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QNAP or Synology to replace Drobo?

I'm a Mac user with two Drobos - a 5N2 and a 5N. I don't really need the 5N but held onto it for fun when I got the 5N2. I'd get only one NAS as a replacement for the two Drobos, and find a way to reuse the disks (WD Red).

The Drobos have performed well enough but now Drobo seems to be in trouble I'm thinking off a move to another platform. I don't think I have the technical ability to maintain a TrueNAS or Unraid server - more to the point I don't think I'd be able to put it right if it failed, so I'll go for a proprietary version.

My main uses are file storage and backup, storing family photographs in something called Koken (discontinued but a pretty good PHP-based solution), media storage, Time Machine backups, Plex (where the Drobos struggle and won't transcode) and playing with/learning mySQL/Apache/PHP as a hobby.

I'm tempted by the Synology DS1522+, which offers 5 bays as for the Drobos, but there are several competing vendors out there including QNAP, Terra Master, Asustor etc.

The fact that you're Mac based, so accustomed to things 'just working' without any fuss, then I'd definitely suggest that Synology would be the 'best match' in terms of brand reliability and ease of use, with low maintenance.

Drobo in trouble or not, you can certainly keep at least one as your main platform while you transition to another brand gradually. Longer term, you still need a backup and even if Drobo completely vanished from the market place, your old box could plug a gap for a while. You could sell the 'spare' now, while people less informed are still buying Drobos.

So in terms of choices (5+ drives) you have the DS1522+ or DS1621+ , or step down a HDD to the DS920+
Any of which would happily cope with your requirements.
Sure there are 'other brands', but mainstream it's a close call between Synology and QNAP - the two most capable and accomplished brands for a long time. QNAP is more capable, but you'll be more in depth with that, giving you less time to play with mySQL & PHP.
Sometimes, it's nice to have tech that 'just does'.

One thing that might sway your decision would be how much Plex transcoding you need & how in depth your SQL learning will go. Reason being, that the DS1522+ has just 2 cores, where both the DS920+ and DS1621+ have 4. Could make all the difference with database queries running while the NAS gets on with it's to-do list of syncs / backups / transcoding. Especially if you're playing with mySQL while someone else in the house transcodes a movie on the fly.

Add to that Koken has been discontinued, and you might need a robust system that little sooner than you first hoped.

Trust this information has been useful.
-- Raid is not a backup, but it is a step in the right direction --

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