Server Solutions

Hi,

I am looking for a solution that would enable me to store my data on a server and to use my desktop (as opposed to the server) to access the data on the server in order to avoid data corruption/loss and virus infection. So, I want to store all my data on the server and use my desktop to only access the data - I am not going to store any data on the desktop.

I also want to use different computers to access the same data stored on the same server.

What WD solutions/devices would enable me to do so? What would you recommend/suggest?

Sincerely.

Technically, the WD NAS lineup can fulfill this need.

I would avoid any item in the “WD Home” lineup. They don’t act as true NAS units.

First, you have to decide how many phsyical drives and how much total storage space you need.
Along with that, is the question of drive redundancy (RAID).

Bear in mind, that ANY disk used in a raid array will be accessed more than a standalone drive; and will likely fail sooner. BUT. . . in most raid arrays, you can have one drive fail and still not lose data. The most common Raid is Raid1; with two drivers mirroring each other. When you get to four drives, data can be spread across four drives more efficiently (so the redundancy overhead is only 33%; instead of 100%). You can also set up as JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Disks), where you get 100% of the space; but no data redundancy.

But bear in mind that a NAS box is itself prone to failure (Fire; Flood; Bad Firmware bricking the unit; user error; Ransomware). . . .so a NAS box should NOT be your one-and-only data repository.

The WD Nas units are “OK”; and can serve basic file serving needs. You can even run a media server (like PLEX) on the NAS itself. . .with minor restrictions. Word of caution: In the latest iteration; the WD NAS software is rather inefficient; and not very mindful of privacy. They are really trying to create an “internet appliance” and to that end your data gets indexed to facilitate away-from-home access.

In general. . .thw WD units are all “older” in terms of hardware, but are still functional. If you want better hardware or better software; WD competitors do a better job (AT A HIGHER PRICE POINT). My view is that your money is in the HDD’s - - -so an extra $100-$200 in the NAS box itself might be money well spent.

In terms of the drives. . . . . Google SMR vs CMR. Make sure you avoid SMR drives regardless of manufacturer. 5400 drives (like from the WD Red Plus line) are fine for NAS units; and you don’t need to get 7200 rpm drives (like from the WD Red Pro line)

Be mindful of the network. . . . for VERY LARGE files or streaming movies. . . a laptop on wifi might be troublesome. There are times when you will want to “plug in” for large data operations (on my laptop, I have a USB hub which not only has USB ports; but also video outputs and a network jack)

Hi,

Yes, I also avoid SRM hdds, because they are mainly for data storage, not for frequent access.

You also mentioned that WD competitors do a better job. What are the competitors? Seagate (which owns Lacie), Toshiba, Fujitsu, etc.? In fact, Hitachi hdds (HGST), acquired by WD, is highly valued by data storage providers.

I have also looked at the RAID options offered by WD: https://www.westerndigital.com/solutions/raid
and those by Seagate: https://www.seagate.com/ca/en/internal-hard-drives/raid-calculator/

I have also looked at the lines/series of hhds offered by WD. I think that Blue, Read, and Purple would meet my needs. What is your opinion?

Which WD RAID options (see the link provided above) would you recommend and why?

I would not use SMR for data storage.

Reading how this stuff works. . . . I wouldn’t use SMR for any purpose whatsover.
Remember. . . it’s cheaper to make. Savings are NOT passed on to consumer.

The names you quote above are HDD manufactures.
You want to look at NAS manufactures. (WD; Synology; Qnap. etc)
You can put any drive you want (more or less) into any of these boxes.

In the WD line, I would use Red Plus or Red Pro. They are marketted as NAS drives. Avoid the straight “red” as half of this line utilize SMR drives.
Blue is for standard duty computer use. Not for a NAS.
Not clear on the benefits of Purple.

Hi,

Thank you for the useful advice.

But can I have RAID without NAS? I am thinking whether I could use a RAID and connect two computers to a RAID without NAS, because wi-fi would thus not be required for data transfer and access. What is your opinion?

I am also thinking whether I could have a server that stores the data and then different computers accessing the same data stored on the server. Would a server work differently from a RAID? Can you give me a brief explanation?

Which one is the most reliable? Server, RAID (with NAS), RAID (without NAS), or NAS?

NAS = Network attached storage

Server = A computer that sits on a network to “serve” files; or to run programs. (Like Plex Server).

The consumer NAS boxes like the mycloud line are basically low powered servers. Does fine for providing files to the network; and more powerful NAS boxes can do things like be a “Plex Server” or other type of media server.

RAID is “thing” that spreads data across multiple drives to provide redundancy or protection for data. There can be harware raids or firmware raids. WD NAS boxes I believe use software raids. Note that you don’t have to run RAID on a WD NAS. You can setup the disks in JBOD mode (Just a Bunch Of Disks). In JBOD mode, each disk shows up independently on the network (in WD language: A share can only be on one disk; so you will have a minimum of two shares from a two disk NAS)

SO - - - if you buy a NAS - - -that NAS will sit on the network and the data on that NAS will be available to every computer on your network. The NAS is acting as a server.

In terms of reliability: Weak links are the HDD’s, the NAS box hardware, and the user. The user is always the weak link. So. . .if you have a NAS with a Raid. . . .you are protected against a HDD failure, and “recovery time” for a HDD failure is quick and easy. A raid array will not protect you from user error or NAS hardware failure.

Always have data backup on something other than the NAS

Hi,

Thank you for the explanation.

What do you think would be the most reliable solution, which would be considered the best data storage method? What combination? Or, what would you recommend? I have never used RAID or NAS, and I would like to have your advice.

If you are looking for a file repository that sits on your net work – that can be accessed by any computer on your network; Then a NAS box sold by either WD, symbology , or QNAP will do the trick.

Once you have a NAS box, then you can decide if you want to do a raid configuration or a JBOD configuration on the NAS.

The EX2 ultra is WD’s entry level offering for a dual bay NAS.
Avoid anything from the WD “home” line.
Synology has a DS220+ 2bay offering. It is a slightly higher price point, but features more powerful hardware and much more mature software.

Remember, putting everything on a single NAS is part of a back up strategy – not the entire back up strategy. You really need to have all your data stored somewhere besides just on the Nas box.

Hi,

Thank you for the advice.

I have got one concern: I want to backup any new information, for instance I opened a txt file, entered new information, and closed it, and I want the new version of the txt file to be immediately backed up, instead of manually making a backup regularly, because making a backup manually to be stored somewhere else would result in different copies of the data and thus in confusion. I want only the latest, updated backup. Which solution would you recommend?

If you open the file on the NAS; then it will be current /)

For continual sync across devices- that is beyond my expertise.