I run Plex Media Server on my system, and am looking to move my storage into a NAS. For those of you who use one with Plex, which do you prefer? And do you let the NAS run Plex (like some Synology models) or just run it from the computer connected to the NAS?
Depending on how much expansion you think you’ll eventually do you may well be far better off going DIY. There’s nothing magical about the term NAS. It’s just a computer with storage attached.
If you don’t need to do a lot of on-the-fly transcoding, the CPU requirements are usually rather meager, meaning you can get by with inexpensive hardware. There are loads of retired data center motherboards and CPUs that are very cheap and way more than adequate for a storage server.
Even if you do need to do transcoding, you can find dual-CPU motherboards and CPUs with four or six hyperthreaded cores for very little money. For what you’ll pay for a cheap commercial NAS you’ll almost certainly be able to build something that will hold two or three times as many drives and be far more flexible in the long run.
To be entirely fair, if you don’t have at least minimal knowledge of Linux it will be a bit of a slog to get a DIY off the ground, but I think most people with some patience should be able to do it.
Might be going out on a limb here. But if you are the type of person that posts on a private tracker tech forum seeking advice on what NAS to use I doubt very much building a Linux box is a viable solution for you.
planchet sounds like he knows what he is doing for sure. But he neglects to mention after building a Linux box you will need to admin and maintain it. Or at least you need to dedicate the troubleshooting time when something breaks or goes wrong.
If OP had “minimal knowledge” they would have just googled a solution already and shared their solution here as a final check. For people with minimal or no tech knowledge, who are also time poor, a pre-built NAS solution is best – and of course more expensive.
Perhaps I’ve been lucky or I just did most stuff right the first time, but my server has been running for a year and a half needing only minimal maintenance — nothing more than I’d imagine needing to do on a commercial NAS — and no ongoing admin at all. I have had a disk fail, but that could happen on any system. I replaced it, ran a couple commands to rebuild the data on the new drive, and I was back in business.
I don’t mean to make this sound like a walk in the park. Getting it set up initially was absolutely much more involved than I imagine any commercial NAS could possibly be. But I have to say I’m very glad I went this way. I have room for a lot of drives, can mix drive sizes, can expand one drive at a time, and can extend my drive failure protection beyond the current two-drive failure tolerance any time I want.
DIY is not for everyone, but I think a lot of people who could do it reject the idea because they think it will be too expensive or far too difficult. By far the most frustrating thing was setting up network sharing, but that was due to choosing to use nfs. If I’d gone with samba it would have been simple, if not as tightly controlled. The rest of it was easier than I thought it would be.
Rather presumptive of you; i’ve done research, and I was interested in seeing what *other* people here are using. Building a linux box is a breeze for me, but I’m not looking to run another system in here. I’m looking for a simple NAS solution. I’ve admined Windows, Linux and Solaris. That’s not a problem.
But hey, go ahead and be the internet warrior you are. this was a thread asking what other people are doing. If you can’t contribute to that discussion in a construcitve manner, then go somewhere else.
Given this, the thing I would ask is how much expansion capability you’d like this NAS to have. To get significant room for expansion along with protection against multiple device failure in a commercial NAS is usually quite expensive.
I built a server a year and a half ago for about $600, not counting data drives. I went with all new parts. If I’d then known about the retired data center parts available on ebay I could have done it for half that. Even less if I hadn’t spent so much on the case. I have 11 data drives and two parity drives, plus the boot drive, and still have room for at least three more drives. The data drives are a mix of drive sizes from 2TB to 8TB.
I’m running Debian, SnapRAID, and MergerFS as the pieces that provide the primary functionality. I’m very happy with it. This setup allows me to expand one drive at a time and use drives of various sizes. I migrated existing drives over a few at a time so I know the expansion works fine. I can also add more parity protection by just adding another drive and changing a config file. I’ve done this as well so I know it works. SnapRAID isn’t right for everyone, but for a media collection where the vast majority of data doesn’t change, it’s a very flexible solution.
I won’t expound further on this unless you’d like me to. You’ve indicated you want a simple NAS solution and, presumably, you’ve decided DIY doesn’t fit that bill. Nothing at all wrong with that. DIY is definitely more labor intense to begin with. I just wanted to take another shot at pointing out some of the benefits of building your own. Please let us know what you eventually decide to do.