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OK, time to do the RAID/media server thing. need some recommendations
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: February 22, 2012 01:04PM
I need something mostly for backup of family photos and video, but while I'm at it, maybe I should go the media server route, too.

I have not followed any of this, except to know that I don't watch anywhere near the amount of television necessary to spend big bucks. I'm mostly concerned with backup redundancy of music, video and photos but I'd also like to serve films that I (occasionally) rip to this drive(s).

Budget? Hmmm. I'd like to keep it under $400, but I'm open to spending a bit more. Assistance on this front is appreciated.



“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
- John Lennon
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Re: OK, time to do the RAID/media server thing. need some recommendations
Posted by: Spock
Date: February 22, 2012 01:11PM
For "easy" look at a Drobo.


[www.drobo.com]






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Re: OK, time to do the RAID/media server thing. need some recommendations
Posted by: Lew Zealand
Date: February 22, 2012 01:15PM
2 or 4 drive Mercury Elite Pro Quad interface RAID from our lovely sponsors. I use the 2-drive model at this time.
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Re: OK, time to do the RAID/media server thing. need some recommendations
Posted by: mattkime
Date: February 22, 2012 01:17PM
drobo is cheaper, readynas is nicer but more expensive





VTPKL it!
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Re: OK, time to do the RAID/media server thing. need some recommendations
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: February 22, 2012 01:20PM
I should add that I would prefer to buy from OWC, but not at any cost... :-)



“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
- John Lennon
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Re: OK, time to do the RAID/media server thing. need some recommendations
Posted by: jdc
Date: February 22, 2012 01:31PM
I agree with Lew. A nice 4 bay RAID 5.

How much storage?

Sadly, drive prices suck.

2TB for $120: [www.newegg.com] (1TB is only going to be $20 less)

lots of good cases out there besides OWCs, OWC has several on their site.
[eshop.macsales.com]



----

The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs [www.fakesteve.net]


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Re: OK, time to do the RAID/media server thing. need some recommendations
Posted by: Rolando
Date: February 22, 2012 01:33PM
Mybook Live?

Hooks right into your router, app available for iOS Devices.



San Antonio, TX (in the old city)

"All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing."
-- Edmund Burke
"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." Theodore Roosevelt (1918)
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Re: OK, time to do the RAID/media server thing. need some recommendations
Posted by: testcase
Date: February 22, 2012 02:11PM
I bought a 3TB WD and a 1TB LG NAS thinking the drives would show up on the Desktop like other drives do. They don't. They've been a royal pain in the ass with all sorts of software / folders I don't need or want. My recommendation would be to just go with a straight external HD; preferably one that offers multiple inputs (FireWire / USB / SATA etc ). That way, you plug it in and it just works.
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Re: OK, time to do the RAID/media server thing. need some recommendations
Posted by: Will Collier
Date: February 22, 2012 02:15PM
Don't use RAID. Sooner or later you'll lose one drive too many and then you're screwed (take it from me). Hard drives are (well, were) cheap; just back your stuff up.

Just buy regular old drives, use aliases to stitch them together for easy access. Much easier on your blood pressure, and it's easy to upgrade when you run out of space

For my current server, I built a simple Hackintosh, added a dirt-cheap SATA card (search the forum, I linked to the driver a while back), and dropped in hard drives. It lives in my guest room, hooked up to a battery-powered UPS, and I go for months without ever actually touching the thing. Right now I'm at 7TB (mostly movies), and it runs like a clock.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/22/2012 02:25PM by Will Collier.
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Re: OK, time to do the RAID/media server thing. need some recommendations
Posted by: Trouble
Date: February 22, 2012 02:40PM
Ok, two separate issues here. Backups are one thing and the media server is another. Local backups are nice, but you really need to get your data offsite. I use Crashplan and couldn't recommend anything better. Dirt cheap, fast backups, unlimited versions and data, they never throttle your uploads, they test their backup's integrity nightly, and you can backup to a friends computer or your local computer as well. I have over 1TB backed up with them and I could not be happier.

Media server has some options. Some people have recommended the Drobo and some recommend the OWC Mercury Elite QX2. I have both and I am happy with both for what they do.

The OWC is cheap and reliable. OWC has it for $219 [eshop.macsales.com] The advantages are that it is fast, has eSATA, hardware RAID, and reliable. By fast I mean I get well over 200 Meg/sec transfer speeds with both uploads and downloads. The problem with it is that if you want to run it as a RAID 5 you need to populate all of the drives at the same time. There really isn't any reason to buy less than 2 TB drives and they all have to match including firmware. There is where your money is going.

The drobo is fantastic and it is more expensive but it gives you more flexibility and a few more features. There are also two drobos to choose from; the FW drobo and the drobo S. The firewire drobo is relatively cheap at under $300. If you match all of the drives then you'll get good speed ( @50 Meg/sec )from the FW800 interface. If you mix and match drives and speeds then you'll get closer to 30 Meg/sec. The nice thing is you can buy a couple drives now and the drobo will mirror the data. If you add another drive later, the drobo will automatically move the data between the three drives. When you get the money for a forth drive, the drobo will move the data between the four drives automatically

The drobo S is a little more expensive but well worth it IMO. The drobo S adds eSATA, a fifth drive bay, offers drive scrubbing, and offer dual redundancy. Drive scrubbing means the drobo itself will during idle times test the hard drives' surface for errors. The dual redundancy means that it takes three drives to fail for a catastrophic event rather than standard two drives. eSATA is also about three times faster than FW 800.

You can also go with a 4TB mirrored drive or buy a two bay enclosure and mirror a couple drives. That would be under $400. Best buy has the 2TB Seagate 5900RPM drives for $120 each and that is the best price right now. You could get a nice enclosure for $100 and add a couple drives for $240.

So the first thing I would do is set up an offsite backup at Crashplan [www.crashplan.com] Then I would decide which external drive solution is best for you. Whatever you decide, make sure the enclosure you buy uses hardware RAID (either RAID 5 or mirroring).
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Re: OK, time to do the RAID/media server thing. need some recommendations
Posted by: IronMac
Date: February 22, 2012 03:45PM
Thanks Trouble for that great summary.
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Re: OK, time to do the RAID/media server thing. need some recommendations
Posted by: Robert M
Date: February 22, 2012 04:14PM
MrBig,

You're looking at three separate items. The first is backups. The second is media storage. The third is media serving. All three can work in conjunction with other but they don't necessarily have the same requirements nor do they require the same equipment. For example, what you use for backups isn't necessarily the appropriate tool for media storage and/or serving. What you use for serving isn’t necessariyl good for backups and all media service requirements.

Think of backups as its own task. Offiste is good. Local _and_ offsite is better. You may or may not want to use the same device for backups and data storage. You may use a dedicated media serving device (that also doubles as a backup and media storage device) or use your computer as a media server. It depends on $$$, how complex you want to go for configuration and what devices you plan to send content to, i.e. TV, media streaming device, game console.

For example, for backups, I use a dedicated drive for Time Machine backups which includes media backup. I have another drive which is a superduper clone of my primary drive. This drive is kept offsite. I bring it home, clone my system, and return it to its offsite location regularly. I have a Drobo connected to my tower for a tertiary set of backups as well as media storage. I use FoldersSynchronizer for sending backups to the Drobo. I also use Crashplan to allow my wife to backup via wifi from her HP laptop to my computer which in turn stores her data on the Drobo.

For media storage, I have a copy of my media on my tower in iTunes on my tower. Time Machine backups that up to the Time Machine drive. FoldersSynchronizer backs it up to the Drobo. It's also backup to the clone when I use superduper to clone my drive.

For Media serving, I use iTunes on my tower to send content from my iTunes folder to an AppleTV2 and other iDevices via home sharing. I use PS3 Media Server and Eyeconnect running on my tower to send content to my PS3, Sony TV and DLNA compatible devices. I told them the source of content is my iTunes folder.

DLNA is a standard for media streaming. Just about every moden entertainment device supports the DLNA as a client. Meaning, if you have a DLNA server such as PS3 Media Server running on a computer or other device, the DLNA compatible devices on your network will be able to receive the content. However, and it’s a big one, not all devices support all media formats. My Sony TV only plays back a few formats. The PS3 plays back _far_ more formats. An unhacked unmodified AppleTV2 only handles iTunes compatible formats.

So, for backups, I use drives. For media storage, the drives I use for backups. For media serving, software running on my tower.

Bear in mind, some external drives support media serving. However, it’s usually DLNA and what your devices can play is dependent upon the formats they support. For sheer ease of configuration and convenience, an AppleTV is the way to go. Converty your content into an iTunes compatible format. Run iTunes on your computer. Enable home sharing. Get an iDevice such as an AppleTV2 for your TV. Done. For more flexibility, find out which media formats are supported by all of your devices. Convent your content to it. Run a DLNA server on your computer. Done. Or copy your content to a device that has a DLNA server built into it. Done.

My issue with devices that have built-in DLNA servers is that they tend to prefer a linux file format. That’s an inconvenience. I’d rather go with a standard external storage device and use my computer for serving media. No special drive formatting required.

Robert



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/22/2012 04:22PM by Robert M.
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Re: OK, time to do the RAID/media server thing. need some recommendations
Posted by: Trouble
Date: February 22, 2012 04:38PM
One quick note. The two drobo's I mentioned were direct connect drobos rather than using an ethernet connected drobo.
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Re: OK, time to do the RAID/media server thing. need some recommendations
Posted by: Robert M
Date: February 22, 2012 04:59PM
Trouble,

Direct connect in that they are connected directly to a computer. My Drobo is the Drobo USB/Firewire model. The Drobo S is a step above mine. The NAS Drobo is a different model entirely.

Robert
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Re: OK, time to do the RAID/media server thing. need some recommendations
Posted by: Lew Zealand
Date: February 22, 2012 05:46PM
Backups are another thing entirely.

My 2x3TB OWC Quad interface is just the media server data source. It is still backed up to two other sets of drives for a total of 3 copies of all the data. Second is a cheap 4-bay USB drive from newegg which has 4x2TB JBOD (room for the 2x3TB above to grow to 2x4TB), and the third used to be a G5 with 4 drives in it but is now a NewerTech Voyager Quad interface with 4 separate drives for the 4 data categories on the server.
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Re: OK, time to do the RAID/media server thing. need some recommendations
Posted by: olnacl
Date: February 22, 2012 05:46PM
I have 2 - 4 drive Raid 5 enclosures. One is directly connected to my iMac by FW 800, runs 24/7 as does my iMac. Each has 4 - 2TB drives yielding 6TB space. I connect the second enclosure whenever I make a significant change to the main one, and use CCC to back it up. I put those in service when 2TB drives were selling around $60. I don't think you can assemble anything like that for $400 today.

You didn't mention your total storage needs. I picked up a couple 3TB external drives when they were on sale @ Costco. If your needs are 3TB or less, a couple of those drives might fit your budget and needs.

I have a couple 2 drive OWC RAID enclosures that I no longer use since I did the 4 drive setups. PM me for information if interested.
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Re: OK, time to do the RAID/media server thing. need some recommendations
Posted by: Trouble
Date: February 22, 2012 06:47PM
You want a local backup as well. Local backup for speed of restore and offsite for safety. I do a nightly clone of my boot drive and I have a time machine backup as well.
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Re: OK, time to do the RAID/media server thing. need some recommendations
Posted by: lazydays
Date: February 22, 2012 08:25PM
The first thing you need to do is discard Will Collier's advice. He obviously does not understand what he is talking about or has misunderstood your situation.

The second thing you need to do is read everything Robert M wrote. He is extremely knowledgeable, researches everything to death, and is a great source of information.
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Re: OK, time to do the RAID/media server thing. need some recommendations
Posted by: Robert M
Date: February 22, 2012 08:43PM
Howdy Lazy,

Thanks for the confidence in my post! Much appreciated. MrBig's configuration is kind of dependent upon how he actually wants to do this and just how much backup and media he's going to work with in the end. Will's idea of plain ol' hard drives and a computer to serve the media might actually do the job. I just wouldn't do it with a hackintosh, especially if it involves backups. One poorly applied system or app update and it could go kablooey. I wouldn't want that in a backup situation.

Robert
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Re: OK, time to do the RAID/media server thing. need some recommendations
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: February 22, 2012 09:22PM
....digesting.

thanks, all.



“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
- John Lennon
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Re: OK, time to do the RAID/media server thing. need some recommendations
Posted by: lazydays
Date: February 22, 2012 10:30PM
I could have been kinder with my words.

Worrying about multiple simultaneous drive failures is like worrying about getting hit by lightning. Yes it can happen but the odds are low. Also, having a raid does not remove the necessity for offsite backups which is where individual drives will come in handy.

The OP's needs have been met by all the other posts. I just wanted to point out that raids are about the safest on site way to keep data.
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Re: OK, time to do the RAID/media server thing. need some recommendations
Posted by: IronMac
Date: February 22, 2012 10:31PM
Thanks Robert M.
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Re: OK, time to do the RAID/media server thing. need some recommendations
Posted by: C(-)ris
Date: February 23, 2012 12:13AM
Check out the Promise DS4600 as well. Great RAID box, very fast, has a slightly nicer interface than the OWC RAID, but is a little bit more expensive.



C(-)ris
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