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Thread: Recommended drives for a NAS

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    Recommended drives for a NAS

    As part of my massive computing environment overaul mentioned in other recent threads, a NAS features prominently.

    I've given the choice of NAS itself some thought, and pretty much settled on a Synology DS-220+ for the right blend of power, connectivity and capacity with cost, for my needs and likely usage.

    I'm also planning on probably 4GB drives (two of, obviously). That is enough, for now at least.

    But which ones?

    Seagate Iron Wolf, WD Red, or Tosh N300?

    Usage will be a mixed bag. There will be a lot of photos going back and forth, there will be a fair bit of video being stored and, yeah, played from time to time. There won't be much gaming and what there is will be largely, if not entirely, on local SSD. And while the wife might draw on it occasionally, my bet is it'll be about 95%+ just me. Not no heavy, or even medium amounts of multi-user loading.

    Any recommendations, or just get whichever of those is cheapest at the time (i.e. doesn't much matter)?

    TIA (again).
    A lesson learned from PeterB about dignity in adversity, so Peter, In Memorium, "Onwards and Upwards".

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    Re: Recommended drives for a NAS

    If I recall correctly, WD Red (non-Pro version) drives under 8TB are more likely to be SMR (which obviously caused an uproar given that SMR makes no sense for NAS drives due to its much slower speeds).

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    Re: Recommended drives for a NAS

    Quote Originally Posted by Output View Post
    If I recall correctly, WD Red (non-Pro version) drives under 8TB are more likely to be SMR (which obviously caused an uproar given that SMR makes no sense for NAS drives due to its much slower speeds).
    And that makes me wonder about Iron Wolf v Iron Wolf Pro, given that what I've noticed so far seems to be 5900rpm v 7200 rpm, and about 25-30% (IIRC) cost difference between the two.

    My only hesitation is that the NAS itself is, well, I'd call it the high end of entry level. It's not designed to be a speed king as it's me only, it doesn't really need to be. Even so, it's about double the price of the entry level model in the entry level tier.

    Not that this threadis about NAS model - just that drive speed won't have the same impact as it would on a high-end NAS under heavy load? Maybe even SMR is acceptable, at the price point, as long as you know what you're getting??? Or not?
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    Re: Recommended drives for a NAS

    I went Toshiba N300 for a couple of 4TB drives. They seem fine, last one was about £100 on Amazon.

    I'm sure the SMR drive would work OK for your described usage. Part of the drive is not used as SMR, it sort of buffers writes in that area and then streams it into the SMR region when the drive is quiet. But I figured, if Toshiba do a perfectly good 7200rpm standard drive for the same money, why take the risk of hitting a use case where performance falls off a cliff? So they got my money.

    I was tempted to get WD USB 8TB drives and shuck the hard disks out of those as they are apparently NAS grade for some reason. But I didn't need the capacity, or the hassle. But sometimes you can get a cracking deal, just not when I needed to buy something.

    I gave up with Seagate years ago. That might be a bit unfair these days, but they had their chance many times
    Last edited by DanceswithUnix; 13-02-2021 at 12:03 PM.

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    Re: Recommended drives for a NAS

    There is nothing "wrong" as such with the SMR/CMR drives, as long as you know what you are getting and what your use case is.
    If you already have the NAS then it might be worth checking drive compatibility and for any updates that have dropped since drives started being "misslabeled"..

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    Re: Recommended drives for a NAS

    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix View Post
    .... But I figured, if Toshiba do a perfectly good 7200rpm standard drive for the same money, why take the risk of hitting a use case where performance falls off a cliff? So they got my money.

    ....
    Well clearly because you can ..... I mean if you .... it means you can .... aw, shucks, beats me.
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    Re: Recommended drives for a NAS

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen999 View Post
    Well clearly because you can ..... I mean if you .... it means you can .... aw, shucks, beats me.
    Well, yeah I'm a bit baffled by the situation tbh.

    If the SMR drives were cheaper, I would see the point. But they are cheaper to make, and then WD keep the difference. Don't see how WD make any sales really *shrug*

    WD's SSDs are good though, perhaps they just gave up with the spinning rust now.

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    Re: Recommended drives for a NAS

    Doubt it, if there's still money to be made and though SSD's have come a long way, HDD's aren't fully redundant quite yet.
    A lesson learned from PeterB about dignity in adversity, so Peter, In Memorium, "Onwards and Upwards".

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    Re: Recommended drives for a NAS

    I've literally just set up my new NAS (Synology 920+) today, I transferred over the drives & raid array from the old NAS (DS216+). Here's my 2 pence worth.

    Originally went WD 4TB Reds, 1 died 3 weeks after the warranty expired, other is still going.
    Replaced both drives with 5TB WD Reds, 1 died during warranty period and couldn't be replaced as no equivalent was available so they sent me a 5TB Red Pro. I obtained another 5TB WD Pro to match it and they were transfered to my home server and are still going strong.
    NAS drives were then replaced again with 6TB WD Reds but some reason I started seeings slower sustanined transfer speeds to & from the NAS, turns out I got done with SMR drives.
    Removed these as I got some smoking deals on 10 & 12TB external WD USB drives and shucked those and performance is good again. 12TB's are currently raided in the NAS, the 10's are raided in the home server.
    Going forwarded personally I'll just do my research, save much money and use shucked white label reds in raid config. The data is backed up multiple times elswhere so I'm not too concerned about data loss but if I was I probably would not use WD Reds anymore. The Pros do seem much better.
    I also tried a Seagate 8Tb external usb drive which is an SMR drive and it's performance is absolutley dire. Before I moved my raided NAS drives over to the new NAS I backed up the Raid 1 volume to this drive via USB 3. It took 3 days to copy 6.5TB's of data!!!!

    Therefore personally, I'd say whatever you do, do not put SMR drives in your NAS, they are only fit for external USB purposes and small volumes of data.

    I'm no expert like some folks on here but just relaying my experiences.

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    Re: Recommended drives for a NAS

    By the way not sure what other folks views are on Synology NAS's but my old DS216+ has performed brilliantly over the years. For along time i just used it to simply back up data but recently I've discovered it's unfathomed capabilties to run things like docker containers.

    Therefore it's made my old Windows based HP Microserver download box redundant. All automated downloading duties are now handled by the Synology NAS via Docker and it's so simple to do. I always loved Synology's DSM OS & ecosystem but it's only now that I'm uncovering its true potential. Yes you can do the same things on a Linux box much cheaper running OpenMediaVault or some other Linux distro but I tried for weeks to get it up & running correctly but kept running into permission & mounting issues that were beyond my capabilities to resolve. With Synology DSM I had the whole thing up & running correctly within 2 hours!

    Looking forward to working out what I should repurpose the old the DS216+ with now that it's main duties have been transferred to the DS920+.
    Last edited by jimborae; 14-02-2021 at 03:09 AM.

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    Re: Recommended drives for a NAS

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen999 View Post
    Doubt it, if there's still money to be made and though SSD's have come a long way, HDD's aren't fully redundant quite yet.
    Far from redundant, vast amounts of hard drives are still getting made and sold. The use has changed hugely though, and that is what we are seeing here. Consumers aren't really buying hard drives any more, most PCs are bought as laptops where spinning media is a liability in a mobile device. If you want a server, then 2.5in drives mean you can cram more spindles into a tighter space for better performance in a certain volume. A lot of 3.5in drives are sold as warm storage, where the drives are in power save for most of their lives and just come up when someone wants something from archive (so basically a really fast tape drive). Enterprise storage is moving away from the traditional RAID controller setups and into cloud deployments where disposable VMs use SCSI over ethernet and data is stored in cloud objects & containers rather than files, with the whole lot in something like a Ceph storage pool.

    A few of us have home NAS or server setups, but it is a niche market. That didn't used to matter, the likes of Samsung and Hitachi Deskstar drives were enterprise grade drive easily available to the consumer. Those are now gone, absorbed into the bigger players. A home NAS with its RAID controller is nothing like the minimum 3 nodes of a Ceph cluster. In short, we are moving away from what the big boys are doing.

    I think that shows with jimborae's experience there: If you want to chase the proper RAID drives that the big boys are using then you want to be starting at the 12TB level. Anything smaller than that, and the big spenders would want performance instead. We think of flash as expensive, but it gets sold by the petabyte. My worry with the WD SMR drives was not the technology as such, it was the fairly insulting way they fobbed NAS users off with them. That strikes me as a nasty attitude to their customers, which is doubly annoying because I used to like WD drives.

    The warranty on the N300 drives wasn't that great at 3 years, but overall it seemed the best bet. I actually have one of their MG Series enterprise drives in 4TB as well as the N300 ones, but only because the N300 wasn't available at the time and I needed to replace a failing WD Red in a hurry. That has a 5 year warranty, the official ratings are better for TB/year written and they are only £125 vs £100 for the N300 for the exact same capacity. Seems a bit overkill in a 2 drive setup though, they both have the necessary vibration sensors. But if you want a properly enterprise rated drive for the best odds of avoiding a failure, the MG 4TB might be worth thinking about.
    Last edited by DanceswithUnix; 14-02-2021 at 08:59 PM. Reason: MG Series, not MG300

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    Re: Recommended drives for a NAS

    I seem to remember a website that looked at hard drive reliability from I think a data centre perspective and Toshiba drives did very well in that iirc. I think I found it via The Register.

    If I find any Toshiba drives at low enough price point I’d certainly give them ago. But at the moment shucking the right external drives is too cheap to ignore for me, as home user, as long as you have backups.
    Last edited by jimborae; 14-02-2021 at 01:24 PM.

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    Re: Recommended drives for a NAS

    Jon

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    Re: Recommended drives for a NAS

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonj1611 View Post
    That was the one I was talking about! Thanks.

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    Re: Recommended drives for a NAS

    Note that while Backblaze publish very interesting results, you need to be very careful trying to interpret the results.

    For starters, they run initial vetting tests and only approve specific models into their storage trays. So drives that appear not so good in those tests are actually the worst of the best and still pretty good. The actual bad drives, we don't get to see those.

    Then there are cost implications, they acknowledged that the old HGST drives were the best, and then went out and bought Seagate because they don't mind the odd failure and the price was right.

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    Re: Recommended drives for a NAS

    Firstly, thanks all.

    Well, I know I said DS-220+ but my mind is changing. Cyrrently on DS-920+ (and no, it wsn't 'cos that's what you got, Jim). Mainly, it was me reprioritising a bit of future-proofing and expandability over the couple of hundred quid difference. So .... why? 2-bay would do me right now but, is going to hit a brick wall if I want to expand, short of replacing existing drives. A 4-bay unit with a couple of drives in gives me ability to add drives. Also, I found out about SHR allowing me to add in bigger drives initially in the expansion (yes, I know they'll act like smaller ones until the rest catch up). But then, it's much easier to migrate small the smaller to the bigger, and remove the smaller. And I do have the DX-517 option though I doubt I'll ever need it.

    Then, quad core v dual core, 4GB v 2GB, 8GB max v 6GB max, and of course, NVMe caching, should I need it. But not on the 220.

    The final factor was finding out about some of the things either will allow, but the 920 more so, like IP camera support, and even (if they're good enough) things like calendaring, Office-type apps, hosted right in the NAS. And of course, given my interests as mentioned in the new PC thread (photo and video). Some of that looks very interesting.

    And the final, final factor .... in the PC thread, the stranglehold on GPUs, and also if to a lesser extent, CPUs, just, well, winds me up. It's clear that now is not a good time to be buying a PC without risking getting bu.... messed about with.

    So, my priorities have re-ordered. Sort the storage thing now. Hence the NAS. With some of the changes that MIGHT, if I get on with them, make in what software runs where, my PC requirements might change. If I offload some of it to the NAS, who knows, maybe the desktop becomes a laptop .... later in the year.

    Meantime, NAS now with some satorage. I might even go single drive. Plus, maybe a larger, faster USB external than my current one, to backup the NAS.

    That drops the overall cost a bit, so phase two, get the damn DSLR (and bits), now-ish. Sort out the workflow revamp (for photo nuts among you, LR+PS only if II have to, alternatively some blend of Bridge, Adobe ACR (if I can sort the licence issue and maybe RAW Therapee if I can't), Capture 1, Affinity Photo and /or ACDSee Ultimate).

    And then sort the PC later, once product shortages have gone, or I've settled on a new laptop).

    In any event, currently on DS920+ for the above reasons, and now just deciding on drives, which brings me back to this thread but with slightly different intentions.
    A lesson learned from PeterB about dignity in adversity, so Peter, In Memorium, "Onwards and Upwards".

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