My Introduction and What I am Looking For in a NAS Solution

Introduce yourself to us and other members here, or share your own product reviews, suggestions, and tips and tricks of using QNAP products.
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coltswalker
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My Introduction and What I am Looking For in a NAS Solution

Post by coltswalker » Sat Nov 21, 2020 12:26 am

Hello, my name is Derek and this is my introduction. In the past I would build my own NAS using Linux/Samba. For my small business I found that time no longer permitted for tinkering with old PC's running Samba so I selected NAS appliance solutions for my customers and my own office.

For over a decade in my own business office I have been using the LG NAS N4B1N, a very simple NAS appliance, and have been happy with it. It is a fanless system which further reduces maintenance. My network is a hybrid of Macintosh, Linux, and MS Windows workstations. Most of the LAN workstations are Linux. Under the hood of the LG NAS N4B1N is Linux. With an aftermarket modification it is possible to have a command shell to access the LG NAS N4B1N for useful tasks such as cleaning up problems with corrupted files or creating symbolic links.

The LG NAS N4B1N is starting to show its age and developing problems as well as reaching the limits of storage capacity. I am looking for a replacement.

I would like something that can serve my small business LAN, that runs *nix under the hood, be it a FreeBSD variant or Linux, and does NOT require any Microsoft only management software. In fact, all management features should be available via a web interface that I can access from Linux using FF, Mac with Safari, etc. Also, it would be nice, if possible, to have the ability to access it via secure shell.

No less than 4 bay. RAID 1 mirroring or RAID 5 would be fine. Redundancy and hot swap a must. A USB port for inserting solid state USB media to be used as a backup.

If it comes with drives, they should be good drives designed for long service life (not low end desktop drives).

It appears that QNAS has an active community here and a nice forum. This encourages me. Maybe I can get some advice to help guide me into selecting the correct product.

Right now on Amazon I am looking at units like QNAP TVS-473e-8G-US. It seems like there is a lot of frills like streaming this and that which I am not interested in. My concern is that I can reliably store my data on a low maintenance NAS which will last me as long as my old LG NAS N4B1N and is backwards compatible with versions of SMB.

Thank you!

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dolbyman
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Re: My Introduction and What I am Looking For in a NAS Solution

Post by dolbyman » Sat Nov 21, 2020 12:33 am

QNAP pretty much ticks all those boxes, besides they never come with drives. If you see any offered with drives, it from resellers that add their own.

Any 4 bay NAS should be fine for plain storage. So take a peek at all the ARM powered units from QNAP. (x31,x32)

Make sure you do NOT expose the NAS to the web (e.g. outside file sharing for employees or clients)
Last edited by dolbyman on Sat Nov 21, 2020 10:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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coltswalker
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Re: My Introduction and What I am Looking For in a NAS Solution

Post by coltswalker » Sat Nov 21, 2020 9:16 am

What is the format of the drives? If I were to experience hardware failure I am interested in knowing if I can connect the drives to a Linux machine to access the data.

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Moogle Stiltzkin
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Re: My Introduction and What I am Looking For in a NAS Solution

Post by Moogle Stiltzkin » Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:00 am

in the event of failure, you NEED a backup plan. Not mcgyver your qnap nas.

u need a backup to go with the nas. the backup would be a separate device

e.g. external usb storage, cloud, another nas, tapes, or something else

read here
https://www.reddit.com/r/qnap/comments/ ... _a_backup/

so in event of whatever issue, just recover from your backup. thats all :}
NAS
[Main Server] QNAP TS-877 w. 4tb [ 3x HGST Deskstar NAS (HDN724040ALE640) & 1x WD RED NAS ] EXT4 Raid5 & 2 x m.2 SATA Samsung 850 Evo raid1 +16gb ddr4 Crucial+ QWA-AC2600 wireless+QXP PCIE
[Backup] QNAP TS-653A w. 5x 2TB Samsung F3 (HD203WI) EXT4 Raid5
[Backup] QNAP TL-D400S 2x 4TB WD Red Nas (WD40EFRX) single disks.
[^] QNAP TS-659 Pro II
[^] QNAP TS-509 Pro w. 4x 1TB WD RE3 (WD1002FBYS) EXT4 Raid5
[^] QNAP TS-228
[^] QNAP TS-128
[Mobile NAS] TBS-453DX w. 2x Crucial MX500 500gb EXT4 raid1

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[Review] Moogle's QNAP experience
[Review] Moogle's TS-877 review
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coltswalker
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Re: My Introduction and What I am Looking For in a NAS Solution

Post by coltswalker » Sun Nov 22, 2020 12:51 am

Thanks mom, I promise to wash my hands before I eat. Ok, still looking though the response for an actual answer to my question... "what format"....

syncthing
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Re: My Introduction and What I am Looking For in a NAS Solution

Post by syncthing » Sun Nov 22, 2020 1:53 am

like Moogle already said you'll need a backup plan
even the filesystem is ext4 you won't be able to read it easily on your linux box because as far as I understood you will have to deal with mdadm, drbd, lvm ...

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coltswalker
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Re: My Introduction and What I am Looking For in a NAS Solution

Post by coltswalker » Sun Nov 22, 2020 3:16 am

I like to have multiple paths to recovery. The Synology units as I understand use a proprietary file system format and I wish to avoid such a thing for a number of reasons. To me it looks like qnap is more open and less proprietary. As stated early on I have experience with linux software RAID aka mdadm and I feel more comfortable with things based on standards. I prefer a NAS appliance over a homebrew file server due to time constraints and an appreciation for low maintenance. I dont get my kicks out of tinkering with this stuff anymore. I just want it to work. In fact, I am curious what the most rock solid best built qnas system is w 4 or 5 drives with the lowest failure rate for basic dependable file sharing. I appreciate that dolbyman gave me a good starting point to looking at models.

Sometimes it is nice to just have my question answered without my question being questioned or already known advice dispensed with as I was probably working in I.T. before many of you were born. Yes I do data backups.

Mousetick
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Re: My Introduction and What I am Looking For in a NAS Solution

Post by Mousetick » Sun Nov 22, 2020 3:44 am

It's been a while since I looked into it, so I don't remember all the details and things may have changed since then. The partitioning and RAID layers are standard Linux. The storage pool and volume layers are based on LVM2, but with proprietary extensions. For example, "thin" volumes don't exist in the standard Linux kernel, they are implemented in QNAP's custom Linux kernel. The filesystem is plain ext4, with standard support for extended attributes and ACLs.

IMHO, if you want to assure maximum portability and ease of access/troubleshooting from another Linux box, you'd need to keep to RAID 1 and "thick" volumes.

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Re: My Introduction and What I am Looking For in a NAS Solution

Post by Bob Zelin » Sun Nov 22, 2020 4:19 am

QNAP is not open. It's locked down EXT4 linux. The new operating system on the new products is ZFS, but it's locked down as well. Synology is locked down BTRFS. These products are not designed for tinkering. They are designed as easy to use, but powerful network attached storage systems. If you want a toy, why don't you just build a FreeNAS system ? Then you can tinker all you want, and FreeNAS is free !

Bob Zelin
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dolbyman
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Re: My Introduction and What I am Looking For in a NAS Solution

Post by dolbyman » Sun Nov 22, 2020 5:00 am

that is correct ..if anything goes south ..you need external backups..recovery from the nas drives, should never be an option

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jaysona
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Re: My Introduction and What I am Looking For in a NAS Solution

Post by jaysona » Mon Nov 23, 2020 4:16 am

coltswalker wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 12:26 am
....

I would like something that can serve my small business LAN, that runs *nix under the hood, be it a FreeBSD variant or Linux, and does NOT require any Microsoft only management software. In fact, all management features should be available via a web interface that I can access from Linux using FF, Mac with Safari, etc. Also, it would be nice, if possible, to have the ability to access it via secure shell.

....
QNAP will do what you are looking for, but there are a couple of caveats you need to take in to consideration.

1. QTS is not an OS (even though QNAP likes to call it an OS), it is an operating environment. QNAP has severely crippled Linux and uses a lot of mult-call binaries instead and times feels like your dealing with a router vs a beefy NAS (this could be due to QNAPs early daze when their first units came with 256MB RAM and used the Marvel Kirkwood SoC), if you're looking for Linux type freedom, you'll probably be disappointment.
2. If you want to be able to manually mount the RAID volume on an external Linux PC (I keep a GA990FXA-UD7 for just such purposes) stick with a static volume if you don't require storage pools, snapshots, etc. Static volumes are much simpler to mount using an external system.

SSH access to the NAS is possible, but there is only one account that runs with root privilege so everything runs as root.

If you're looking for a Linux based NAS and don't mind some initial building, you may want to consider getting a U-NAS system instead. I recently purchased a used TS-870 Pro for storage, and this will be my last QNAP purchase (my first was in 2007) my next NAS will be a U-NAS.
H/W: TS-219 Pro / TS-269 Pro / TS-253 Pro (8Gig) / TS-509 Pro x2 / TS-569 Pro
H/W: TS-670 Pro (i7-3770S 16Gig) x2 / TS-853 Pro (8Gig) / TVS-871 Pro (i7-4790S 16Gig)
O/S: Slackware 14.2 / MS Windows 7-64 (x5)
Router1: Asus RT-AC86U - Asuswrt-Merlin - 384.19
Router2: Asus RT-AC68U - DD-WRT v3.0-r39960M kongac
Router3: Linksys WRT1900AC - DD-WRT v3.0-r43028 std
Router4: Asus RT-AC66U - FreshTomato v2020.7
Misc: Popcorn Hour A-110/WN-100, Pinnacle Show Center 250HD, Roku SoundBridge Radio (all retired)

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