New NAS time

A failed disk in my Xpenology NAS mash-up has prompted a search for a new NAS.  Some 7 or 8 years ago I bought an HP EX490 MediaSmart server running Microsoft’s excellent Home Server OS.  Why they canned it I will never understand.  It was ideal for serving a family’s needs with shared storage, photo and media server etc etc, all with a simple to configure (but complex behind the scenes) disk raid array system.

Over the years I’d upgraded the processor and memory but when support for Home Server was withdrawn completely I started looking around for an OS to re-purpose the box.  I stumbled upon XPenology, a port of Synology’s excellent DSM NAS OS.  It’s not for the faint-hearted as is requires some tinkering to get sorted out.  My trusty old HP box ran this quite happily for a couple of years until recently a dying disk made me re-evaluate.

Our NAS, and what it stores, has become critical to us.  It has over 2TB of digital music, over 1TB of photos, and also acts as a software archive and general document store.  Naturally it’s all backed up, both to local external storage and also to the cloud, but even so, it’s become critical to us, and did I really want such a critical piece of infrastructure running an unsupported OS?

Reading some forums and browsing some websites led me to one solution – Synology.  I’d narrowed a replacement down to either a Synology, QNAP or ASUStor.  The over riding name I kept seeing was Synology so Amazon to the rescue and I purchased a Synology DS215 dual disk unit with some new 4TB disks.  I rationalised what I was storing (did I really need to keep that copy of MS NT and MS XP on the NAS?) and managed to archive a lot of stuff, getting my storage requirements down to about 3TB.

Synology’s NAS OS is a breeze, from unboxing to up and running was less than 15 minutes and now it sits quite happily in my comms cabinet just getting on with the job in a very power efficient way.  More on DSM OS later perhaps.

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