Thoughts - NAS vs WHS
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Author:  Bob61 [ Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Thoughts - NAS vs WHS

I've had an HP EX490 for a while, NIC has gone out and HP has been useless in regards to getting the unit repaired. I've decided to move on at this point and I'm looking at alternatives. I had originally considered doing a DIY server off WHS 2011. I'm a relative newbie to WHS (just plugged in the EX490 and ran for years basically), but building my own rig is not an issue as I've built my own PC's for over 20 years.

But then someone suggested that I look at NAS and specifically the Synology DS211J. I had originally discounted using NAS, but as I compared features between my old EX490 and the DS211J it seemed the DS211J offered most of the features/functions that I was using on the EX490.

Curious from the experts here what your thoughts are. I'm fond of the WHS (coming from a long time Windows user), but have to say the DS211J looks like a simple solution for my primary needs. Besides giving up the massive storage capabilities of what a WHS set-up would provide what would you consider the downside to this?

Author:  Comp1962 [ Fri Aug 12, 2011 7:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Thoughts - NAS vs WHS

I used a NAS for years and while the newer ones have evolved I simply have to tell you once I started useing WHS the NAS has lived in the closet. The one thing to really think about is that it the NIC fails in the NAS your really dead in the water far worse than with your EX490. You can resolve your NIC issue on your own with the EX490 but with the NAS its not as simple. With your EX490 you still have access to your data this is not true for the NAS so if it fails so goes your data unless you get another unit which will allow you to reuse your drives.

A NAS is fast which is why many like them but they do have a dark side and when it shows you may wish you never thought of using one. I suppose there are those who blend them with their server environments and those who only use a NAS but for me its like playing with fire and WHS is not which makes it a more flexible solution.

If you want the speed and NAS like features you could build a WHS and go with a RAID Solution but doing that properly is expensive. Trying to use consumer drives in a RAID solution runs the risk of the actual drives dropping out of the array which is why they build Enterprise Class Drives just for RAID. Some use consumer drives and are happy with them and will tell you it works. While it might be working its like playing with fire and when the fire breaks out those people may not be the happiest with their RAID Solution.

WHS has its quirks but for the most part its a stable platform, does what its suppose to do and can be relied on. Using it as it was designed provides a means to access your data as mentioned earlier should you experience a hardware failure. If the hardware in the NAS Fails your options are limited.

If you enjoyed WHS while your EX490 was running then you already know what WHS offers you. Just because WHS2011 is out doesn't mean its a good fit for you although you may find you like it better. You already know you can build your own server but you can also build your own NAS and run FreeNAS.

In the end no matter what others tell you, its you which has to decide which solution is best for you. As a previous NAS User who by the way did enjoy using a NAS for years found WHS to be a much better solution and I have never given a thought to running a NAS ever again.

Author:  Bob61 [ Sun Aug 14, 2011 4:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Thoughts - NAS vs WHS

Thanks Comp1962 for the feedback. I've pulled off my most critical files from my EX490 so I'm back and functional for now. With that I'm making a last attempt to resurrect my EX490 with a USB LAN Adapter. Not successful so far, but now have more time to resolve this now that I have my files to work with.

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