learnerdriver

Competitive Comparisons

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I am finishing up my review of the DS410j and should have it published in a day or so. To answer your actual question of a WHS vs. an NAS (in general), that is a toughie.

WHS and NAS can be considered competing devices, which they are to a degree. My opinion is that they are can be considered complementary devices. MS has a "slanted" list of feature points that you may wish to check out: http://blogs.technet.com/homeserver/archive/2008/12/08/home-server-checklist.aspx.

Basically, it all depends on what you want to do with a "solution". You points of interest:

- ease of use generally: I have found both really easy to use. Different, but the same. Afterall, we are talking a Linux solution vs. a Windows solution. If you know Windows, you will feel right at home with a WHS. If you are a Linux dude, I *think* you find a highly polished GUI interface with the ability to do a great many tweaks. Advantage: a toss up.

- reliablility: NAS devices have been around longer than WHS. WHS has had it's share of growing pains, but is maturing rapidly. From a SW perspecitve, advantage: NAS. It is quite difficult to "kill" a NAS/Linux OS. Windows is, well, Windows.

- support: I cannot answer how "good" direct support is from a Synology or QNAP or other. Both the aforementioned have very active user forums. Centralized and specific compared to the the myriad of MS community forums. Advantage: direct support, ? User forums: NAS due to the more centralized nature of the company/products.

- back up capability and software: Buy a WHS for the ability to do a bare-metal restore of machine. With the appropriate 3rd party SW, you can dp the same with a NAS. I *believe* that backups are more automated and incremental on a WHS. Advantage: WHS

- media streaming: I've had more success to date with a WHS as far the ability to play various file formats. HW-wise, I had have not a problem so far with a "low-powered" NAS unit, so unless I get hit with a problem at a later date, I would have to say no advantage either way. Overall advantage: WHS (especially with the appropriate add-in)

I really like my WHS, and I guess you might say I am a proponent of WHS (being a MS-WHS MPV!), but so far I have found NAS devices to quite robust little devices with similar, but at the same time different, feature sets. One question you did not ask about was driver support. Advantage is WHS. In some areas that is a moot point, due to proprietary HW, but not with peripheral HW. MS is the clear winner there.

Finally, as a consumer, I really prefer the MS JBOD/DE technology over RAID. If I need more storage, I add a HD (any old HD) to the pool. Not so easy with a RAID driven NAS device. Of course, you do not have to use RAID on a NAS, but you also do not have the DE extender technology either, the result being more management of the drives from the user is required. However, to some RAID is an all-important feature and from a business POV, that may be correct. I do not believe that from a consumer POV, however.

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Nice and quick answer. I am in the last throws of a decision on what to buy. The prices have all fallen so far so fast its not the end game it once was if you had to ditch a soln it would cost you a few hundred dollars. Not a few thou. The big issue is how much effort you have to expend to maintain your chosen solution and when you are experienced but not a deep techy that the real issue.

I put 3 other posts in other places asking some of the other questions that are still in my mind,

On balance your answers push me a little towards the WHS

Thanks

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JC634, well said.

I'd only add to consider being low-powered, performance will degrade much faster with the Synology as more Users hit it and/or you demand multiple processs' from the box consecutively.

For personal use I do sometimes wish I still had one of my two Synology DS207's for their low power consumption. But once other family members and friends started using them, and meeting my needs too, things began slowing down.

I'd say if it's just you and/or another person the Synology products are capable, dependent on usage. But for guaranteeing performance and scalability nothing beats a home-built WHS box. My Opteron 165 keeps up with anything asked of her w/o missing a beat.

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Very nice response Jim. Considering the nature of the question, I think this thread warrants being stickied.

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wow! was thinking of posting something similar to this and cowboy wardog (yes, id like to call him cowboy) will attest to this.

i have my eyes on the DS209( then i realized for a single pc, maybe two for now and at most 5 in the near future, the ds209 is way overkill for my needs. think a ds20j will do). i dunno why, but i have gotten paranoid about my files, mainly family photos (4 years, 60gb+ worth) getting lost, corrupted or what not that i have started of devising ways to prevent this from happening.

i started with an external 2.5 drive. a hitachi simple tough that supposedly was WATER and SHOCK PROOF! well barely a month and barely anything on it, it wasnt connecting right when i plugged it in! and i havent torture tested it yet! OMG, so what if i just depended on it for my precious FAMILY PHOTOS and i dont have the original files because my MAIN-PC crashed!

then i stumbled on to you guys and with pc parts abundant in the basement, i made my box. i am pretty much impressed with it, moreso now that i am making myself believe its ROCK SOLID as ive been putting it to sleep, waking it up, putting it back to sleep and back up again with barely anything going wrong. so im thinking this box will be my new TOY.

now, paranoia sets in again. what if, because i have old drives and they get corrupted? oh not to worry, whs is able to duplicate data and what not.. but what if all fails and i cant retrieve my PRECIOUS FAMILY PHOTOS? so the idea for external storage started.

gigabit ethernet, so it files can be accessed if whs is down. was my main thing and read about synology ds209! just read the manual yesterday and boy, i thought it can do what i want plus more! i may not need my whs box?

this is where i am LOST. wardog did mention they are competitors which was upheld by JC634. can't this boys co-exist? like synology backing up whs?

BUT IF my synology serves as a backup to my box, why dont i backup straight to it then, and if have it streams my videos, what will my box do then?

and i know what you guys will say, WHAT IF YOUR SYNOLOGY craps out THEN WHAT? well, i havent thought of that part yet :D

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I am finishing up my review of the DS410j and should have it published in a day or so. To answer your actual question of a WHS vs. an NAS (in general), that is a toughie.

WHS and NAS can be considered competing devices, which they are to a degree. My opinion is that they are can be considered complementary devices. MS has a "slanted" list of feature points that you may wish to check out: http://blogs.technet.com/homeserver/archive/2008/12/08/home-server-checklist.aspx.

Basically, it all depends on what you want to do with a "solution". You points of interest:

- ease of use generally: I have found both really easy to use. Different, but the same. Afterall, we are talking a Linux solution vs. a Windows solution. If you know Windows, you will feel right at home with a WHS. If you are a Linux dude, I *think* you find a highly polished GUI interface with the ability to do a great many tweaks. Advantage: a toss up.

- reliablility: NAS devices have been around longer than WHS. WHS has had it's share of growing pains, but is maturing rapidly. From a SW perspecitve, advantage: NAS. It is quite difficult to "kill" a NAS/Linux OS. Windows is, well, Windows.

- support: I cannot answer how "good" direct support is from a Synology or QNAP or other. Both the aforementioned have very active user forums. Centralized and specific compared to the the myriad of MS community forums. Advantage: direct support, ? User forums: NAS due to the more centralized nature of the company/products.

- back up capability and software: Buy a WHS for the ability to do a bare-metal restore of machine. With the appropriate 3rd party SW, you can dp the same with a NAS. I *believe* that backups are more automated and incremental on a WHS. Advantage: WHS

- media streaming: I've had more success to date with a WHS as far the ability to play various file formats. HW-wise, I had have not a problem so far with a "low-powered" NAS unit, so unless I get hit with a problem at a later date, I would have to say no advantage either way. Overall advantage: WHS (especially with the appropriate add-in)

I really like my WHS, and I guess you might say I am a proponent of WHS (being a MS-WHS MPV!), but so far I have found NAS devices to quite robust little devices with similar, but at the same time different, feature sets. One question you did not ask about was driver support. Advantage is WHS. In some areas that is a moot point, due to proprietary HW, but not with peripheral HW. MS is the clear winner there.

Finally, as a consumer, I really prefer the MS JBOD/DE technology over RAID. If I need more storage, I add a HD (any old HD) to the pool. Not so easy with a RAID driven NAS device. Of course, you do not have to use RAID on a NAS, but you also do not have the DE extender technology either, the result being more management of the drives from the user is required. However, to some RAID is an all-important feature and from a business POV, that may be correct. I do not believe that from a consumer POV, however.

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JC694

I agree with the pinning suggestion. As a 'learner' what you want is some simple summary of the situation and this fits the bill. It may not answer all questions but it helped a great deal. One of my other posts got conflicting answers. The post follows in quotes. I got one yes it can with a few 'ifs and buts' and one no it cant. Do you guys have an opinion?

'Are you restricted to using the .homeserver domain names or can you set up your own domain for self employed / small company use. eg www.mycompany.com '

Another question when it comes to taking copies of DVD's etc I have used DVDShrink and DVD Decripter (when shrink failed due to encryption) Sometimes decrypter also fails. When you read the posts on best streaming etc you would think that taking an ISO copy or whatever is straightforward but my experience with these two bits of software is that it is easy 80% of the time but 20% its impossible. I dont mind buying software...if its a 100% going to work.

Any views on this?

Sorry ifthis post corrupts the nice clean original focus!!!

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As for the domain name, if you know how to use IIS, it is really easy. If not, it can be a chore. Basically, you'd need to register a domain name, configure the A name to point to your server, and more importantly figure out how to update this regularly or see about a static IP from your ISP (which will likely cost you). And then, you'll need to purchase a SSL certificate for your domain and import that into IIS. Needless to say, this is a lot more work that most people would want to do, but it is possible.

As for streaming DVDs, it depends on your setup. I believe Vista Media Center and Win7 Media Center both support a "Movie Library" which can load the DVD files (not ISOs I believe, but the folder structure). Other than that, I know there are a couple of solutions that can.

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Very nice response Jim. Considering the nature of the question, I think this thread warrants being stickied.

Gosh, if you are going to do that, I better fix all my typos! :)

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