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NAS Recommendation for remote access

Dear NAS Compares!

I love your channel - you make such a grey technical subject so much fun to watch. Thank you for going to such a Herculean effort to make so much content to help others.

I’m a freelance editor and I often travel by train and live out of a bag Monday to Friday, so it’s impossible to travel with piles of hard drives in case I need a sound effect, photograph or video file. Often I realise I’ve left something desperately important at home. I think it’s time I invest in a NAS drive so that I can access my archive remotely. It would also be great to to simplify & improve my digital life into one location.

To start the process I've recently created a master 14TB drive to hopefully transfer to a NAS drive and this is a rough breakdown of what’s on it:

Master ‘my life’ Documents - 2.5 TB
Assets (SFX Library / VFX Assets etc) 3 TB
Video Archive (mainly QuickTimes of TV programmes I’ve edited) - 3 TB
Music (create an iTunes server?) - 500GB
Photograph Archive - 2.5TB
(Computer & iPhone backups - 1TB?)


I'm based mainly on Macs at home, but often I use PC’s at work. Synology + Qnap seem to be good options to investigate. I realise it will cost money to set up, so I’ve got a budget of around £2,000 initially.

I'd like future expandability with my NAS Drive, so I think I need more than 2 bays - I don't necessarily have to fill all the bays at first (maybe 3 x 16TB initially?) but I'd like to have the option to expand when I need too.

The DS1621+ or the QNAP TS-h973AX seem interesting. Or maybe the DS1522+? Or perhaps something smaller like the DS920+ would be enough for my initial needs?

I like the idea of filling it with Seagate IronWolf Pro 16TB drives and hopefully whatever NAS I buy has good software built into it’s operating system to make life as easy as possible.

Obviously I am a video editor (mainly TV documentaries, although I do occasionally do short video promos too) but currently I haven’t planned on editing (offline / low res proxies) video off the NAS in my home studio… but I do have a mountain of hard drives, so maybe you would suggest biting the bullet to future proof my system for video use?

If so, will I need to up the RAM in the NAS, add M2 NVMe drives for caching and also update my home network speed with additional routers…? (Or at least have the ability to to do it later?)


If I ran an iTunes Server (or similar music system) could I or my son access the music remotely?
I’m interested in running a home security system of it too.
I’d like to be able to backup my iPhone, my Mac’s and son’s tech if that is possible.
I’d like to do more music creation (yup - mid life crisis!) so can I use a NAS to store all of my music samples etc. for Reason & Logic etc?
What formatting / RAID type would you recommend for my setup?
Finally - as an extra backup - could I automatically remote backup some of my data to a service like the 10TB iDrive package as an extra safety net? Is that possible to do off Synology or Qnap NAS systems or am I forced to use expensive corporate Cloud accounts?
I don’t think I need Video Plex facilities or Video encoding but maybe I’m wrong? (I mainly use software to encode video work like Handbrake and for personal & family viewing we use Netflix / Disney + etc so I’m not sure what video Plex is something I’d ever use…)

I’m not a computer novice - I’ve used PCs since DOS days and I can roll my sleeves up when needed - but NAS seems to be so alien to me (maybe it’s the fear of loosing yet more data!!!) so it does give me a bit of a headache trying to work out what would be the best option for me. Any help and advice will be much appreciated!

With very best wishes and keep up the excellent work with your channel!

Hello Ross,

Thank you for your support, this keeps us going.

NAS used to be a simple hard drive with an Ethernet cable attached to it. Now it has become a computer/smartphone on its own. You can install apps just like you would on the iphone. This allows you to turn your NAS into so many different things. All these things can run simultaneously. When installing all these apps, hardware requirements apply to the system just like it would to a computer before you can install a software. This is why all these CPUs get mentioned so often.

Yes, Qnap and Synology are the market leader in NAS. But Qnap will require a little more IT knowledge to make it secure for remote access. Synology and WD NAS will have default security settings enabled for peace of mind. Since WD do not allow access to the admin panel remotely, this makes it the most secure option. But WD do not have as many apps. Also, there is lack of 10gbe and expandability.

So, since NAS is just a smart hard drive, you can store any files you want. It has its own file system (BTRFS or EXT) which allows computers and other devices to store their files on the NAS - no matter what file system is used on each local device. It is universal.

TimeMachine app will automate MAC backups. Active backup for business will take care of Windows machines. Phone multimedia can be backed up using Drive app.

You can also turn it into CCTV system, or install Smart home software.

Music can be accessed remotely using DS Audio or Plex app (there are more apps than this).

You can also automate your NAS backup to another NAS if your friend has one. Or you can back up to the cloud such as Synology C2, Backblaze, Dropbox and other popular cloud platforms.

For all of this I would certainly consider Celeron CPU as minimum. DS920/ DS1520+ would make a perfect sense. If you do need a faster data transfer speeds, ds1522+ has a PCIe upgrade slot just like DS1621+. Ryzen based models would limit remote video streaming to 1080p videos. But with offline transcoding enabled you can tackle this problem and gain 10gbe speeds when you desperately need faster file uploads/download.

SHR RAID will allow you to start with just 2 drives and add more drives (even bigger capacity) later on.

I hope this helps.

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