4 Bay JBOD Enclosure Recommendation

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by beduin, May 15, 2012.

  1. beduin macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 15, 2012
    Location:
    Devon
    #1
    I'm after an external 4 bay jbod enclosure but not having much success finding something suitable. I have done lots of research and have drawn a blank so would greatly appreciate any input/recommendations/solutions.

    Ideally I am after something that fulfils the following:

    1) 4 bay enclosure.
    2) JBOD, I don't need RAID
    3) Able to take unequal disk sizes
    4) Firewire connection (Thunderbolt is too costly)

    Thank you
     
  2. radiogoober macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    #2
    Did you actually try Google-ing "4 bay FireWire jbod"? I just did and got a ton of results.
     
  3. beduin thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 15, 2012
    Location:
    Devon
    #3
    As I said, I have done lots of research and plenty google searches and have been unsuccessful. There are lots of results for expensive RAID & NAS units which is not what I am after.

    I would just like an inexpensive way to house multiple & swappable drives with a fast connection to my mac.
     
  4. murphychris macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    #4
    Why FW800 and not eSATA? One disk will saturate FW800. If FW800 is acceptable, then GigE NAS would be acceptable. Just stick the drives in something like this with FreeNAS, and use either iSCSI if you need a JHFS+ volume, or create as many logical volumes as you want if you really like having a bunch of disk icons mounted on your desktop.

    ----------

    Older review on FreeNAS vs NexentaStor community edition. I have gotten both AFP and NFS working on FreeNAS. Both can also do iSCSI. If you don't have an AFP dependency (i.e. Time Machine) then I'd go with NexentaStor. If you do, and you're not a geek, use FreeNAS. There is a way to build AFP into NexentaStor manually.
    http://harryd71.blogspot.com/2010/05/freenas-vs-nexentastor.html
     
  5. beduin thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
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    #5
    Thanks for the response. I should say that I not a geek at all, wish I was. I am not very knowledgeable about computer systems and have been struggling to find an easy solution for my needs. A lot of your advice goes over my head and it may therefore be a bit complex for me but I will try to investigate.

    Essentially I would like to transfer all photos and iTunes to an external drive, use another large drive for films, then use another for TM backups and then other drives for clone backups to be stored off site. I had thought that a 4 bay enclosure would be ideal as the fourth bay could be kept spare for the clone disks.

    Currently have an iMac and will be replacing it with a Mini and they don't have eSATA.

    Will GigE be as fast as FW800, I have read that although technically faster in reality it is slower?
     
  6. murphychris macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    #6
    Well honestly I think as soon as you're needing this amount of storage, and you're considering JBODs, that's more advanced than most people. You're basically putting on the hat of IT staff. No matter what you buy, you're going to have to manage it.

    I don't think this is particularly simple. Why separate drives for these things? Do you have 2-4TB each of photos/music, video, and Time Machine backups?

    And the cloning is going to be done automatically or manually? If it's manual cloning that's also not easy.

    There are modifications that will get you eSATA but it's understandable you don't want to cut a hole in your iMac or Mini. If performance is even remotely a consideration, like working with live video, you're going to need Thunderbolt. Or get a fast internal drive which will have a direct SATA connection of course.

    GigE vs FW800 performance differences vary depending on the kind of data. More compressible data will be faster on FW800 compared to GigE. FW800 is easier to connect: one cable, done. The cable is more expensive and higher quality and more reliable. GigE best performance means using proper cables (Cat 6) for all connections between computer and NAS, and that the runs are the proper length, not too many or too tight of a bend, not crimped under furniture or staples, etc.

    So depending on your existing network or willingness to tune it, GigE is in the ballpark of FW800. Sometimes it's faster. I've pushed 100MB/s and I've seen 110MB/s pushed through it.

    But a single FW800 connection to a JBOD enclosure means you will get 1/2 that performance when accessing two disks.
     
  7. beduin, May 16, 2012
    Last edited: May 16, 2012

    beduin thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #7
    I appreciate that it is a little beyond the basics but I hope not too far because as you say, I will have to manage it.

    Forgive me if I am missing obvious things, I really am on a steep learning curve here but I felt this would be the simplest way forward as I can get my head around plugging a disk or multiple disks in, seeing them show up and then using them for whatever purpose. Separate drives just reduce complexity in partitioning and knowing where this are (seems easier in my head to keep order that way). I currently have about 500GB of photos/music but that is ever expanding, TM will be backing up about 500GB and I have over 2TB of films.

    Cloning could be either manual or auto, it is really just so that I can keep a secure archive off site. I was planing to use CCC or similar although as yet I have not really thought too hard about it and to date have just manually copied disks.

    I would love Thunderbolt but just can't afford it. I did find an eSATA/Thunderbolt convertor box that I might look into if I needed the speed. I don't do any work with video that would need ultimate performance. I would mainly be working with photos on the first external drive.

    GigE may well suffice then. I understand that accessing two disks would halve the speed, I hadn't thought it would be a big issue as I would not normally be working with both disks at the same time but I am beginning to wonder about that. The films may be accessed by other computers in the house via an airport, Question: If the drive or drives are also plugged into an airport would the speed still slow to the computer or could the drive feed direct to the airport? Sorry if I am being really stupid about these things. Edit: Think I am being stupid and it will slow however I also plan shortly to add an old mini to run home theatre set up so film drive could be plugged directly into that which may either negate the need for a 4 bay enclosure or I may end up better served with a NAS. I continue to go round in circles while crawling up an increasingly steep learning curve!

    Thanks again for bearing with me.
     
  8. radiogoober macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    #8
    Attaching to an Airpot Extreme is extraordinarily slow.

    FW800 is nice. Why not get a FW800 hub and plug In four FW800 drives? Western Digital makes some nice dual bay FW800 products that can use JBOD, can you could just get two of them. Check it out:

    http://www.wdc.com/en/products/external/desktopformac/
     
  9. dolphin842 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    #9
    Not to hijack the thread, but I'm actually putting together a FreeNAS box this week. Using iSCSI is intriguing, but is there a free option for getting OS X to act as an initiator? One of the traditionally free options now costs about $100 if I recall.

    No need for a hub; just daisy-chain them :)
     
  10. beduin thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 15, 2012
    Location:
    Devon
    #10
    I accept that the airport is slow but it is just feeding to ATV and seems to suffice although if I can hardwire then so much the better.

    I have looked at the Western digital FW drives but I think it is only the Thunderbolt one that can be used as JBOD, the others seem to be just RAID.
     
  11. Tim01742 macrumors newbie

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    Jul 25, 2012
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    Boston
    #11
  12. murphychris macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 19, 2012
    #12
    If you really have a workflow that requires JHFS+/X then it's worth paying for the initiator. I'm hard pressed to think of such a workflow. You're better off saving the $100, or putting it towards a UPS for the NAS if you don't already have it on one. And just use async NFS. I push 100+MB/s over GigE.
     
  13. murphychris macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    #13
    The problems I see with this product: USB 2 and FW 400/800 only. So this is direct attached storage. There's no advantage of DAS with such slow connectors. You might as well have it on a network with much more sophisticated NAS software running the show. It's also unclear what software this box is running itself, and how it exposes the drives to your computer. If it just chains the drives and shows them as JBOD over Firewire, then the only option you have under Mac OS is to create a Concatenated disk set if the disks are different sizes. You'll get only single disk speeds from a concatenated (SPAN) array, but if one disk dies the whole array and all data is gone.

    For $10 less, there's a real server from HP that can run FreeNAS, NAS 4 Free, or Nexentastor.
     

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