Advice for networked hard drive/server. Time Capsule, Drobo, etc.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by stiltstudio, Oct 22, 2009.

  1. stiltstudio macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2009
    I need to set up a network drive as a storage sever for my graphic design company. I also need it to backup data on my laptop (via Time Machine ideally).

    I considered a Time Capsule, but I've been deterred by news of the many recent drive failures and the limitations with upgradability.

    I then considered using an Airport Extreme connected to a Drobo. But have read many negative reviews for them as well.

    I'm very proficient with computers but I'm new to the network/server world and could use some advice. The drive will typically only be networked to one or two computers at a time. I need it to serve mostly as a data server. But I also need it to back up data from my laptop. This will also require a second drive setup to back up this networked drive. Do Raid drive setups still need to be backed up?

    Any advice on hardware or links to sites to learn my options would be appreciated.
  2. psingh01 macrumors 65816

    Apr 19, 2004

    Most people will get religious about RAID IS NOT BACKUP. So yeah, you need to backup your raid in the sense that if your raid catches fire or an anvil falls on it you can lose all your data. If you have raid 1 or raid 5 then one of your drives can fail and you don't lose your data. Just replace the bad one and rebuild the array.

    Anyway as one possible solution to your problems: HP MediaSmart server. Has hotswapple drive slots for lots of storage. Works as a Time Machine backup. Runs Windows Home Server so it's not a Mac solution but it works well with Macs. Doesn't use raid though. Works as a NAS. Has media streaming features if that's what you like. I have one and like it. I just use it as a NAS though. Nothing fancy.
  3. stiltstudio thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2009
    If you need to back up a RAID anyway, I don't really see the point. Your solution sounds like an option for me. I basically need an NAS that will allow me to use Time Machine and store data on my network. Then I need a secondary drive to back the network drive up. I'm new to this, so I no idea how you set up a drive to back up another drive automatically.
  4. GlynJones macrumors 6502

    Jun 15, 2005
    I had the same thought as you "why backup a Drobo" until I accidentally formatted it and lost everything. Taken me 12 months to get back to were I was before and I’ve still not finished. It is now backed up.

    I have my Drobo connected to my Mac and use the basic network sharing functions of the Mac and it works for me. OSX has smb as standard so it is really easy to setup as long as anything that needs to connect can use smb. Only downside is that the Mac has to be on 24/7 but mine is anyway so not a problem.
  5. stiltstudio thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2009
    Since I'm no longer interested in a RAID setup, the Drobo isn't really an option. If I'm going to need to back up the Drobo anyway, why waste space for the RAID?

    Does anyone have a good suggestions for an NAS drive that I can run through an airport extreme and is compatible with Mac and Time Machine?
  6. calderone macrumors 68040


    Aug 28, 2009
    Guess what, you would have to backup a non-Raided NAS as well! Actually even more so!

    There is too much misinformation going on here. Sure "RAID" is not backup. But neither is a single external drive you have plugged in 24/7. What a Drobo does for you is protect your data from a drive failing, or two depending on how much data you have on it.

    "RAID is not backup" is a phrase that tries to convey is that you should not rely on a single point of storage to protect your data. What is actually conveyed is that somehow RAID is inherently flawed.

    A RAID5, or Drobo, or similar. Are what I call "secure storage." In general they will protect your data more than a single external drive or non-raided NAS, assuming there is no catastrophic failure.

    The HP Media Server has the same "flaws" that a RAID does. It uses folder duplication, which will protect from a single drive failure. This from HP:

    Two drives fail, catastrophic failure. Data gone. They can call it "folder duplication," or whatever else they want. But it is essentially a RAID 1, mirroring.

    There is nothing wrong with using a RAID device like the Drobo, as your primary point of safe storage. However, you need only understand the risks of having a single point for storage. You should be backing up anything you cherish anyway, not simply because you are using a RAID array but because all methods can fail.

    Backup is using multiple mediums onsite and offsite to protect your data. If you aren't doing that, you aren't backing up.
  7. psingh01 macrumors 65816

    Apr 19, 2004
    I don't see any misinformation, maybe misunderstanding. If you are using any storage as a live filesystem then you should have a separate backup. RAID or nonRAID won't help you if you accidentally delete an important file. If you're just going to have time machine backups on the raid or nas and do your work on the local harddrive then you don't need another backup. The raid is your backup.

    It all depends on how you will use it. However, hardware raid is dependent on the chipsets used. If that gies bad you might have to shell out for the same hardware to recover your data. The system Windows Home Sever uses us software based so it adds more flexibility should the hardware go bad.
  8. stiltstudio thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2009
    I may have mis-worded my last comment. I plan to backup my NAS regardless of what I buy. I just don't see the point of using a RAID setup if your backing up your RAID anyway. Why waste the disk space?

    I'm mostly just looking for advice on what NAS people recommend. As I mentioned in the original post, I'm afraid of the Time Capsule and Drobo because on the many negative reviews I've read.

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