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best NAS program

Alexxxdiffrent
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hello everybody

i want to build a Nas for my dad (For Christmas).

but i don't know what program i am gone need. and i don't want to break the bank.

can anyone help me with finding one?

Thanks

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First, do you already have hardware or will you buying some specifically for this NAS? If you're buying hardware for it, unless you're getting a great deal you're probably better off just buying one of the off the shelf solutions from someone like QNAP or Synology.

 

If you already have hardware, what are you planning on using? What hard drives specifically are you planning on using? Both of these will influence what you should go with. 

 

First you need to determine what type of hard drives you have. If they're SMR drives, you should probably stick to something that doesn't use ZFS like UnRAID. SMR drives aren't great in a NAS scenario, but they are especially bad when using them with ZFS (the filesystem that most NAS focused operating systems use). If they're CMR drives, you can go either way.

 

Next you need to determine how much RAM your system has. If it's under 8GB, you again need to go to an OS that doesn't use ZFS by default. ZFS loves RAM and performance tends to suffer greatly if you do not have enough. It wants preferably a minimum of 1GB of RAM per TB, though even with low storage amounts under 8GB has issues. 

 

Finally, you need to determine how you want to expand your storage in the future. ZFS-based OS's require you to add storage in chunks called "vDevs". For instance, if you're original storage pool was 4 4TB drives, if you want to exapand you have to add an additional 4 4TB drives setup in the same way with parity. You can do less or more, but that can cause weird performance issues. Other solutions like XFS or BtrFS are less locked down, allowing for individual drive expansion. That said, ZFS is supposedly working on adding single drive expansion, but don't hold your breath for that to be out soon.

 

However, if you have CMR drives, enough RAM, and aren't against adding drives in chunks, you should go with one of the ZFS based options. It's probably the most robust and bullet-proof filesystem out there, being pretty much the universal filesystem of choice in the data center. It handles both software RAID and has a ton of cool features like replication (for backups), snapshots for easy file recovery, and more advanced features like deduplication (useful if you're running a ton of VMs on the same storage pool). It's only real disadvantages are that outlined above, and since it was developed mainly around the 90s, it isn't the best at pure speed (though still is pretty good since it reads and writes to RAM as a cache) and using it with SSDs requires a bit of tweaking. The big ones that use this are TrueNAS, ProxMox, Ubuntu Server, and to a lesser extent UnRAID. 

 

If this is gonna be for your dad, I'd suggest you go for either TrueNAS or UnRAID. Both are very easy to setup, configure, and maintain, but they do both have some pros and cons. UnRAID has the better support, more default available plugins, better virtualization, easy single-disk expansion, and a larger community, but it also requires a license fee (though it should be on sale Cyber Monday) and is a hassle to setup with ZFS if you want to go that route. TrueNAS has IMO the better web interfance, it's free and open source, and has incredibly easy to setup ZFS support, but it's plugin library is much more limited (though for most of what your dad is likely to use, it's available), it's FreeBSD based so getting support is a lot harder than Linux based stuff and some stuff just cannot run on it. Personally, I'd go TrueNAS if you can go ZFS because it's free, very easy to use, and is still plenty for what most people need (plus it's free and I'm cheap). If you aren't opposed to spending the ~$50 or however much it costs for a license and don't want to use ZFS, then UnRAID is probably the better option. Everything about it is a bit more polished, and since it has a larger user base, it's a lot easier to get something fixed if you run into an issue. Something like Ubuntu  Server would technically be the best of both worlds, but it requires a lot more setup and maintenance is a lot harder. 

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4 minutes ago, RONOTHAN## said:

First, do you already have hardware or will you buying some specifically for this NAS? If you're buying hardware for it, unless you're getting a great deal you're probably better off just buying one of the off the shelf solutions from someone like QNAP or Synology.

 

If you already have hardware, what are you planning on using? What hard drives specifically are you planning on using? Both of these will influence what you should go with. 

 

First you need to determine what type of hard drives you have. If they're SMR drives, you should probably stick to something that doesn't use ZFS like UnRAID. SMR drives aren't great in a NAS scenario, but they are especially bad when using them with ZFS (the filesystem that most NAS focused operating systems use). If they're CMR drives, you can go either way.

 

Next you need to determine how much RAM your system has. If it's under 8GB, you again need to go to an OS that doesn't use ZFS by default. ZFS loves RAM and performance tends to suffer greatly if you do not have enough. It wants preferably a minimum of 1GB of RAM per TB, though even with low storage amounts under 8GB has issues. 

 

Finally, you need to determine how you want to expand your storage in the future. ZFS-based OS's require you to add storage in chunks called "vDevs". For instance, if you're original storage pool was 4 4TB drives, if you want to exapand you have to add an additional 4 4TB drives setup in the same way with parity. You can do less or more, but that can cause weird performance issues. Other solutions like XFS or BtrFS are less locked down, allowing for individual drive expansion. That said, ZFS is supposedly working on adding single drive expansion, but don't hold your breath for that to be out soon.

 

However, if you have CMR drives, enough RAM, and aren't against adding drives in chunks, you should go with one of the ZFS based options. It's probably the most robust and bullet-proof filesystem out there, being pretty much the universal filesystem of choice in the data center. It handles both software RAID and has a ton of cool features like replication (for backups), snapshots for easy file recovery, and more advanced features like deduplication (useful if you're running a ton of VMs on the same storage pool). It's only real disadvantages are that outlined above, and since it was developed mainly around the 90s, it isn't the best at pure speed (though still is pretty good since it reads and writes to RAM as a cache) and using it with SSDs requires a bit of tweaking. The big ones that use this are TrueNAS, ProxMox, Ubuntu Server, and to a lesser extent UnRAID. 

 

If this is gonna be for your dad, I'd suggest you go for either TrueNAS or UnRAID. Both are very easy to setup, configure, and maintain, but they do both have some pros and cons. UnRAID has the better support, more default available plugins, better virtualization, easy single-disk expansion, and a larger community, but it also requires a license fee (though it should be on sale Cyber Monday) and is a hassle to setup with ZFS if you want to go that route. TrueNAS has IMO the better web interfance, it's free and open source, and has incredibly easy to setup ZFS support, but it's plugin library is much more limited (though for most of what your dad is likely to use, it's available), it's FreeBSD based so getting support is a lot harder than Linux based stuff and some stuff just cannot run on it. Personally, I'd go TrueNAS if you can go ZFS because it's free, very easy to use, and is still plenty for what most people need (plus it's free and I'm cheap). If you aren't opposed to spending the ~$50 or however much it costs for a license and don't want to use ZFS, then UnRAID is probably the better option. Everything about it is a bit more polished, and since it has a larger user base, it's a lot easier to get something fixed if you run into an issue. Something like Ubuntu  Server would technically be the best of both worlds, but it requires a lot more setup and maintenance is a lot harder. 

i have already some hardware but needs some more storage but is treu nas core good or not?

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6 hours ago, Alexxxdiffrent said:

i have already some hardware but needs some more storage but is treu nas core good or not?

It's good. It's just that there are reasons why it might not be the best. If you're using SMR drives and have <8GB of RAM, don't use it. If you do and want the free solution, it's a very nice OS to use. 

 

Also just to mention, if you have a RAID card, don't use UnRAID or TrueNAS. RAID cards can cause issues with both of those, and you're better off just using Ubuntu Server and setting up the Samba shares manually, or loading up Turnkey Linux.

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To answer the top question: for rolling your own hardware with OTS software, the best by far is a Windows SOFS, but you'll rapidly run into cost issues since to even start you'll need three servers with Windows Server Datacenter, plus a couple of domain controllers (ideally two on a Hyperconverged Hyper-V stack of three more server datacenter servers).  But it's the tech that runs Azure storage, it's stupidly good and runs on any hardware that will run Windows - you can even build a SOFS cluster on VMs to simulate one on a laptop.

 

The real question is: what is the goal?  What problems are you trying to solve?  If you don't have a use case in mind, it's very difficult to give any sort of recommendations.  Centralized storage?  Backups?  Media streaming?  The list goes on, and with today's increasingly stupidly large HDDs, just dangling an external off the back of a PC might be more than enough - work backwards from the problem you're trying to solve.

 

For most people, a Synology, WD, QNAP, or similar will be the best choice - not for performance or even necessarily ease of use, but because of features like backup with bare metal restore, media sharing built-in, and so on.

 

For everything else, for basic usage as network shares all of the NAS packages are pretty close to the same in terms of performance and usability for most purposes - it's edge cases with multi-NAS, replication and other features where they really differentiate themselves.  Make sure you pick a piece of software that works well with your hardware, and don't be afraid of just using Windows 10 Pro or Ubuntu LTS if you just want a simple file server that's easy to manage and you have the expertise to run the base OS without a web GUI dedicated to storage.

 

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