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Thread: Network Storage

  1. #1
    Member kmcgreg's Avatar
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    Network Storage

    Hi all,

    I run a number of laptops, ipad, phones, imac, ps3, mac mini on our dual band wireless network. It works great.
    What I have is a problem with is the growing number of external hard drives I have connected our imac.
    What I need is a large storage solution for time machine back ups from to laptops and the imac. Also the storage needs to hold our music, large amounts of photos and lots of home movies awating me to edit them some day lol.

    So I am thinking something around 8 Terabytes will allow capacity for the future. We has about 4 Terabytes now.
    So what is the best solution for data safety and still be affordable?

    I have been thinking of the DROBO stuff such as Drobo S Storage Robot - eSATA/Firewire 800/USB 2.0

    or Synology DiskStation DS410J 4-bay NAS Server
    or Western Digital ShareSpace 4-Bay Gigabit Ethernet RAID Network Storage System - 8TB

    Any ideas or other experience. How much noise do these make??

    Just backed up everything ready to put Lion on. Hope it goes without a hitch. Hence why back up is on my mind.
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    Member Adrian Fischer's Avatar
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    I have a Synology 2 bay NAS 210J Ithink it is (4tb as jbod). Its not noisey. I also have two 1tb wd USB3 drives which probably make more noise when you access them. I also have a couple of tb internally. Just dont let them (whatever you get) idle down. If you actually use them as working storage I find Im often twiddling my thumbs whilst they wake up. I also found the using the synology to store images and LR to catalog and edit them there was a time hit to view and make changes even though the NAS and my pc have gb NIC and its through a gb hub. Your mileage may vary.
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  3. #3
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    kmcgreg's Avatar
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    Does anyone here own a Drobbo?

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    No, but I was interested in one when I first heard about them. I believe they had a few teething problems early on and reading some of that dissuaded me from going that route. I read this thread the other day and was going to give you a link to a mob in in HK that had a very promising looking dual e-SATA setup that I was also interested in. It was the same price as a Drobo, but now I can't find the link. If I do find it, I'll post it here for you.

    You're talking DAS not NAS aren't you?
    Last edited by camerasnoop; 02-11-2011 at 9:28pm.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    I don't have a Drobo (which is really just a pre-packaged Raid system).

    I built my own, bought a raid box (5 slots) and bought 5 x 2tb internal hard drives, installed them and set it all up. I run a raid 5 array, with 8tb storage, that also is a networked (wireless) home media device (all my iTunes files, movies etc are on it and can be accessed on any PC, TV in the house).

    I haven't had a drive failure yet. but when it happens, I just insert a new blank drive and let the raid system rebuild itself.

    Note that this is still not without issue. If the actual Raid controller card dies, it can mean I am up the proverbial creek, which is why everything on my Raid array is also backed up onto two other external drives, one of which is at home with me, and the other one lives at a friends, and gets updated once a month, and returned to friend's place. Fire and theft protection!

    My Raid box is a WD (Western Digital) and the 5 HDD are Seagate. I use Nero software to control it all (cause the WD software that came with it is do darn slow)
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmcgreg View Post
    Does anyone here own a Drobbo?
    I've had a 4 disk Drobo for maybe 18 months or so. It seems to work pretty well and has handled a failed HD without data loss - it sends you an email to let you know if you set it up to do so and flashes all its lights in any case. Swapping out smaller drives for larger ones is also painless, though it does take a while to rebuild - up to 24 hours recently when I swapped out a 750GB drive for a 2TB.

    My only real complaint about it is that they're not all that fast. I've never measured it, but it's the slowest disk in my system, which includes a couple of 5400RPM laptop drives in the Mac Mini Server that the Drobo is connected to. It's more than fast enough for streaming hi bit rate music to everything on the network and handles low res tv shows fine, but gets a bit stuttery with 720P video.

    It does make a bit of noise too. The fan runs all the time and, whilst it's not particularly intrusive, I really notice the silence on the odd occasions it's been turned off. My office contains a number of (very quiet) computers and, unless the UPS is working hard or the printer is on, the Drobo is the loudest thing going. I imagine that this would be the case with anything though - any device with 4 disks in it is going to require a fan and they're all noisy.

    Also, be aware that Time Machine is extremely fussy about the disks it will use for backup. I just checked now and I can select the Drobo as a TM disk from the server itself, but not from a client machine which has access to various shared directories on the Drobo. This fussiness of TM is good though - it's a sophisticated system and provides excellent data security and restorability.

  7. #7
    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I narrowed my NAS field down to two off the shelf items, one being from QNAP and the other being from Netgear.

    For my personal situation I was looking for a 4 bay box from either of these vendors and I chose those two on two main criterion, availability(stores close by) and support.

    On specs and from what I've read on various fora, both of the models I was looking at perform about similarly to each other but this also depends on other network devices, such as routers and switched that the network will route through. Either way I have gigabit cabling through out my house and even with that I seem to manage about 30(ish) Mps from PC to PC. As long as the NAS can supply me with 30Mps throughput, I'm happy.

    I thought that 4 bays at 2Tb per bay and raid 5 config would give me 6Tb which gives me about another 5 years breathing space, by which time hard drives will have also increased in ultimate size in keeping with current trends. If I hit any capacity limit, I'll address the issue in the future with larger disks.

    The two models I was looking at were Qnap's 419Pro(either plus or II models, depending on availability) or the Negear ReadyNAS Ultra 4 series(either standard or Plus).

    Each device has a pro/con list and that's either price or features, I'm leaning towards the Qnap models, as they have USB3 port and eSATA ports and whatnot(but am I really going to take advantage of them??) and the cons are price. From the same vendor, the Negear's are only just cheaper by a small margin, but another vendor can get me the Negear for a substantially lower price(the price of a 2Tb drive).. so it's either here or there at the moment.
    I'm still reading up on various fora on the performances, support(software/firmware updates) and it looks as though the Netgear community seem to have a slightly more dynamic feel to it, with firmware updates on a regular basis, whereas the QNAP site I've visited seems to be less so, with fewer addons/plugins to the system software.
    (note that could be due to fewer NAS geeks that frequent the QNAP site compared to the Netgear site(s) that I've found so far)

    I'm not in a big rush tho, as my other alternative is to turn one of my old PCs into a dedicated NAS box too.
    As I currently see it tho, my main concern is power usage. Where the two off the shelf devices have rated power consumption figures of about 20-30W, I think most dual core 700W PSU PC cases draw over 100W just at idle! So this is my least favoured option due to the issue of increased home power usage, and one of my main reasons for wanting a dedicated NAS box with a few bells and whistles is as a server for uploading stuff too remotely. That is, my own upload storage facility for when I'm travelling, so there is a possibility that the NAS box will hardly ever be shut down(or maybe forgotten).

    Rick mentioned that there is possibility for problems if a raid controller card ever fails, and I cant' see why this would be a problem.

    A long time ago, just after I began buildign my own PCs I stumbled on this thing called RAID0 and how it makes your (slow) disks faster!
    So on one of my PCs way back.. I (stupidly!!) built it and installed everything on the RAID0 controlled pair of disks(and the PC did actually feel a lot faster too!)
    The controller was an onboard Sil3114 chip and this ran faultlessly for years, but then one day I had OS booting issues. It seemed that the Sil3114 controller may have been the cause of the trouble but in any case as it was controlled via the motherboards on board controller, I was basically stuffed(or so I thought).

    I booted the PC on a new installation on another drive via the IDE controller and had the two SATA drives connected and still had no luck in getting them recognised.
    but I'd found an add in PCI SATA card which wasn't overly expensive too, and purchased that simply for the fact that it used the same Sil3114 SATA chip, which also did raid. I thought you ripper! for $60 it was definitely worth a shot.
    BINGO!... booted up the old RAID0 installation of Windows without a hitch.
    That is, if a RAID controller card goes 'bung' on you, finding a replacement controller card to boot up the hard drives is (or was for me!) that simple.

    Now I have no idea on what the trouble actually was, as once I got the drives up and going again, I backed up my important data and did a fresh install, vowing never to go RAiD0 again, ever!

    Except.... that just for the sake of curiosity, I did initially install back on the same motherboard controller using RAID0, and all went perfectly .. basically the trouble I had with the RAID0 controller was a figment of my imagination! .. anyhow, installed back in a non RAID config and the PC is still running(kids are using now using it) still with no troubles.

    I've seen references to controller failures before and can't help but think to myself why so many people are concerned about this as a problem.
    Apart from the possibility of data corruption on the raid controlled drives from a failing raid controller, a complete meltdown of the controller chip itself should be a doddle(if possibly expensive) recovery, based on my experience with raid.

    But a very important point, and even tho it may seem like a great idea in having speed and capacity .. never do RAID 0 for important data .. ever!

    One of those NAS boxed solutions will cost in the vicinity of $600 without any drives and the six bay alternatives cost upwards of $1K for the Netgear and well over that for the Qnap(more like $1.5-2K)
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