NAS Storage Blog

NAS storage news, reviews, tips and tricks

Movies on your iPad with VLC

VLC (VideoLAN) is definitely my favorite media player. I primary use VLC when I watch a movie when it comes to music I use iTunes from Apple.

Most often I use VLC on my MacBook Pro as it is the best portable device to watch a movie on, but watching a movie on the iPad is also recommended.

It is possible to watch a movie on iPad if you buy (it costs 1.99 US $) and install VLC Streamer on your iPad and afterwards install a VLC Streamer Helper which is a small application that will run on your computer where you movie collection is located.

The perfect setup would be to install the directly on your NAS device but I have not succeeded to do that, so I have installed the VLC Streamer Helper on my Apple Mac Mini where I have mapped my movie folder that is located on my NAS. It should be possible to install the VLC Streamer Helper on a Linux box like a Synology NAS.

With this setup it is possible to browse and launch movies on my iPad placed on my NAS.
I agree it is not the perfect setup but it does work.

My Mac Mini and my Synology DS211+ is running 24/7 so why not make the most of it.

Synology supported hardware and software

The many NAS devices from Synology are build for home and business use so they must be able to have a large list compatible hardware devices that will communicate with them. Luckily such a large list of supported hardware exists at Synology’s website. Synology keep the list updated with new supported hardware and they do to list the hardware that are tested on Synology DiskStations. I am pretty sure that a lot more hardware will work together with Synology DiskStations so do not worry if your bought a piece of hardware that is not listed. You can find the supported list of both hardware and software here.

Do a quick Google search for this hardware and Synology in the same search query and you will definitely find someone that have tried a Synology DiskStation with that piece of hardware.
On the list you can the following hardware categories:

  1. Hard drives. Do use a hard drive recommended by Synology e.g. Western Digital.
  2. Routers.
  3. IP Cameras. Synology DiskStations support more than 1.000 models.
  4. USB Printers.
  5. USB Speakers.
  6. UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) devices.
  7. Switches.
  8. DMA devices.

My Synology DS211+ has communicated with hardware devices that are not listed on the support list so do not worry too muc

DS412+ NAS with USB 3.0 from Synology has been released

Synology has just released the DS412+ DiskStation which is a 4-bay NAS with USB 3.0 interface and hot-swappable hard drives. This NAS is made for small companies and home users that want performance and a central storage unit. It is possible to have a capacity on DS412+ that will go up to massive 16 GB if you use RAID 0 (striping) and up to 8 GB if you use RAID 1 (mirroring). With a fast CPU and 1 GB DDR RAM the DS412+ will help even the most demanding users with the most common IT tasks. Power consumption is said to be 44 W in action and 15 W during The DS412+ is nice looking and not that big for a 4-bay NAS, so it can be placed at almost any location in an office environment. Two big 92mm fans are used for cooling. If you want a king size black lunch box then choose the DS412+.

The DS412+ is the successor to Synology DS411+ which also is a 4-bay NAS. I personally do not have the needs for a 4-bay NAS device but I guess some people could use a NAS like DS412+.

DS412+ DiskStation specifications

Here are some of the most interesting DS412+ specifications:

  • Dual Core 2.13GHz CPU.
  • 1 GB DDR3 RAM.
  • Up to 16 GB data storage.
  • Hot-swappable hard drives.
  • Power consumption: 44 W (active) and 15 W (HDD hibernation).
  • Two USB 3.0 SuperSpeed ports and one USB 2.0 port.

Remember to buy 4 hard drives (if do not have these already) for this NAS as they are not included in the box. Hard drives are not cheap at the moment so I do hope the hard drive storage is full.

NAS for Apple Mac computer

Are you the lucky or for some unlucky owner of a Apple Mac (MacBook, Mac Pro, iMac etc.) and you want to buy your first NAS device that is Mac compatible, there are things your future NAS device must be able to handle.
You do not want a NAS that will not communicate with your Mac.
You can be 100 procent of Mac compability if you buy a Apple Time Capsule and put it on your network, but Time Capsule does not has the same amount of features as Synology or QNAP NAS devices. That is why I don’t have a Time Capsule.
Things to look for if want a Mac compatible NAS:

  • AFP (Apple Filling Protocol).
  • Go for a browser based administration interface that will make the NAS administration more or less OS Independent.

If I were to recommend a 1-bay NAS to use with a Mac computer I would recommend Synology DS112j. If there is money for a 2-bay NAS I would recommend a Synology DS212+ or a QNAP TS-219P.

My Book Thunderbolt Duo from Western Digital

Western Digital reasonly released the My Book Thunderbolt Duo which is a RAID device using the latest high speed data transfer technology called Thunderbolt. I have previously written abolut LaCie Thunderbolt device that was one of the first Thunderbolt storage devices that could be daisy chained and thereby create a sequence of storage devices. I was and still am a big fan of the LaCie Thunderbolt storage so I had to learn more about the My Book Thunderbolt Duo from Western Digital because it has similar specifications as the LaCie device. Unlike the LaCie Thunderbolt device it is very easy to change the hard drives in My Book Thunderbolt Duo.
The Western Digital My Book Duo has a simple and clean design. It will fit nicely in most homes and offices.

My Book Thunderbolt Duo specifications

  • Powered by Thunderbolt
  • RAID 0 (striping), 1 (mirroring) and JBOD.
  • Daisy chaining.
  • Easy to replace the hard drives.
  • A storage capacity: 4 TB or 6 TB.
  • Price: about 700 US dollars.

All of the Thunderbolt devices that I have seen does not inlcude a Thunderbolt cable in order to connect the device with your computer. Why is that? It must be Intel that wants to earn some extra money here.

LG N4B2ND4 NAS storage from LG with Blu-Ray

I am always on the look out for new NAS devices and last day I was told to check out the NAS devices from LG and the devices look interesting.
My first impression was the cool design. The white plastic cover and the aluminum front looks surprisingly nice.

The LG N4B2ND4 4-bay NAS looks fantastic and I must say that the built-in Blu-Ray drive is a feature that I have not seen in a NAS before.
What is a Blu-Ray drive doing in a NAS some might say.

The LG N4B2ND4 has a suggested price that says 850 US Dollars which is pricy but a quick look at the features tells the pricy story. 4 TB storage, Blu-Ray drive and Intel Atom Dual Core CPU and 1 GB memory cost some money.

Check some of the LG N4B2ND4 NAS specifications below.

LG N4B2ND4 specifications

  1. Blu-Ray drive. Great for data backup. Very cool feature.
  2. Intel Atom Dual Core 1.6GHz. Very powerful.
  3. 1024 MB memory. I guess you can run a Tomcat application server with OK performance on this NAS with that much memory installed.
  4. 4 TB data storage included. 4 hot-swappable hard drives. Multiple RAID configurations are available.
  5. Gigabit ethernet.
  6. 3 USB 2.0 ports.
  7. Extremely cool design.
  8. Embedded Linux as OS.
  9. Web based interface.
  10. Power consumption: 38 W in action.

The LG N4B2ND4 is nice looking and it is powerful but very expensive. Go for a Synology or QNAP NAS instead. They will give you more value for the money.

Use OpenDNS DNS servers instead of your ISP

For almost a year I have used the DNS servers from OpenDNS instead of the DNS servers from my ISP and I am actually glad that I changed.
As my Airport Extreme router is my home gateway this is the only device where I have changed the primary and secondary DNS server. So all Internet traffic goes through the OpenDNS servers which are placed at many locations all over the world.

OpenDNS is used by many so their services are reliable. I am pretty sure that the OpenDNS servers are faster at the name resolution operation than my ISP.

Benefits of OpenDNS

There are several benefits when you switch to OpenDNS DNS servers.

  1. Faster DNS name resolution. There are many OpenDNS servers and they are tuned and tweaked in order to deliver the best service.
  2. Secure web surfing. Phishing websites are blocked because OpenDNS knows most of them.
  3. Reliable. The many OpenDNS servers around the world will guarantee that even a DNS server is busy another one can be used for name resolution. Your ISP will not have that many DNS servers

Problems with DNS servers

The problems with DNS servers and most other servers are the logging. OpenDNS is a business and they want to earn money. They do that by selling logging data from their DNS servers to other companies. Your Internet usage will be given to US government if needed and not to the government from your country.
I know that my ISP is logging too so it is unavoidable.

OpenDNS IP addresses

The IP addresses to use for your router or your computer are the following:

  1. Primary DNS server: 208.67.222.222.
  2. Secondary DNS server: 208.67.220.220.

Here is a guide how to setup OpenDNS on your router or compu ter.

Buffalo TeraStation Pro Duo WSS – WS-WVL/R1 looks like a NAS suitable for a home network

Buffalo TeraStation Pro Duo is a small ready to use NAS from Buffalo. The design of the NAS is not one my favourites. It looks like a cheap music device but this machine have some awesome specs: Dual Core CPU and 2 GB RAM.
I only know little about Buffalo but the company has a reputation for making some quality NAS devices. They are not as popular as Synology and QNAP though.

The NAS chassis is made of metal and the fan placed at the back is big, not that noisy and ít sure does look like a quality fan. It is most likely better than the fans that are placed in many Synology DiskStations. I had to replace the fan in my Synology DS211+ with a Noctua fan.

The TeraStation Pro is equipped with two hard drives (500 GB each) and it is possible to use RAID 0 and RAID 1. That is a good thing.

Buffalo TeraStation Pro Duo WSS – WS-WVL/R1 specifications

Here is a list with some hardware specifications for the NAS.

  • Two USB interfaces: 1 x 2.0 and 1 x 3.0.
  • Two hot swap hard drives (500 GB).
  • Disk encryption.
  • Dual gigabit Ethernet ports (RJ-45).
  • Web access.
  • BitTorrent application.
  • Intel Atom 1.66Ghz Dual Core CPU.
  • 2 GB RAM.

Buffalo TeraStation Pro Duo is a midrange quality NAS in my opinion. The price for the Buffalo TeraStation Pro Duo is somewhere between 2 – 300 US dollars.

Use IP blocking (Auto Block) in Synology DSM if some ports are open

With IP blocking it is possible to deny connection to certain IP addresses that tries to connect to different services on your Synology NAS. If it is possible to access your Synology via SSH, telnet, WebDAV, FTP, rsync and others from the Internet due to a port forwarding, IP blocking is a nice security feature. It prevents the bad guys from keep trying to connect to your NAS services and gain access if they provide the correct username and password. This must not happend.
If a someone tries to login to DiskStation via SSH and the number of failed login attempts is too many according to the number of login attempts that you define, the IP will be added to an IP black list. Your NAS now knows that this IP is blacklisted and it should not be allowed to try to connect to the service.

Enable IP blocking in Synology DSM 4

By default IP blocking is not enabled in DSM so you will have to enable ít.

  1. Login to your NAS.
  2. Open Control Panel and go to Auto Block.
  3. Check Enable auto block.
  4. Set Login attempts to 5 and Within (number of minutes these 5 login attempts must be within) to 5.
  5. Click Apply.

That is one step closer to a more secure NAS.

Western Digital Elements SE Portable 750 GB is my preferred NAS backup device

Western Digital Elements SE Portable 750 GB is my preferred NAS backup device and I got two of them. They are both a part of my data backup strategy. The Western Digital external disks are extremely popular and it is understandable.

I do like them a lot because of their stability, capacity and connectivity.

Even though my Synology DS211+ NAS has a capacity of 2 TB it does not mean that all 2 TB are used and far from all data is that critical.

The critical data on my NAS has a current capacity that says 300 GB and that data is backed up on the two WD Elements SE 750 GB disks every week. I do make an encrypted image off the content on my MacBook Pro and put it on each disk too. So each disk now contains NAS data and MacBook Pro data.

Each disks is placed on a separate location outside my house and the data is off course encrypted. I do not store my data externally unless the data is encrypted.
I do recommend the Western Digitals Elements series and the My Passport series for backup. Both series are worth the money.