and does not need to be filled up with hard discs that have to be bought separately. That may be an advantage, especially if a much larger storage capacity is required, or for the knowledgeable user who might be in a better position to select the drives.
Because there are so many makes of NAS on the market, it would not be useful to go into detail on the specific installation procedure for the LaCie. But a few things are worth pointing out.
There are several important advantages to installing NAS.

1. My primary goal was to transfer as many files as possible from my laptop to the NAS. These are mainly photos and movies that have almost maxed out the storage capacity of my MacBook Air. I did not want to get rid of them, and having them on separate USB thumb drives is good as a back-up, but very clumsy for files that you still want easy access to. I do frequent back-ups with Time Machine, but those files are not at all readily accessible.
I was able to transfer a large percentage of these files to the NAS, and they are just as accessible as if they were on the MacBook’s own flash storage. The NAS comes up in Finder, so there is almost no difference when searching for files. I can open any of them in the appropriate application on my MacBook, without filling up its limited storage. I transferred over 50 GB of files to the NAS, and in 3 TB of storage it can hardly be seen.

2. Another really great advantage is the ability to access the NAS from any computer anywhere. I have tried this by accessing it from my computer at work, and it is easy. Access is password protected, so it is safe. You can upload and download files to and from any computer anywhere. I was able to upload a 20 MB 3dm. file to my NAS in about 2 minutes. While that file was still on my NAS at home, I was able to open it on my work computer in Rhino (our modeling program), make changes, and save it under a new file name. Then I was able to download it back to my work computer. This means that when I am on vacation I can take all the digital photos and movies I want, and just upload them to my NAS over the Internet.

3. I can partition the NAS drive, and assign a portion to be automatically backed up by Time Machine.
4. I can attach a separate external hard drive to the NAS and have Time Machine back up through the NAS to the hard drive.
5. The NAS can be configured to send an email to me if there are any problems, or even to reset a forgotten password.

There are two things that need to be understood when setting up a NAS. If you want to benefit from the ability to have remote access, you have to go through the process of port forwarding. The unit itself will have a dashboard that allows it to be set up to automatically port forward. But it is also necessary to do port forwarding on your own router. I only have experience with my Airport Express router. You have to open Airport utility, and go to the network settings.
It is necessary to know which port number to forward, the IP address to forward, and the MAC address of the NAS. The dashboard on the NAS will tell you which port to forward, the IP address, and the MAC address. All of this baffled me in the beginning. In retrospect I can see that it is all very simple.
My total expenses were about $250. And I feel that it is well worth the investment. It gives me a huge storage capacity, and the files are easy to access. I can easily do automatic back-ups to the NAS, or to another drive. I can access my NAS from anywhere in the world, and download or upload files.

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DavidW
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Re: Network attached storage

Post by DavidW » Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:39 pm

I have a Synology DS 412+ NAS server in my multi-OS home with 4 "Red" WD 2TB set up in a in a RAID. I use it for backing up, secured storage of photos, video and music and accessing same anywhere where I have access to the Internet on my Mac, PCs, iPhone or AppleTV. I also have it set up as a FTP server for the transfer of large files too large to send via email.

After loosing some important wedding picture files a few years ago, I began using redundant external hard drives to prevent a reoccurrence. After that got to wild too manage, a friend of mine told me about the Synology NAS servers and I did a lot of research on other brands. What I liked about the Synology system is all units use the same Linux based OS and you can download usually free apps that can turn the unit into a FTP server, media server, website host, and a host of other uses. It also consumes a lot less electricity than a server with a lot less noise.

Here is a live demo: http://www.synology.com/products/dsm_li ... hp?lang=us

Note, the Western Digital "Red" hard drives are manufactured specifically for NAS use.
Last edited by DavidW on Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Stephen Hart
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Re: Network attached storage

Post by Stephen Hart » Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:04 am

I'm not knowledgeable about NAS, but any time one is available on the internet, you'd need the same kind of security any other server would have.

It's also important to understand that there are various RAID systems. I presume the one you want here is mirroring, so any write to the system goes to two drives simultaneously. You also need the box to support swapping in new drives in case one fails. If you are backing up the NAS with CCC or SuperDuper or Time Machine, then you have an extra backup.
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Stephen Hart
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Re: Network attached storage

Post by Stephen Hart » Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:03 am

BTW, this came up on Macintouch recently. One poster's comment:
By the way, Apple sells their own NAS, called Airport Time Capsule, which explicitly supports Time Machine.
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