Scott Hanselman

Hanselminutes Podcast 265 - Synology Network Attached Storage and Windows Home Server with Travis Illig

May 6, '11 Comments [15] Posted in Home Server | Podcast
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Synology DiskStation - SERVER - Windows Internet Explorer (31)I chat with fellow home storage enthusiast Travis Illig about NAS options (Network Attached Storage) available today. Both Travis and I purchased (and told our friends about) Windows Home Servers. Where are our Home Servers now, and what are they using going forward?

We talk about my recent purchase of a Synology DS1511 Home Storage System and what we're doing with our Home Servers now. We also talk about the recent removal of the Drive Extender technology from WHS and our feelings on the issue.

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As I've said before this show comes to you with the audio expertise and stewardship of Carl Franklin. The name comes from Travis Illig, but the goal of the show is simple. Avoid wasting the listener's time. (and make the commute less boring)

Enjoy. Who knows what'll happen in the next show?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Saturday, May 07, 2011 2:07:03 AM UTC
Hi Scott,

Which hard drives did you buy for use with Synology nas?

/morten
Morten
Saturday, May 07, 2011 3:25:56 AM UTC
5900 RPM Seagate 2TBs
Scott Hanselman
Saturday, May 07, 2011 2:09:20 PM UTC
Hi Scott,

I looked at several NASes and your explanation of WHSv1 was the clincher in my decision to go that route and get a HP MediaSmart Server -- the key features being its "appliance" form factor, the greater flexibility and recoverability of Drive Extender compared to RAID, and the dead-simple image-based backup. My experience to date has validated that it was the correct decision for me, so I'm curious what factors are now driving you to another solution space. If the only complaint with your old WHS was end-of-life drives, why throw out the whole system rather than replace some disks?
Saturday, May 07, 2011 10:48:37 PM UTC
A Non, I don't want to speak for Scott, but after listening to his podcast I think there are a lot of reasons to start looking elsewhere. I think the short timeframe of the podcast didn't really allow him to expand on all those reasons.

For me, there are several reasons to want to move on. First, WHSv1 is based on Windows 2003, which probably won't be supported for for much longer. Microsoft officially End of Lifes it in January 2013 which is about 18 months from now. Best to find a replacement long before that happens.

Second, I believe Drive Extender has some serious limitations on how large the filesystem can be, and how large the disks can be. I think 2TB is the largest, and with 3TB becoming more common and 4TB on the horizon, you'll need a new solution eventually anyways.

Third, support will be waning from third parties for WHSv1, and plug-in makers will likely stop supporting it relatively soon.

Fourth, Don't we all love cool new stuff?
Saturday, May 07, 2011 11:08:46 PM UTC
Scott,

I'm a little confused on your choice of the Synology solution. Maybe the time limitations of the podcast didn't allow you to fully talk about your reasons for it. Certainly, performance is a good reason and the Synology seems to perform well. But there are a lot of things about the Synology vs WHS 2011 comparison that doesn't seem to gel here.

First, the Synology, while fast, doesn't support SMB2, nor does it support NTLMv2 (which requires that you downgrade to NTLMv1 which is inherently insecure). Maybe the Synology performs well enough that SMB2 isn't a requirement.. but think how much faster it would be with SMB2 support. Most of the Linux based appliances have this same problem, though I've heard the lastest QNAP upgrade has moved to a newer version of Samba that supports SMB2 and NTLMv2.

Second, while the server backup features of the Synology are impressive it seems to lack an integrated client backup solution, requireing you to use a third party tool. This adds another expense to the solution. In addition, the S3 backup doesn't seem to allow versioning.. so you can only overwrite your previous backups. That seems rather poor.

Third, it doesn't seem to provide Terminal Services gateway capability (maybe it's not important to you, but I and a lot of other people use it quite frequently).

Fourth, the DLNA featuers seem to be sub-par. There's lots of requests for enhancement on the message forums.

As a storage solution, it seems really really good. But as a "home server" I think it lacks a great deal.

FYI, there are at least two third party Drive Extenders for WHS 2011. Drive Bender, and StableBit DrivePool.

I am thinking WHS 2011 running as a Hyper-V or ESX guest using a Synology via iSCSI targets. That sounds intriguing and the best of both worlds.
Sunday, May 08, 2011 11:18:32 PM UTC
Scott - had you considered adding one of the third party DE replacements (like Drive Bender) to WHS 2011? I agree with you both that removing DE was a surprising move, not to say a poke in the eye to the only Microsoft customers with anything like Apple-type user loyalty.

My WHS is only a couple of years old, so I have time to consider the way forward (and I'm keeping WHS v 1 for the foreseeable future). It is resource constrained because it is a home-build based on an HP ProLiant, with some 8TB of storage. But there is no way I can live without DE or an equivalent.

If, in the long run, it makes most sense to move to a Unix-based server, I will probably follow my sister's family in their move to Apple throughout at home. I would be surprised if that was an intended outcome of the DE removal decisions.
Saturday, May 14, 2011 10:44:00 PM UTC
Scott: You never mentioned in the podcast, what kind of speeds you achieve with the new DS1511. Are they as good as with the home server?
Sunday, May 15, 2011 12:33:12 AM UTC
Klaus - Yes, I'm getting between 40 and 60 megaBYTES a second.
Sunday, May 15, 2011 8:07:39 PM UTC
Scott, I wonder if you happen to have a link to site with those networking tweaks you made to your old HP box? I'm having some issues with streaming video with my EX470 that crops up only about 30-40 minutes into a show--essentially it slows to a crawl--and it's 'bout driven me bonkers. Perhaps a tweak or two will do?

Thanks!
Monday, May 23, 2011 11:14:48 PM UTC
Paul - I just made the Jumbo Frames change and MTU to 9000 as I recall.
Saturday, May 28, 2011 3:16:49 AM UTC
Scott - I noted your tweet re: NTLM v2 and Samba etc. I was wondering the same thing in trying to decide primarily between QNAP and Synology and found this: http://forum.synology.com/enu/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=32438&start=0

That does not seem positive on that front. Was there a reason you went with Synology versus something like QNAP? They seem pretty equal, but QNAP seems to have better Windows integration with their licensed NTFS providing faster performance there, NTLM v2 support and so on. So that makes me wonder whether you looked at QNAP and if so, what steered you away?

Second, how was your support and resolution of the locking up? (was it related to the above) Also, did the media performance get resolved?

Finally, if you had to do it over would you choose the Synology again, post Drobo?

Thanks for answering, as I respect your views and being in a similar situation post WHS - I want to try to make the correct choice.

Ben
B. Bach
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 6:09:08 PM UTC
B. Bach - It really was a toss up between the QNap and the Synology. I realize there are some issues with the Synology, like lack of SMBv2 and such, but I'm 95% happy with it. I honestly didn't like the QNap website. It looks cheesy. I realize that's a silly reason to discount them, but honestly, it was so unprofessional it gave me concerns about the product. Kind of a "judge a book by its cover" thing, but since Synology was Linux I assume that they will continue to update it and eventually add the few features (mostly performance) they are missing.
Wednesday, June 08, 2011 3:37:22 AM UTC
Thanks Scott - I appreciate your sharing your thoughts. I ended up going with the QNAP. So far it has performed well. My understanding is, it is also Linux based. I am now evaluating installing CrashPlan on it, after seeding the backup. So unlimited backup for somethign like $49 a year. I have had no issues, and the performance is pretty steller. I debated between RAID 6 and RAID 10 and ended up with RAID 6 with 5 2TB drives.

The only thing that annoys me, and perhaps you have the juice to pass this on, is the lack of being able to add non-Windows based locations like Synology/ QNAP to a Library. For example, I have Eye-Fi photos auto go there, as well as music etc. but they cannot be added to library due to the dreaded Not Indexed issue. It is just silly, as I would prefer that as a storage location for huge volumes of data that I do not want on my machine. Strangely, if I had XP I can add them (not as a lib obviously) but as part of search (which is also not viable in Win 7).

Finally - to mention this based on your Ultimate Dev Machine posts - I just hit my upgrade cycle and have an all 7.9 machine. :) Not even overclocked.
B. Bach
Wednesday, June 08, 2011 8:35:29 PM UTC
B. Bach - I can't solve the indexing problem until the NAS supports Indexing Service, but you CAN change your Libraries with this tool and add things like \\SERVER\PHOTO to your libraries. Windows 7 Library Tool
Sunday, September 04, 2011 9:41:24 PM UTC
Scott,
You should a setup review like you did for your WHS Home server. I think we would enjoy reading how you setup your new NAS
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.