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Best Choice for a NAS?

The idea is to set up a NAS for a small business (a non-profit small animal shelter - 100 animals per year). The staff is non technical but can do basic administration of various applications. About 4 normal staff users although the Board might be able to use various applications. Of the Board members, most use an iPad, a few an iPhone, and the Treasurer and myself are PC users - as are the staff members at work although they use iPhones and Androids when they aren't at work.

As it is, there are two kind of users - those who handle the administrative work (primarily handling donations and mailings) and the shelter operation (keeping track of the animals coming in and out along with their vet records etc.). There are a lot of photos involved in the later case - we link to the Petfinder application and share a lot on social media like Facebook. People love pictures (videos) of dogs and cats. There are thousands of pictures to be organized.

We also want to have a surveillance system. We had applied for grant for an elaborate one but with COVID funds dried up. We still have a need, probably in the area of 8-10 cameras although they won't all be active a lot of the time. Our original proposal (from a local vendor) ran about $10,000. Looking at it today there's little logic for it as it includes an NVR and 13 cameras of the $300 variety along with all the wiring. There's some logic to it however in that we don't have any internet connections other than through the router (fiber - 600 mbs) and there's a lot of metal in the form of cages for the dog area for example. We are probably going to need range extenders if we don't do wired connections. And we'll probably need an additional (mesh?) router setup to get decent signal through out the building and outside. Not particularly a NAS issue but an issue.

So we are looking at a file server and a surveillance system at a minimum. Another issue we have is that various Board members have a lot of files on their own PC's, iPads, etc. We should have a central repository so that we don't lose track of what's happened. Last year we had an audit and it was a major effort to piece together from the emails of different Board members (over 5 years, thankfully most had some of them) what had been done. If we had a NAS we could offload a of what now resides in various clouds to a central source controlled locally.

At this point I'm assuming we can somehow use low priced wireless IP cameras (seems you like Reolink and they're in a wide variety of models at reasonable prices) that would be wired internally and batter operated outside. Synology looks a bit better in a way given that QNAP decided to go for a subscription model. I thought the 8 camera perpetual license made sense but I can understand their desire to move to subscription (for the MP4 format if no other). Now Synology looks more competitive. Given that it looks like Synology might be easier to administer for non-technical people. I'm the technician on the Board but I'll be off soon and our personal situation is such that we might not be here three years from now.

I do like to fool with technology although it's been a while at this level. I ordered a QNAP TS-230 and have been working with it for the past week or so. A very nice device for the price. I've got two WD Red 2TB drives. Not a space issue. That said I can see this might be a challenge for the Shelter staff to keep track of. So I ordered a DS220+ to see what I can make of it. It should arrive in a few days. In the interim I'm checking out an outdoor Reolink camera (I have an E1 PRO working in the house). I know I've got network issues to deal with for range extension but fundamentally that has little do with the NAS. I will say to this point that none of this is a cost to the Shelter. If and when we do this, it will all be the non-profits cost and we're working on a fund raiser to that effect. I'm pretty sure we'll need a 4 bay given that one drive will be devoted to surveillance.

OK - two questions. First, in you Synology install you said that Synology might not install over formatted disks. I plan to use the ones I set up for the QDAP. So how does one uninitialize a formatted hard disk. Is it the old wave it over a magnet thing?

Second, and more importantly, from what I described is it more likely a QDAP (which seems to be more technically oriented) or Synology (which looks more user friendly) a likely if more initially expensive choice?

I do want to thank you by the way for all the videos on Youtube. They have been very useful so far.



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Best Choice for a NAS? - by willernest - 07-12-2021, 05:12 PM

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