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Old May 17, 2013, 08:45 AM   #1
throttlemeister
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Fast, reliable storage solution

I am looking for an external storage solution. I want it to be fast, as I intend to work of it, but at the same time I don't want to go bankrupt over it. I am not a professional, nor do I have any inspirations to be one. I just need a fast, reliable storage solution to work of.

I have decided I want to have a Thunderbolt solution, as it is more reliable than USB on the latest Macbook Pro incarnations. At least on my rMBP.

I want regular harddisks, not SSD as that will get to be too expensive for some decent storage size.

I want to use RAID or similar to increase speed and have some protection for hardware failures. This is not a backup solution; backup has already been taken care of.

I have considered the Drobo 5D, but it is not superfast - though arguably fast enough. I know it is a propriety solution, but so is every other RAID solution. It is easy to setup and maintain.

I also looked at G-Tech Thunderbolt series, but they are 2 drive only. I could buy two and dasiy chain them, but OSX does not support RAID5. Using 4 drives in RAID0 is stupid fast, which is good, but there is also a 4x the risk of a drive failure. While my backups are good and such an even should not result in dataloss, it would be annoying and time consuming. Using RAID10 is an option, but a huge waste of space and hardly economical for home use.

Ditto for the Lacie 2Big Thunderbolt series.

The Pegasus R4/R6 are interesting and very fast, they are also very expensive. If one could buy the enclosure without drives, it would probably be a no-brainer, but alas.

Does anyone here have any opinions, or suggestions on what to get?
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Old May 17, 2013, 08:59 AM   #2
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Will daisy chaining the g-techs give you the same speed that you'd get if you didn't daisy chain them? It sounds to me, if you're set on Thunderbolt then your options are pretty limited to what you've already listed. Especially since RAID5 isn't supported by OSX. I don't know if it will be, it would be nice though.

Doesn't Western Digital have an offering as well? You can go real high end, like Sonnet I think, but you're looking into the thousands range.
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Old May 17, 2013, 09:03 AM   #3
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You found out which one is best, and whilst I agree that the price is high, you really do get what you pay for. I have an R4 and will shortly be adding in an R6. The Promise stuff is the only one I found that is truly capable of real time work, and which gives you the full range of configuration utilities.

A half price option is the WD 6 TB unit...Not as fast, nor as configurable, but it's cheap...that shows in build quality and speed, but it would save you one large chunk of cash

If you really want long term, fast reliable Thunderbolt, then Promise wins the game which is probably why prices have remained high.
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Old May 17, 2013, 06:59 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by throttlemeister View Post
I am looking for an external storage solution. I want it to be fast, as I intend to work of it, but at the same time I don't want to go bankrupt over it. I am not a professional, nor do I have any inspirations to be one. I just need a fast, reliable storage solution to work of.

I have decided I want to have a Thunderbolt solution, ...
If you don't like any of the available Thunderbolt externals what about NAS? NAS can be fast enough if you use gigabit Ethernet. Some of the low-end setups preform poorly but you can build a FreeNAS system with as much performance as you like, up to enough to support a larger sized office.

Raid is not going to give you any more speed unless you do a stripped volume and those have only 1/2 the reliabilty of the single disk. Basically with RAID you trade reliability for speed. You can have either one at the expensive of the other.

The most economical and reliable solution is a single external TB disk drive.
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Old May 18, 2013, 08:23 AM   #5
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You found out which one is best, and whilst I agree that the price is high, you really do get what you pay for. I have an R4 and will shortly be adding in an R6. The Promise stuff is the only one I found that is truly capable of real time work, and which gives you the full range of configuration utilities.

A half price option is the WD 6 TB unit...Not as fast, nor as configurable, but it's cheap...that shows in build quality and speed, but it would save you one large chunk of cash

If you really want long term, fast reliable Thunderbolt, then Promise wins the game which is probably why prices have remained high.
I have now also found the Areca 8050 8-bay thunderbolt RAID enclosure. It's bigger than I need, but pricing wise it is between the Drobo and the Promise. It is also faster than the Promise and if the company reputations are anything to go by, it will be more reliable than the Promise. Areca makes some excellent high-end storage solutions.
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If you don't like any of the available Thunderbolt externals what about NAS? NAS can be fast enough if you use gigabit Ethernet. Some of the low-end setups preform poorly but you can build a FreeNAS system with as much performance as you like, up to enough to support a larger sized office.

Raid is not going to give you any more speed unless you do a stripped volume and those have only 1/2 the reliabilty of the single disk. Basically with RAID you trade reliability for speed. You can have either one at the expensive of the other.

The most economical and reliable solution is a single external TB disk drive.
NAS is slow, no matter how fast your network is. You can get very decent throughputs of about 80-95MB/s, but that's about it and latency sucks. It is great for backups, but it is not what you want to store a library on and working from it.

RAID is most definitely going to give you more speed, and more size. While there are trade-offs between speed, reliability and space, a RAID5 array is going to give you superior speed over a single drive, some redundancy against hardware failures and massive size. Example: the above mentioned Areca filled with 2TB disks in RAID5 can produce speeds of 900MB/s read and 700MB/s write, which is significantly faster than the flash storage in my rMPB while providing 14TB of storage.

There is no way you can do that over a network at the current state of technology, or with a single drive.
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Old May 18, 2013, 10:52 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by throttlemeister View Post
I have now also found the Areca 8050 8-bay thunderbolt RAID enclosure. It's bigger than I need, but pricing wise it is between the Drobo and the Promise. It is also faster than the Promise and if the company reputations are anything to go by, it will be more reliable than the Promise. Areca makes some excellent high-end storage solutions.

NAS is slow, no matter how fast your network is. You can get very decent throughputs of about 80-95MB/s, but that's about it and latency sucks. It is great for backups, but it is not what you want to store a library on and working from it.

RAID is most definitely going to give you more speed, and more size. While there are trade-offs between speed, reliability and space, a RAID5 array is going to give you superior speed over a single drive, some redundancy against hardware failures and massive size. Example: the above mentioned Areca filled with 2TB disks in RAID5 can produce speeds of 900MB/s read and 700MB/s write, which is significantly faster than the flash storage in my rMPB while providing 14TB of storage.

There is no way you can do that over a network at the current state of technology, or with a single drive.

I just took a look.....Interesting, I will find out if it will daisy chain into my R4...I know the WD's won't...I do have the spare T/Bolt port, but would rather keep that free for other uses. Thanks for the heads up!
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Old May 19, 2013, 05:16 AM   #7
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I just took a look.....Interesting, I will find out if it will daisy chain into my R4...I know the WD's won't...I do have the spare T/Bolt port, but would rather keep that free for other uses. Thanks for the heads up!
The R4 should daisy chain into the Areca just fine, reverse I don't know. Some tb devices don't totally play nice with the tb standard.

If you put the device that doesn't last in the chain it should work just fine.
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Old May 19, 2013, 05:18 AM   #8
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The R4 should daisy chain into the Areca just fine, reverse I don't know. Some tb devices don't totally play nice with the tb standard.

If you put the device that doesn't last in the chain it should work just fine.
So, have you pulled the trigger on the Areca? I'd be interested to hear about performance etc. when you're up and running with it..
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Old May 19, 2013, 08:09 AM   #9
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So, have you pulled the trigger on the Areca? I'd be interested to hear about performance etc. when you're up and running with it..
Not yet.. It's still a boatload of money, but so far it looks like the most bang for the buck.
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Old May 19, 2013, 09:43 AM   #10
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Not yet.. It's still a boatload of money, but so far it looks like the most bang for the buck.
I'm about to pull the trigger on something....It was nailed on another Pegasus, and I can't complain about performance or CS.....It's the damned price. I know the build quality is superb and that the the configuration utilities do all I ask and more...but the price hasn't dropped a dime since day one....They also don't give a hoot how much you spend with them....you are just as well off buying from the Apple store if you want one quickly.....I'd be very tempted to jump, but the old " I know the Pegasus" syndrome keeps hitting me. I know I couldn't live with the WD....It's cheap, and it shows....But your idea has me wondering..
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Old May 19, 2013, 01:02 PM   #11
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I'm about to pull the trigger on something....It was nailed on another Pegasus, and I can't complain about performance or CS.....It's the damned price. I know the build quality is superb and that the the configuration utilities do all I ask and more...but the price hasn't dropped a dime since day one....They also don't give a hoot how much you spend with them....you are just as well off buying from the Apple store if you want one quickly.....I'd be very tempted to jump, but the old " I know the Pegasus" syndrome keeps hitting me. I know I couldn't live with the WD....It's cheap, and it shows....But your idea has me wondering..
Have you seen this one: http://barefeats.com/hard167.html?
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Old May 20, 2013, 02:41 AM   #12
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Have you seen this one: http://barefeats.com/hard167.html?
That looks good too!...Good configuration options...as many as the Promise has and you get to source your own enterprise drives ( I would not use ordinary 7200's although you could)

Certainly worth a look / email!
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Old May 23, 2013, 04:17 PM   #13
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I've decided I am going to get the Areca and fill it with 2TB Barracuda's. I will still have to wait a bit for my tax return, but it's coming.
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Old May 24, 2013, 12:58 AM   #14
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I've decided I am going to get the Areca and fill it with 2TB Barracuda's. I will still have to wait a bit for my tax return, but it's coming.
The best drives at\re the WD "RED" drives. These are designed to use in NAS systems

There is a problem with using desk top drives in RAIDs. They mask errors by using error correction. Read up a little on the new red drive
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Old May 24, 2013, 02:50 AM   #15
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The best drives at\re the WD "RED" drives. These are designed to use in NAS systems

There is a problem with using desk top drives in RAIDs. They mask errors by using error correction. Read up a little on the new red drive
Thanks Chris, I thought about that as well but the only thing I can find on the RED drives is that essentially they are designed to run 24/7, which on this desktop system is irrelevant as the drives are powered down when not in use or thunderbolt not connected. Also, every single drive does error correction. You cannot have consistent, reliable data without. Storagereview (which I consider the best and the definitive source when it comes to storage) does not mention much anything else being special or significant on them, other than some stuff int he conclusion that appears to come form the WD marketing sheet and is not elaborated upon.

They're also significantly more expensive here as the Barracuda's while the latter are faster and very quiet.

That said, since I can't order like right now I will do some more reading up on the RED drives. It may change my mind. They do look interesting.
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