Storage forum: Looking for the Best Storage, Backup and Streaming Solution

by: farleone March 6, 2012 5:43 PM PST

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Looking for the Best Storage, Backup and Streaming Solution

by farleone - 3/6/12 5:43 PM

This is my first post and I would like to apologize for any overlap with content on other threads! Please excuse the length, the amount of questions I ask, any ineloquent terminology and the frequent use of the phase 'central hub'.....

Broadly speaking -

1. What I am looking for is a central hub that backs up data from multiple macs, works as an external hard drive for these same macs and acts as a media server streaming music and HD videos wirelessly to compatible devices around the house.
2. I would like the hub to protect its own data
3. I do not mind if the central hub is made of one or many devices chained together, but I am looking for performance and reliability over value for money.
4. I need an initial 4tb of writable space, and want it to be reasonable future proof / extendable
5. I do not want speed issues and want the hub to do be able to do more than one task at once fairly efficiently.
6. My budget is up to £1000 or $1400


A. I guess the first question is what should the central hub look like? Is NAS the way to go? Some say that NAS at the consumer level is not quite there yet in terms of ease of use. I would not consider myself to be anything other than a novice when it comes to technical prowess. For reference, my greatest technical of the last few years has been downgrading my 2011 MBP to Snow Leopard - i.e. I can follow lengthy tasks in a step-by-step manner, but have not broader understanding of such things as servers etc.

Some things I would like

B. I have a Macbook Air running Lion and a MBP on Snow Leopard. I would like to be able to have them both access and write files to the central hub / NAS and use it as their Time Machines. Does having two differing OS matter? (Especially re Q below)

C. I would like the hub to stream iTunes music and videos to both MBs. I use VLC for video content and would like to keep doing so. I'd also like to stream iTunes music to my iPhone. For both is it possible to stream when outside of the home using a NAS?

D. What is the best way to go about protecting data on the hub / NAS? As mentioned above there is a requirement for it to act as an external drive and media server, meaning the content will not be anywhere else. Should I be looking to connect and external hard drive to the hub / NAS and / or configure with Raid?

E. If raid is necessary, is Raid 1 the best way to go for a NAS setup if you have drive bay space and cost is not an issue? I've seen many people write that raid-enabled NAS is not a backup drive itself and that both drives fail...

F. Finally, in an ideal world I want to get away from iTunes and rip my entire music collection again at FLAC quality. As a result I would like to be able to get something like Media Monkey working with the central hub, using parallels to host it on the MacBooks. Is possible to have 2 OSs on the same device accessing the central hub / NAS in different ways?

G. At the moment, if NAS is where I should be then I'm thinking of something like the DS411+II from Synology but I like some of the consumer-aimed features (iTunes server etc) of the more basic QNAP TS-410 as well.... With the Synology I would like to fit it with 4 2tb hard drives with raid 1... As a NAS newbie I am worried that the 411 might be too complicated but I guess I'm more worried that the consumer/entry level boxes are less extendible, more limited and much slower... thoughts?

Anyway that's quite enough now Any help on any of it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you again!

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