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Old Jan 26, 2013, 08:56 AM   #1
Dutchmannn
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Best storage solution for central itunes library?

I'd like to create a 2-4 Gb central library, running itunes permantenly on a headless Mac Mini. The library will contain all music and videos and should be available to an Apple TV, PC and Iphones (remote).

I am not sure about what kind of storage solution to buy. I want a second disk for backups, ideally also for storage of system backups of my PC and iphones.

Should I buy and install a NAS and connect via Ethernet or are two firewire or usb 3.0 external hdds connected to the Mac Mini a better solution? I want to avoid issues with corrupt itunes libraries, missing files, connection issues with home sharing, etc. And are external hdds built to run 24//24 in terms of life span, energy consumption and heating?
If an external Firewire HDD is a better solution than a NAS, how about this one: Western Digital My Book Studio WDBC3G0030HAL, 3 TB, FireWire, FireWire 800, USB. Or if I should buy a NAS, any suggestions?
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Old Jan 26, 2013, 09:00 AM   #2
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What I did was get a 3TB external RAID 1 array using FW800 (I don't have Thunderbolt or USB 3 on my iMac) and moved my whole iTunes library off my main internal HDD to it.

It works just fine for watching/listening to anything on my iPhone, iPad, Apple TV 2 and Apple TV 3, as well as the iMac it's connected to.

There are various solutions to achieve what you want, mine is one way and using a NAS is another way. You just have to choose what works best for you.

To make sure your library is moved properly, be sure to follow this Apple Support document.

iTunes for Mac: Moving your iTunes Media folder
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Old Jan 26, 2013, 04:27 PM   #3
rbrian
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I wondered about this too, but I couldn't decide, so I bought a 3TB USB drive as a stopgap. It works fine, even with USB 2. When I finish ripping my DVDs and start on my BluRays I'll run out of space, and find out if USB 2 is sufficient for HD. Then I'll investigate some more.
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Old Jan 28, 2013, 01:42 AM   #4
Dutchmannn
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Thank you both.

I think I'll go for the storage solution directly connected to the Mac Mini (so not a NAS that is connected via ethernet). In order to be future proof I'll pay a few extra bucks and go for thunderbolt. One further quesion:
- If I'd buy a thunderbolt dual-drive and set up as raid 1, can I also use this device to store backups of my PC and other devices? Or will it be difficult or impossible to set up the Mac Mini as an itunes server and use the external thunderbolt drives for storage of the itunes library and also have backups (time machine for the apple devices but also backups of my PC) copied to the thunderbolt?

Thanks again!
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Old Jan 28, 2013, 05:27 AM   #5
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Thank you both.

I think I'll go for the storage solution directly connected to the Mac Mini (so not a NAS that is connected via ethernet). In order to be future proof I'll pay a few extra bucks and go for thunderbolt. One further quesion:
- If I'd buy a thunderbolt dual-drive and set up as raid 1, can I also use this device to store backups of my PC and other devices? Or will it be difficult or impossible to set up the Mac Mini as an itunes server and use the external thunderbolt drives for storage of the itunes library and also have backups (time machine for the apple devices but also backups of my PC) copied to the thunderbolt?

Thanks again!
You can partition the drive with Disk Utility and designate one partition to be used for backups and the other for iTunes. There should be no problem with that except potentially a slow down if you're playing iTunes media like video while a backup is running. I haven't experienced that because I have a separate HDD for Time Machine.
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Old Jan 28, 2013, 03:29 PM   #6
dacreativeguy
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You can partition the drive with Disk Utility and designate one partition to be used for backups and the other for iTunes. There should be no problem with that except potentially a slow down if you're playing iTunes media like video while a backup is running. I haven't experienced that because I have a separate HDD for Time Machine.
I wouldn't do that. A backup drive should ideally only be used for backups. I've had a few occasions where Time Machine has corrupted itself and made the whole drive unusable to the point of repartitioning. If that happened in your setup, you could lose your music AND you music backups in one event.
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Old Jan 28, 2013, 03:51 PM   #7
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I wouldn't do that. A backup drive should ideally only be used for backups. I've had a few occasions where Time Machine has corrupted itself and made the whole drive unusable to the point of repartitioning. If that happened in your setup, you could lose your music AND you music backups in one event.
I wouldn't do that either, mine are on separate drives.
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Old Jan 28, 2013, 06:10 PM   #8
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IMO, an attached USB3 drive would be the cheapest and simpliest solution. NAS arrays hold a ton of info but they are typically expensive and mine is quite loud.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 02:02 PM   #9
Dutchmannn
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Thanks everyone. I think I'll go for the safest option in terms of the itunes library and use a double external HDD in raid1 attached to the mac mini for this. Not yet sure though whether to buy USB, FW or TB.
For sys backups of all machines I could buy a simple 2TB network hdd.
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Old Jan 30, 2013, 08:51 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Dutchmannn View Post
Thanks everyone. I think I'll go for the safest option in terms of the itunes library and use a double external HDD in raid1 attached to the mac mini for this. Not yet sure though whether to buy USB, FW or TB.
For sys backups of all machines I could buy a simple 2TB network hdd.
For what you're talking about, I have been using FW800 drives. I prefer them over USB because they don't add load to the CPU and because FW devices can be daisy chained without requiring a hub. TB is the future, but you don't need the high performance for a media library or for a backup solution - not worth the price premium right now.

NAS devices can work very well for backup, especially if they have built-in support for TimeMachine. Synology devices have this, not sure about others. NAS can work for iTunes Media, but it's a pain - you're making the right choice with Direct attached there.

I would definitely use separate devices for my media library and my back-ups. Don't think of RAID1 as a back-up, it's not. It's for high availability of critical data, not for recovery of lost data. Better to have backups on multiple devices and in multiple locations.
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Old Jan 30, 2013, 10:51 AM   #11
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My USB drive that had no problems is now having problems... it was fine until I started backing it up using Time Machine to another USB 2.0 3TB drive. I'd done about 1.3TB out of 1.8TB when the iTunes drive disconnected (the backup drive and the other portable USB drive and the FW800 drive stayed connected). Now when I plug it back in it lasts about 5 minutes before disconnecting. What is likely to be the problem? Would this happen with a NAS or FW array?
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Old Jan 30, 2013, 12:03 PM   #12
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My USB drive that had no problems is now having problems... it was fine until I started backing it up using Time Machine to another USB 2.0 3TB drive. I'd done about 1.3TB out of 1.8TB when the iTunes drive disconnected (the backup drive and the other portable USB drive and the FW800 drive stayed connected). Now when I plug it back in it lasts about 5 minutes before disconnecting. What is likely to be the problem? Would this happen with a NAS or FW array?
Does it disconnect after 5 minutes idle, or only if you are writing to it? Do you lose both drives after five minutes, or only one of them? There may be a problem with the USB port you're plugged into, the enclosure, or the drive itself. If they both drop out, it is probably the USB Port, or a usb hub if you are using one.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 08:53 PM   #13
lali
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Hi Dutchmann
There are many different options out there
OWC sells a dual 4tb enclosure with raid mirrorring. $697
It should be plenty fast enough to serve your library

If you want to go tbolt you may want to at a lacie little big disk enclosure (bare) refurb, quite inexpensive. Then you fill it with 2x 4tb. At the moment, sorry I cannot find you that ebay link that philipma1957 posted a while back.....
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Old Jan 30, 2013, 01:26 AM   #14
rbrian
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...4tb enclosure with raid mirrorring. $697...
See that right there is why I decided not to decide until I was certain. I got 3TB for 110, about $160.
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Old Jan 30, 2013, 02:08 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Dutchmannn View Post
Thanks everyone. I think I'll go for the safest option in terms of the itunes library and use a double external HDD in raid1 attached to the mac mini for this. Not yet sure though whether to buy USB, FW or TB.
For sys backups of all machines I could buy a simple 2TB network hdd.
Instead of both, you could just go with a Synology DS413j NAS and RAID1 that instead.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lali View Post
If you want to go tbolt you may want to at a lacie little big disk enclosure (bare) refurb, quite inexpensive. Then you fill it with 2x 4tb. At the moment, sorry I cannot find you that ebay link that philipma1957 posted a while back.....
If you happen to find 2.5" 4TB disks, that would be an option. Otherwise you'd need a LaCie 2big Thundebolt for that.
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Old Jan 30, 2013, 04:35 AM   #16
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If you happen to find 2.5" 4TB disks, that would be an option. Otherwise you'd need a LaCie 2big Thundebolt for that.
ahhh thanks I did not know that
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