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Getting 5104T, Feedback on Drives, Raid Config, Media Streamer

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Getting 5104T, Feedback on Drives, Raid Config, Media Streamer

Postby Jagstyles » Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:34 am

I've decided that this week I will be buying my very first NAS device and have decided to start with the AS-5104-T by Asustor. I was hoping to have the following questions answered:

1. Anything one should look at in determining the size of hard drive they use? I plan on starting with a RAID 1 configuration with two identical Western Digital Red drives and debating between 4TB, 5TB or 6TB. Obviously 4TB seems to be the most economical right now but curious on people's feedback. I will primarily be using the NAS to store important documents and all of my family's media including videos, pictures and movies. Right now we have a total of 2TB combined on an external drive we would move over to the NAS.

2. I have 3 Apple TV devices hooked up to 3 separate TV's. I understand that you cannot use iTunes Media Server unless it's through home sharing via PC or Mac. Given that I won't have a desktop computer, iTunes Media Server is not an option. What media streaming device to people recommend for me to replace the Apple TV with? I don't want to rely on air playing movies to the Apple TV and would prefer to have a nice menu and GUI through a wired ethernet media streaming device ie: Roku, Minix, etc.

3. What is everyone using to backup the NAS? Is it sufficient to backup the NAS to a cloud service like One Drive? Obviously there would be less privacy that way but to save on cost, it would be a nice little way to have an offsite backup of the NAS.

4. For those that use VPN and torrent downloading, is there any way to bind Transmission client to the VPN IP so that if the connection is lost, it immediately stops any ongoing transfers at that time?

That's all I can think of for now.... thanks everyone, appreciate any feedback.
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Re: Getting 5104T, Feedback on Drives, Raid Config, Media Streamer

Postby Jagstyles » Wed Oct 21, 2015 8:36 pm

Anyone? Heading out today to purchase the NAS and drives. Was hoping to get some suggestions on optimal drive size.
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Re: Getting 5104T, Feedback on Drives, Raid Config, Media Streamer

Postby MikeG.6.5 » Thu Oct 22, 2015 2:54 am

for your questions:
#1: Get the largest drive sizes you can afford and still setup Raid 5, so this means at least 3 drives. You can always upgrade to a larger size as long as you do the whole set when you do that upgrade. If you get 4TB now, and need more space, then buy 3x6TB later to get that space. buy an external 3-5 bay enclosure later to put the upgraded drives into. You can also extend this to include the 4th bay by putting it in and following the Asustor College documents on Raids.

#2: Consider using Plex Media Server to stream your media. Roku sticks, 2's or 3's work very well. You will need to get your media converted to MP4 H264 with AAC or AC3 audio to support the Roku, but with the client software Plex has, they will eat anything in that codec and container. Each user account you have a roku attached to is going to cost a $5 fee, but if you use managed users or have them all on one account it's a one time fee for all of them, and not per device. Managed Users require Plex Pass, which can be purchased monthly, yearly or lifetime. It really is worth it, if you stream a lot of media.

#3: I have an external 5 bay Raid 5 enclosure with 5x3TB drives in it for back up. This is onsite, but is consistent and really fast. It's on a USB 3 wire to the NAS. I will NEVER use an outside cloud service for backing my data up. Doing so means losing control of the data. Not going to place my media security in someone else's hands, thank you.

#4: Don't use VPN at all. Plex isn't VPN friendly. Over 90% of my downloading now is through newsgroups and not torrents. I use CouchPotato, SickBeard, uTorrent and SABnzb+ for most of the downloading, with SABnzb doing the lion's share. CouchPotato and SickBeard find what I want to get, SABnzb and uTorrent get it for me. I have my own conversion scripts to get media converted to MP4 and get it Plex Friendly, and then drop it into the Plex library folders.

Seriously think about going with the 7004T over the 5104. The 700X series NASes have a socketed I3 which is fast as hell for converting or transcoding media. They run about $1100 right now, but if you look at this as an appliance and not a disposable computer the investment makes more sense. I have the stock i3 in mine, but thinking about changing the CPU to an i7 in the next couple of years. I have a full 16GB of ram and 4x6TB in Raid 5 in the device. I've had as many as 7 users streaming off my Plex Media Server at one time, with 25+ users in the system.

With the 16GB of ram, the NAS is snappy and performs very well. It did well with the stock 2GB, but was using about 40% memory in day-to-day. I now use less than 15% in day-to-day, and spikes up to about 35% when I'm hammering it.

HTH
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Re: Getting 5104T, Feedback on Drives, Raid Config, Media Streamer

Postby Jagstyles » Thu Oct 22, 2015 5:50 am

Fantastic feedback, exactly the kind of response I was hoping for. So I didn't see your post before I went out and ended up buying the 5104T with two 6TB drives for now setup as Raid 1. I hope to buy a 3rd drive shortly for the purpose of migrating to Raid 5

In terms of plex media server, is that the best option? How will my NAS handle that if I have two steams going at the same time? Also, I won't have a desktop computer connected at all. This presents an issue when it comes to reencoding the mkv files to MP4. Don't imagine that would be doable on the NAS itself? Alternatively, are there any newer devices like WD TV where the file format won't be an issue and won't stress the NAS??

I would love to pick your brain on newsgroup downloading. I used to use nzbmatrix back on the day before they shut down. Are newsgroups safer to download from than torrents given how many trainers are now planted by cooyright lawyers?? Until now I've been using VPN with torrents. Would love to hear more about how you have it setup. I want to automate this process as much as possible. For example, using sonarr for tv shows etc.

Any further feedback you could provide would be great.

Thanks
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Re: Getting 5104T, Feedback on Drives, Raid Config, Media Streamer

Postby MikeG.6.5 » Thu Oct 22, 2015 6:23 am

There are scripts that use FFMpeg to do this type of media conversion. I have a copy that works on Asustor's OS. I modified them from what a regular poster on the Plex Forums had for running on Windows. As the 510x NAS has almost good enough of a CPU for 720p transcoding, but not enough for 1080p, you are going to probably want to get both 480p and 1080p versions of everything, so you can support transcoding down below 480 if bandwidth requires it for remote streaming. Not sure how to modify the scripts for it, but I'm sure it could be done.

If you want them, PM me and I'll zip it up and send it to you via email. If you can figure out how to get lower reso from them, let me know and I'll make changes to mine to reflect it. You're going to need to install Python from App Central to use them.

You absolutely are going to need a PC to make full use of your NAS. You can't make some changes to the way the OS works without one. Without programs running on a PC like WinSCP, you aren't ever going to get full functionality from it. Even if it's an old laptop or desktop, as long as you get a browser and a shell session you are golden. You aren't even going to be able to set up the NAS without a PC, I think....

For newsgroups you need to get accounts with a newsgroup server. After you get that, you need a program that finds the nzb's and a program to actually do the downloading. Both of these can be found on the NAS App Central, so you are GTG...

Couchpotato is used to find movies. SickBeard is used to find TV shows. uTorrent can do torrent downloads and works a lot better than the DownLoad Center Asustor has. SABnzb+ downloads from the newsgroups. You can set up folders in the download apps to put files into the right folders and then have them get converted. This requires making either a shell session and execute an app, or use a shell session to modify the chron jobs to look for files and convert automatically.

There are other apps for finding comics, anime, books, etc.
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Re: Getting 5104T, Feedback on Drives, Raid Config, Media Streamer

Postby Jagstyles » Fri Oct 23, 2015 11:55 pm

Thanks again Mike for the detailed reply. Quick follow-up question. If I purchased a Roku 3 device, would I still need to reencode a lot of these MKV files to be play them on the Roku with it being wired directly to my ethernet and using Plex Media Server?

I'm now a Plex Pass subscriber and love their interface. Just wanted to know if conversion of these MKV files will still be required.

Thanks
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Re: Getting 5104T, Feedback on Drives, Raid Config, Media Streamer

Postby MikeG.6.5 » Sat Oct 24, 2015 1:14 am

Ok, I'm going to answer this and you are probably NOT going to like it.

Yes, you should still do this conversion, simply for compatibility. If you are having any sort of issues, the container would be the start of the troubleshooting efforts. Roku's are supposed to be MKV compatible with the container, but in my experience, they are still going to give you problems. MP4's are the preferred container, and H264 the preferred codec.

You can see more of the requirements for files and compatibility on Plex's support documents. While their support structure doesn't include a tivcketing system, like Asustor's does, at least they actively work issues. It might take a while, but you aren't left completely in limbo, either.
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Re: Getting 5104T, Feedback on Drives, Raid Config, Media Streamer

Postby Jagstyles » Sat Oct 24, 2015 2:04 am

MikeG.6.5 wrote:Ok, I'm going to answer this and you are probably NOT going to like it.

Yes, you should still do this conversion, simply for compatibility. If you are having any sort of issues, the container would be the start of the troubleshooting efforts. Roku's are supposed to be MKV compatible with the container, but in my experience, they are still going to give you problems. MP4's are the preferred container, and H264 the preferred codec.


Okay, so I was playing around with things today and actually managed to get my Socks Proxy Server working in Deluge and have Couch Potato and Sonarr properly moving and adding files to my media library which is then connected to Plex Server.

The question around converting is this. Right now, my system of downloading is pretty well automated. CP and Sonarr select the things I am wanting, automatically initiates the download in Deluge. Upon completion, CP and Sonarr correctly move the files to the media library location monitored by plex. Where in this process can I fit in an automated way of converting these files using FFMPEG? I believe you had mentioned something related to a script that is available for use on Asustor NAS for FFMPEG?

For example, I would imagine that the video files would have to be converted first, and then moved to their media library location. But doing so, I may lose the automation in creating a movie title folder within the media library folder monitored by flex. I don't want anything to disrupt the current process which thus far, seems to be working (fingers crossed).
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Re: Getting 5104T, Feedback on Drives, Raid Config, Media Streamer

Postby MikeG.6.5 » Sat Oct 24, 2015 2:31 am

Rather than having them move the files directly to the Plex monitored folders you have them move the files to a conversion folder, which the script then looks at to see if there are new files.

After the conversion I manually do the naming, since most download apps aren't truly Plex Friendly with their names. I use TVRename for renaming/moving TV series on a PC. This requires either a mapped drive or unc pipe to the converted folder and to the media. This also helps keep track of what episodes you may be missing.

FileBot does the renaming for movies. Again, this is a manual process. I have the share point, then the alphabetical split out then the movie folders, then the media itself. If I have more than 1 version of the file (1080p, 720p, SD, etc.) the reso gets tacked on in brackets. If I have subtitles fromt eh conversion these are also dropped into the media folder. I have to do this myself, as I haven't figured out how to do this with scripting. (Haven't messed with it, honestly. Other priorities ATM.)

I have various share points, based on the media genres... 3D for any 3D movies, Adults Only for any UR or hard R movies, Kids movies for obvious kid type movies, and then just plain Movies.

Again, this is all manual after the conversions are done, mainly because of how I have things broken out. With 1500+ movies across the various share points, having them all lumped together and in a single root folder would make finding a specific movie a time consuming process. I usually preview the movies, at least a couple of minutes to make sure they are correctly encoded, have working audio, etc. This is done with Plex client on an Android Tablet. The 3D are the hard ones to verify, as I can get the SBS, but can't verify true 3D on the tablet.

If I could get a truly automated system I would be all over it, but with how I break out my movies, it's a bit difficult.
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