Advice re external storage and RAID etc

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by saqibhasan, Jan 13, 2015.

  1. saqibhasan macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2007
    #1
    Hi there,

    So I've had a crap month or so for computer stuff and a few things have failed on me including my formac raven firewire drive.

    Here's my current setup.

    Mac Pro 1,1 running Yosemite (well, I should add)
    4 drives - 2 raid with aperture (450Gb), 1 OS drive (1Tb), 1 iTunes data drive (1.5Tb)
    External Lacie 300Gb with firewire - backup drive with some data
    Time capsule 500Gb - used with chronosync to regularly back up all data
    Formac 800Gb - used to store unedited images from my canon SLR as well as my aperture vault

    So I'm running out of room for the iTunes, and with my formac failing and losing some data (which I had thankfully backed up onto DVDs like 2 hours before) I fear the same thing happening again.

    I was previously thinking to just upgrade the iTunes drive to 4Tb now thinking to get an external big momma drive (like 20Tb+) and use that as:

    1. My iTunes drive
    2. My aperture vault
    3. Maybe even my main aperture drive too
    4. My unedited pictures archive
    5. Moving the current 1.5Tb into my Time Capsule and backing up all user data there.

    I am confused as to what to go for connection-wise. Since I am on the old MP, I have no thunderbolt. So I was thinking to use FW800 or maybe getting a USB3 card (although I hear there are problems with sleep modes and volume mounting). Or the other option is getting a NAS and hooking that into my TC.

    Either way I would have a use a RAID (but if you have any advice as to which RAID settings to use for good speed and protection against data loss, please let me know.)

    I have been looking around and just got myself in a tangle, so figured this would be a great place to get some advice.

    I was thinking about the Lacie (since they have not failed me in almost 10 years despite being regularly used) Nas Pro, 5Big Network, or the 4Big Quadra but just unsure which would be the best for what i am looking to do.

    Any advice would be appreciated. Budget is, by the grace of God, not an issue (but not buying a rack!) since I would rather spend money now and have no regrets.

    Thank you in advance.
     
  2. wonderspark macrumors 68030

    wonderspark

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Location:
    Oregon
    #2
    If you want quality, look to Atto or Areca. I stand by my Areca RAID card.
     
  3. saqibhasan thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2007
    #3
    Card?
     
  4. OS6-OSX macrumors 6502a

    OS6-OSX

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2004
    Location:
    California
    #4
    If you want quality, look to Areca or Atto. I stand by my Atto RAID card. :D
     
  5. saqibhasan thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2007
    #5

    Sorry I am not adept at all this - what do you mean by getting a raid card?
     
  6. wonderspark, Jan 14, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2015

    wonderspark macrumors 68030

    wonderspark

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Location:
    Oregon
    #6
    These are PCIe cards that fit into one of the slots in your Mac Pro... next to your graphics card, etc. There are all different types. Some have internal ports, some have external ports, and some have both internal and external ports. Some are full size, some are low profile to fit into smaller spaces, and so on.

    I have an Areca 1880ix-12. They have updated this model since the 1880 series, but my older one is still plenty fast enough for me. It was shown to have speeds as fast as 3.6GB/second when it came out. <-- Click that link to read about it.

    In Areca model numbering, the 'i' means internal port, and 'x' means external port. 'ix' means both, and I use both internal and external ports for my RAID boxes and my internal SSDs. If you hook an SSD to this card, it will run at the full possible speed it can provide, unlike hooking it to the internal SATA2 bus in the Mac Pro (HDD slots, ODD bay connections), which will be slower.

    The card uses mini-SAS, which is much faster and more secure than any Thunderbolt, USB 3.0, eSATA or Firewire connection.

    I hope that helps!

    Edit:
    I'll add that having a physical hardware RAID card such as this opens up more RAID levels that you can implement, such as RAID 6... my personal favourite.
     
  7. saqibhasan thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2007
    #7
    Thanks for that. So once I install the card, what HDD do I need to buy? Just a regular external box like the 4big or something else entirely?
     
  8. wonderspark macrumors 68030

    wonderspark

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Location:
    Oregon
    #8
    I have a couple external boxes full of HDDs by Sans Digital, a TR8X and a TR4X. I shop around for deals on these boxes, and buy any cables not included from monoprice, but they usually come with all needed cables.
    http://www.sansdigital.com/
    http://www.monoprice.com/Category?c_id=102

    You should use enterprise HDDs or SSDs inside. My HDDs are Western Digital WD2003FYYS and WD4000FYYZ, 2TB and 4TB respectively. Enterprise disks are more expensive, but necessary for a proper RAID. Also, Western Digital provides a 5-year warranty on each drive, and they have excellent service.
     
  9. LorenK macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    Location:
    Illinois
    #9
    Something else you might consider is eSATA. I have an eSATA PCIe card with two eSATA boxes hooked up with four drives each. The drives can be jboded or RAIDed in the eSATA and the prices for the external drive cases plus the drives is economical (the boxes go for about $125 and frequently include the PCIe you need, and you can get any drives you want to add, I've taken drives out of failed external drive cases to add in). Since you're going to use it for external storage, the eSATA connection is more than fast enough.
     
  10. saqibhasan thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2007
    #10
    Thanks for all the advice. The card options have thrown me again. Not sure how easy it is to get these things in the UK.

    So confused. Trying to get my head around raid was hard enough!!
     
  11. wonderspark macrumors 68030

    wonderspark

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Location:
    Oregon
    #11
    Can you order from Newegg? Here's one with two external ports.
     
  12. saqibhasan thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2007
    #12
    I can but will this work with my old Mac pro 1,1? Not sure but I think mine is pcie 1.0.

    And I'll be honest and say this whole process is a tad daunting (I resuscitate newborn babies on a regular basis, yet this is what freaks me out. Go figure.)
     
  13. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2003
    Location:
    The Peninsula
    #13
  14. saqibhasan thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2007
    #14
    see. that's why i'm scared - don't wanna end up with the wrong thing!
     
  15. wonderspark macrumors 68030

    wonderspark

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Location:
    Oregon
    #15
    I'm not totally sure you actually NEED a RAID setup. You indicated that you want "good speed and protection against data loss." A RAID offers speed and protection from data loss, but it's not a backup, and that's important to understand.

    I have a RAID 6 setup. This offers me excellent speed as well as allowing two drives to fail in my RAID set without losing data, but I still back up my data on a separate system every time the data changes, because the RAID set alone is not a backup.

    Here's what I'd do, assuming you buy an Areca 1882X RAID card (there's an open box on Newegg now for $553 or £365) and a Sans Digital TR8X box for eight new, matched enterprise drives:

    [​IMG]

    Looking at this chart for your 1,1 Mac Pro, choose the top selection, which gives one x16 lane, one x8 lane, and two x1 lanes, and populate your graphics card in the x16, your Areca card in the x8 lane, and whatever else you may have in the x1 lanes, such as a USB 3.0 card, perhaps.

    At PCIe v1.0, you'll only get half the speed out of the Areca 1882x in the x8 slot, which would be slot #4 in the situation shown on the chart when selecting the top choice. Half speed is a max of 2000MB/second, which is most likely plenty fast enough for what you need.

    Put your eight new enterprise class disks into the 8-bay Sans Digital TR8X box, and connect that box to your Areca 1882X via two SFF-8088 cables, which should come with either the Areca card or the TR8X. I know I ended up with several extra cables in my purchases. I agree with AidenShaw to also get the battery backup (BBU) for it. Set up as RAID 6. Now any two of the eight disks can fail on you, but you'll still have all your data, and still be able to use it while your replacements are shipped and are rebuilding upon insertion in the box.

    You'll have to do some homework to make sure you understand how it all works. I read up plenty on this system before putting mine together, and I still learned a lot more once I actually used it, but it's not that difficult.

    Say you bought three 4TB disks for inside your Mac Pro, and eight 2TB disks for the RAID box. In RAID 6, those eight disks will show up as a 12TB volume, which is the same size as the three 4TB disks in the Mac, and you could use the internal Mac disks as backups for your RAID box.

    Or, you could set up the eight disks in the RAID box as multiple volumes. They don't have to be in a RAID for that matter, but that would make the purchase of an Areca RAID card a waste of money. The point being, you will have the flexibility to make it work best for you. If you wanted to use a bunch of external disks as backups via USB or Firewire, you could do that, too. Just plug them in as needed for backups.

    Another think I suggest is a proper Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) for your system. I have two, because I like redundancy and the ability to hold out during long power outages, and thus I can run my whole system with RAID boxes and multiple monitors for over 45 minutes without main power. I've had to run a half hour once during a storm, and that was nice. I suggest CyberPower or APC, 1500va units that deliver pure sine-wave power.

    That way, combined with the BBU on the Areca, your system won't be trashed by power fluctuations. It will just always work reliably with minimal attention. I've only had to replace three out of over twenty disks that were starting to fail, which is simple with Western Digital's 5-year warranty on enterprise disks. My stress level is very low, and it sounds like you would like the same thing for yourself!
     
  16. saqibhasan thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2007
    #16
    thanks for that wonderspark. i'll look into things. the raid is not my only backup (i physically backup my photos onto 2 DVDs too) but i just want something that is fairly reliable. i figured the 4big would do the job (assumed it was faster) but maybe not.
     
  17. wonderspark macrumors 68030

    wonderspark

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Location:
    Oregon
    #17
    A 4big won't be the fastest thing out there, but if the speed is fast enough for you, then you could skip the whole RAID card idea and just get those. It would certainly be cheaper and easier. Dedicated hardware RAID card solutions such as what I was talking about are overkill for most people, but they do offer the best performance.
     
  18. saqibhasan thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2007
    #18
    oh crap - misread your post - i thought you had said a max speed of 200mb/s, not 2000mb (i.e. 2gig/s). That's bloody fast. Like wow.

    Hmm. I think I'll go for the new egg and see whats what.
     
  19. 4kediting macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    #19

    I completely agree with the previous replys to your thread well versed and useful help. The card makes you oMP current/future proof. I look at storage options all the time and storage w/replaceable drives will outlive my next several computers. I was surprised that the Pegasus2 R6 12TB and 18TB wasn't mentioned, back up plus enough bandwidth to edit multi 4k layers. Seemed like a great investment for MP owners.
     
  20. saqibhasan thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2007
    #20
    Is there a max storage that I can have? I had a look at the tr8x and the specs said max 16tb? Although I can't find it right now.

    Also, say I start with three drives as raid 6 and add more with time. Does this mean that it will just reorganize itself with the new drives? Or say if I change machines - would the raid controller remember how the drives were organized? Or if the raid controller card fails - the data will be ok?

    Been reading around and thinking to go for the Areca and I'll see what I can get for the boxes. Upgradability is also important - so would need something I can add to if and when I can run out of space.

    Appreciate all the info
     
  21. 4kediting macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    #21
    I think the drives come with the purchase its expensive. I really want ssd so I am waiting for the price to come down on ssd.

    Also I found it hard to get all the data I wanted but I think there might be a better controller on the 18TB.
     
  22. saqibhasan thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2007
    #22
    Looks like pegasus is a no go since its thunderbolt only.
     
  23. wonderspark macrumors 68030

    wonderspark

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Location:
    Oregon
    #23
    The Sans Digital TR8X can hold more than 16TB. That spec was written when 2TB drives were the largest. I have some 4TB disks that work in there, but I keep them in the TR4X, since I don't have eight of them yet.

    Also, I recall seeing a spec on the TR8X long ago that read the max speed was something like 800MB/second. Well, that's not true, either. I've personally seen 1101MB/second during a RAID 0 test of HDDs that each run a max of 138MB/second. Doing the math, 138x8=1104, so the box appears to run data as fast as a group of disks can spit it out.

    I plan to run all SSDs in the TR8X someday, when the HDDs die. In that case, I expect the speed to be limited to the Areca card... about 3600MB/second.

    And yes, the Thunderbolt boxes aren't useful on a machine that can't run Thunderbolt, but you can take comfort in the knowledge that the Areca card can run faster than the current limits of Thunderbolt's x4 lane bottleneck.
     
  24. saqibhasan thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2007
    #24
    So you think I should get the 4 bay first? Or did you just mean re the size not matching of the 4tb?

    Also, can you answer the questions re failure of card and change of machine please?

    Which HDD do you have in there at the moment? To be honest, I think the speed isn't a big deal since I don't do video editing, but I do transfer a fair bit of data due to travelling a lot is why I want something that would be fast. I moved some files to my LaCie via FireWire and it was fairly quick. I moved sormething using gigabit Ethernet and was like hmm it finished fast maybe it skipped something and lo and behold it was there! So that's why I was initially considering a NAS setup.

    Thanks again btw - I really do appreciate all the help.
     
  25. 4kediting macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    #25
    And yes, the Thunderbolt boxes aren't useful on a machine that can't run Thunderbolt, but you can take comfort in the knowledge that the Areca card can run faster than the current limits of Thunderbolt's x4 lane bottleneck.[/QUOTE]

    Wow can't believe that didn't cross my mind. It only took four years of thunderbolt to forget that there was a pre thunderbolt era.
     

Share This Page