NAS (Networked Attached Storage device) recommendations for media streaming?

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Simon_C Offline
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Post: #1
Hi All,

Possibly slightly off topic, but I hope someone might be able to help. I'm looking at getting a NAS for use with XBMC (running on either my Apple TV, or my Mac Mini). I want to move all my media to the NAS and stream it across the network. (currently 100mbit, but could upgrade if required)

I've been looking at the QNAP TS-409, and was all set to get it as it seems to meet most of my needs, but I'm now a little concerned about it's bandwidth capabilities.

Looking over some benchmarks (http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/component.../chart,15/) it seems quite low in the field. Is this actually a cause for concern?

I don't currently have any blu-ray rips, but don't want to limit myself for the future. Would this handle it? Does anyone have any experience of using this or similar?

If not, does anyone have any other suitable recommendations? I'm after a minimum of a 4 bay NAS capable of RAID 5, for under £500 (in the UK) and able to host Torrent downloads and an ITunes library. The big requirement for me is that I want to put 4x 2Tb drives into it (starting with 2 now, and then expanding) and quite a few models seem to limit this.

Thanks,
Simon
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eddietop Offline
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Post: #2
I went for one of these; http://www.tranquilpc-shop.co.uk/acatalo...RVERS.html.

It's a barebone bring your own drives nas box running on an intel atom.

It also comes without an OS. I run Unbutu server on mine and it downloads all my torrents, and Usenet and it's setup so i can completely manage it via a web interface.
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Ebbo Offline
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Post: #3
I'm using a QNAP-219
it's damn fast and has a rock solid system.
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Simon_C Offline
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eddietop Wrote:I went for one of these; http://www.tranquilpc-shop.co.uk/acatalo...RVERS.html.
Hi Eddie, that looks pretty neat. I've never used much Linux, so I'm not sure how confident i'd be setting it up and troubleshooting any issues. Are there any performance benefits on using something like that over a more 'off-the-shelf' solution, or it is just the extra functionality and less cost?
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eddietop Offline
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Simon_C Wrote:Hi Eddie, that looks pretty neat. I've never used much Linux, so I'm not sure how confident i'd be setting it up and troubleshooting any issues. Are there any performance benefits on using something like that over a more 'off-the-shelf' solution, or it is just the extra functionality and less cost?

Hi Simon,

The main benefit is that its essentially a small pc you have complete control over. It's also much more powerful hardware wise than off the shelf NAS solutions, plus its 5 bays, most for the same price are only 4 bays.

If your not familiar with linux just stick with windows, it will work fine. The internal raid controller will support 4 drives in a raid 5, and you can use the other slot for the OS drive. The great thing is once it's setup you can install your prferered torrent application of choice, and just leave the NAS on 24/7 downloading torrents for you, rather then leave your main PC on, then once finished the media is avaliable via share to XBMC.

There is a benefit to using windows also, the intel nic has a driver that enables wake-on-packet. It's different from wake-on-lan, in that it wakes when it recieves any kind of packet instantly. This means you can get the NAS the sleep after 20 mins of inactivity and then as soon as you try to access the share on XBMC, or any other pc, the NAS will detect the packet and instantly wake its self up Smile
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Simon_C Offline
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Post: #6
That sounds quite impressive, im getting tempted.

How noisy is it? That's been my other concern over the NAS boxes - whilst i'm not looking to host this in my front room, I would like something that's fairly quiet. Any whilst it's not my biggest concern, are they pretty good for power usage / heat?

Do you have idea of any good windows software to manage the RAID array?

(sorry to bombard you with questions!)

Cheers
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wstewart Offline
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Post: #7
personally I prefer a dedicated Linux box for this. Very limited on the customization that you can do with a NAS.

I am not aware of any NAS boxes that support WOL, but a Linux box can do it easily. I have my main server downstairs, when the frontend boots, its sends a WOL packet to the server to wake it up. If no frontends are active the server powers down.

also if you want to run jobs such as encoding video and other stuff you have the flexibility with a linux box. Can add as many drives as you want to (limited by PS).

If Xbmc eventually gets to have a server side database, then a NAS probably won`t allow you to run a mysql server, but a dedicated linux box will.
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eddietop Offline
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Post: #8
Noise wise its almost silent, i have it had in my office and i can hardly hear it, the only moving parts are the disks and a small fan on the back but it's making hardly any noise.

Here are some good reviews if you want to read further into heat/power;

http://www.automatedhome.co.uk/Reviews/T...eview.html

http://www.wegotserved.com/2009/01/25/ha...me-server/

http://m0dlx.com/blog/Tranquil_PC_BBS2_f...cking.html

Mine hardly produces any heat, and that's with 5 1tb drives stuffed into it, the atom is a really cool running chip.

As for managing the raid, i think the card is SiliconImage SiI3124. It's managed vis the bios, and you can hotswap drives i believe. I am personally not using the raid controller, i have joined all my disks into a massive share, with no redundancy.

The raid controller comes configured with either 4 drives attached, or 3 drives and the ESATA port. If your planning on raiding its probably best to order with the 4 drives on the raid controller.
You also have the software raid option available to you if you decide to ever go the Linux route.

It's not as simple as just buying an off the shelf NAS shoving disks in, and off you go. Your basically setting up a server to share your media for you, but the flexability you gain for doing it this way is worth it IMO. Also in my experience NAS torrent servers are really lacking feature wise.
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dvdapex Offline
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Post: #9
I use a HP5710 thin client with a Rosewill 2 drive enclosure attached via USB and in it two 1 TB sata drives.

It takes 22w - 25w for the whole setup to run.

It's quiet, compact, and I can remote to the thin client and use the thin client to run "other" applications 24/7. And, it was pretty cheap since, if you have connections, older thin clients are easy to come by for free.
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pantherman007 Offline
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Post: #10
I'm using a 2006-era ReadyNAS NV (4 x 750GB) NAS unit to serve media up to XBMC. It's been rock solid and a great solution for both SD and HD material. The 409 should be able to at least match this 3-year-old solution in performance.

I'm not sure what the UK prices are, but based on your requirements I'd recommend taking a look at Netgear's NV+. It's the somewhat newer version of what I have (but not the newest, expensive NVX), supports online array expansion when you add drives and includes a BitTorrent client. I particularly love the BitTorrent client on the ReadyNAS. I can set it to auto-stop seeding n minutes after I have the whole file, and there's a set of scripts on their support forum to configure the unit to auto start torrents that it finds in a specific folder. Between TED, the NV, and TVRename app for Windows I have a very automated process for finding torrents, downloading files, and renaming/relocating the results. I haven't tried hosting an iTunes DB on it. With the NVX having just come out, you might find some deals on the NV+.

Keep in mind that if you start with only two 2TB drives you're only going to get 2TB usable - most units will stripe or mirror your array for data protection. You don't get more usable space until you add drive #3.

I've considered building a custom Linux box for my next server, but there's a LOT to be said for having something simple and stable to house your data, especially if you (like I) aren't a Linux guru. Even if it costs a little extra.
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phrehdd Offline
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Post: #11
Simon_C Wrote:Hi All,

Possibly slightly off topic, but I hope someone might be able to help. I'm looking at getting a NAS for use with XBMC (running on either my Apple TV, or my Mac Mini). I want to move all my media to the NAS and stream it across the network. (currently 100mbit, but could upgrade if required)

I've been looking at the QNAP TS-409, and was all set to get it as it seems to meet most of my needs, but I'm now a little concerned about it's bandwidth capabilities.

Looking over some benchmarks (http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/component.../chart,15/) it seems quite low in the field. Is this actually a cause for concern?

I don't currently have any blu-ray rips, but don't want to limit myself for the future. Would this handle it? Does anyone have any experience of using this or similar?

If not, does anyone have any other suitable recommendations? I'm after a minimum of a 4 bay NAS capable of RAID 5, for under £500 (in the UK) and able to host Torrent downloads and an ITunes library. The big requirement for me is that I want to put 4x 2Tb drives into it (starting with 2 now, and then expanding) and quite a few models seem to limit this.

Thanks,
Simon

I can't comment on the 409 model but I have the 409pro and I use it for streaming to a PS3 via both wireless and cabled. Also via cable to MAC system housing XBMC and Plex with no issues.

For the PS3 I go with two Airport Extremes in bridge mode.

Qnap 409pro--cat6--AE1 ^^^wireless N 5ghrz^^^AE2--cat6--PS3.

(The Mac with Plex resides on the same side of the AE1 as the NAS.)

The only time I use cable is when I have a messy m2ts file with very high bitrates but about 90 pecent of my m2ts files play fine. The key is the bridge being set up correctly with Draft N 5ghrz.

So, my guess is if the 409 should be fast enough via cat6.

-Phrehdd
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redtapemedia Offline
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Post: #12
I have the synology CS407 and find it to be excellent. Any synology enclosures seem quite good. http://www.synology.com

The CS407 features torrent downloading, iTunes server, web server and has many other applications that can be installed.

Easy to setup an maintain, and features RAID 0, 1 or 5.
(This post was last modified: 2009-06-19 01:52 by redtapemedia.)
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KidKiwi Offline
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Post: #13
Simon_C Wrote:Hi All,

Possibly slightly off topic, but I hope someone might be able to help. I'm looking at getting a NAS for use with XBMC (running on either my Apple TV, or my Mac Mini). I want to move all my media to the NAS and stream it across the network. (currently 100mbit, but could upgrade if required)

I've been looking at the QNAP TS-409, and was all set to get it as it seems to meet most of my needs, but I'm now a little concerned about it's bandwidth capabilities.

Looking over some benchmarks (http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/component.../chart,15/) it seems quite low in the field. Is this actually a cause for concern?

I don't currently have any blu-ray rips, but don't want to limit myself for the future. Would this handle it? Does anyone have any experience of using this or similar?

If not, does anyone have any other suitable recommendations? I'm after a minimum of a 4 bay NAS capable of RAID 5, for under £500 (in the UK) and able to host Torrent downloads and an ITunes library. The big requirement for me is that I want to put 4x 2Tb drives into it (starting with 2 now, and then expanding) and quite a few models seem to limit this.

Thanks,
Simon

Have you considered "unRAID?" The basic software (1xparity HDD + 2x Data Drives) is free. You Setup your own hardware ( alot of people use old H/ware lying around) - Or...you can buy a system direct from Lime Technology. It comes with it's own web interface to manage it. A pro-version array can handle 20 HDDs and it's fairly easy to setup.

You can easily expand the array as your collection grows (add new HDD"s). You can use different sized HDD's (also IDE and SATA together). It can rebuild a single HDD failure. If two HDD's fail, then you only lose the info on two drives (not all of them like other raids - The author is currently working on a version that can handle several HDD failures.) Individual HDD's can spin down. Runs from a USB drive (linux based). If a drive does fail, the system acts like a simulated drive and continues to stream data - you can even write to the simulated drive)

Hope this helps.

ZOTAC IONITX-D-E Intel Atom N330 Dual Core 1.6 GHz NVIDIA ION with LIVE on SSD
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vskatusa Offline
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Post: #14
As KidKiwi suggested you must consider unRAID.

I am short on cash, but waiting to buy the pre-build version of unRAID.

Just that you understand.....

Similar to other RAID systems, unRAID Server permits reconstruction of a single failed hard drive (RAID5). However in the unlikely event of multiple hard drive failures, data loss would be isloated to only those hard drives which failed. In traditional RAID systems, multiple simultaneous hard drive failure results in complete data loss.

In unRAID all the hard drives that are not used are spun down.

However, the speed of netgear readynas pro pioneer edition is far better than unRAID but most unRAID users are able to stream 2 to 3 streams of HD video in unRAID and seem to love it - just read their forums.
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