Help re storage of Media Content and Time Machine for ATV use

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Jaunty, Jan 7, 2011.

  1. Jaunty, Jan 7, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2011

    macrumors regular

    First - sorry if this is not the right forum, not sure where to post it!

    I have numerous wireless G Airport Expresses in use for streaming music only, but now that Santa brought an iPad and 2 x ATV2s I want to finally make a start on backing up our DVD collection. First will be the complete series of Frasier for the wife, and I will take a refresher read up on Handbrake/Rip It etc - but my initial questions are more about storage:

    1. My main computer for wireless N streaming will be an iMac 3.06ghz. This is connected by Ethernet to an Airport Extreme Base Station (AEBS) 1st gen (ie not capable of simultaneous dual band). My question is should I connect additional storage by USB to AEBS or direct to the iMac (or does it even matter?). Whilst the AEBS makes a point of its hard drive sharing, if iTunes on the iMac needs to be on to serve up the content won’t it make more sense to take advantage of the Firewire 800 connection of the iMac?

    2. Assume my iMac internal 500 Gb drive is Drive A. I add a Drive B a 2TB external drive to the iMac to store my media on. I daisy chain Drive C another 2TB external drive to Drive B. Subject to capacity, can I set up Drive C as a Time Machine back up of Drives A & B?

    3. If 2. above works, what is the easiest way to do an occasional back of of Drive C to store off premises? Can I use Time Machine or is something like Super Duper the way to go?

    Sorry if some of the questions seem stupid. My use of Time Machine so far has just been to do straight back ups of my laptop and desktop internal drives. Thanks for any input
  2. macrumors 65816

    1. You can store your iTunes library on a network attached HDD, but it slows down response times and clogs your network as your media hits the network twice simultaneously: once when your Mac pulls it from the NAS, and again when your Mac sends it to the ATV(s). Putting your iTunes library on an HDD connected directly via USB/Firewire is much better for the exact opposite reasons (faster response / less network traffic).

    2. I would suggest attaching "Drive C" to your AEBS for your Time Machine back-ups. That way, your media drive and back-up drive are not directly connected and more physically separated, reducing the chance to lose both at once.

    3. An alternative is to get a mirrored HDD for your back-ups, which includes built-in redundancy. Your plan involves a media drive and a back-up drive of the same size (presumably 2TB each, not 2GB), whereas a 4TB mirrored back-up drive would be better. Time Machine is very space-efficient in the way it backs up files, but you are always going to have a back-up file that's larger than the total of your currently saved files / media.

    FWIW, I had my media stored on a 2TB external HDD which was attached to my AEBS. Response was slow (as discussed above), and also it took time to mount the drive after a restart of my iMac. I had to make sure that the NAS had mounted before I could open iTunes, otherwise iTunes would revert back to the default library location, which was empty. My library grew to the point where it was too big to back up, so I opted the iTunes library out of TM back ups...and then the NAS crashed (with more than a little help from me!).

    Now, I have the 2TB HDD attached to my iMac via USB and do not have any issues with speed of response or mounting after reboot. I have a 4TB mirrored NAS attached to my AEBS, and am busy reconstituting my media library (which was over 1TB at its pre-crash height).
  3. Jaunty, Jan 8, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2011

    macrumors regular

    Thanks very much for the answer. And yes I meant 2TB, doh. 1st posted edited for clarity.

    As the AEBS is attached to the iMac directly by ethernet and not wirelessly, I did not think the data would hit the network twice. But I thought a direct Firewire 800 connection would be better than the USB2 of the AEBS connection.

    Noted I will need a bigger drive than what is being backed up for Time Machine to work properly. It will take a while to fill things up but will bear in mind.

    The mirrored NAS you are using gives redundancy on site but does not help in the event of fire/theft/flood hence my interest in a once a month or so back up my main Time Machine back up. I have found this article which helps me figure things out better

    Thanks again. In due course a raid type or even DROBO would be good but for now i just want to get started for a reasonable cost but with some redundancy.
  4. macrumors 65816

    If it's going through your AEBS, it's "on the network". To sync or stream media files, they would come off the NAS, through the AEBS to your Mac, which then sends the same file back through the same connection to the AEBS and thence to the ATV either via ethernet or wifi. The choke point is the same file going back and forth through the AEBS (and its ethernet connection to the Mac) almost simultaneously.

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