I’m looking for a NAS (Network Attached Storage) device to host my personal data in my living room, and I’m genuinely interested in using only Free (or Open Source) Software and open standards to ensure freedom to switch to a different device or product stack, when unsatisfied or in case of a technical disaster.
Which solution do you know that is sufficiently end-user friendly? (“easy to use”)
In my quest to move away from Big Tech – Google in the first place – in opted for a Synology NAS, specifically the 4-bay DiskStation DS918+, a few years ago.
The reason I picked Synology, despite being a Free Software enthusiast, was my family situation:
- I needed a solution that all family member would accept and use.
- It should safely (i.e. redundantly) store our family memories (e.g. photos and videos of our children growing up)
- Is should provide an easy way to offload the vast amount of multimedia data on our mobile phones (and laptops).
- An office suite similar to Google’s would be nice (to allow to move away from Google Docs, etc.).
- A convenient way to consume all the multimedia data (photos and videos) would be nice, too.
Synology has all this, including apps for iOS and Android that allow easy synchronisation and consumption of data on the phone and on the NAS.
Yesterday my NAS died for some reason after a short power loss (the electrician had to switch of the power for maintenance work in the house). Now all our data is trapped in the broken NAS device.
- The RAID uses a proprietary format (SHR, Synology Hybrid RAID), which I originally chose because I had disks of various sizes.
- The documents in the Synology Office Suite are not in an open standard (and I don’t even know where to find them on the disks).
I would have to buy a new NAS from Synology again, to get access to my own data again. That sucks! – Now that I know that Synology devices, despite their high price tag, are easily affected by defects and it’s literally impossible to get (user-maintainable) spare parts to repair the device or to flash the BIOS, etc.
(If you’re interested in details of the type of defect and repair work there is video on YouTube of someone affected by the same problem.)
Enough is enough, I’m finally done with proprietary solutions. So, what is the best NAS I could get in 2023?
I’ve done some research and asked a friend for a suitable replacement with only Free Software, it consists of:
- HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 Plus v2 (this generic hardware is in the Synology price class; cheaper alternatives are suggested by Nextcloud)
- openmediavault (Debian-based NAS management software; preferred over OpenSuSE, CentOS, etc.)
- maybe Nextcloud (multimedia management, office suite, PIM, etc.)
- Proxmox (to manage VMs and Docker workloads; I want to run automation software on VMs or containers)
What is your favorite NAS solution stack? (with Free Software)