Being a devout Windows Home Server fan for many years, it has always been tough for me to find a substitute for it. I have tried numerous NAS units and have always been left extremely disappointed. Since my recent move, I have found myself reviewing my storage needs as well as my overall strategy for physical space. This change has sent me on search for a worthy replacement to windows home server, or at least one I can live with. Don’t get me wrong, if I had extra room or a dedicated place with proper cooling to put all my hardware, I would not even consider a NAS as a primary storage device. I would love to keep my collection of servers but the majority of my server hardware is in my office and the balance in a closet so cooling is becoming an issue.

SNAG-0004

 

Background

As I have given up on the Home Server/Essentials backup, my main use for my primary server is movies, data files, and a backup destination for Acronis. I have slowly switched to Acronis on all my computers so I no longer use the native backup solution built into essentials (more on this in a future article) so really I just need a good file server. I presently, I have three servers, a primary running Server Essentials 2012R2, a backup server running Storage Server 2012R2, and a VM server running 2012R2. My goal is to consolidate the VM and backup servers into one physical box, and the main server is to be replaced by a good performing NAS unit. So starting backwards, I decided to take care of finding a NAS unit first as that was more difficult because my requirements are steep and I am picky about performance. To replace my main server which is mostly used for media, and file storage it had at a minimum do following:

  • Provide me with at least 10+ Terabytes of storage and be expandable so it would need at least 4 bays as my plan was to use the 6T reds
  • It had to provide RAID 5 for efficient redundancy, speed, and data protection
  • It had to support cloud services so I could get data protected to the cloud (S3/Crashplan)
  • It had to support multiple users and permissions
  • And most of all it had to be fast so that I could stream my native Blu-ray content to at least 4 clients at the same time. For daily file use, I did not want to see sub 90-100 MB/s transfer speeds on large files and it had to handle multiple requests without choking.
  • I wanted to keep a reasonable price point of around $500 or less (without drives).  It is real easy to get a fast NAS if you are willing to spend $1200-1500.

To put in perspective, I am trying to replace an I5-4570S that has 8 gigs of RAM and 12 Terabytes of space in a RAID 5.  I am accustomed to speed and I do not