NAS (what to) buy or build?

So I am thinking about getting a NAS vor a while now I just can't decide if it I should build my own or buy prebuild (and if so what model)

What are the Pros/Cons about it? I am no complete stranger to Linux but by far not a commandline/terminal Ninja either so maybe I would not want to build it up from a naked linux distribution. Regarding the price point it seems to me that both solutions are quite on par with each other, yes I know DIY could be expanded to how many sata connectors your mb has but costs about the same as a 4 bay prebuild.

What do I want it to do?
So mainly I want to share my Video/Music content to two Android boxes on my TVs (maybe DLNA Server but I am not totaly shure what my benefit is over just accessing the files over a network share). But that would be to easy.... I also have a 3TB external drive which now holds all the Files, advantage is that I can take it with me when I travel or when I visit friends/family and I would like to keep this possibility without needing to copy everything over by hand before I take it with me.

How I thought this could be easily handled:
Buy a 1 Bay 4TB NAS which I can connect my external to (usb3) and set it up to just sync the Video/Music content once a Day or so. (the remaining 1TB will be used for other files and so on) That way I also have redundancy for the precious media files.
My problem about this solution: No expand-ability, I also thought about maybe setting it up to backup my main PC in the future (now it has a internal 1TB backup drive). But what would be the best way? Just buy 2 Bay and just shove one 4tb in for now? or maybe even 4 (then I could just insert the 1TB Backup drive for now and copy it to a bigger one in a future Update)

Questions about this:
- Is this a valid solution or am I overlooking something?
- My External is NTFS formatted, does the NAS work with it to sync Files?
- Can I set up the Sync job in the NAS directly? (I think that Synology and QNAP can do such things)

I am looking forward to read your ideas and thoughts about it!

If you have a system that already works for you, no need to change it because people say it isn't as correct or open source as it could be. SMB shares are fine.

Only real problem here is if you're using the 1 drive NAS for backup. you want redundancy via raid (or ideally ZFS) if the nas is where you plan to keep backups or other data you'd prefer not to lose

I'd recommend looking at FreeNAS if you're gonna self-build. It'll do everything you want here, and it's designed to be easy to install and use for this purpose.


Thanks for the tip but that is just a "might be in the future" thing mainly I want to use it as media source (like said, dlna or just a share)

Another question that came to my mind, If I would by a 2-Bay NAS now lets say 4+2TB (just as an example),
in 1 or 2 years I decide to upgrade and buy a 4-Bay NAS, is it possible to just take the drives out of the old 2-Bay and put them in the new 4-Bay? (Then I could do like a 4+4+2(raid1) for 2TB of redundant backup)

Do I have to buy tha same "Brand" so I have to buy a QNAP 4-Bay if I had a QNAP 2-Bay?

depends. Hardware raid gets complicated pretty quick, sometimes you can pull and rebuild without data loss, other times and you need the same controller card to transfer the drives successfully.

If you use ZFS, you can just point the OS at the storage pool and you're good to go.

If you use JBOD, you can just plug and play without any trouble, yeah.

So you are saying if I try to migrate a Raid setup to a new NAS it could get complicated?

For the first 2-Bay solution I would like to run them as separate drives and use an external drive as backup for important Stuff. So media goes to a 4TB NAS drive and other Stuff to a second (old) drive (no highly important data) or do I have to use it as JBOD with 2 disks where I can't decide which drive holds which files?

Does every NAS support to use the drives separately? or in JBOD? some like the TS-231P just says Raid 0/1.

What Filesystem is normally used with prebuild NAS?

By JBOD I just meant 2 separate drives. sorry for not being clear.

If you don't want redundancy, then you're gonna want to check if your choice of commercial prebuild has the option to disable raid entirely, though it's likely that the vast majority do in fact allow this.

I typically build out my own storage, so I'm not sure how common ZFS is outside of FreeNAS, but I'd imagine you get NTFS on windows based solutions and a mixed bag on the embedded linux/BSD commercial appliances, with the BSD ones typically using ZFS.

Ok that explains a lot thanks, regarding easy setup and price/performance (usage not like transfer speed etc.) something like the mentioned TS-231P or the bigger 431 would be the best solution compared to a DIY, regarding buying price and also power consumption. (but the 4-bay would be only used half until I need more storage)

I can't rightly speak to the quality of any particular commercial solution (except for maybe the freenas mini, few friends of mine have them and like them) because I've always DIY'd my own storage

building your own can be cheap and easy too, they're both valid options.