Best storage solution for central itunes library?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Dutchmannn, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2013
    #1
    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?
     
  2. Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

    Staff Member

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    Detroit, Michigan
    #2
    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
     
  3. macrumors 6502a

    rbrian

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    #3
    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.
     
  4. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2013
    #4
    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!
     
  5. Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

    Staff Member

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    #5
    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.
     
  6. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2007
    #6
    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.
     
  7. Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #7
    I wouldn't do that either, mine are on separate drives.
     
  8. macrumors 65816

    designs216

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    #8
    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.
     
  9. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2013
    #9
    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.
     
  10. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    #10
    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.....
     
  11. macrumors 6502a

    rbrian

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    #11
    See that right there is why I decided not to decide until I was certain. I got 3TB for £110, about $160.
     
  12. macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #12
    Instead of both, you could just go with a Synology DS413j NAS and RAID1 that instead.
    If you happen to find 2.5" 4TB disks, that would be an option. Otherwise you'd need a LaCie 2big Thundebolt for that.
     
  13. macrumors regular

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    Oct 14, 2007
    #13
    ahhh thanks I did not know that
     
  14. macrumors 6502a

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    Virginia
    #14
    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.
     
  15. macrumors 6502a

    rbrian

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    #15
    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?
     
  16. macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    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.
     
  17. macrumors 6502a

    rbrian

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    #17
    Only one, and it's always being read for the backup (still half a gig to go). It is usually writing too, downloading purchases I've made on other devices. I hadn't started copying the latest batch of DVD rips, they stay on the internal drive until the metadata is sorted. If it is on it's way out, I hope it finishes the backup before it dies!

    I don't have a hub, I have all my USB ports in use. Could it be there's too much plugged in and not enough power? Shouldn't be, two of the drives (including the one that keeps disconnecting) have their own power supply. Maybe the processor can't handle keeping track of all those drives, running a time machine backup, Handbraking, BOINCing, and serving iTunes to my Apple TV and MacBook Air.
     
  18. macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    I would first stop all of that other activity and try to complete the backup. Are you using time machine for the backup? Maybe try something else like Carbon Copy Cloner or Super Duper to get files transferred to a different drive.
     
  19. macrumors 65816

    Santabean2000

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    #19
    I'm looking at getting a Pegasus J4 for this purpose (and shifting photos across too).

    2 x M500 960GBs in RAID0 + 2 x 1TB HDD in RAID 0
     
  20. macrumors 6502a

    rbrian

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    #20
    Sorry to resurrect this ancient thread, but I couldn't find what I was looking for elsewhere. I'm now running out of space on my 3TB drive, which is backed up to another 3TB drive with Time Machine, both plugged in to the back of my mac mini. The disconnection problem fixed itself, so it's all running OK.

    Now I've bought a pair of 4TB drives - but rather than just adding another GB, I'd like to have a 7TB library - how easy would it be to combine two drives into one, so iTunes doesn't get confused? Would combining them preserve the existing data? It doesn't matter too much if it doesn't; I have a backup - but I'd rather not spend all that time transferring.
     
  21. JBmac, Oct 26, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2013

    macrumors member

    JBmac

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    #21
    This may or may not be something to help you currently, but looking forward, you might want to consider something like this, and it doesn't have to be with Drobo, which is what I use. I used time machine when it first came out and for a year, but it did get corrupted, and I had to log in as guest to do my backups. So I stopped using Time Machine, and I don't need my data backed up every hour. I retired my 2005 G5 Powermac this past summer, and in planning for that I wanted something OS agnostic, just for data, pictures, iTunes library, over 1 TB already. I first went with Drobo 2nd Gen FW about 2 years ago, but it wasn't the network streaming i wanted especially for iTunes, and to work on iPhoto all from a MacBook Air i had planned to get. Then last January Drobo came out with the Drobo5N which just plugs into my 5th Gen Airport Extreme and streams everything for me, and lets me connect to and use my data the way I want to. I am the only one using it, so I don't know how it would work for multiple accounts but it works great for me. I have 2, 3TB drives, and 1 2TB drive in it, and room for 2 more, but I don't want to waste the electric spinning 2 more hard drives until I need them. I use the other drobo as my backup, and I keep a minimum 3 drive disk set off site. I also turn the Drobo5N off for a week or two at a time because I can stream what I need over the Internet on my Apple TV. I keep everything stored on the Drobo5N, because I only have 128GG SSD on the 11 inch MBAir I bought last summer.
    Some of my iTunes movies and Tv shows (files), very few, are in library on the drobo, but won't show up as being there in iTunes, and show the download or stream arrow, and that happens for some reason after iTunes updates. I do use the Apple TV to stream from the MBAir as my Home computer, and even when it looks like it goes to sleep it still streams my content.
     
  22. macrumors 6502a

    rbrian

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    #22
    I'm not looking at any kind of NAS in the near future. I leave the Mac mini on all the time, HandBraking and/or BOINCing. I see no reason to pay the cost of two hard drives for an empty chassis which will do no more than the mini is capable of. All I need is the correct software, which is built in or easily downloadable, but I'd like a little more information before I do something which has the potential to destroy my data.
     
  23. macrumors member

    JBmac

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    #23
    I have to watch my power usage very carefully, and the MBAir and the Drobo5N are excellent for this, if I didn't I'd still have my old PowerMac up and running, or be using a Mac Mini always on (which is what I would like). I don't like keeping my data in the cloud only either... It was just a suggestion. Yes, I had to pay a price up front (no new computer, or laptop for 3 years), and there could be some vulnerability, but I have multiple backups. And now it doesn't matter what computing device I get in the future, I just need an OS on it to access my data.
     
  24. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    #24
    Good ideas in here - here's what I've been thinking of doing

    My main concern is storage of pictures in addition to iTunes (we have over 40k images and 200+ hours of video). Right now every things running off my power sucking '08 mac pro which i'd love to retire.

    I'm thinking of getting a mac mini server for iTunes and then directly connecting a LaCie 5big 10 or 20 to it. My understanding is that you can set up 2 drives on one RAID partition and the other 3 on another. I'd use two for picture, video and other files and the other 3 for RAID protected time machine backups of our four other macs and the mac mini. Does this sound like it would work? Anyone had any experience with the LaCie 5big?
     

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