Friday, March 11, 2022

Which NAS for a Mac?

Howard Oakley:

Late last year I was commissioned to write a group test of NAS systems intended primarily for Time Machine network backups. I’m delighted to report that my review has now been published, in two of Future’s magazines, MacFormat (issue 376) and Mac|Life (issue 191). These are both print magazines, with electronic editions available through their apps in the iOS/iPadOS App Store, and my review won’t appear online. This article provides some additional information to that in the magazines.


The surprise here was one manufacturer which I had thought valued its Mac market, and was keen to compete for it. However, for the moment they don’t seem interested in reviews which compare their NAS systems to those of their competitors. You shouldn’t find it hard to work out who they are from the list of products I reviewed. If you’re thinking of buying a NAS from a vendor not included in the five in my review, then you might like to think again.


6 Comments RSS · Twitter

A reminder that News+ subscribers have access to MacFormat and Mac|Life and can read the story in the News app. Here's the link to the story as it appears in MacFormat.

@Michael Thanks for the link. I decided to finally use my free Apple News+ trial to read the story. The story is good, but I cannot believe how bad the experience in the News app is. There is no PDF-like outlined table of contents. The table of contents page does not have clickable links. It tells me the page number I want, but there’s no way to jump to a page by number. The special table of contents thumbnail view does not show page numbers. Most of the text is unreadable, and there is no zooming. There is no way to scroll through a series of pages at full size. The keyboard shortcuts to move between the next and previous pages randomly stop working. There is no keyboard shortcut to go back to the beginning or to the table of contents. Having found the right page on my Mac, there is no way to jump to that same page on my iPad. I paused reading the article on my iPad, and when I woke the iPad the News app jumped me out of the article into the Computer Hardware category. There was no button/swipe to go back. I went to the list to navigate back to the article, but MacFormat was not in my channels list even though I had added it there on the Mac. There is no way to search within the text of the article. Nor can I print the article or bookmark it. I clicked the link in the confirmation e-mail to manage my News+ subscription, and it opened the Music app, which showed a weird WebView sheet with a spinner that never loaded and Back and Done buttons that were non-functional. I let it run for a while to see if anything happened but eventually because the alternative is force-quitting.

TrueNAS has been great for me. Open source too!

Agree with Michael Tsai. The user experience on Apple News+ is trash.

I tried the News+ link and I got "This issue is unavailable in your current region.". So depressing that such geographic restrictions are still in place, even for such content.

Mitchell Smith

I'm currently using Synology, QNAP, and TrueNAS Scale. Now, TrueNAS is running on a Mac Mini, and also on an iMac, but neither have a T2 chip. I have not been successful getting TrueNAS Scale installed on a recent Mac with a T2.

Of course, this isn't ideal, as neither of those Macs have ECC memory. Ideally, I would be running Scale on a Mac Pro, but I'm still just testing.

For storage, I'm using a OWC eight-bay Thunderbolt enclosure with eight drives. I have successfully exported the ZFS pool from an iMac running OpenZFS and imported it into TrueNAS Scale, and everything came over perfectly.

If you can figure out the interfaces for Synology and QNAP, and have some knowledge of permissions, then TrueNAS really isn't that big of a learning curve. I have had no trouble assigning static IP addresses, enabling link aggregation, binding to AD, setting NTP servers, or configuring scrubbing and snapshots. Figuring permissions out took a little work because the documentation isn't particularly accurate for Scale, and because I had to understand datasets in ZFS. My AD users and groups are available to assign to shares, as well as local users and groups.

That said, so far I think TrueNAS Scale makes a great NAS. And I haven't even configured Time Machine backups to it yet, or utilized the Kubernetes apps, or Docker, or the VMs. That's coming in the next few months of testing :)

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