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Need Low Cost Disk Array Solution

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Wicked1, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. macrumors 68040


    I am looking for a low cost Large Disk solution for my itunes media. It does not have to be fancy or fast, it will only be storing all my ripped DVD's in RipIt format, and the movies after I encode them.

    It needs to be 4-6GB prefer 6GB, and it will be offline 75% of the time. Right now I am using a bunch of 2GB Seagate external USB 3.0 GoFlex drives and finding movies across 3-4 drives is annoying.

    Prefer it to have USB 3.0 ports and if not at least a FW800 port, USB 2.0 is very slow.
  2. macrumors member

    Tall order. Personally I have a drobo. Not the cheapest solution, but with the ability to hot swap drives, it works pretty well for me. I had a first gen one that got stuck at max 2 tb drives. The 2nd gen goes to 4 tb. But the empty box is 400. The advantage is, you can start with 2 drives, and grow from there. But, with its data redundancy, it always shows you the total summed drive, minus the biggest one. So two 3tb drives gives you 3 tb. three 3tb drives gives you 6 tb. I know a lot of people also have good luck with the Synology DiskStation's, but I dont know anything personally with those.

    Good Luck!
  3. KevinC867, Jan 28, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013

    macrumors 6502a

    As you get into this, keep in mind that a RAID solution isn't a substitute for having a backup of your data. It gives you protection against failed hard drives, but the raid hardware/software itself can and does fail, leaving you with quite a mess.

    Fortunately, my media collection still fits comfortably on a 3 TB drive, so I have two of those and keep them in sync with ChronoSync. Total cost is less than $300, and I'm backed up with 100% redundancy.

    If you need double that amount of storage, I would probably get a couple of dual drive enclosures and run them in JBOD mode so the two drives in each enclosure look like one larger drive.
  4. macrumors 68040


    Yeah had a drobo, but it was loud and generated a lot of heat and at the time, was only avail with 4 1-TB drives, I would need (4) 2TB drives now, but by the time you are done with Drobo $300-500 and 4 drives $150 each, the cost is very high.

    I guess I will have to breakdown and get a MyBook with 6 GB
  5. macrumors 6502a

    I'm not sure how safe I would feel with this, but... You can use disc utility to create a Concatenated Disk Set, which is essentially JBOD, to make your various existing externals appear to be a single larger volume. This is on the "RAID" tab in disk utility and should be available when you select one of your externals. Just drag each of the externals into the big box, give the raid set a name, and click create...

    I have no idea if this is going to be a destructive operation (reformatting the underlying drives) or not. If you already have a good backup of all the drives, this might be a cheap way to to simplify your volume management...
  6. macrumors 68040


    Problem is all my data is on the drives now, I need a whole new solution to move this data to before trying this option but thanks
  7. macrumors 6502

    How many DVDs do you have?! I have about 900 ripped and converted and those only take up around 1TB. I then have over 300 BDs converted and those take up closer to 3TBs at the moment. I do have full disc images saved for most of these on a smattering of scattered HDDs like yourself.

    I currently use a Lacie 6TB Thunderbolt RAID HDD. Its been great (little noisy, but the iMac is so dang quiet). You might want to look at Synology NAS, but I feel you really should be looking at the Promise Pegasus. Its damn costly, but such a nice device. I lucked out and scored my 6TB Lacie for $370 refurbed, but I haven't found any others out there since then.
  8. macrumors 68020

    Isn't the OP looking for "low cost"? ;)
  9. macrumors newbie

    I was in the same position as you. Went round-and-round with the various options.... but settled on a synology DS411J.

    It's been rock-solid so far, and I could re-use all of the HDDs that I already had. I think the barebones unit was about 250 gbp (I think). Took a bit of juggling to get everything on there without losing what was already on the drives - but I had a spare HDD hanging about.
  10. macrumors regular

  11. macrumors 6502


    The cheapest reliable solution you're going to find that has the ability of providing redundancy is the OWC Mercury Elite. It's $260 for the enclosure, plus the cost of drives. 3TB HDDs are running around $140 at the moment, 2TB around $20 less.

    Alternatively, you could go for something like the 6TB WD MyBook. You get 6TB of storage at less upfront cost than building an array, but you lose redundancy.
  12. macrumors 68000

    I would do this route, copy all your media to it and then use your existing drives as back up clones. Just set Carbon Copy Cloner to move specific directories to specific drives and set up a back up routine to clone them once a month or so. Label each drive and store it somewhere. Then you have one single NAS drive for your on demand use and a nice back up solution with your cloned drives for under $400.
  13. macrumors 65816


    Take a look at the ReadyNAS duo. I have one but not USB3 like the model I referred you to. It is inexpensive and will allow you to replace the discs as your needs grow. It has several RAID options.
  14. macrumors 6502


    If the OP is looking for at least 6TB of storage, a 2-bay enclosure isn't all that practical. Even though that particular unit has X-RAID2 which permits expanding the array with drives of larger capacity, it still functions as RAID1, effectively limiting you to 4TB of useable storage.
  15. macrumors 65816


    4GB was the lower end of the OP's range and this is about the lowest cost solution out there I found.
  16. KevinC867, Feb 1, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013

    macrumors 6502a

    The thing that's not practical is forcing RAID into the solution. Much better to get a simple two-drive enclosure, set it up as JBOD to get one large volume, then duplicate that for a backup.

    RAID is not backup. If the RAID controller or firmware fails (and they do) you are left with a mess.
  17. macrumors 6502


    Agreed, especially when you're only talking a two-drive solution. That being said, RAID5 is nice to have in a 4-drive array to provide some semblance of protection should one of the HDDs fail. Obviously it's not a proper backup, but it's "only" movies. They can always be re-ripped. That's how I feel about my personal media collection anyway.
  18. macrumors 68000


    You could get a Power Mac G4. The single processor ones don't use much power, and most PMG4s. All G4s support at least 4, with some earlier models supporting 5. The later models had FW800; all of them can get it with PCI cards. The only thing is that you have to get a SATA card, as the G4s use IDE otherwise.

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