Migrating off two QNAPs - recommendations?

Greetings! I just purchased an HL-15 Fully Built & Burned In, and im excited for a mini project so I can say i finally have a home lab! Currently just an assortment of Unifi gear, 2 QNAPs, and 2 nucs which run my container workloads.


I am a busy dad who mostly does AWS cloud infrastructure/development and owns a small bakery! I am super rusty on anything non-cloud, just enough knowledge to be dangerous. This is my first tech splurge in a hot minute.

Use Cases for HL15

  • plex - close to maxing out my storage on one of my current QNAPs, triggering the purchase but did not want to go vanilla synology 8-bay (which came highly recommended). So hl15 strictly for tinkering purposes
  • time machine backups - 6 macs at home currently backing up, never had an issue
  • 10TB of photo storage, also in icloud, also sync’ed to S3
  • a fairly complex jenkins/github actions workload for personal projects, but thats all recoverable from github

current hdd screenshot

Weird Quirks

  • the slow GUI experience via QNAP just KILLS me, comfortable with the command line but less so with network permissions etc
  • overtime I want to build up to a chonky GPU machine learning server probably the Falcon Northwest RAK | 4U rackmount PC for workstation & home theater (work would subsidize it heavily <3). I have built-up a considerable amount of experience with GPU workloads in the cloud, and want to replicate
  • noise is particularly a concern, the entry point from my ISP is my garage, and then I run a cable to my upstairs laundry room which has all the NAS stuff and the HL-15. The wife will knife me if it gets TOO much louder in there, so maybe rack it in the garage?

The Plan*

I fully understand that the HL-15 will be overkill for what I do but im pretty sure i’ll be keeping this case far into the future.

  • move the 10TB drives from my larger QNAP and fill out the rest of the HL-15 with the same SATAs, but I could be convinced to just start with 1 or 2 larger drives if there is some advantage to that. I dunno which RAID, ill just google until something is convincing.
  • move the smaller drives in the older QNAP to the newer QNAP and have some local backup of some of my more important stuff RAW familiy photos and videos.

and thats pretty much it! not very ambitious but I would like to know if I am being dumb or missing something glaringly obvious

there is some deeper stuff going at the software level ala k8s and my nucs as nodes etc but I don’t think that needs to be considered for this project :slight_smile:

thanks for any suggestions!


Are you going to keep the data on those drives? I think QNAP uses the ext4 file system. It might be technically possible to move the drives and keep the data, but in all likelihood you will be reformatting them to ZFS, so you will need to be able to back up and restore the data, or get some new drives.

There are pros and cons to each side of the fewer-&-larger vs more-&-smaller drives debate, but I think typically more-&-smaller drives is going to give you more disk R/W parallelism and faster resilver and rebuild times. As long as the total space still meets your storage need.

You should probably get some idea of how RAID works in ZFS before you start, as that will affect the disk layout and parity overhead. You’ll probably want RAID Z2, which is the ZFS equivalent of RAID 6.

The CPU for the full build does not have Intel QuickSync, so you may need a DGPU if you need to do a lot of transcoding.

This probably depends on the climate where you live and your ability to cool the garage, or at least the rack enclosure, some in the summer if needed.

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I think I could get together enough random hard drives and get that done, but I am leaning to just buying new drives.

That looks like a minimum of 4 drives, thanks for the advice!

i’ll look around for a recommendation!

garage AC installed 3 months ago! just need to make room around my treadmill and weight rack :smiley:

And what about data connectivity into the house and to the internet from the garage? Do you have Cat5e or Cat6 wiring in the house? Are you relying on WiFi? Where does the internet come into the house? Where is the laundry room in relation to the garage?

Those are rhetorical questions, but usually the garage is at one end of the house so WiFi coverage from it is not centralized, and even with modern WiFi 6 or whatever you still get a more robust connection with less latency over a wired connection when possible.

Rhetorical or not! I drew something quick!

I will have to check what version of CAT5 .

I’m guessing that making all my house 10gb will be my next project!

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Repurposed an old gaming pc with AIO Liquid cooling to be my plex box, so I will focus my upcoming HL15 for pure storage!


Just got my hl-15 (full build) in and the fan noise is definitely a problem in my office, will be following this thread: PWM Fan swap (Full Build) - #6 by daemon1001 to see if I can mitigate it some!

I have a fully build HL-15 and I have not really heard the fans or find them noisy.

I have other servers in my rack generate more noise than the HL-15. My office? I have a desk in an unfinished basement — I like the industrial look. My server rack is roughly 15 ft from my desk.

I measured which of my servers generate the most noise on startup (for example a reboot), I would rank then as:

  1. Supermicro 2U chassis SYS-1027R-72RFTP
  2. Supermicro 1U chassis SYS-6027R-3RF4+
  3. Dell R420
  4. HL-15
  5. Supermicro Micro Tower SYS-5029C-T

And the noise of these servers can be louder than when my HVAC system turns on to heat my home – as I live in a two story home in the Chicago west burbs. The weather can be near 0 degrees Farenheit in this area (at this time of the year).

I can understand that my experience might be different – maybe I am going deaf :rofl:. I found the fully built HL-15 system was pretty quiet (as I compare my experiences)

The loudest server I ever have/owned was the Apple X Server circa 2009 Xserve3,1. When the server initially starts up it sounds like a jet is about to take off. I had the model with 2 CPU and its max memory (in all slots) would be 96 GB RAM. I only used the core use (with its 3 drives). Any time I had to reboot that server, I would only laugh because I could hear on the upper floors (the door to the basement stairs open). 15 years later the server still works, but most of its functionality has been replaced with my current homelab.


ah apologies, this is just my personal situation.

the unit is about 5 feet away from me, and it definitely did not pass the wife test (we are two software developers that work out of the same office), so I have to do something about it! I will probably have to replace the fans or move it over to the garage, we will see what works better.

edit: saved by our noise cancelling headphones for now!

Finally got my four bay NAS drives moved over and ZFS’d up!

The Plan: Going to purchase 4-5 more 18-20TBs and cycle out the 10TBs over time.

had a hell of a time getting the network shares setup ala samba, probably took me about 4-5 hours of troubleshooting and tailing logs to get things setup. The included instructions from the pdf manual seem very outdated compared to the guidance I got from this thread: HL15 initial start (preinstalled system) .

I gave up for the night and in the morning the shares started working! so I am unsure which knob was the winner, I think it was:

  • disabling selinux completely
  • disabling firewall (gotta punch the correct holes soon)
  • removing the cockpit configuration from the samba conf file