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Unread 26th April 2010, 10:11 AM
TheMonk TheMonk is offline
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 5
I need a Windows 7/64 NAS/Server for home/office ...

I need help selecting a Windows 7 64bit compatible Network Attached Storage (NAS) / Server for my home-office to support 5 computers and 3 printers. The device should provide the following capabilities:

-- Windows 7 Professional 64bit compatible
-- Primary data storage for large CAD 3D and GIS files
-- Primary backup for data storage
-- Fast local area network access to all file types
-- Remote access so I and others can access (upload and download) files via the Internet
-- FTP server access via FTP client
-- Print server (nice but not needed)
-- Secure access for both local and remote users
-- Quiet
-- Easy to use

Most of my computers use SSDs as their main internal storage device (OS, apps and active data). Data that is not active will be stored on the NAS/Server and moved to one of the SSDs for processing. When processing has been completed, like at the end of the day (or week in some cases), it will be moved back to the NAS/Server.

I plan to provide two forms of backup:

(1) I will save an image of each SSD on a weekly basis and store it on an hard drive with a form factor compatible with the SSD so it could be used to instantly replace the respective SSD should it fail.

(2) I will backup the data stored on th NAS/Server on an as needed basis to a separate hard drive (or hard drive array) which I will only connect to the NAS/Server during backup. This backup drive/array will be stored in a fireproof safe when not in use.

I currently need to store/secure 2TB of data. This could grow to 4TB over the next two or three years.

While I understand the features of Raid 0,1,5 ... I am a novice re servers, remote storage, and networking. So all of this will need to be pretty simple from an admin point of view.

Your suggests, comments, recommendations would be most welcomed.
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Unread 26th April 2010, 11:12 AM
Bruce Normann's Avatar
Bruce Normann Bruce Normann is offline
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Posts: 324
Based on the size of your data set, I would recommend one of the QNAP TS-x59 series. If you don't mind swapping some drive trays in and out, you could get by with the 4-bay model that we recently reviewed here.

But, I think it best to leave room for expansion, so the 6-bay model would not be out of the question. Also, with more bays available, you can load up all the "unused" bays with 2.5" drives that you image your workstations onto once a week. You should then be able to do that task with only one drive swap.

Make sure you can use the eSATA interface(s) for the main backup drive that you store separately. You don't want to throttle the transfer speed with USB 2.0.

Alternatively, you could do a full backup of the "active" data onto "extra" drives installed in the "unused" bays of the TS-659; that way you can do it all inside this one appliance. When you're done, just pop the backup drive set out and put the drive caddy in the fireproof safe. This way, there's no need to buy an additional device, which is justification for getting the TS-659, with more bays. It's more expensive than the 4-bay model, but probably much less expensive than buying another device. You just need extra drive trays and hard drives.

As far as ease of use goes, my recent experience with the two-bay QNAP for my own SOHO tells me that you will have no problems installing and configuring a device to do what you need.

BTW, what CADD application are you running, I used to manage a group of Engineers and Designers on ProE? I had an IT staff person to administer the HW and SW. I just managed the engineering side, but I got exposed to a lot of the IT stuff.
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Unread 26th April 2010, 01:06 PM
TheMonk TheMonk is offline
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Bruce ... thanks for your reply

I just looked at the TS-459 Pro and TS-659 Pro, both are very powerful, but seem a bit over my head re setup and admin. I also looked at the TS-410 designed for the home-office, which seems a bit more approachable, at least from my point of view. What do I give up, besides being limited to 4 bays, if I go with the TS-410 as opposed to one of the TS-X59 Pro servers?

Also, I tried to call QNAP's tech support but couldn't get through (kept getting a busy signal), so I am a little worried about support.

I've also been looking at the Buffalo LinkStation Quad, which appears to do much of what the QNAP does, but does not require a fixed IP, which I don't have, or a DNS setup for my router. Buffalo provides a free Internet service which can be used to connect the LinkStation to the Internet.

I do like the idea of having my own Web server which I would get with the QNAP, however, it sounds like a lot of work.
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Unread 26th April 2010, 10:44 PM
Bruce Normann's Avatar
Bruce Normann Bruce Normann is offline
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Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 324
Hi Monk,

One of the things that is nice about the QNAP product line is the wide selection. The TS-410 you mention gives up the high-end processin power of the more expensive units, but still has the same drive bay arrangement, which I think is critical to your stated mission needs. With five users pushing and pulling CADD data to this server, I think you need to look at the usage pattern to see how much processing power you need.

By running both ethernet ports to a Gigabit switch that also supports teaming, you should have enough network bandwidth, and the bottleneck becomes the drives themselves and the NAS processor-memory system. As you ramp up the RAID levels, more load is put on the processor and memory, something you also need to think about. Plus, if you want to keep some bays open for your imaging/backup needs, your RAID options start to get limited. For a data-centric business environment like you have described, I can't see going for less than the security and continuity provided by RAID5, IMHO.

Take a look at the charts in the latest TS-459 review here on Benchmark Reviews and see if the R/W bandwith of the TS-419P or TS-409 Pro is up to the challeng of five users trying to check their work in at the end of the day. My guys used to get pretty ticked off when they couldn't leave work until their project files were checked into the PDM server at night. We were running 10x 15,000 RPM SCSI drives in RAID5, but they couldn't keep up.

Don't worry about fixed IP or a DNS server, the TS-259 is happy to get it's IP address automatically assigned by DCHP running on the router. It looks just like another workstation on the network, in its simplest configuration.
Men wanted for Hazardous Journey,
small wages, bitter cold,
long months of complete darkness,
constant danger, safe return journey doubtful.
Honour and recognition in case of success.

Ernest Shackleton
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Unread 26th April 2010, 10:55 PM
TheMonk TheMonk is offline
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 5
Qnap Ts-659

Hi Bruce,

Based on your advice, I am looking at the QNAP TS-659 with six bays. Is it possible to load the first four bays with 3.5 inch drives, running them on Raid 5, and then install 2.5 inch drives in the remaining two bays so I can use 2.5 inch drives to back up my laptops (using an image)?
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Unread 24th June 2010, 02:35 AM
Austin Downing Austin Downing is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 78
Yet another possibility although requiring a bit more knowledge, but could be cheaper, would be to build a cheap machine or use a older machine with FreeNAS

I am using a old Sempron 3800+, with 2GB of ram, and 2 WD green drives in JBOD, with 5 drive bays to spare.

With it you can setup SMB, FTP, and a host of other things. Also you can make users and groups or even integrate it with AD.
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