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Old Jun 18, 2008, 12:57 PM   #1
fivepoint
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Storage Solutions for our OUT-OF-CONTROL iTunes Libraries

The faster we add movies, songs, TV Shows, etc. to our iTunes library for our AppleTVs... the faster we run out of HD space. When AppleTV was released, I'm guessing 500GB seemed like a TON of space to most of you, and now... not so much.
  • When you started running out of space on your Mac, what long-term external storage solution did you switch to (or plan to switch to)?
  • List the hardware you've purchased.
  • Post photos and/or pricing information if you can.
  • What advice can you give to others?
  • What would you do differently?
  • If you could design the ultimate storage setup for your ever-expanding iTunes library... what would it be?



UPDATE: For those of you intending to move your iTunes library to an external drive like many have done here... I recommend you start with this very helpful resource by iLounge. For Apple's less in-depth, less thorough, less explanatory version, click Here.

Here are a few other resources you may find helpful:
RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks. Many users are utilizing RAID to add redundancy (backed up) to their data with "mirroring" RAID 1 or speed to their system with "striping" RAID 0.

Drobo is mass-storage device many users here are using to store their iTunes content and have enough room to grow in the future. Drobo is a type of RAID enclosure that utilizes something called UNRAID. UNRAID has many of the benefits of RAID 0 and RAID 1, and more closely resembles RAID 5. Drobo is a (relatively) inexpensive RAID box which lets you add up to 4 SATA hard drives at once. Each drive is backed up 100% so if you lose one drive, you can replace it and keep right on trucking with no data loss. The primary negative of the drobo is that it uses a proprietary system which would require you to buy a brand new drobo in the event that something went wrong with the first one. The hard drives it uses can not be read by any other device. The drobo website has many helpful videos to give you more information.



Every mac comes with a program called Disk Utility. You'll need it to do many of the things you'll read about in this thread. It is especially useful for formatting hard drives and creating RAID systems with multiple external hard drives. With it, you can obtain similar functionality to a drobo, without the expense of purchasing all new hardware.


UPDATE #2: Since a few others posted theirs later on in this thread, I thought I would make a sketch of my own potential setup, which should serve as an example of what's possible.

Thumb resize.

Last edited by fivepoint; Dec 2, 2008 at 03:01 PM.
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Old Jun 18, 2008, 01:13 PM   #2
tom1971
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just add an external USB hard drive
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Old Jun 18, 2008, 01:42 PM   #3
fivepoint
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just add an external USB hard drive

I am talking more about users who are upgrading to redundant RAID drives, planning for future expansion through multi-bay devices, backing up multiple externals using Time Machine, etc. There are many ways to go about it, and I am just curious about different people's strategies... and the pros/cons of each.

Sorry if I wasn't clear.
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Old Jun 18, 2008, 01:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fivepoint View Post

I am talking more about users who are upgrading to redundant RAID drives, planning for future expansion through multi-bay devices, backing up multiple externals using Time Machine, etc. There are many ways to go about it, and I am just curious about different people's strategies... and the pros/cons of each.

Sorry if I wasn't clear.
I run my iTunes library on a redundant RAID hung off of my AEBS. I also have two other copies of my library, one here and one kept safely offsite. I am going to have a friend of mine keep a backup with Chronosync as well. I wonder what the RIAA would have to say about that.

FWIW, this may seem a bit over the top, but I have thrown out my CDs. All 1500 of them. These Apple Lossless files are just fine.

FWIW, except for the AEBS, I have had this setup for about 2 years. The music is so much more accessible from iTunes then it ever was as discs. Except in the car (and my computers), I don't even have a CD player or DVD player anymore. I just pipe all the pictures and sounds through my two AppleTVs and an AE with Airtunes to more suitable amplification and speakers.
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Last edited by netdog; Jun 18, 2008 at 01:50 PM.
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Old Jun 18, 2008, 03:16 PM   #5
f(A)t'kId
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WD 1TB drives

I have 3 WD 1TB drives for my iTunes movie collection. Got them from Costco. Right now they are only $199.00 bucks. Maybe i'll pick up another one . My brother is my back up and I am his. Nice to know if all is lost I can just get it from him.
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Old Jun 18, 2008, 04:04 PM   #6
kkachurak
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Knowing that I wanted to rip all my DVDs to .m4v, I picked up a Mac Pro to serve as the home media server.

I filled it with one 150GB raptor for the system and apps, and two WD 640gb disks - one for content, one for backup.

Because the disks are identical size, I'm not using time machine. I'm just using Backup from .Mac to run nightly backups at 4am.

I have the original stock drive in the 4th bay, just holding some disk backups for now. Someday I'll change out both of those 640's for two 1TB's.

And hopefully, disk manufacturers will someday create a 2TB 3.5 inch drive for even more space. Or, I'll just have to go external.
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Old Jun 18, 2008, 04:21 PM   #7
ayale99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fivepoint View Post
The faster we add movies, songs, TV Shows, etc. to our iTunes library for our AppleTVs... the faster we run out of HD space. When AppleTV was released, I'm guessing 500GB seemed like a TON of space to most of you, and now... not so much.
  • When you started running out of space on your Mac, what long-term external storage solution did you switch to (or plan to switch to)?
  • List the hardware you've purchased.
  • Post photos and/or pricing information if you can.
  • What advice can you give to others?
  • What would you do differently?
  • If you could design the ultimate storage setup for your ever-expanding iTunes library... what would it be?

Good question. I'm reaching the end of my 500gb as well. I'm considering the USB hack for the AppleTV to enable an external HD. OR, replacing the internal drive with a 1TB. I know thats not a solution for you since you have multiple AppleTvs. I'd rather go that route since I don't watch movies on my MBP anymore.
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Old Jun 18, 2008, 04:34 PM   #8
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I've got Tiger server running from a broken 17" Al powerbook with a dead screen. Attached to that is a Raid 1 made up of two 500 gig drives attached via firewire in two separate external enclosures. This raid is backed up nightly to a separate drive using retrospect.

I mount the network volume on my desktop and play itunes from there.

The only problem with this setup is that only one mac in the house can access the itunes library at a time.
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Old Jun 18, 2008, 08:54 PM   #9
fivepoint
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Originally Posted by netdog View Post
I run my iTunes library on a redundant RAID hung off of my AEBS. I also have two other copies of my library, one here and one kept safely offsite. I am going to have a friend of mine keep a backup with Chronosync as well. I wonder what the RIAA would have to say about that.

FWIW, this may seem a bit over the top, but I have thrown out my CDs. All 1500 of them. These Apple Lossless files are just fine.

FWIW, except for the AEBS, I have had this setup for about 2 years. The music is so much more accessible from iTunes then it ever was as discs. Except in the car (and my computers), I don't even have a CD player or DVD player anymore. I just pipe all the pictures and sounds through my two AppleTVs and an AE with Airtunes to more suitable amplification and speakers.
Do you experience any lag with your setup? Do you notice any sort of hesitation after commands given the wireless setup? The biggest benefit of this type of setup (besides hiding the HD away from the computer) is that you could equally access the iTunes library from multiple computers at the same time... correct?



Quote:
Originally Posted by Moof1904 View Post
I've got Tiger server running from a broken 17" Al powerbook with a dead screen. Attached to that is a Raid 1 made up of two 500 gig drives attached via firewire in two separate external enclosures. This raid is backed up nightly to a separate drive using retrospect.

I mount the network volume on my desktop and play itunes from there.

The only problem with this setup is that only one mac in the house can access the itunes library at a time.
Are the two drives connected through software RAID via Disk Utility? How has the reliability of this setup been? Would you do anything different if you were doing it again?
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Old Jun 18, 2008, 09:45 PM   #10
omni
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I bought a 4 TB NAS drive from Buffalo. A little overkill to say the least but now my whole house has access to all of my music, photos and movies.

It's a little too loud for where I have it but after I move it to a quieter spot it should be perfect.

So far I've handbraked 994 TV Shows and a paltry 41 movies plus my music/photos shows my NAS at 38% full. So I'm pretty happy with it.

Good Luck!
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Old Jun 18, 2008, 10:13 PM   #11
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I bought a 4 TB NAS drive from Buffalo. A little overkill to say the least but now my whole house has access to all of my music, photos and movies.

It's a little too loud for where I have it but after I move it to a quieter spot it should be perfect.

So far I've handbraked 994 TV Shows and a paltry 41 movies plus my music/photos shows my NAS at 38% full. So I'm pretty happy with it.

Good Luck!
But how can you access a native NAS with Apple TV without hacking it or without using a dedicated mac/pc ?
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Old Jun 18, 2008, 10:41 PM   #12
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very interesting thread here. i don't have an applytv, but still like reading this.

i do have a pretty large itunes library. right now, mine is on my mac pro. i have a 750 drive in it dedicated to my itunes library. i was backing it up to externals, but i didn't like having 5 different externals in a software raid to backup to. (was too cheap to buy a new external)

i'm thinking about clearing out enough room on my 1TB drive in my mac pro to backup to it. we'll see if i can make it happen
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Old Jun 18, 2008, 11:43 PM   #13
omni
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But how can you access a native NAS with Apple TV without hacking it or without using a dedicated mac/pc ?
I still have an iMac driving the appleTV's through iTunes.
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Old Jun 19, 2008, 12:12 AM   #14
MacLov1n
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I still have an iMac driving the appleTV's through iTunes.
Ok, that means your iMac is running 24/7 or you switch it on before using ATV ?
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Old Jun 19, 2008, 01:41 AM   #15
Jeff Hall
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OWC Guardian Maximus 1TB RAID-1

I can pop in bigger drives once the 2TB disks hit the market (likely by early next year).

Quiet, and supports USB2.0, FW400, FW800. The internal disks are SATA.
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Old Jun 19, 2008, 02:48 AM   #16
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I got a Drobo and it ranks pretty high on my list of my better tech investments. It's like RAID, but expandable on the fly; you can mix and match hard drives.

Watch their video here.

-Completely automated and self configuring
-Works with Time Machine
-There is an available GB network attachment for it called the "DroboShare".
-They dropped the price a little recently.
-quiet

CONS:
It can take up to four 1-terabyte drives to get 3TB of usable space because of overhead and data protection. Check out their capacity calculator.

It's USB2, but I've heard they may be coming out with eSATA and FW-800 solutions. USB2 is more than enough, as long as you don't need to run any intensive applications off of it.
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Old Jun 19, 2008, 06:47 AM   #17
fivepoint
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Originally Posted by jb60606 View Post
I got a Drobo and it ranks pretty high on my list of my better tech investments. It's like RAID, but expandable on the fly; you can mix and match hard drives.

Watch their video here.

-Completely automated and self configuring
-Works with Time Machine
-There is an available GB network attachment for it called the "DroboShare".
-They dropped the price a little recently.
-quiet

CONS:
It can take up to four 1-terabyte drives to get 3TB of usable space because of overhead and data protection. Check out their capacity calculator.

It's USB2, but I've heard they may be coming out with eSATA and FW-800 solutions. USB2 is more than enough, as long as you don't need to run any intensive applications off of it.
So, do you just have your iTunes library on the Drobo, and have your computer reference that file? Is it connected to your computer through the network or over USB? Do you notice any 'lag?'
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Old Jun 19, 2008, 06:49 AM   #18
fivepoint
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very interesting thread here. i don't have an applytv, but still like reading this.

i do have a pretty large itunes library. right now, mine is on my mac pro. i have a 750 drive in it dedicated to my itunes library. i was backing it up to externals, but i didn't like having 5 different externals in a software raid to backup to. (was too cheap to buy a new external)

i'm thinking about clearing out enough room on my 1TB drive in my mac pro to backup to it. we'll see if i can make it happen
This would be the biggest advantage by far of the Mac Pro in my opinion. All of your hard drives in one enclosure. But, do you think it makes the setup more prone to failure? I mean, if everything is in one enclosure, is the likelihood of loss due to power surge or related problems higher?
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Old Jun 19, 2008, 06:57 AM   #19
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I have a Netgear ReadyNAS NV+. I manage the library through my iMac, but the ReadyNAS has an iTunes server and can serve everything in the house except for my Apple TV (rediculous BTW).

I sometimes use my PS3 to watch movies or listen to music. I have my router / AEBS / ReadyNAS in my attic, so the fan noise isn't a deal breaker. The NAS drives aren't silent enough to have in a living room. They do offer x-raid, the ability to use mixed sized drives and a host of other features.

It was a little expensive, but now I don't worry about space (at least for a while). When the 1TB drives come down in price, I'll fill it with those.
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Old Jun 19, 2008, 07:05 AM   #20
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I can't specifically comment on an AppleTV as I haven't bought one yet, but I have a Synology DS207+ hooked up with 2 WD Greenline 1TB drives (they automatically spin down from 7200 to 5400rpm when not used) - a total of 2TB Software RAID.

This is hosting my iTunes liabrary via AFP. I even use it as a torrent download. It has a web GUI with a lot of functionalities.

Oh and it has Gigabit Ethernet, uses low power consumption, and with those greenline WD drives is quiet silent
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Old Jun 19, 2008, 09:28 AM   #21
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I have a Netgear ReadyNAS NV+. I manage the library through my iMac, but the ReadyNAS has an iTunes server and can serve everything in the house except for my Apple TV (rediculous BTW).

I sometimes use my PS3 to watch movies or listen to music. I have my router / AEBS / ReadyNAS in my attic, so the fan noise isn't a deal breaker. The NAS drives aren't silent enough to have in a living room. They do offer x-raid, the ability to use mixed sized drives and a host of other features.

It was a little expensive, but now I don't worry about space (at least for a while). When the 1TB drives come down in price, I'll fill it with those.
Hahaha, the thought of a thousand dollar NAS sitting all alone in an attic is strangly humorous to me!
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Old Jun 19, 2008, 10:11 AM   #22
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Overkill

I know this is probably overkill, but it works (for now).

I have three external HDDs attached to a G4 Mac Mini.
(1) For purchases right from AppleTV + music
(2) For handbraked Movies
(3) For handbraked TV Shows

At some point, I want to setup a single RAID for all of this just to simplify and reduce the number of cables!
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Old Jun 19, 2008, 10:16 AM   #23
fivepoint
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I know this is probably overkill, but it works (for now).

I have three external HDDs attached to a G4 Mac Mini.
(1) For purchases right from AppleTV + music
(2) For handbraked Movies
(3) For handbraked TV Shows

At some point, I want to setup a single RAID for all of this just to simplify and reduce the number of cables!
Very interesting. I am confused as to how you keep the purchases, movies and tv shows seperate and not in a "iTunes Library" folder. I'm guessing you don't let iTunes "keep your files organized."

Also, do you have backups of any of this data?
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Old Jun 19, 2008, 10:46 AM   #24
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Until Apple can support Disk Utility via TC USB port, I will be sticking with no back-up of my movies. I have Apple's back-up software working to back-up everything, but movies. I have stripped my movie library down to less then the 1Tb Time Capsule, but am running out of space the more movies I buy.

I will hopefully be doing the following setup when I get the new house.

Network Homerun Box (central in hall closet) -->Time Capsule (@ Network Box)-->USB Hard Drives (connected to TC)-->iMac(connected to LAN in other room).

I plan to buy a 2Tb HD that I will keep my back-ups on and connect that to TC, but not sure if this will run correctly connected to the TC as it is a 2 HD enclosure.
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Old Jun 19, 2008, 11:32 AM   #25
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So, do you just have your iTunes library on the Drobo, and have your computer reference that file? Is it connected to your computer through the network or over USB? Do you notice any 'lag?'
iTunes library and all other multimedia are stored on the Drobo and I've experienced no lag at all, even while swapping drives during playback.

Where the Drobo suffers is in disk writes, because it needs to simultaneously mirror and stripe the data. So as long as you're not using it as a scratch disk or something, you should be fine.
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