I too would like to hear what options are available for a similar setup.
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I tried the Western Digital NAS and returned it. It was slow and did not seem to work reliably with J River. I never figured out why, but it was so slow I did not really pursue it. Instead I got 2 4 TB drives, one for storage and one for backup. I set up daily backups (Syncback free) of all my files, including the music files and the J River library.
Jriver just announced support for QNAP systems. I am not familiar with the details, but having a Jriver supported product might be a good option. You might look at that.
I use 2 Western Digital NAS enclosures in my system and have no issues with them.
1 is the DX4000, I do not recommend it because it will only accept certain drives and they are not cheap as it is meant for business.
The 1 I would recommend is the DL4100 it is fast up to 107 to 117 MB per second I get 115. Do not get the one without drives as it is harder to setup. Western Digital has great tech support and you should call them as you are setting it up. I would call at the first setup screen so they can walk you through it.
Stay away from the Western Digital EX series as it is a dog 25 MB per second, I returned it.
After you get the NAS up and running you will just copy your files, drag and drop to the NAS as your system will see it as just another drive. You will need to still hold on to those drive you have so you have a backup, just power them up from time to time.
Not sure why you think a NAS will be more reliable than the external USB drives. All drives can fail. SSD drives at least don't have the spinning hard drive, so I've been trying to migrate more to those as the price comes down. I too use JRiver and my Macbook Pro laptop for a music server, but I stayed with JRiver 20 rather than upgrading to 21. I love the way 20 works, and so far, it's still working. BTW I use a Mac so this is JRiver 20 for Mac.
Re-ripping huge numbers of music is a pain. I’ve had a few Hard Drive failures over the years so I’ve gone a little back-up crazy.
I use a QNAP TS-251 NAS for whole house back-up’s and streaming ripped movies on multiple smart tv’s. The enclosure is dual bay and configured for RAID 1. It will stream music to iTunes but I currently don’t feel the need. The QNAP was easy to install thanks to a YouTube video produced by the QNAP people. I also use a USB single drive for daily BU’s along with the NAS. Two full daily back-ups on separate devices.
Please note: I’ve previously used a Western Digital “My Book II” NAS devices. It failed within a year but the biggest issue was speed. It was configured wireless and to back-up 750 GBs it took 5 days and crashed at few times. The QNAP did the job in half the time.
When I went looking for an new NAS, Synology and QNAP were the only ones I looked at based on my limited tech skills, needs and customers reviews.
If you are going to build a NAS/RAID make sure you use a UPS. If you pull the the plug or have power failures the system will test the integrity of the drives that make up the Raid configuration when it is powered up again. This can take hours to days depending on system size. Raid 5 is a good way to go but as with most hard drive systems make sure you do a backup. I would not use backup software as that will crunch down your data and for music it may not be restored correctly as it may not be lossless. just do a drag and drop to the external backup drive.
Synology NAS' are excellent products. I use them at my office as a database backup target (they have a great built in replication function that reps to another synology NAS for redundancy purposes). They are considerably faster throughput then the old WD's they replaced. Have had several running 24/7 for going on 5 years now. HD's fail from time to time, but that's to be expected.
I have yet to find an inexpensive commercial NAS which I feel has acceptable performance. I run Ubuntu Linux on my laptop instead of Windows. I popped for a new 1TB drive for it as I have only about 1/2 TB of flac music files.
I run a nightly cron job which copies everything on the laptop to a secondary 3TB drive I have on my Linux desktop box. I also have a nightly cron job which copies everything from the secondary 3TB drive on my Linux box to another 3TB drive which is hanging off of a Raspberry Pi. Additionally I have an account with Crashplan, which is an off-site backup service and a copy of everything is there as well. So I have FOUR copies of my music files in various locations.
If I were on Windows, I'd do something similar. I'd have a large drive local to my laptop. I'd also have one of those inexpensive commercial NAS drives on the network, but just for backup purposes. And then I'd also subscribe to Crashplan for their off-site backup service.
One more thing... I agree that a UPS isn't a bad idea, but they aren't all that great as surge protectors. Get yourself surge protectors made by Belkin.
Laptops don't need UPS protection and if you're using your NAS strictly as a backup device, then it's not really necessary to have it on a UPS either. What both desperately need are good surge protectors (and they're a lot cheaper too...).
Thanks everyone for their thoughtful posts. I have just upgraded my wireless router to the new ASUS 3100 dual band, with 8 GB switch ports in back, and access for direct NAS connectivity. This is a great router, with awesome wireless coverage. Exploring possibility of Aurender server, and will then to migrate from my WD portable drives to a NAS...hopefully will finalize all details by March...leaning to Synology NAS, or the QNAP, and will have plugged in UPS.
More once I take the plunge!