Thanks for that... If I had to pick one of those, has anyone here been able to do (or find) a proper comparison between models or brands, using the same or similar disks?
I haven't had much time to look further into this myself, but in case anyone else is interested, here
seems to be one discussion about fan modifications for NetGear ReadyNAS. It's a bit dated, but at least for a still available model (NV+) which should be similar in basic hardware layout to the newer Ultra and Pro product lines. Other threads I found in my quick search were for older and obsoleted products.
At the moment I think would be leaning toward NetGear, if I had any certainty that it could be silenced to a reasonable level. Lots of good tips and information on the user community forums, and the hardware seems solid. I also found another thread
though, which seems to suggest the manufacturer might not be so interested in their lower-end products any more, so I wonder how long there will be updates and how long that community will still be around.
Synology I didn't research that much yet. The brand seems to have much more life to it in product development, but it's also pricier, the design and hardware don't make me feel as confident, and the software feature set seems a bit fancy for my needs. Also found some complaints from Mac users that AFS shares would be slow. I may have to do some more reading another day perhaps.
What I'll probably do for now is just buy two 3TB WD Reds, pair them as RAID-5 in the old linux tower I already have (even though I had wanted to get rid of it), set up Samba shares for the other computers in the household, and see if I can get Time Machine backups for Mac working with Netatalk (even though I really wanted to avoid spending time tweaking and setting up things in the first place).
With the immediate needs covered by that, I can continue looking for better alternatives, whether that would be a self-built linux or FreeNAS box or one of the ready-built solutions. Worst case, I'd have to just buy a third 3TB Red, take one disk out of my array (to have two available for setting up the new NAS), copy my data over, and then add the first disk to that. And if I end up keeping a linux server box, luckily current versions of mdadm support RAID-5 expansion (probably what NetGear and Synology also use in their proprietary solutions), so I've got that base covered as well.
Any other suggestions or feedback still gratefully welcomed.