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View Full Version : NAS, RAID or External Drive - which one do I really need?



Angsty
19th May 2008, 10:06 AM
OK, so my current external hard drive has died :( (LaCie 500GB mini) and while I'm working on getting the data recovered, the other issue I'm faced with is - what replacement storage solution do I use now?

I've done some research on the 3 options: NAS, RAID and External drive but am at the point of too much information, or not enough deep information or understanding of the pros and cons of these 3 options.

I would prefer an out-of-the-box solution as I'm not able to get parts and build anything.

Needs:
Home network solution, so don't think I need a corporate-grade, gold-plated solution, but being reliable is important

Uses:
Need to back up data from G4 iMac (ethernet connection to router) and MacBookPro (wireless G to router)

400GB of current data to be stored, but currently doing a lot of digital and video editing so will need lots of space - looking at a 1TB solution.

Do I look at a single BIG storage option - and put all my eggs in the one basket again, or do I look at several smaller storage options, where losing one drive does not reduce me to zero again?

What suggestions would you make for me?

epowermac
19th May 2008, 11:09 AM
Howdy,
OK First up, have a read of these to understand RAID a little better
epowermac Knowledge Base System :: Understanding RAID (http://kb.epowermac.com.au/questions/19/Understanding+RAID)
epowermac Knowledge Base System :: Which RAID System Do I Need? (http://kb.epowermac.com.au/questions/20/Which+RAID+System+Do+I+Need%3F)

Go for something that has RAID 1. (Which mirrors your data on 2 drives) 1 drive fails, you still have an exact copy on the other drive.

We sell a lot of the MacPower Taurus RAID's. They come in 2 versions.
1) A NAS (Network) drive with RAID 0 or 1. This would plug directly into your router.
a 1TB version is $499 (So in RAID 1 that would be 500GB of useable storage)

2) A FW800/USB2 Version to hang off your iMac G4. 1TB version $485 .(RAID 1 that would be 500GB of useable storage)

If you wanted 1.0TB of storage, in a RAID 1 configuration, you will need to get a 2TB version.

Working with large audio and video files having it plugged directly into the iMac is a better option. If you are OK with USB2, then option 1 above would give you the flexibility to move it from your iMac onto the network, at a later date, if required.

Hope this helps.


Robert
epowermac.com.au Online Store - Australia - Express Powermac Solutions (http://www.epowermac.com.au)

MissionMan
19th May 2008, 11:41 AM
We were investigating it for work, and this seems to be the best home raid type config that allows for network setup:

2-Bay Network Storage Enclosure - DNS-323 by D-Link (http://www.dlink.com/products/?sec=0&pid=509)

It retails for about $250 excluding drives. It takes 3.5 SATA's which are hot swappable.

Plugs into a network so it can be added to your router. Transfer rates are quicker than the Western Digital Mybook options. You can pick them up on Ebay for about $800 with 2TB (1TB RAID) installed.

Rasta
19th May 2008, 11:46 AM
I've been considering a Drobo (www.drobo.com) for some time...

Perhaps this is something you'd be interested in.. and they're now available in Australia, although for a decent price... perhaps PriceUSA would be helpful...

(also plays nicely with Airport and Airport Expresses)...

m4dvillain
19th May 2008, 12:37 PM
i would suggest using unRaid from Lime Technology, LLC (http://www.lime-technology.com). The license costs about $120aud, and its a linux distro using basically raid4. you can build it on an old PC, and use various size disks (1 x 500gb, 1 x 20gb, 1 x 60gb, etc.) to create a volume. the nice thing about it is that you can add/remove disks from volumes also, unlike other raid systems. i use it at home and it works well, building myself up another system now to get a bit more storage.

Angsty
19th May 2008, 04:42 PM
I've been considering a Drobo (www.drobo.com) for some time...



Ohhh, pretty! :D

OK, that went to the top of the list based on looks alone.
Now for the serious stuff...

step_andy
19th May 2008, 04:46 PM
Go for something that has RAID 1. (Which mirrors your data on 2 drives) 1 drive fails, you still have an exact copy on the other drive.

Or better - X RAID


X-RAID is an Infrant patented RAID technology that simplifies and automates the RAID management process. X-RAID utilizes a one-volume technology with built-in volume expansion support, either by adding more disks or by replacing existing disk with larger capacity disks. For instance, you can start out with one disk, and add up to 3 more disks when you need more capacity or when you can afford them. Volume management is automatic. Add a 2nd disk, it becomes a mirror to the first, providing protection from a disk failure; add a 3rd, the capacity doubles; add a 4th, and your capacity triples the expansion occurring while maintaining redundancy.

X-RAID also provides further expansion capability. At a future point in time, each disk can be replaced one by one, have it finish rebuilding, and after the last disk is replaced, your volume automatically expands utilizing the new capacity. This future-proof technology allows you to continuously expand as higher-capacity disks become available.

Performance-wise, X-RAID is optimized for larger sequential access request pattern, such as video streaming and editing. Performance over RAID 5 in large data transfer can be as much as 15-20% better.

I have Infrant NV+ and it is great

Angsty
19th May 2008, 05:08 PM
Ohhh, pretty! :D

OK, that went to the top of the list based on looks alone.
Now for the serious stuff...

OK, so it drops a few places when the "serious stuff" questions are asked... :confused:

*mumbles* still looks pretty though....

ClockWork
19th May 2008, 05:27 PM
Drobo are very good.

There's a very very simplified article here (http://forums.mactalk.com.au/20/41002-dummys-guide-external-enclosures-hard-drives.html#post407479) on what different things essentially mean to the average person, minus the jargon, and another article here (http://forums.mactalk.com.au/20/41005-external-drives-dummies.html#post407498) that breaks External Drives into their basic categories, once again, for any lay person to understand.

What one essentially needs to ask is: Do I want / need something which is "on" 24/7, or do I just want to back up every so often ?

cheers,

cw

ClockWork
20th May 2008, 12:00 AM
Two possibilities spring to mind.

1. The Taurus LAN (http://www.ec-deal.com/catalog/images/lan_server5.jpg).
2 Bay Storage / Network Attached Storage (10/100/1000) / USB Back up).

A basic and solid work-horse.

http://www.ec-deal.com/catalog/images/lan_server5.jpg

Specs:



Chipset: Storlink SL3516
RAID Level: RAID 0 (Striping), RAID 1 (Mirroring)
Drive Interface: 2 x 3.5" SATA I / SATA II (2x1TB)
Host Interface: LAN: 10/100/1000Mbps and USB 2.0
Case Material: Aluminum
Windows Requirements: Windows 98/SE/ME/XP/2000/Vista
Mac OS Requirements: Mac OS 9.1 or higher / Mac OS 10.0 and higher.



2. The Synology Disk Station DS207+ (http://www.synology.com/enu/products/DS207+/photos/003.jpg).
High-speed 2 Bay SATA NAS Server with Advanced Data Protection.

Something a little more advanced...

http://www.synology.com/enu/products/DS207+/photos/003.jpg

Specs:

Hardware:



CPU Clock Rate: 266 MHz
RAM Size: 64MB
Internal HDD: 3.5 SATA II x 2
External HDD Interface: USB 2.0 port x3
LAN: Gigabit x1
Fan: x1 (60mmX60mm)
Power Recovery
Max Capacity (Internal HDD): 2 TB
Max Supported IP Camera: 2
Operating Temperature: 10 to 35C
Storage Temperature: -10 to 70C
Relative Humidity: 5% to 95% RH



Certification: FCC Class B, CE Class B, BSMI Class B, VCCI Class B

Networking Protocols: CIFS, AFP, FTP

File Sharing:



Max User Accounts: 128
Max Groups: 64
Max Shared Folder: 100
Max Concurrent Connections: 32



UPnP Multimedia Service Support:



Sony PS3, Microsoft Xbox360 (See All Supported DMA)
Audio Format: AAC, M4A, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, WAV, WMA, WMA VBR, WMA PRO, WMA Lossless
Video Format: ASF, AVI, DAT, DivX, MP4, MPEG1, MPEG2, MPEG4, VOB, WMV, XviD
Image Format: BMP, JPG (jpe, jpeg), GIF, ICO, PNG, PSD, TIF (tiff), UFO
Playlist Format: WPL, M3U


iTunes Server Support:



Audio Format: MP3, M4A, M4P
Playlist Format: M3U, WPL


Audio Station Support:



Audio Format: AAC, M4A, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, WMA, WMA VBR
Playlist Format: M3U, WPL
Internet Radio: SHOUTcast, Radioio



Photo Station 3 Support:



Video Format: ASF, AVI, MPEG1, MPEG4, WMV, XviD, DivX, DAT(2), MP4(2), MPEG2(2), RM(2), RMVB(2), VOB(2)
Image Format: BMP, JPG (jpe, jpeg), GIF



Management:



AJAX-based Management UI
Download Station Bandwidth control
Download Station Port Range Setup
Editable HTTP Error Page
Email Alert Message
Email Notification for New User
External HDD Hibernation (USB)
Scheduled Power Off
Firmware Upgrade
FTP passive port range
Hide-able Shared Folder
Internal HDD Hibernation
Movable Shared Folder
Port range for BitTorrent
Removable Default Shared Folder
System Temperature
Ez-Internet
PPPoE
UPS Management (Over USB 2.0)
User Quota
Web-based Download Station



RAID Management:



Volume Type: Basic, RAID 0, RAID 1
Upgrade from Basic to RAID 1
Expand RAID 1 with Larger Hard Drives
Volume Auto-rebuild after abnormal power failure



Backup Solutions:



Network Backup
Local Backup
Desktop Backup (using Synology Data Replicator 3)
USB Copy



Supported Clients: Windows 2000 onward / Mac OS X 10.3 onward

Printer Support:



Max Printers: 1 (on Mac -PostScript USB printers only)
Supported Protocols: LPR, CIFS, AppleTalk


Cheers Angsty,

CW

MacManMike
20th June 2008, 10:26 AM
Hi ClockWork,

I've been looking into gigabit RAID NAS devices for my work from home design studio. I am accumulating images at a huge rate for one particular client but I don't want to go to a full stand alone server at this stage - physically they will be too large and heat output is a concern.

Originally I was looking at the Lacie 301236A 4TB unit, but having done some digging it sounds like they may not be the best proposition in the long term.

I've been doing some reading on the Synology DS207+ units.

Given that the maximum raided capacity is going to be 1TB with these (RAID 1 on 2TB), what sort of drives would you recommend? Ideally I am looking for something which will double as a mass storage AND a reliable backup for the next 3 or so years.

Are they difficult for someone not up to speed with building up drive devices? The last time I was pulling things apart and swapping drives was about 10 years ago.

Thanks in advance!

ClockWork
20th June 2008, 10:35 AM
Things have advanced to new levels of simplicity.
If you know how to plug an Ethernet cable into a Modem Router, you're already half way there.

Putting things simply - Synology (http://www.synology.com/enu/products/CS407e/index.php) only makes NAS. They don't design external units with FireWire or eSATA. Just NAS.

;)

cw

Angsty
20th June 2008, 10:50 AM
MacManMike - I just finished installing my Disk Station 207+ based on discussions and advice from Clockwork and have been very happy with the ease of use of this device.

It is easy to set up and even a non-networking person like me got it up and running within the hour. All the configuration options are manged via the system software and I even managed to work out how to change it from RAID 0 to RAID 1 - ;)

Chugging along nicely so far (5 days - LOL!) Will consider turning on Websharing and hosting my website from this box this week-end.

Ang

PS - my LaCie 500GB drive DIED 2 months after warranty expired, so my personal (soured) experience with LaCie products is: DON'T GET IT!! *grumbles* dropping it off to data recovery service this afternoon... *grumble* $$$$$$ *grumble* :(

BigAD
20th June 2008, 10:59 AM
PS - my LaCie 500GB drive DIED 2 months after warranty expired, so my personal (soured) experience with LaCie products is: DON'T GET IT!! *grumbles* dropping it off to data recovery service this afternoon... *grumble* $$$$$$ *grumble* :(

Same thing happened to me the other week. 1tb Lacie NAS drive died on me, now I have to fork out $2,000 to get the data back due to hardware fault.

I might look into a few of the options mentioned above so this doesn't happen again.

MacManMike
20th June 2008, 11:26 AM
Things have advanced to new levels of simplicity.
If you know how to plug an Ethernet cable into a Modem Router, you're already half way there.

Putting things simply - Synology (http://www.synology.com/enu/products/CS407e/index.php) only makes NAS. They don't design external units with FireWire or eSATA. Just NAS.

;)

cw

That much I can manage... :)

So are you recommending the CS407e over the DS207+?

Given that both units are enclosures only, can you recommend any HDs in particular?

Angsty
20th June 2008, 11:55 AM
Same thing happened to me the other week. 1tb Lacie NAS drive died on me, now I have to fork out $2,000 to get the data back due to hardware fault.



I'm dropping mine off this afternoon for recovery actions *sigh* - then wait for the final diagnosis and quote.

So, this time I went with Seagate drives - 5 years warranty Vs 1 year from LaCie - should have given me a clue :rolleyes:

ozron
21st June 2008, 07:08 PM
Whatever solution you go with, ensure you have a reliable backup. That is rule number 1. Personally I prefer 2 separate units which can be kept in sync, so if one goes down the other is immediately available.

RAID (mirroring or striping) can be useful, but has several flaws of it's own and I don't use it personally. In the corporate world, they have RAID PLUS backups. It might seem overkill, but it decreases the chances of loss of data to virtually zero.

My personal setup at home is at 3 levels. Firstly I've setup a LinkSys NAS with 2 x 750Gb external USB drives (primary kept in sync with secondary), and these run 24 x 7. Most large files and the document repository is kept here. A third 750Gb drive is kept at work (remote backup) and is sync'd up once every couple of weeks.

We have 3 Mac's - iMac 24", MacBook Pro & Mac Mini. Each Mac has an external firewire drive with 2 partitions, and these run 24 x 7.

Partition 1 is a TimeMachine volume and continually backs up files. This is used occasionally to recover specific files.

Partition 2 is a SuperDuper! volume and a SuperDuper! smart update backup is run every night. We can boot off this drive and run as normal (although slightly slower) if we were to have a local HD failure - within minutes! This would also be used to restore / recover a failed HD. Haven't experienced this yet with the Mac's but did on our previous main Windows PC (now gone thankfully).

There are local document directories on each Mac. These are kept in live sync with the corresponding document repository on the NAS drive using ChronoSync. This way we only ever have to worry about finding our files locally, and they are then kept in sync on the NAS for short / long term backup.

So yes, most files are backed up in several places, but the frequency and currency varies, which means it covers virtually all situations where you need to recover files. And we have used all the different means for file recovery, so it has been worth it for us. The main reason we do it this way is that we always have a copy of ALL files on the NAS drive - either locally or remotely. Cost wise it has not been prohibitively expensive. How much worth do you put on your data? How much would it cost to recover or replace it if you lost it permanently?