Setting up a NAS box - In over my head

I’ve seen a few articles here and there singing the praises of NAS boxes. I was mainly interested in them as a way of having a central place to back-up all the files on the computers on my home network (my gaming PC, wife’s laptop) and eventually going down the road of getting a few DLNA devices to stream various types of media around the flat.

A couple of weeks ago I had a weak moment and pulled the trigger on a Synology Diskstation 213. I’d heard good things about it in a few places especially about how easy it was to use and set-up.

On booting it up and accessing it for the first time, I realized I might have bitten off a little more than I could chew. After a good few fits and starts I’m at the stage where my documents and media are now stored centrally on the Diskstation. A bit of reading into the (somewhat less than accessible to this layman) Synology forums got me interested into the idea of Cloud computing and streaming my media over the internet (to my smartphone, families houses etc…). I initially got my music streaming to my Android phone over HTTP which was fun to see but the paranoia about the security of my network started to kick in. I heard HTTPS would mean I’d be more secure but this looks like it requires setting up an independent domain name/DNS and an SSL security certificate (which I’ve been looking into to doing through startssl for free).

Considering I’m already feeling well out of my depth I was wondering whether anyone could give me a idea of how much hard work this is all likely to be and whether it’s going to be more trouble/cost than it’s worth (or point me in the direction of somewhere that gives me a good grounding in the sort of thing that I might be expected to know, everything I’ve found so far seems to assume a lot of knowledge or be light on the detail).

How badly at risk would my home network be at running just http?

Any good suggestions on where to get a domain name cheap (this would purely be to replace the free hostname because as I understand it i can’t get an SSL certificate validated for a domain name i don’t own)?

Is the SSL certificate necessary or does it simply get rid of warnings in internet browsers?

Is it all a bit pointless exposing my network like this considering it will be purely for entertainment and messing about?

Thanks for bearing with me!

I run SubSonic over HTTP to allow me to stream music when I’m at work, traveling, etc. I also have the port mapped via my router, so it’s not on the standard 80. It’s not super-secure, but I don’t lose any sleep over it.

The one thing you do want to be careful of - make sure you’re keeping up to date on your security patches. My home machine runs Ubuntu 12.04, and I get new patches at least once a week.

I’d considered changing the default port number that the NAS box accesses aswell. How do i know which ports to avoid using? (apologies if that’s a dumb question). Thanks for the tip on the regular updates, looking in to see whether i can set them up automatically now.

Well, as usual, Wikipedia has much more information than you actually need. You don’t have to actually avoid using all the ports on that list, but at least avoid those under 1024. I usually just pick something random up in the 10k range someplace.

Cheers bob, you’re a gent!

I thought there was some way to enable ssl with subsonic… I just run a private shoutcast stream from home, never had an issue (that I know of).

Yeah, I’m sure there is a way. I just don’t figure it’s worth the effort.

Apologies for the threadjack, but didn’t seem worth a new thread:

Newegg has the Synology DS413j for $350. It was actually a little bit cheaper a couple of weeks ago, but still a decent price. Couple of questions for anyone who has a Synology box, though:

[li]First off, I’m trying to make sure I understand how Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR) works. Say I start out with 3 HDDs then later add a fourth; will the NAS dynamically incorporate it into my RAID without needing to reformat? [Assume all HDDs are equal size and I have the NAS set up as a single volume.] If so, that would help me keep the initial cost down, as I’d like to start with 3x4TB HDDs then add a 4th 4TB when I start running out of space. [/li][li]Is there any reason to step up to the more expensive DS412+ or DS413? Bearing in mind this will be for a home backup / media streaming server, so it doesn’t need a lot of oomph. I would’ve liked to have eSATA and/or USB 3.0 ports, but otherwise I don’t see anything I really want on the other two. [/li][/ul]

I own a DS413j. Love it.

Yes, it will add the drive (which takes forever but your array keeps working throughout that time) and no, there is no reason to upgrade to those more expensive versions. It would be nice to run Plex Media Server on the NAS but none of Synology’s consumer-level hardware has enough CPU power to transcode video. The three devices are effectively identical for home use.

If you plan to add more external disks, USB 3.0 would be really nice, I guess. But I wouldn’t do that, 4 disks are enough, and I can always upgrade to 3 or 4TB drives if they get cheap enough.

Yeah, I figure by the point I fill up 16 TBs of disk space, I’ve got bigger issues than “how do I hook up another HDD?” :-)

[Okay, technically 12 TBs, since it uses the spare for parity, AFAICT. That’s still a lot of…cooking shows.]

Thanks for the info. Now to see if I can find any good deals on 4TB HDDs…

Yep I use 2TB drives and even 6TB is a lot of storage. An entire HD movie is like 4-6GB, so 6TB holds over 1000 of em. If you don’t delete your media after watching it, obviously you need more.

Also the NAS acts as a time machine target if you run OSX.

I believe that the more expensive versions just have a faster processor and more memory (other than eSATA and USB 3 ports). Some even have a second NIC. I think they all pretty much run the same software and have similar features. I bought my friend a DS213AIR for his birthday. Although I don’t think he is using the wireless, it does have USB 3.0 ports and a better-than-normal processor for the consumer line. So far, he’s seemed to really like it, though he did spend a few hours setting it up and tinkering.


You’re a generous friend!

Anyway, the DS213air is only $50 less than the DS413j and only holds 2 drives. I don’t really see the point in a NAS that only holds two drives. I would just mirror them.

I just set up a D213, it’s pretty slick. It’s running everything I need (Audio Station over https, Slim server for my squeezebox touch, and PyTivo to share/transcode my video files to my Tivo machines). Haven’t dealt with Unix since my college days, it was fun learning VI again…

This reminds me of another question I meant to ask: say I started with four 2TB HDDs; could I gradually migrate over to four 4TB HDDs if I swapped them in one at a time? I.e., swap a 2TB for a 4TB HDD, wait for the RAID to rebuild, swap in the second HDD, etc. until all four drives had been replaced?

Yes, you can absolutely do that. Just be prepared for each rebuild to take 2-3 days. Of course you can still use the volume while it’s rebuilding, so that’s not a huge deal, but don’t expect it to be quick.

Very cool! I don’t care how long the (hypothetical) HDD migration would take, as long as there’s no actual downtime - well, apart from physically swapping the HDDs, that is.

Thanks again for the info; sounds like the DS413j does all I need. No wonder you like `em so much! :)

EDIT: BTW, any recommendations on 4TB HDDs to use? Reliability / warranty & cost are more important than raw performance. Thanks!

If price is no object, go with WD red or RE. But honestly I would check the synology compatibility list and buy 5 of the cheapest drives on that list, so you have one spare.

I’m already straining my budget with DS413j + 4TB HDDs x3; two extra HDDs is wishful thinking, otherwise I wouldn’t need to ask about future expansions / HDD roll-overs.

Anyway, so far the best deal I can find is on this Seagate 4TB; it’s the only model on Synology’s compatible list that’s under $200. Unless I find something better - or come to my senses - by tomorrow, I think I’ll go with it.

Oh sorry, I misread your previous post as saying price was not a major concern. Yeah, that’s fine.