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I'm currently seeking out solutions to this problem:

I currently have a growing number of 2TB, 3TB, and 4TB external drives and it's becoming a pain to manage. 

I've been storing everything manually in duplicates (1 copy to drive A and 1 to drive B as an example). 

I'm trying to find the best and easiest solution to having at least 2 if not 3 copies of my entire music collection, and I would like one of those copies to be off-site. 

I am trying to decide between:

1. several large external Hard drives (4 to 6 8TB external drives - I have about 16TB's of music so 2-3 copies of 2 8TB drives). 

2. A USB or thunderbolt external Raid Box ?

3. A Synology 916Play with 2-4 8TB drives 

4. Any of the above but copy number 3 being stored in the cloud (G-Drive, Amazon Cloud) - Note: I have a G-Drive now (only with about 1TB of files stored) and I find that the upload times are sooo slow, I could not imagine how many years it would take to upload 16TB's to it!

5. As another person posted here, sounds like a better alternative to cloud storage for backup may be to purchase 2 Synology 916 NAS, on on-site and a second as backup at my brothers or a friends house? 

What are the advantages to a NAS vs. an external RAID box? 

Is a raid Box or NAS superior to several external hard drives ? (8TB external HD's are the cheapest option for certain vs a NAS or RAID box). 

Thanks for any suggestions ! 

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plissken   

A NAS is a buttoned up Computer with RAID. Usually managed in a web browser. 

 

The trade offs are usually price, ease of use, your time investment,  etc.... With the costs of NAS enclosures where they are at they make a lot of sense.

 

If you see you are going to need a lot more expansion and you don't have and end in sight then maybe a traditional computer treated as a storage server would do it.  BTW you can get MS Hyper-V Server 2012 for free and it includes file services as an install (along with print). 

 

What is your budget?

 

 

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Don't make it complicated or more expensive.  Just get a dual docking external station.  Buy all internal 3.5" HDD's.  You don't need another computer/NAS.  With the dual docking station you can copy one hard drive to the other, identical.  Internal hard drives take up less space for storage.

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A NAS can serve music to a number of end-points, whereas DAS is limited to the computer it is attached to (unless that computer is then used as a server). It also means that the NAS is usually on 24/7, whereas a DAS is presumably only switched on when the computer it is attached to is switched on. Besides, a NAS can also be used for many other purposes, in addition to storing your music. Connection to the NAS is through the network (WiFi or Ethernet - Ethernet preferred), whereas the DAS can be attached using USB, Thunderbolt, etc.

 

Remember though, that a NAS is not a fail-safe form of back-up, even if RAID can have some redundancy. So, the paranoid amongst us would use the NAS on-site; and then have it replicate with an off-site location (either another NAS in another location, or a cloud service, etc.).

 

However, all these things mean increasing costs. In the end, a compromise is usually made, based on the parameters of costs, and the security of the data (I think that re-ripping the CDs to re-populate your entire music collection would be a pain).

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@foodfiend @ElviaCaprice @plissken

Thanks for these recommendations thus far! 

One thing I forgot to mention is that I currently use an Aurender N100H as my sole music player / streamer. 

So, one advantage a NAS vs local external storage would provide me is that I could play music stored on the NAS via the Aurender (this is an available feature with the Aurender). 

There is a finite limit in regards to how much the Aurender can store locally, so I could keep my favorite/ best music on the Aurender (I believe locally stored music has a higher level of sound quality vs. music played through the Aurender via a NAS, but I've never personally tried it, just what I've read). 

The Synology 416Play costs about $450 bare (no drives) , the Synology 916play costs about $700 bare, so that would be the one time added expense vs. external drives. 

I do realize that the NAS itself would require to be backed up (either to external hard drives, a cloud service, or another NAS located off-site). 

As stated, I have almost 16TB's of music now and that seems to be growing daily, so I would require at least a 4 bay local RAID box if I did not get a NAS and they cost almost the same as a Synology NAS, however I think they may be faster to upload and download vs. a NAS since they typically have USB 3.0 or USB 3.1 and some also have Thunderbolt 3.0.  

 

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@agladstone

If you are looking at Synology, do take a look at the tool set that it comes with it. One good thing about the Synology is that it has tools to perform the back-up function included. Also, depending on your local network, the NAS unit could serve the music to other locations at home. With NAS, the music can also be accessible over the Internet, so you could be travelling, and still have access to your music (N.B. the usual computer security warnings on hacks).

 

While I do not own an Aurender, I believe their rationale for better sound quality is through caching through an internal SSD. In that way, I do not believe that playing through their internal HDDs, a DAS, or a NAS, should make much difference. Any Aurender users can validate/refute this?

 

By the way, you do not mention explicitly how you would use your DAS, if you got one. Would it be directly attached to your Aurender, or would you have it attached to your computer? I hope the DAS would be linked to your computer, since Aurender's philosophy seems to assume that your primary copy of music is not on the Aurender (it is simply a back-up). However, you do mention a 16TB music collection that is still growing, so presumably, you do need storage on the Aurender end. If you are attaching the DAS to your computer, what do you use to store the music locally for the Aurender? Or do you plan on shuffling the DAS around (which leads to the question of local back-up)?

 

Overall, I think that the NAS is a neater solution.

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10 minutes ago, foodfiend said:

@agladstone

If you are looking at Synology, do take a look at the tool set that comes with it. One good thing about the Synology is that it has tools to perform the back-up function included. Also, depending on your local network, the NAS unit could serve the music to other locations at home. With NAS, the music can also be accessible over the Internet, so you could be travelling, and still have access to your music (N.B. the usual computer security warnings on hacks).

 

While I do not own an Aurender, I believe their rationale for better sound quality is through caching through an internal SSD. In that way, I do not believe that playing through their internal HDDs, a DAS, or a NAS, should make much difference. Any Aurender users can validate/refute this?

 

By the way, you do not mention explicitly how you would use your DAS, if you got one. Would it be directly attached to your Aurender, or would you have it attached to your computer? I hope the DAS would be linked to your computer, since Aurender's philosophy seems to assume that your primary copy of music is not on the Aurender (it is simply a back-up). However, you do mention a 16TB music collection that is still growing, so presumably, you do need storage on the Aurender end. If you are attaching the DAS to your computer, what do you use to store the music locally for the Aurender? Or do you plan on shuffling the DAS around (which leads to the question of local back-up)?

 

Overall, I think that the NAS is a neater solution.

Thanks for the advice! 

Currently, I'm only playing music through the Aurender that is stored locally inside the Aurender's internal Hard Drive. 

The menagerie of smaller external drives I have now are all just for storage and management (I load up the stuff I want to listen to onto the Aurender's internal drive (I have a 5TB internal drive in the Aurender, so it holds plenty of music) and Each of my external drives are manually "mirrored" (so I have 2 4TB drives one a copy of the other and so on for the others I have). 

I think the Synology 916play seems like a good choice for me, I could start with 4 8TB drives and either have them in a RAID or just use as JBOD and use external Hard Drives to make a backup copy of what's on them (I've been told RAID is not always ideal if your constantly making changes which I am, and that an offline external HD backup or a cloud backup of JBOD may be better ? (Thoughts)? 

The Synology 916play is not "cheap", but when I think about all the time and money I've spent at this point to get almost 16TB's of music (most is DSD or 24 bit high rez), I never want to lose it and I could not fathom the time or cost involved to replace it!! 

Also, as you mentioned, I could also stream from the NAS to a soon to come mini bedroom system and I could even make a switch to an ultra Rendu in the future from the Aurender, etc. 

Also, to answer your question the DAS would only be attached to my desktop for ripping, storage, tagging, and management of my collection, anything I would play through my system would most likely always be via the local internal Aurender Hard Drive. 

Move read via this forum and also many reviews of the Aurender, that locally stored playback has better sound quality vs a NAS or USB attached Hard Drive. 

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2 hours ago, agladstone said:

Thanks for the advice! 

Currently, I'm only playing music through the Aurender that is stored locally inside the Aurender's internal Hard Drive. 

The menagerie of smaller external drives I have now are all just for storage and management (I load up the stuff I want to listen to onto the Aurender's internal drive (I have a 5TB internal drive in the Aurender, so it holds plenty of music) and Each of my external drives are manually "mirrored" (so I have 2 4TB drives one a copy of the other and so on for the others I have). 

I think the Synology 916play seems like a good choice for me, I could start with 4 8TB drives and either have them in a RAID or just use as JBOD and use external Hard Drives to make a backup copy of what's on them (I've been told RAID is not always ideal if your constantly making changes which I am, and that an offline external HD backup or a cloud backup of JBOD may be better ? (Thoughts)? 

The Synology 916play is not "cheap", but when I think about all the time and money I've spent at this point to get almost 16TB's of music (most is DSD or 24 bit high rez), I never want to lose it and I could not fathom the time or cost involved to replace it!! 

Also, as you mentioned, I could also stream from the NAS to a soon to come mini bedroom system and I could even make a switch to an ultra Rendu in the future from the Aurender, etc. 

Also, to answer your question the DAS would only be attached to my desktop for ripping, storage, tagging, and management of my collection, anything I would play through my system would most likely always be via the local internal Aurender Hard Drive. 

Move read via this forum and also many reviews of the Aurender, that locally stored playback has better sound quality vs a NAS or USB attached Hard Drive. 

 

I'm also looking at a NAS. You don't need the play version only for music playback and backup, these versions are mainly for 4k video. The 916 series can be attached to additional drives (total of 9), however this doesn't increase the reliability of your backups.

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@unbalanced output thanks, the reason I was thinking of the play version vs the reg 916 is that fornthe slight increase in price, it seems to have a faster processor, more memory and also the ability to use it as a plex server for video (Video would not be the primary use, but I have a bunch of concert DVD's and Blu-Rays, so it would be neat to be able to rip them

and play them via plex to my amazon TV box, etc.). 

I think it's the way to go! Wish it was a little cheaper, but nothing I ever seem to want is, lol! 

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If you want it to stream videos, then the play version is the way to go! I regret having missed getting one on sale last week. Check out the 416play as well, it is a great option unless you think you might need to expand to more than four drives in the future and it is cheaper.

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Considering your 16TB music library (and growing), and your desire to serve some concert DVDs and Blu-Rays, I would recommend the expandable DS916+. Blu-Rays easily take up 30 GB per disc, so they are storage space hungry.

 

I am actually quite curious why Synology does not make bigger NAS units (more drive bays) with hardware transcoding engines. Anyone knows why?

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The 916 fits 9 disks with the expansion, that's 64tb with 8tb disks on raid 5. 

 

I just thought of buying a local drive for my Roon server, is a neat idea until I realise the size of DSD albums... Just got one with 13Gb! Storage will go fast this way...

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@unbalanced output

Yes, music files increase drastically in size once in the realm of hi-res audio. HDD space gets eaten away quickly. Thankfully, HDDs are cheap nowadays. The great thing about the DS916+ is that you can start off with the basic unit with 4 HDDs, and buy the expansion unit later (once storage runs out).

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That's true. But remember that the NAS has a limited timespan, say 10 years or so. You could estimate your needs then, e.g if you buy say 2 DSD albums per month, 3 CDs and one blue ray that's say 50GB/month or 1.2 Tb/year, 12 Tb over 10 years (plus you current collection obviously). Some could double or triple that amount (and that would be a lot of money), but hardly one would max out an expanded 916+ even if keeping different versions of their albums. Of course there are bigger, professional Nas out there, but at this level backup becomes a real concern - would you duplicate all with reel tape? A second NAS? That gets real expensive real quick!

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36 minutes ago, unbalanced output said:

Of course there are bigger, professional Nas out there, but at this level backup becomes a real concern - would you duplicate all with reel tape? A second NAS? That gets real expensive real quick!

Yes but I use the second NAS at another location so that it provides a needed service in addition to backing up the original (or is it the other way around?).

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@unbalanced output

Well, I definitely buy music at a faster rate than you... ;) I easily buy 10 to 20 CDs in a month, in addition to the hi-res downloads that I acquire.

 

If you look at the DS916+, the basic 4-bay box would hold 30TB using 10TB HDDs on RAID5, but only 18TB using more common 6TB HDDs. You can always scale the NAS capacity according to your envisaged storage needs.

 

For myself, I use the 8-bay DS1815+ with 6TB HDDs. Yes, I do have another NAS to back-up that data. And yes, it is not cheap...

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Thanks for all this great help and input! 

I think the Synology 916+play is the best choice for me. 

I'm if starting with the 4 Bays and 4 WD 8TB Red drives. 

Many thoughts on using it as JBOD instead of in a RAID configuration and than just keeping a back up of the drives on external HD's or perhaps attempting a Cloud backup and sync solution with it? 

 

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@foodfiend wow I don't think I have the time to listen to 20 new CDs a month! :) Anyhow that was an example... I don't do blue rays

 

@agladstone don't consider Raid as a backup solution. It's just not reliable unless you have many drives. If you lose one drive, the chance of losing a second drive while rebuilding the system is multifold. Happened to me. There are also other tricks like not buying all drives at the same time (likely from the same lot and hence with a good chance that will fail at the same time). Also saw this happeninh. Ideally your backup won't be on the same electrical system. If you have a short circuit you may lose both units. 

 

I've seen HDDs fail in so many ways. One had a short circuit which melted the controller chip which in turn set the whole board on fire. Was quite spectacular...

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@agladstone Personally, I would stick to RAID, since it increases the security of your music data slightly by having some form of parity (not RAID 0, obviously). As for a back-up solution, you can look at backing-up to another NAS, or to the cloud. Like what unbalanced output mentioned, RAID is not a back-up solution. Many new NAS users get mistaken that the RAID negates the need for back-up and get badly burnt when their array fails!

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17 minutes ago, unbalanced output said:

@foodfiend wow I don't think I have the time to listen to 20 new CDs a month! :) Anyhow that was an example... I don't do blue rays

 

Well, I do not subscribe to any streaming service, nor do I listen to the radio. Also, I tend to listen to music during my commute, so I think the 10 to 20 new CDs a month is not excessive (I do listen to many different genres and in different languages).

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5 minutes ago, foodfiend said:

@agladstone Personally, I would stick to RAID, since it increases the security of your music data slightly by having some form of parity (not RAID 0, obviously). As for a back-up solution, you can look at backing-up to another NAS, or to the cloud. Like what unbalanced output mentioned, RAID is not a back-up solution. Many new NAS users get mistaken that the RAID negates the need for back-up and get badly burnt when their array fails!

Yes, RAID is a convenience.  I recently had a transient drive failure due to excess heat and I was able to recover the content with little effort.  Had two drives failed, I would have needed the backup.

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19 minutes ago, Kal Rubinson said:

Yes, RAID is a convenience.  I recently had a transient drive failure due to excess heat and I was able to recover the content with little effort.  Had two drives failed, I would have needed the backup.

Well, while not full-proof, RAID in a NAS can be configured according to the level of paranoia one has... RAID 6 can survive a double drive failure...

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If you guys are interested in 50Tb+… why not the 1817+? It is actually just a few hundred more and fits 8 disks standard - the 916 with expansion unit will probably cost more.

 

Whichever logical arrangement you take for the disks, a raid is always a hot backup. If all is working but you erase all the data you're still doomed. I would always have a backup which is generally off the grid. If a 5gb hires album would cost 10 moneys, that's 2k per Tb of data - backup is cheap in comparison.

 

Edit: I see @foodfiend uses the 1815, looks like a good choice. How noisy does that get for you? What drives are you running?

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The key difference is the hardware transcoding available on the DS916+ (up to 4K @ 30 fps), which the DS1817+ does not offer.

 

@agladstonementioned that he wanted to use plex and video, and the DS916+ is the biggest unit with hardware transcoding.

 

@unbalanced output Yes, I use the DS1815+. I have one set using WD Red 6TB HDDs on RAID10, and another set on HGST NAS 6TB HDDs on RAID6. The unit running RAID6 is much noisier than the one running RAID10. Not sure if it is due to the RAID implementation or the HDDs.

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1 hour ago, foodfiend said:

Well, while not full-proof, RAID in a NAS can be configured according to the level of paranoia one has... RAID 6 can survive a double drive failure...

Indeed.  You can draw the line where it makes you comfortable.

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