Option for Thunderbolt Raid storage

Discussion in 'iMac' started by mfouks, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    #1
    I ordered a 2012 Imac which should arrive by the end of the month. I do a lot of photography with huge files so I would like to put the photos on an external drive. I am trying to decide which thunderbolt raid system to use i.e. LaCie, Gtech, Western Digital or is there some other recommendations. I would probably get a 6 or 8 TB. option. I have heard really good things about Caldigit but they do not a thunderbolt raid system ready until February. However, it might be worth waiting for. I would appreciate any advice you can give me.

    Mfouks
     
  2. macrumors 68040

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    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
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    #2
    Promise Pegasus R4 or R6.

    /Jim
     
  3. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    #3
    Thunderbolt option

    Thanks for the information Jim.

    Marsha

     
  4. macrumors member

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    Jul 6, 2010
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #4
    my studio thunderbolt is very nice... can setup as raid 0. Very very fast... just need to protect yourself with a huge time machine drive. cheaper than Pegasus and serious striped speed.
     
  5. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    #5
    Thanks for responding. If I set the drive up as raid 0 I will need a second large drive for a backup. I cant decide between that option and using raid 1 which is slower but creates identical copies. Or should I just start using the internal storage as I am getting a 3 TB hard drive. I can always switch as storage prices come down. I''m still undecided but I think it is smarter in the long run to keep the photos on an external hard drive instead of filling up the internal one.

    Marsha



     
  6. JVo
    macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    #6
    You should decide what your goal is with the drive: Do you want security or speed or space? Even with "huge" photography files, you might not need the speed you get from RAID 0. It might give you a boost in opening the file, but likely the drive will be accessed at a much lower data rate as edits are saved/retrieved. Very few applications besides video editing actually benefit from data rates higher than you get with today's standard drive configurations.

    If you want raw space, then consider the WD Thunderbolt Duo, as that allows you to configure the drives as "JBOD", so you get use of the full 6/8TB, although they'd be broken into 2 volumes.

    --JV
     
  7. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #7
    Marsha,
    Irrespective if you go RAID 0, 1, 5, or 10... you will need a backup drive. RAID (of any flavor) is not backup.

    Your first priority needs to be backup. Luckily... it is quite inexpensive to accomplish. With an iMac... you can directly attach a cheap USB drive. Performance of your backup drive really doesn't matter very much.

    Next you need to decide if you want to keep your data internal... or external. You can keep it internal for a while while you decide. Depending on which program you use... it should be pretty easy to migrate your data to an external array.

    I had suggested a Pegasus R4 or R6. You will not likely get better performance than that... but it comes at a pretty high cost. Either will be much better than a lower end two drive external array. Once again... you need to weigh cost vs performance.

    I am personally buying the 768GB SSD with the intention of keeping my applications, user account... and my Aperture 3 library all on the SSD. I'll then use my 8TB Pegasus R4 (configured as a 4TB RAID 10) for all the other media other than my photography. I'll keep my iTunes media library, all of my video files, etc on the Pegasus. My configuration will be quite expensive... but it is a great tool... and probably about the best that I can do right now.

    My primary backup will remain two-fold. I use a 3TB Time Capsule for local backup... and I use Crashplan+ for cloud backup.

    I have a 3rd, (manual) backup strategy for my pictures. I have a rotating set of 1.5 TB HDDs that contain Aperture vaults and other media. One of the two is always off site in the desk drawer of my corporate office. This is by far the least reliable of my backup options... because it relies on human activity to back up. My goal is to back it up after every major update to my photo library (about every 2-3 weeks). In practice... I probably backup up and rotate the drives only about 3-4 times annually. Such is the situation relying on human intervention. Virtually nobody does it as often as they know they should. Those who are diligent... probably lie about it. ;)

    Hope this helps.

    /Jim
     
  8. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    #8
    JV- you make excellent points. My goal would be space, speed and a I need a backup option of course. Right now I have two WD 3TB external drives (usb2/3) that I'm using for backup. I'm not too much of a tech person so I hadn't realized that raid 0 might not make a difference when editing the pictures. One solution would be to use two external drives, one being a thunderbolt raid 0 and then having the second drive (which I already have) act as a backup to the first drive at least until I reach more than say 6TB, then I would have to get a larger external drive. All data other than my photographs would be kept on my internal drive and I would have a separate backup for that. There is no point in using a thunderbolt system for backup as I wouldn't need that speed.

    Why would you prefer using JBOD instead of raid 0? I don't know much about JBOD but I'm thinking that if something went wrong using JBOD, I would only loose data on one disk?

    Do you prefer WD Thunderbolt Duo to LaCie? I see that Apple sells both for the same price (same capacity).

    Thanks for all of your help.

    Marsha

     
  9. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2012
    #9
    I have a question relevant to this. If you are doing photo editing do you need Thunderbolt....or will USB3 suffice?

    I am guessing the OP is talking about RAW files and I know cameras like the D800 can produce 60MB plus RAW files for each image. Maybe that will mean Thunderbolt is a necessity rather than USB3?

    I am an keen amateur photographer and am getting my iMac hopefully in the next couple of weeks. I want to keep all my images on an external drive but am wondering if I could get away with USB3 external drives as they are so much cheaper. MY current camera produces 20 MB RAW files but looking to upgrade my camera one I get my iMac.
     
  10. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2012
    #10
    If the external drive is an HDD I would say you will not notice any difference between usb3 and thunderbolt. If you use SSD then you may notice a very little difference (given that the usb3 uses serial ata iii).
     
  11. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2012
    #11
    Thanks that is what I was hoping.

    I think I am going to buy a WD 4TB USB3 HDD and wait for the prices of Thunderbolt to come down. Once it has I'll buy one and migrate the USB3 to my Time Machine back up.

    In the UK 4TB Thunderbolt is £400 vs £200 for the USB3 equivalent.
     
  12. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    #12
    Thanks for your reply Jim. Yes, I understand that Raid isn't backup. For now I am using two 3T Western digital USB2/3 drives for backup purposes. One is set up as time machine and the second just backups my pictures which are stored on a 1TB external drive (now full by the way). On my current IMAC which is a mid 2010 model, I have a 256 gb solid state drive where I keep my applications- it is now using about 100 gb. My one TB internal hard drive is about half full. My new machine is the fusion 3T drive. I went for the larger fusion drive ) where I will keep all data except for pictures. So I actually would have room to keep all pictures on this drive for the time being and still have my old WD backups. However, I was thinking that for the long run it would be better to get the pictures in a separate external drive so I wouldn't overload the internal drive and slow it down. I take a lot of photos during the year as I go on a lot of photo workshops. Yes moving to an external drive can be done later as you suggested.

    Sounds like Pegasus is the brand you prefer to LaCie or WD perhaps because of the 4 drives instead of the 2 drives?. Looking at Apple Canada it looks like they only have the R4, 4TB for sale but I will give them a call. I'm sure they are available elsewhere as well. By the way I tried Crashplan and gave up on it- was going to take months to back everything up and I was slowing down our wireless connection at home which got lots of complaints.

    Thanks again. Marsha





     
  13. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2012
    #13
    I am going to get usb3 SSD for main drive (boot the system) for now and also later will see IF I still need a speed increase(doubt it for the next years). Your plan makes perfect sense.
     
  14. smr
    macrumors 6502a

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    Location:
    Shropshire, UK
    #14
    I got the LaCie 2Big 6GB Thunderbolt drive for £559 (the USB3 version is £80 less at £479).

    I thought £80 wasn't too much of a premium given the speed difference (327 vs 210 MB/s), the fact the TB drive is a proper pass-through i.e. 2 ports and the TB drive won't take up one of my 4 USB ports.
     
  15. macrumors 68040

    xgman

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    #15
    I'm not using Raid, but I do have 3 WD My Duo containers. The drives that come with them are show Green drives. I removed them and used Velociraptors that In already have and also a 480GB OWC Mercury Xtreme 6G SSD for boot. What I have seen is that while the enclosures are fast, the SSD is slowed a bit by the TB enclosure interface which has been discussed elsewhere. In fact my "faster" SSD benches slower now than the stock fusion drive. What is missing in the marketplace right now is a do it yourself driveless enclosure. So you end up spending a fortune if you want your won drives. The WD Duo also comes in 2 1TB each Velociraptors, but again very expensive. Some comparisons below link:

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/6216/western-digital-my-book-velociraptor-duo-review

    ----------

    I have both and there is a very big difference in how speedy it feels. USB 3 also drags as you add usb devices. TB doesn't.
     
  16. macrumors 68040

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    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #16
    Marsha,

    Have you looked at seeding Crashplan? I think it costs an extra $150 or so... but once the initial backup is seeded... it stays up to date with only incremental backups. I do not know of a better offsite backup strategy. I am also not sure if it is available in Canada.

    I do think that the 4 or 6 drives of the Pegasus gives provides additional choices how you use the device. For example... RAID 5 needs a minimum of 3 drives... and RAID 10 needs 4 drives. From what I've ascertained, the Pegasus remains at the top of the Thunderbolt list regarding performance and robustness.

    /Jim
     
  17. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    #17
    Thanks everyone for your replies.

    Jim, I called Apple and asked about the Pegasus drives. My only choice is between the 4TB which I don't think is large enough or the 12 TB which the Apple person recommended after speaking to technical support. I explained my use- also that I would like to cut down on on the external hard drives/wires etc. She said if I used the 12 T (for $2,300) I would be able to set it up as raid 5 which I have to research and I would never lose any information if a drive failed, as I could just replace that drive. She said something about the raid 5 acting as both raid 0 and raid 1. Apart from the expense, I'm not sure that I need this much storage although it would last for years. However, the downside is that the prices of this will fall and solid state drives will fall and get larger with time. I wish they had a 8T option- perhaps I can find it somewhere else. I have to do a little more research at this point. I have not looked at seedless crash plan- never heard of it.

    Marsha

     
  18. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2008
    #18
    Some Adobe tech guy did try several Thunderbolt motherboards and storage here
    http://blogs.adobe.com/davtechtable/tag/caldigit

    basically I would wait for CalDigit's thunderbolt T1 and T2 ready. Really love their stuff, very solid and well design.
     
  19. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    #19
    I was just reading about the reviews of the Pegasus 12TB system on the Apple site. It certainly seems hit and miss whether or not you get a good one. I think you might have a good point in waiting for CalDigit's thunderbolt product -you are not the first person to tell me how great their products are. I did like the idea of the 4 array external system but it is pretty costly and it seems like customer support and quality control isn't the best which is important to me. Plus 12TB is overkill for me at this time and Apple don't have the 8TB systems anymore. I could go with 2 Caldigit drives for less money and equal storage.

    Still thinking about what to do. I probably should use the internal drive for a little while until I figure things out.

    Thanks again,

    Marsha

     
  20. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #20
    I bought mine on Amazon. I bought the 8TB Pegasus R4.

    The apple guy was not quite correct in saying that RAID 5 is sort of like having both RAID 0 & RAID 1 together. That would be RAID 10. RAID 10 striped data across two drives (RAID 0)... and mirrors them against two other drives (RAID 1).

    I would be careful reading reviews on the Apple site. Lots of uninformed people write there... sort of like here on MacRumors. Promise Pegasus is probably the very best that you can do for external storage on Macs... except for industrial grade FibreChannel storage for Mac Pros that will cost MUCH MUCH more than the Pegasus. Thunderbolt has enabled such industrial class storage to be available across the entire line of Apple products at a much cheaper price than available previously.

    We are in this goofy time period now where NVM storage is just too expensive to be mainstream... especially for those of us who have significant amounts of "hot data". I am looking forward to the day when I can be "HDD free"... but for at least for the immediate future... it is not affordable. I am getting the 768GB SSD option for my iMac... which will be large enough for my user drive (including my Aperture 3 library)... after I move my other media (videos, music) off to the Pegasus. I will also back up my entire machine (including external Pegasus) to a 3TB Time Capsule. I will perform cloud backup to Crashplan.

    Regarding Crashplan... their seeding option consists of the company sending you a large USB drive and you back up to it locally in your house. You then Fed-Ex the drive back to Crashplan.... where the data gets loaded into their datacenter. From then on... you only perform incremental backups over the internet. 100% of the encryption is performed on your own machine... so it is essentially uncrackable and secure. Just don't forget your passcode.

    /Jim
     
  21. hfg
    macrumors 68030

    hfg

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #21
    I believe Crashplan also will go the other way (for a price). If you have a massive failure or loss, they will load the transfer disk with your entire backup from their DataCenter and overnight it back to you so that it doesn't take months to recreate your local storage over the internet. Pretty slick!
     
  22. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #22
    That is correct. In my case... if I need to restore.... 99.9% of the time I would restore from my Time Machine backup. I use Crashplan+ for disaster recovery... so if my house burned down... I would restore from Crashplan.

    /Jim
     
  23. thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 10, 2012
    #23
    Jim- just thought I would let you know I finally decided on the pegasus R6 drive (12T). It was very costly but it will solve my storage problem for a long time. The unit should arrive tomorrow. Apple recommended Raid 5 which offers speed and some redundancy but now I'm thinking that perhaps I should set it up as raid 10. Given that 6T should be enough storage for me for a few years would you go this route instead? Or would raid 5 be fairly safe given drive failure rates etc.? I looked into the seeding option at Crashplan but the website says it is only available in the US ( I'm in Canada). I am going to call them to see how much time it would take to backup my current data (probably 1.5T or so) over the cloud. I'm pretty sure it would take months and in the meantime it slows down the internet quite a bit but perhaps I can run it over night. In the meantime I still have 3T external drives that I can use.

    By the way the new IMAC is working great- so far I have not loaded any pictures as I am waiting for the new unit so I haven't been able to really test the speed using lightroom/PS. However, from the work I have done so far everything is very fast ( fully loaded IMAC 27inch except for the 3T fusion drive instead of SSD option).

    Thanks again, for your suggestions.

    Marsha



     
  24. macrumors 6502a

    chfilm

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2012
    Location:
    Germany
    #24
    Got the R6 too and upgraded manually to 12TB, put the old 1Tb drives into a new Drobo 5D. Works like a breeze and is unbelievably fast!!! :):D
     
  25. macrumors member

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    Jan 23, 2009
    Location:
    PA, USA
    #25
    Pegasus J4 looks really good to me.

    Based on some research, I'm probably going to go with a Promise Pegasus J4 (bare enclosure), and then add drives. Apparently is very versatile, and in Raid 0 with 2 striped dives the performance over TB is crazy fast.
    Just my $.02, but it's a good way to get some really great speeds and flexible storage.
     

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