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I was thinking of buying a NAS for home-usage. I've never used a NAS or had HDDs set up in Raids. Before I commit myself to moving all my data to a NAS I need to find out how difficult it is to upgrade and replace the NAS' hard drives.

Suppose I set up a Raid 1 NAS with two 1TB hdds. At some point in the future I will use up all the space and will have to install two new 2TB hdds. Now I'll need to migrate the data from the old disks to the new ones. Will I have to hook up one of the old disks in a computer and copy all the data back in the NAS? Or can the migration be done using only the NAS?

I realize the answer to the question might depend on the NAS model. Being a simple for-home solution I was thinking of getting something along the lines of D-link's 323.

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"I was thinking of buying a NAS for home-usage". Probably not a question for here. I suspect you wont have any problems upgrading 1tb hdd --> 2tb. I don't really understand the second question. –  Ablue Dec 30 '10 at 13:20
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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The question on deciding whether you should go for a NAS or not, depends on what do you want to do with it. The NAS are trimmed-down computers, optimized for low power usage, and often also low noise. From the software point of view, they tend to be quite user-friendly nowadays. So, if you think you need some shared storage that you would keep always up (maybe not 24/7, but anyway most of the day up), and/or you don't want to spend much time in tweaking settings with it, NAS can be a good solution.

Regarding data migration, I can only talk about my experience with Synology NAS. You can e.g. set up initially a RAID 1 with two 1TB disks, and later simply first replace one of the disk with a 2TB (and then click the 'repair' button on the web interface to start the mirror syncing), and then when you replace also the second 2TB disk and resync it as well, the software will recognize that you will have some free unused space, and will offer the chance to 'expand' your volume from 1TB to 2TB. So that migration can be handled entirely inside the NAS, and accessing the commands via web.

One more important point: please don't think that RAID 1 is a 'backup' solution that will save you against disk failures. If you plan to set up a serious storage (like a NAS), do reserve part of your budget for a backup plan, whether via old good magnetic tapes, or external removable hard disks, or online cloud solutions (like Amazon S3, jsut to name a famous one).

Hope that it helped.

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Thanks. This is the answer I was hoping for :) –  Mihai Damian Jan 12 '11 at 14:30
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I would definitely recommend NOT getting a NAS, as they are not only expensive but can be easily recreated by using an old or low cost computer running a light linux distro such as freenas or if you want a full distro like Debian. This enables you to do a lot more with your NAS such as running a web server, mail server, router for your network, caching proxy etc.

I myself have a server running at home and use that as a shared storage space.

If you are familiar with linux i would highly recommend this, but if you are looking for a simple solution then you might want an off the shelf NAS.

I hope this has helped, RayQuang

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+1. I was in the OP's situation about 9 months ago, and ended up using software raid on linux. Worked a treat. –  Sirex Dec 30 '10 at 13:53
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