NAS Purchase and Setup

I'm new to Channels DVR and using / setting up a NAS and I apologize in advance for my naïve questions! I ordered a "Synology 2 bay NAS DiskStation DS218+ (Diskless)" from Amazon. Do I need to also order hard drives or since is says "Diskless" is everything included?

Yes. You should get drives designed for a NAS also. The WD Red drives are, and each vendor has a NAS series. Just search “NAS hard drive” in Amazon. You probably don’t need the “Pro” versions which are more expensive.

No, WD Red drives are no longer guaranteed to be safe for NAS purposes. They started using inferior SMR technology in the NAS drives, and after they were called out on it, instead of fixing it, they simply launched a "Red Plus" line of NAS drives that was the same as the old, and kept the "Red" line with the inferior technology.

While the difference may not affect you, but if you're interested in the situation:

Other than the WD Red issue, any other line of drives that is marked as "NAS" should be fine.

Thank you for the prompt response, can I start with only one drive and add the second if/when I need the storage?

Interesting, I’ve been using Red drives for as long as they have existed and never had any issues. But cost about the same as others, so you should be able to find similar from another vendor. They all seem to get some bad press like this periodically.

They only started doing this recently, so older drives will not have the SMR platters. Seagate Ironwolf NAS drives are usually the same cost.

If you want higher end drives for better cost, remanufactured HGST Helium drives are pretty good in my experience.

Yes, but if you're only adding a second drive to increase storage, you won't get any of the benefits of a NAS, like data redundancy. If all you're using it for is your DVR and occasional file storage, that shouldn't be an issue. But if you're getting a NAS to provide separate redundant storage (like for backups), then it's best to start with both drives installed in a RAID1 (mirror) configuration. (Or, if all you want is performance, start with both drives in a RAID0 (stripe) configuration.)

Thanks for the info, @racameron. How are you defining "recently?" I have 3 Red drives that are about a year and a half old. Wondering if mine have the SMR platters...

It tells you in the article which model number has SMR and which has CMR. My Reds are all EFRX I believe which are the CMR. One thing I'd recommend is that you go to your NAS manufacturers compatibility list if you want to be safe. They will list model numbers that are tested to work.

On the issue reported, I usually view Ars Technica as a very trusted source for this kind of thing but they didn't really provide any detailed testing data in the article that I saw (I scanned it quickly). WD is saying that the device firmware is "managing" the things that the first part of the article said were issues, so in theory those issues shouldn't occur in consumer drives unless there is some bug. The stated performance difference appears to be based on the writers assumption that SMR is slower than CMR, but the net to the consumer could actually be negligible if the firmware and caching is "handling" it. I would probably not buy the SMR model if the CMR model is available, but I'm not convinced from the article that there is even really an issue here that you would notice in day to day use. Just my opinion.

Regarding one or two drives to start... you are pretty limited in flexibility with a 2 drive NAS. As explained, there are only really 2 ways to configure it with 2 drives. Its not like a 4 drive NAS where you can start with a 2 drive raid and then expand to 3 or 4. I would decide if I want performance or protection and then just configure it that way with 2 drives to start.

Actually, there are 3:

  • RAID0/Stripe – In this manner data is alternately written to disks, so each file usually has a part on each disk. This is great for performance reasons, as the system can usually read/write twice as fast as from a single disk, because each drive only needs to look for half the data.
  • RAID1/Mirror – In this setup, disks are "mirrors" of one another. All data is written twice, once on each disk.
  • JOBD/Just One Big Disk – Here the drives are all treated as a single big disk, with no thought given to speed and/or redundancy. If you add a second disk after-the-fact, this is basically your only option if you don't want to have to reformat the disks in your NAS.

In the second article linked there was a pretty strong comparison of real-world usage scenarios, comparing Ironwolf CMR drives, empty WD Red SMR, and 75% full Red SMR drives.

In short, it comes down to this: for general SOHO use, SMR is OK. If you're using something like RAIDZ1/2 or RAID10, or system/FS-managed storage like ZFS, you will definitely see performance issues with SMR. Also, data rebuilds when replacing a failed drive can take ages with SMR drives.

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Thanks for clarifying on the performance data... as I said I just scanned through it so must have missed their data.

I have my 2 drive NAS set as JOBD, but its primarily just a backup for my 6 bay NAS, so I just went with simple.

@srazook, other than hosting your Channels DVR, what are your plans for the NAS? Your use case will help determine any recommendations as far as drives, and how to set them up.

It will be used only for hosting my Channels DVR. But I'd like a good one to minimize slow/lagging response time.

You might better bang for the buck with a mini PC than a NAS. You will get a faster processor and you can slap a USB3 drive on it. You have to buy a pricey NAS to get a fast Intel CPU, but cheap mini PCs have them. You don't need any of the other NAS capabilities if its dedicated to Channels. Just my opinion, and what I did.

In that case, any HDD will probably suit you fine. But, I'd probably look at Seagate Ironwolf drives just in case you ever want to use your NAS for something else.