Hardware (and Software) Crossroads: Mac mini vs. Synology NAS

Greetings. I am at a hardware and software crossroads and need help to reconfigure my entire paradigm. Currently all movie and music streaming is done via iTunes to various iDevices and Apple TVs from my primary desktop, a Mac mini (Late 2012) 2.3 GHz Intel Core i7 with 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 RAM. The TV streaming is done via an HDHomeRun Quattro and Channels.app on AppleTVs and iPhones. The main problem is my mini is located where it is basically impossible to wire directly to my local network. I need something I can use as a wired option elsewhere in the house.

Primary Goals:

  1. Have a wired/centralized hub that can easily run and store my Channels DVR server and associated media well into the future.
  2. Seek alternative recommendations on whether I should replace using iTunes for my other current home media streaming. Is there a BETTER/EASIER option (it works fine for us as is). I'm not familiar with good alternatives, and can get lost down rabbit holes to indecision.
  3. Perhaps setup a Dropbox-like cloud storage device for various remote random file storage/access?

Current options that I'm aware of:

  1. Replace my current Mac mini as my main computer and move it to where I can wire it directly to the network and use it as more of a media/file server.
  2. Purchase a Synology NAS device to connect directly to the local network. Currently considering DS218+, DS718+, DS918+, DS1019+ depending on which direction is best. I'm new to the real capabilities of NAS devices, so am open to recommendations for anything they can do.
  3. Other suggestions (I don't mind spending a bit to get a nice trouble-free/flexible setup)?

*I currently have plenty of external storage for BULK file storage, so I'm primarily looking for more of a nice/simple media hub option that can also store some files.

If you have coax nearby you could consider MOCA.

It sounds like you would be very happy with a Synology DSx18+

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I have the very same MacMini, except it’s the 2.7Ghz Server edition, and I recently sacrificed it for strictly channels use. It works great. Hefty little machine for channel's and pretty future proof. If you’re going to invest money, just purchase a newer Mini for your day-to-day use. The 2012 MacMini won’t be supported much longer so you might as well use that horsepower for channels. Just my two cents.

I have a synology nas with 5 4tb HD running the dvr never worry about storage or rebooting it just works .. forget it is there. Also does hardware transcoding. Better than using USB drives connected to a PC.

Appreciate the help. I opted to order a Synology DS1019+ NAS Enclosure (WD Red Pro drives), as I think it will fulfill my current needs best. I would have had to replace my current Mac mini to move it to a more suitable location plus purchase additional external storage. In addition I'm hoping to setup a good family share on the NAS, so I'm excited about the potential.

Additional insight of course is welcome. I'll try and post my results once I have the new NAS setup and functional to hopefully help others in a similar situation.

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You will love the Synology DS1019+. I have it which is my primary Channels DVR and Plex Server. I also use it for offsite backup from my office. I also have the DS918+ which is my secondary Channels DVR (my personal DVR). I use it to backup the DS1019+. I have a more powerful ramk mount Synology at the office along with another local backup. Been using them for many years and they are great. DSM Software is very powerful for much more then you will be initially be using it for.

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I also have the DS1019+ ... run everything on it including a windows VM ... Upgraded to 16GB memory.

I'd just stick with the MacMini. I currently run Channels on my old Early 2009 MacMini with an old external drive I had sitting around unused. I've been running Channels since September without any problems.

Sounds similar to what I may plan to do once I get more accustomed to it.

Is it easy enough to do sort of a “cross offsite backup” of home to office and office to home?

Also, could you expound on your reasoning for a secondary Channels DVR?

I do not do "cross offsite backup" between my house and the office but I would not expect it to be a problem. Keep in mind most homes have a slow upload speed. Two of my sons do a "cross backup" between themselves. They each use the DS918+.

Regarding me having 2 DS devices in my home (like I do at the office). Part of it is education. I wanted a second DS that I could take down and possibly go offline without affecting my "production" DS1019+. My DS1019+ is my Channels DVR (local and remote), Plex Server and Office backup location.

The other reason for the second DS is backup of the first. I believe in a "local" backup. Before I was using an attached USB device for local backup and since I wanted 2 decided to just use a second DS for that which is what I now do at the office.

Also, regarding backup, I have multiple levels of backup. I do a mirror type backup which is just a duplicate (of many SHARES) and for my active development files we do a "versions" type backup. Much like Time Machine on the MAC.

The other person above mention the DSM VM Feature where he is running Windows. I tried that as well which was part of the reason. It does work but did not give me the performance I need for the office. At the office I have a Mac Pro (large one) where I run a lot of VM's. I have a second Mac Mini (pretty large) where I run other VM's. I use VMWare Fusion. I find these very powerful Mac's to still be a better choice for the VM Task.

At home I have a iMac for my normal work machine but I also have a headless mac mini that at one time was my Channels DVR. It does work well but you have to use Remote Desktop to deal with it and just much prefer the DS for this kind of tasks.

Lastly, I use DS for a lot of things for the office. But mostly I use file sharing and the VPN for everyone to connect to the office. It has a very nice Certificate Manager that I use for free SSL Certificates. I am looking to move the main Web Server there at some point but not a high priority since GoDaddy seems to work well and always up.

Thank you sir, very helpful. :beers:

I almost overlooked this little tidbit. I’d assumed from the Synology site that 8GB was the max, after a quick search I see that 16GB can be utilized as well. Looks like I’ll be buying more memory at some point.:+1:t2: