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Best NAS Solution for Plex?

realphrealph Posts: 94Members ✭✭
I've got my eye on the Drobo FS
I've got three hardrives in my Mac Pro and am running out of bays, so I've started to look to the future and think about a NAS solution. Now, I've been looking at the Drobo FS, and it seems to tick all the boxes, I was just curious if anyone else is using it as part of their Plex setup. Are there better NAS solutions out there?

I figured I could plug the FS into my Airport Extreme. Is it as simple as that? Are there any problems?
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Comments

  • ahughes03ahughes03 Posts: 89Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    rph105 wrote:

    I've got three hardrives in my Mac Pro and am running out of bays, so I've started to look to the future and think about a NAS solution. Now, I've been looking at the Drobo FS, and it seems to tick all the boxes, I was just curious if anyone else is using it as part of their Plex setup. Are there better NAS solutions out there?

    I figured I could plug the FS into my Airport Extreme. Is it as simple as that? Are there any problems?


    Hey rph- I recently switched to an NAS system, and really like it. After weighing different possibilities, I ended up getting the Synology DS411j. It has 4 bays (as opposed to 5 bays in the Drobo FS), but Synology has a wide range of storage solutions ranging from 2 bay to crazy-more-than-a-user-would-ever-need bays!

    Here are some of the reasons I went with Synology (as opposed to Drobo, which I looked at very seriously, QNAP, ReadyNAS, or an unraid solution):
    1) Drobo uses a proprietary "raid-like" system. If your NAS goes to crap, there will be no way to reconstruct the data unless you go through Drobo (vs. other products that use standard RAID structures that can be analyzed and rebuilt in a number of ways).
    2) Synology has a very active forum board (which is great for troubleshooting).
    3) Synology's web-GUI is very "mac-like."
    4) Synology was $90 cheaper than QNAP for a similar product (well, sort of similar, as the QNAP has more ram, would allow a higher total number of users, and has an extra rj-45 port, if I remember correctly).
    5) Synology will allow you to register a free domain name that will point to your IP address (nice feature if you access your NAS from places outside your LAN).

    Drobos have been known to be a little slow, but that may be when utilized in a DAS (Direct Attached) config as opposed to NAS.

    Regardless, I'd have to say that NAS is the way to go, as it adds a level of protection to your data, and a level of availability as well (with an NAS, you can access data from anywhere in the world that has an internet connection, if set-up correctly)!

    Wish you the best in your move to NAS awesomeness!

    Andy
  • realphrealph Posts: 94Members ✭✭
    ahughes03 wrote:

    Hey rph- I recently switched to an NAS system, and really like it. After weighing different possibilities, I ended up getting the Synology DS411j. It has 4 bays (as opposed to 5 bays in the Drobo FS), but Synology has a wide range of storage solutions ranging from 2 bay to crazy-more-than-a-user-would-ever-need bays!

    Here are some of the reasons I went with Synology (as opposed to Drobo, which I looked at very seriously, QNAP, ReadyNAS, or an unraid solution):
    1) Drobo uses a proprietary "raid-like" system. If your NAS goes to crap, there will be no way to reconstruct the data unless you go through Drobo (vs. other products that use standard RAID structures that can be analyzed and rebuilt in a number of ways).
    2) Synology has a very active forum board (which is great for troubleshooting).
    3) Synology's web-GUI is very "mac-like."
    4) Synology was $90 cheaper than QNAP for a similar product (well, sort of similar, as the QNAP has more ram, would allow a higher total number of users, and has an extra rj-45 port, if I remember correctly).
    5) Synology will allow you to register a free domain name that will point to your IP address (nice feature if you access your NAS from places outside your LAN).

    Drobos have been known to be a little slow, but that may be when utilized in a DAS (Direct Attached) config as opposed to NAS.

    Regardless, I'd have to say that NAS is the way to go, as it adds a level of protection to your data, and a level of availability as well (with an NAS, you can access data from anywhere in the world that has an internet connection, if set-up correctly)!

    Wish you the best in your move to NAS awesomeness!

    Andy


    Thanks Andy. I've started to have a look at some of Synology's products - they look awesome. Sorry if this is a stupid question, but what is RAID? And how does it benefit me?
  • rsavarsava Posts: 2,206Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    rph105 wrote:

    Thanks Andy. I've started to have a look at some of Synology's products - they look awesome. Sorry if this is a stupid question, but what is RAID? And how does it benefit me?



    In simple terms, RAID is a way to have redundancy on your drives so you don't lose data in case one fails or increase the performance of the drive set.

    It is more complicated than that, there are several different "levels" of RAID.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID

    As someone who has lost about 5TB of data because I didn't setup my RAID drives correctly, I now have 90 % of my data on RAID 1 and moving to 100% soon.
  • Murderous MoppetMurderous Moppet Posts: 362Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    I personally can't stand Drobo, but they have new thunderbolt options that may be better. I have always found drobos to be slow and buggy. I have a synology DS411 and it works fantastic for me. at the end of the month synology should be releasing new hardware, but it may be enterprise level.

    As for the RAID; I wouldnt be devastated if my media were lost since most of it i have on DVD or iTunes so I use a RAID 5 which can tolerate the loss of a single drive before data is destroyed. Just remember that even a fault tolerant RAID is NOT a way to ensure you wont loose your data. If you really really care use a RAID 1 or use another drive/nas to backup to. synology has pretty decent software that can backup any subset of data on you nas to another drive or network device.
  • mrklawmrklaw Posts: 265Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    If you use mac/pc clients for playback, and don't need transcoding, you could consider a NAS that you can install plex server on.
  • erlin@mac.comerlin@mac.com Posts: 432Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    If you are already using the MacPro as your PMS why not just add a PCIe-eSATA controller and attach an eSATA RAID enclosure! It will cost a fraction of the price for a decent NAS and will get Data to your MacPro faster then any NAS solution. Also depending of the vintage of your MacPro there might already be some open SATA connectors on your MotherBoard. Then all you need is a SATA to eSATA cable!
  • pioneer123pioneer123 Posts: 370Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    Just seen that Drobo has announced a Thunderbolt version coming out. Hopefully should improve the pitiful speed it operates at which was the main reason why I dumped DroboFS and went and got a Synology DS1511+ tanked with 15TB (now almost full!) :)
  • pappabearplexpappabearplex Posts: 14Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    Hi

    I went for the synology ds412+ with 6TB in raid 5, I have also PMS running on the NAS. I was a little bit sceptical, but suprised about how well it runs.
    The UI of the synology is very good and easy. At the moment the biggest problem are the plex clients, non are as complete as a Mac mini with plex client. But even that has its problems lately.. :(
  • Kel5150Kel5150 Posts: 2Members
    For what it's worth, I have a Drobo FS that I play a lot of stuff off of and it works great. Granted, it isn't the fastest solution available but it honestly works just fine for playing media through Plex. I also have a Mediasonic external RAID box connected to my Mac mini with FW800 and I really can't tell much of a difference between the two in terms of performance of playback. They both work great. The nice thing about the Drobo is you can use any hard drive you like and they don't all have to be the same. Plus, you can expand capacity as needed.
  • dannywsudannywsu Posts: 148Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    mrklaw wrote:

    If you use mac/pc clients for playback, and don't need transcoding, you could consider a NAS that you can install plex server on.


    Do NAS drives not provide transcoding or does it require A. a better processor or B. a top-of-the-line NAS?

    Also, if I was looking at a basic Synology NAS for a home user and my only interest was a Plex Server and storage for TV shows and movies, with a reasonable price, what would be the best NAS to buy?
  • adriandbadriandb Posts: 946Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    ahughes03 wrote:

    Drobos have been known to be a little slow, but that may be when utilized in a DAS (Direct Attached) config as opposed to NAS.

    If anything the direct attached should perform better than the NAS versions.

    I have a 4 bay Drobo S and have a mixed opinion. It has been rock solid, is currently housing a mix of 3tb and 2tb drives, has a good dashboard and has been fairly hands off. Of course you do have to continually upgrade drives if you're like me, but that process is easy to perform. The downside is that the read/write speeds are slow compared to single drive solutions or other RAID solutions. This isn't a huge problem if you're simply using it to provide media to a client or two, but if you are also doing other read/write intensive operations it may be an issue. The other time this is apparent is when swapping out a drive. The last time I removed a 2tb drive and replaced it with a 3tb drive it was more then 48 hours before the data had completely replicated. During this time you can still read and write to the drive, but your data is at risk.

    I've never seen the need for a NAS as this is directly attached to my entertainment center mac mini and shared via the OS on my network.


    they have new thunderbolt options that may be better.

    I wonder about this because the Drobo I have can't ever come close to saturating the FW800 connection I have it on. What is the point of faster transport medium if the bits will be streamed at 50MB/sec.


    dannywsu wrote:

    Do NAS drives not provide transcoding or does it require A. a better processor or B. a top-of-the-line NAS?

    Transcoding requires CPU power that many NAS dont have. You can add beefier processors, but that drives up cost.
  • erlin@mac.comerlin@mac.com Posts: 432Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    I have yet to see anyone come with a real reason why NAS is better then Direct Attached Storage when it comes to Plex.
    If you are using a "thin" client (ATV2,Roku or DNLA) you need transcoding so NAS would be out!
    If you are using a full client (OSX,Windows or Linux) why would you add the added cost of a NAS and its tiny CPU over a RAID-DAS!?
    I think that over time and the processors in NAS' get beefier it may be a viable option. But as of today there is no consumer/small-buiseness grade NAS that can out perform a Computer/DAS setup!
    B)
  • adriandbadriandb Posts: 946Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    digiot wrote:

    If you are using a "thin" client (ATV2,Roku or DNLA) you need transcoding so NAS would be out!

    Well you can put a powerful processor in a NAS for transcoding, it just doesn't seem like the best solution to me.
  • erlin@mac.comerlin@mac.com Posts: 432Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    adriandb wrote:

    Well you can put a powerful processor in a NAS for transcoding, it just doesn't seem like the best solution to me.


    I wasn't aware that you could upgrade the CPU on a NAS. Maybe that Synology with an 8 core i7 IvyBridge upgrade would be cool B)
  • adriandbadriandb Posts: 946Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    digiot wrote:

    I wasn't aware that you could upgrade the CPU on a NAS. Maybe that Synology with an 8 core i7 IvyBridge upgrade would be cool B)

    Yes, and you can custom build them as well. That's my point though, at that point it seems like overkill for simply streaming your media, but that's just me.
  • plxplzplxplz Posts: 369Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    For my part, just take this simple step. Do not buy a Drobo. I have had two units fail and it has killed multiple hard drives due to those failures (one was a reboot loop that kept cold starting the drives until they failed.)

    You can do better with another solution. Skip the Drobo.
  • gogojuicegogojuice Posts: 41Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    What would you recommend NON NAS?

    Since the device can connect to multiple computers I see really no need to go NAS. I'm confused at what I should be looking for. Multiple bays (4 or more) and gigabit ethernet I think are a must.
  • youngdreamersyoungdreamers Posts: 28Members
    gogojuice wrote:

    What would you recommend NON NAS?

    Since the device can connect to multiple computers I see really no need to go NAS. I'm confused at what I should be looking for. Multiple bays (4 or more) and gigabit ethernet I think are a must.



    I'm also looking for non-NAS.. I've decided not to get Drobo so what are my alternatives if I don't want NAS..
  • erlin@mac.comerlin@mac.com Posts: 432Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    I'm also looking for non-NAS.. I've decided not to get Drobo so what are my alternatives if I don't want NAS..

    I personally chose a 4-Bay RAID enclosure with 4 3TB Drives in a RAID5 configuration giving me 9TB of storage with single drive parity. At first I connected it over FW800 to my MacMini but have since then modded my MacMini with an eSATA connection (the through put went from 80Mb to 240Mb B) )
    Here is the RAID I use:
    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other World Computing/MEQX2T12.0S/
  • adriandbadriandb Posts: 946Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    digiot wrote:

    At first I connected it over FW800 to my MacMini but have since then modded my MacMini with an eSATA connection

    Have instructions?
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