New NAS Day (and advice needed)

Hi folks,

As I mentioned in the backup thread I have for (very many) years entrusted my music collection to a Synology DS216+ two-bay NAS with a couple of Western Digital Red 6TB HDD drives. When one of the drives started generating an alarming stream of warning messages however I realised I needed to act and act pretty fast.

I backed up the full content of the NAS to a USB disk and rebuilt it with 8TB Samsung 870 QVO SSD drives. However this left me a little bit rattled that my backup strategy had quite a few holes in it and I started thinking about a more robust regime. The aforementioned thread gave me lots of food for thought and inspiration.

Just to recap, my requirements are to cover three use cases:

  1. My ripped and downloaded music library, ca 20,000 tracks (95% red book, 5% hi res PCM) (approx 0.5TB) now probably the minority of my listening, but still containing many rips of CDs not available on the streaming services. Now mostly static as I very infrequently buy new CDs and those I have (even the ones I haven’t got round to ripping) are now in storage at a remote location. Also haven’t bought hi res downloads for a while, mostly just stream them, but that might change.
  2. All my digital photos from my SLR days (17,000 photos, ca 70GB). About 12 years’ worth of family holidays and the childhoods of the three strutslets. Absolutely irreplaceable. Pretty much static as I sold the SLR and the family now photographs each other with iPhones which all get backed up to iCloud.
  3. Time machine backups of 7 family Macs, 4 (soon to be 5) of which are primary laptops requiring recoverability almost up-to-the-minute, one iMac I use for browsing and as a system console (and as the streamer for my study desk music system of course(!), Audioquest Dragonfly feeding Genelec mini-monitors) + one not really being used. Currently only 1TB because I spring cleaned when I rebuilt the Synology. This will grow as incremental backups are added until it reaches the capacity I have configured (which is about double the hard drive capacity of the machines, approx 3.5TB, i.e. approx 7.0TB) at which point it will just start recycling by overwriting the oldest first.

So, I decided that I really needed to move to RAID 5, especially as I wanted to use SSDs in the belief/hope of better service life (MTBF on the QVOs 50% higher than the Reds) and wanted to improve the usable ratio with these more expensive drives. Then I read a hair-raising tale on AudiophileStyle where the good Mr Connaker has been forced through a similar thought process by the failure of a friend’s NAS.

He recommended a fanless 4-bay unit from Qnap which piqued my interest. A nice small form factor, fanless (again, fewer moving parts promising longer service life) and performance specs (CPU, memory, network bandwidth etc.) in the right range, neither more nor less than I might foreseeably need. So when I saw one at a discounted price well, you know how it is, I just felt my fingers clicking on the “Check out” button and earlier today I received the notification on my phone telling me it was waiting for me at the post office.

Okay, first impressions good. Smart design (the whole chassis is a heatsink) and really inspiring build quality. Not much plastic here!

Let’s open her up. Okay, that’s where…

…these go…

Basic specs for those who are interested.

Setup was straightforward enough, a nice wizard took me through the basic configuration and firmware update process.

But here I sit. Now I have a 20.71TB Storage pool and QTS is asking me how I want to use it.

Thin volumes, thick volumes, static volumes, block based LUNs, virtual JBODs!? I am suddenly feeling very old! Now I know how some people feel when they are trying to configure a network. I’m starting to wonder if I should have stuck with Synology.

So I am looking for some clues for the clueless. Can any of you Qnap ninjas help me though this bewildering array of options and suggest how I should configure this thing optimally for my use cases above so I can copy over everything from the Synology, move it into the wiring closet and forget about it for a few years? :pray:

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I tend to use Thick for the flexibility but have some set to Static which for your use case works fine and has a bit better performance. Avoid JBOD and Thin.

Very broad stroke - data plus backup dump Thick, backup dump Static.

From the QNAP FAQ.

Many thanks Angus, unfortunately both those links are returning 404s.

So, just to be clear for the hard-of-thinking, which of thick and static are you recommending for 1, 2 and 3?

  1. neither changes nor grows but might start growing again if I start buying hi res downloads,
  2. will likely never grow or change appreciably,
  3. will grow gradually to about 7.0TB and then stop growing but then change frequently.

Now showing 404 for me too, weird

Manual has info, see if this works

https://docs.qnap.com/operating-system/qts/5.0.x/en-us/thick-thin-and-static-volumes-18CF56F8.html

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Are you intending using the NAS for anything else? If purely a music store then Static fits all 3, one big lump of 20TB disk space.

If you might use it for other things in future, then Thick gives you peace of mind that there is flexibility in how the space can be split/segregated/allocated.

I don’t envisage any other major use categories than 1-3 above as the only files where the “masters” are on the NAS are the music library and the photo library. All other files are backups of local hard disks.

I like it, that’s a pretty cool drive array!

I went for the HS-264 as the 10Gbps model was no longer available and I don’t think your unit existed at the time.

I do remember being equally confused with the formatting options that didn’t exist when I setup my previous QNAP, but ended up choosing a RAID 1 Thin array.

This should should retain previous versions of my files and can cope with a drive failing (it’s used purely as a local backup before being copied again to the cloud, so I probably don’t need to be quite so careful, but you never know). There may be downsides I’m not aware of, but it seems to work.

Modern NAS boxes are a swiss army knife these days, so many Apps and functions are available but boiled down to a basic data tank then the old style Static option is nice and simple. Personally with a 20TB RAID5 I’d probably go with Thick just in case you find another use and want to take advantage of Snapshot backups or separate the music from cctv files or a million other things.

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One very useful App worth checking out is Hybrid Backup Sync 3. I have it backing up to Cloud options such as DropBox and OneDrive. It also backs up / syncs over a Network or Internet to another QNAP. It’s pretty simple to get going, I have one QNAP continuously syncing my Company Data folders to OneDrive - as soon as a file changes locally it’s synced to OneDrive, runs 24/7 in the background.

Before you copy over your data you can have a go setting up the various options - volumes, storage pools etc. Get a feel for where they differ and what the options do, Thin has a lot of flexibility but can be confusing if you’re new to QNAP. There’s a reset option so you can practice setup a few times and choose different disk setups.

I live in rural Scotland so put a UPS on all the NAS boxes I deploy, basic APC or CyberPower aka Amazon Basics. Link via USB cable and you get graceful shutdown and if you want automatic power on when the blackout is over.

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Thanks both. A bit off-topic but just thought I’d mention this little hack because it helped me.

One of the reasons I nuked all the Time Machine backups and started again was I found a way to upgrade all my Macs (going back about 10 years - with 3 kids the food chain is quite long!) to Sonoma using OpenCore-Patcher.

This enabled me to set quotas for Time Machine backups for all machines - even the ones which Apple had dropped from support for whichever version of MacOS introduced the individual quota feature.

WARNING! This is not supported by Apple so caveat emptor. However all my machines are running fine and seem completely stable (even a bit faster?), not to mention sporting lots of great new features like AirPlay Display (which is super-useful when some of your laptops are USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 and your lovely old 5K iMac is Thunderbolt 1). YMMV.

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Have a new M1 Mac Mini (impressive wee box) and an old iMac, may well, try this on the old iMac get a bit more life out of it, new one on me thx for posting.

Couple hours to the new Apple event!

Your post (and looking up the specs for your unit) made me investigate this a bit more and I realise after the fact that the TS-410E-8G would probably have been a perfectly good option for me. Even with the deal I got on the TS-i410X-8G it would have saved me a few $$$ and 2x10G-BASET is not something I expect to need for a good few years.

However feeling how warm the chassis has become after a day of operation tells me I made the right decision. The MTTF of electronic components is highly dependent on staying in their thermal envelope and the whole-chassis-is-a-heatsink design seems the obvious way to go for a fanless design. Hopefully this will have a long and uneventful service life. Will report on any developments.

Your unit should keep you going for several years, so I’d never regret buying the best you can :slight_smile:

I just checked my QNAP and the system temp is at 26ºc, so not too bad (for a fanless unit), despite sitting in a bookshelf!

Mine seems stable at 36°C. Hmmm, is that because my Atom x6425E has a TDP of 12W while your Celeron N5105 is only 10W? Or is the difference down to 4 SSDs vs 2 HDDs? Either way the magnitude of the difference surprises me. Ho hum.

I just checked and, by way of reference, my SSD’s are sitting at 35ºc, which means it could be down to how our devices measure their system temp. You might also be using yours more than mine :slight_smile:

Haha! No idea how to see individual drive temperatures on QNAP. Dashboard only seems to be showing me system temperature. Lots to learn!

Appreciate all the feedback, advice and encouragement. Thanks!

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It’s a useful thread for those of us with NAS units - as a result of this, I might decide to look at thin vs thick provisioning again (although, I seem to recall migrating between the two isn’t easy).

Are you able to see the drive temps if you go to the Control Panel, then System Status and click on the tab ‘Hardware Information’? You should see the various temperatures in there :smile: