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Old 08-08-2016, 10:50 AM   #1
GoinAllTheWay
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Default Home server died

Yesterday I decided it was a good day for computer maintenance. Needed to blow all the dust out of them. Sadly, my Windows Home Server did not fire back up. One of the drives appears to have died. Luckily I backed it up before shutting it down.

Now I'm thinking about replacement. Should have done this a while back but I loved having WHS with drive extender and the ability to back up/restore an entire PC. My first thought was to build a new one and try to get WHS back on to it but it's a 12 yr old O/S now and the security likely blows. Can't find the newer version either (2012)

So I started looking at NAS options and wow is there a lot out there now. I'm wondering what you guys use or suggest? The features most important to me is ease of adding new drives to increase storage, ability to mirror certain files and a solid backup strategy. Not sure I'm all that concerned with cloud storage, something they all seem to offer. or running an FTP site. Just need tons of storage, automated backups and ease in expansion and an intelligent GUI and decent client software for each PC that connects to it.

What do you guys use, what do you like/dislike about it?
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Old 08-08-2016, 11:20 AM   #2
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I run a QNap TS-451 at home, and it works great, has a solid GUI and is very easy to setup and use. I used to have an Acer box running WHS, I found it very unsatisfactory. The Qnap is way better.
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Old 08-08-2016, 11:29 AM   #3
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Thanks Delgar. Took a look at ME and Qnap and WD seemed to have the best lineup for NAS.

What version of WHS did you have an what did you not like about it? I know the more recent version did not have drive extender which was odd as it was one of the best features.
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Old 08-08-2016, 11:34 AM   #4
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Its been about 6 years since stopped using WHS, so I no longer remember. I found it clunky is the most I could say now. I was having issues implementing the correct raid for the drives, I recall that, I couldn't make it work via a patch of some sort.

If you google Qnap GUI you'll see how the interface looks, its very slick, almost like using an android or IOS device except it has massive customization abilities.
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Old 08-08-2016, 12:13 PM   #5
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Did you buy the 8gig model? The lower priced one seems to only have 512Mg of RAM.
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Old 08-08-2016, 12:44 PM   #6
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I'm not sure where you got those specs, mine has the lowest amount of ram, 1gb, expandable. There is no 512mb model as far as I know.

It looks like you're looking at the 431--- I have the 451 which seems to not be available anymore. That 431 is a bargain at under $400 though, my 451 was I think around $750, and the now its called a 451+ and is black while mine is white. The 451+ is $650, it seems to have 2gb expandable.

I use mine for lots of things, but the heaviest taxing it gets is streaming Plex at 1080p, while sometimes transcoding, and it does it flawlessly, even with more than one stream.

That being said, my 451 is now 1.5 years old, and I know I'll be upgrading when 4K becomes real. Right now even 4K projectors (I'm running a 1080p projector onto a 135" screen in the basement) do not make much difference in quality of the projection, so in 3 or so years if they do, I'll jump on that bandwagon.

For all my business needs, the 451 is overkill. I can backup and manage a robust database of word documents without a problem, but even the WHS Acer box did that 6 years ago.

EDIT: I now remember why I got rid of the WHS/Acer Box. I lost a lot of information due to faulty (and maybe user-caused) backup. I had a drive failure and could not recover. This is now my second Qnap (my first was an atom processor and became too slow), and I use Raid 5 and its awesome to just hot swap if a drive starts failing or fails. In particular, before with the WHS I had lost some family photos that were not replaceable, and that drove me at the time to get a qnap and a Raid 5 setup, and even I could set that up on the Qnap without problem.

Last edited by Kjesse; 08-08-2016 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 08-08-2016, 12:46 PM   #7
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I have the 2 year older model of this:

http://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/MX60453

Like Delgar I highly recommend. It is one day sale today only as well. Good timing.
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Old 08-08-2016, 01:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Delgar View Post
I'm not sure where you got those specs, mine has the lowest amount of ram, 1gb, expandable. There is no 512mb model as far as I know.

EDIT: I now remember why I got rid of the WHS/Acer Box.
Sorry, I'm dumb, was looking at flash memory.

Ah yes, the Acer boxes, they were bad. My brother had one too and didn't like it. I don' think it even had a VGA port in case things went wrong. I built mine out of an old gaming computer and had none of the issues he had. It was rock solid and will be missed. I had to do a full PC restore from it twice and both times, worked like a charm.

Lots of features in those QNap units. They have me intrigued.
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Old 08-09-2016, 04:09 PM   #9
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Another question for you if I could Delgar:

Do you have any method in place for backing up your NAS? Centralized b/u and storage is only half the battle, getting a copy offsite is key for me.
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Old 08-09-2016, 06:33 PM   #10
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Qnap has a software that backs up to cloud. I use iDrive but is compatible with amazon, azure, and just about all other backup services have qnap apps
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Old 08-09-2016, 06:34 PM   #11
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My WHS died a few years ago and I missed it for awhile....

I found a better replacement.

Synology NAS is what I have and I highly recommend to friends. the mobile apps are great, and the ease of using the different backup/hdd repair options works really well for me.

Sorry to hear about your WHS, but I would have a look at synology as well.
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Old 08-09-2016, 07:24 PM   #12
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I replaced my Acer WHS with a Synology and never looked back. Way faster, and way more stable.
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Old 08-10-2016, 08:28 AM   #13
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If you want a new 'server', then the Lenovo TS140 is what I have. But I also have a Synology DS216j (I got it recently on sale at Newegg for $225), and I absolutely love it.

I'm using the Synology as a backup target for the server and rest of my network, and it's been working great so far.

My next plan is to set up an off-site solution so I can backup the NAS...backup the backup, lol. That will probably involve something like Amazon Glacier or another provider like Crashplan or Backblaze. I think we had a thread on cloud backups a while back.
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Old 08-10-2016, 10:18 AM   #14
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The problem with cloud b/u is it takes so bloody long. We take a ton of pictures and since I bought a GoPro and a Mobius Camera for use on quadcopters or holidays, I've been generating a ton of video too. Even with the new Shaw 150 plan, the upload is only 15mb. And that's before getting into cloud storage limits.

That's the main thing I really liked about WHS, with a few clicks, you can easily backup folders on your server to an external drive in a matter of maybe 15 mins, disconnect that drive and take it to work to keep it safe.

In my case, I'm not really backing up my backup. I don't keep any pictures, videos or music on my PC. I bought WHS for central storage, everything goes on it so everyone in my house can access them.

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Old 08-10-2016, 02:17 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoinAllTheWay View Post
Another question for you if I could Delgar:

Do you have any method in place for backing up your NAS? Centralized b/u and storage is only half the battle, getting a copy offsite is key for me.
With raid 5 I don't backup the server itself that often, when I have I use a 6tb external which I use only for the irreplaceable files. I looked into cloud storage it was too expensive.
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Old 08-11-2016, 08:25 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoinAllTheWay View Post
That's the main thing I really liked about WHS, with a few clicks, you can easily backup folders on your server to an external drive in a matter of maybe 15 mins, disconnect that drive and take it to work to keep it safe.
I have not looked at this yet, but the Synology DS216j has at least one (if not two) USB 3.0 ports, and I believe you can use them to backup the NAS to an external drive.

I think a NAS would be perfect for you, and while you can't go wrong with either QNAP or Synology, one of my coworkers has me firmly on the Synology bandwagon, lol. The interface looks great, works even better, and its just so damn easy.
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Old 08-11-2016, 11:01 AM   #17
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Quote:
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I think a NAS would be perfect for you, and while you can't go wrong with either QNAP or Synology,
I tend to agree. Hands are basically tied anyways. I had originally considered building a new rig and loading WHSv1 back on to it but I doubt it would even update past whatever build is on the install disk. Can't find a copy of WHSv2 anywhere so choices are limited. Such a shame. I think those Acer boxes killed any chance WHS had of taking off as that seems to be most peoples experience with that O/S.

I'm looking at the 451+ as I like the idea of 4 bays. The QNaps' are loaded with a ton of features. I guess I also need to factor in the price of hard drives as they don't appear to come with the NAS. ME seems to have a decent lineup of NAS drives.

As an upside, researching a new NAS has led me to discover SSD's are finally getting to be a decent price. I wasn't happy with the upgrade to Win10 as it was a bit glitchy and was considering a fresh install. I have a system SSD now and a regular data drive. Might be a good time to buy a bigger SSD and load everything on to it.

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Old 08-11-2016, 09:07 PM   #18
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GoinAllTheWay,

If I didn't want a few features of the nas, I'd just buy two 8tb externals if I were you.

They're under $250 each and you can have one be the backup. Going the TS 451+ route will cost double or more with the drives, and Raid 5 means you'll lose a bunch of storage to redundancy.

In fact were that option available when I got the 451, I might have gone that route instead myself. The technology changes so quickly, and you could even use a computer laying around networked to host those drives, and install software to make it behave very much like a NAS. Downside is it will suck power and you'll need at least one dedicated desktop on all the time.

And, I remember so much frustration with WHS, I was on the main forums at the time reading hundreds of posts looking for solutions, and it seemed Microsoft was just abandoning it, there was no light at the end of the tunnel. That may have changed by now, I don't know, more importantly, I no longer care

Edit: and yeah, Synology gets great reviews, compare that to the Qnap before you buy, I don't know much about it.

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Old 04-30-2017, 03:35 PM   #19
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So I managed to resuscitate the WHS and it limped along just fine until yesterday, 2nd drive locked right up. Thank God for server backups. So I needed something and just said eff it and bought the Qnap T451+ Turbo.

How did you guys that one one of these decide how you wanted to arrange your drives? Options are single volume, thick volume and thin volume without really providing an comprehensive explanation to the pros and cons with each. I dislike with RAID that you lose an entire HD to redundancy. I think I'd rather a single volume and do regular backups to an external drive or maybe even a cloud server of sorts. Only drawback with the cloud is it's going to take forever to upload 200+ gig.

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Old 04-30-2017, 03:53 PM   #20
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I have a Synology and like it, though it's an old low end model so I don't like the transfer rate speeds, will upgrade it someday (will probably go with QNAP just to try something different).

I do mirroring, I'm ok with losing an entire drive's capacity to redundancy, drives are (relatively) inexpensive. I still do cloud backups as well but I wasn't comfortable without having some level of redundancy.
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