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I'm looking to buy a NAS box for home use, but I can't seem to find up to date reviews online. I'm thinking at least four bays (for RAID 5).

Some example candidates are Buffalo LinkStation Quad, Western Digital ShareSpace Network, NetGear ReadyNas Pro 4 Business, Cisco SB NSS324 Smart Storage 4-bay and Fujitsu CELVIN® NAS Server Q800.

Which one should I get? What should I consider?


Edit: Apparently this exact type of question is explicitly discouraged by the FAQ. Sorry!

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closed as off topic by KronoS, studiohack, Nifle, BloodPhilia, random Jan 26 '11 at 3:36

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The Drobo FS has 5 bays, but you can populate only 4 if you like. I'd put that on your list and look at it first. –  Ian C. Jan 24 '11 at 21:01
    
@Ian C.: Drobo FS also seems like a candidate, but I don't know why I should prefer it to any of the alternatives. Do you have any relevant experience? –  Magnus Hoff Jan 24 '11 at 21:08
    
whatever you do, make sure you don't end up with something that has internally connected USB2.0 drives that max out at 5Mps speed. Lame. –  djangofan Jan 24 '11 at 21:11
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Shopping recommendations are not allowed on Super User –  KronoS Jan 24 '11 at 21:24
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@KronoS: You're (of course) right. My apologies. Reading the FAQ thoroughly... –  Magnus Hoff Jan 24 '11 at 21:30

3 Answers 3

(Note: This is cut-and-paste and then edited from my answer to a similar question on apple.stackexchange.com.)

The Drobo FS is my new favourite NAS. I've run a Netgear ReadyNAS and a PC-based NAS in the past and neither touch the Drobo FS for simplicity, speed and reliability. The ReadyNAS suffered from poor RAID performance, especially on reboots when volumes needed to be scanned. And the power supply in it was really lame. And the PC-based NAS was just a pain to maintain and costly to keep up.

The Drobo FS is super simple to set up. Has very, very good volume build and scanning speeds on startup. Has what has to be the best hot-swapping of any multi-disk unit I've ever seen that was in the sub-$10k range. And performs like a champ while drawing very little power.

They appear a little pricey out of the gate, but you save much money in time and you don't have to populate it with drives purchased from Drobo. You also don't have to take care to match drive sizes like many NAS solutions require for maximum performance. For example: I'm currently running two 400 GB and two 1 GB drives my older Drobo -- something I could never do with my ReadyNAS box without it pitching a fit about mis-matched drives.

I now run an FS for home sharing and an old Drobo hangs off my iMac for audio project data. They are teh awesome.

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I've been a user of the ReadyNAS duo. I typically run it either 24 hours a day or on a 12 hour self-booting schedule. So I'm not impacted by any latencies on boot. –  Rolnik Jan 25 '11 at 19:43
    
@Rolnik: with the 4-bay ReadyNAS I owned, if I lost a drive, the volume was offline after I added a new drive and the RAID array was rebuilt. With the Drobo everything remains online, it rebuilds in the background. Might be they've improved things with newer models. My ReadyNAS was old. –  Ian C. Jan 26 '11 at 4:50

I really like the Buffalo NAS and have put them in several clients' offices. They're pretty stable, although I've found their web GUI to be a bit aggravating at times.

If you're interested in S3 syncing at all, QNAP has some nice ones (you can do synching via custom code or a hodge-podge of other tools for 2-way syncs for the other ones, but the QNAP natively supports it).

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Can you mention something you like about the Buffalo as compared to other NAS boxes? Interesting bit about the QNAP, by the way. –  Magnus Hoff Jan 24 '11 at 21:19
    
Mainly the stability is what I like. One has run for 1.5 years with 0 issues. Also, there is a built in "trashbox" on each share, making for super simple recovery in most cases. I've heard good things about the Drobo as well. –  jschorr Jan 25 '11 at 2:57

Total cost of ownership is one way to look at things. Will you be trying things that cause a lot of downtime (sometimes unscheduled - see my comment above)? Do you have a plan to transition to another platform, if, you are the unlucky 1% that sees a motherboard failure on your NAS? I've had decent operation of a ReadyNAS duo, as long as I stuck with conventional operations. So, my experience is 3 years of solid performance (unless you try flash upgrades).

I'd be curious to know if anyone has weathered a NAS failure?

One more thing, I've had very stable (almost 2 years) performance from a home built Ubuntu 9 based software RAID5. So far, its like a rock... plus, I think I could migrate the RAID array to another platform in under 4 hours in case of an emergency.

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