Best way to consolidate my collection of external HDs

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by The.316, Aug 14, 2012.

  1. The.316 macrumors 65816

    The.316

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2010
    Location:
    25100 GR
    #1
    I have three external hard drives, daisy chained to each other via FW, connected to my iMac. One is a 2tb drive, one is 1.5tb, and the other is 4tb. I want to remove the drives, and add them to some type of bay. I was looking at a Drobo, and I was also looking at what OWC has to offer, but Im not really sure what I need to get. I use the HDs for backing up some video/photo work I do, and my movie collection. I use a 2tb time capsule as my router also.

    What I really need is some direction. I just want to get rid of the external drives, I want to use one power source, instead of the three Im using now, and I would like to have access to the drives from my other stuff (apple tv, ipad, iphone, mbp). I really dont know which way to go, and Ive been trying to figure it out for a year now. Any suggestions???
     
  2. robgendreau macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #2
    How 'bout slapping them into a older Mac Pro? It also has the virtual of making a dandy media or plain old file server. Easy to access from away, and a pretty nice computer in it's own right. RAID enclosures (say RAID1 USB) are gonna set you back several hundred anyway. Or even a Linux server. That would easily solve the problem of making it accessible to others. And odds are if you've got all that going a server setup might give you other benefits.

    Or get some other Mac short of the Mac Pro and daisy chain the drives and use them as a server just using the built-in OS X. You could stick 'em in a closet somewhere, and if it was a Mini run it headless.

    I'm not sure of the advisability of using a mix and match to set up a RAID with those drives anyway...perhaps others will advise.

    It's a pain to have several drives, but also a huge virtue. Network backups depend on the network; FW is pretty bombproof and there's one less gadget to fail (router). And you could take one or more of those externals offsite, which you're probably doing anyway.
     
  3. Lance-AR macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 7, 2012
    Location:
    Little Rock, AR
    #3
    Since you want easy access from other devices, it sounds like you want a NAS. This means Synology over Drobo.
     
  4. The.316, Aug 14, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2012

    The.316 thread starter macrumors 65816

    The.316

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2010
    Location:
    25100 GR
    #4
    Do I have to run a server if I want to access the HDs from my other stuff in my home? Could I not just connect it to my time capsule and go from there? I dont really want to spend that much for what Im looking for (hoping for something around $200-300), and I dont really have room in my apartment for a large desktop server.

    Or get some other Mac short of the Mac Pro and daisy chain the drives and use them as a server just using the built-in OS X. You could stick 'em in a closet somewhere, and if it was a Mini run it headless.

    Oh, I didnt know you cant mix and match HDs. They are all WD, just different sizes.

    The hard drives are permanent. They dont move from there spot. What it comes down to, like the title of the thread says, I just want to consolidate. Im going to go to a new desk, and if you see whats going on here now, while its tidy, I have a lot of wires. I figure if I can go with one bay that can hold multiple drives, I can rid myself of some wires. The problem is, I have never had this much storage, and until the past year, never really had a reason to have this much storage, so I really have no clue to what most of this NAS, JBOD, etc. means.

    If it is NAS, does that mean I need to connect it to my time capsule, instead of my iMac? If its the TC, that means I would have to access my stuff, from my iMac, via wifi, since my TC is not near my iMac? Or could the bay connect to the iMac via the ethernet cable?

    Looking at Synology, I found these two:

    [​IMG]

    and

    [​IMG]


    THe DS411J and DS411. The 411J seems like it would something that I might be looking for, but Im not really sure. I see the 411 has eSATA, but Im not really going to cut into my iMac to have this option, besides, I have a late 10 model iMac, and it doesnt have any available SATA connections.
     
  5. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #5
    Yes you would connect the NAS via ethernet directly into the back of your TC.
    Once connected it will be available to any client on your network, regardless of whether its wired or wireless.

    For example, I have my Synology connected to my Airport Extreme. I then use my MBP and my iDevices to connect to it wirelessly for all my data and media, while my main HDTV connects via ethernet to stream HD movies etc.

    With Synology you have the option of using Synology Hybrid RAID, which still gives you the benefits of RAID but on different size HDDs - hence you can re-use the current HDDs by removing them from their external casing. It will need to create a volume first, so make sure all the data is backed up before you begin! Once the volume is created, move all your data back onto the new volume, and enjoy!
     
  6. The.316 thread starter macrumors 65816

    The.316

    Joined:
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    #6
    What are the transfer rates like though? And is there much lag when playing video/audio content? The reason I ask is because I only average about 10mb/s here, with less than 1mb/s upload. Is there going to be that much of a difference accessing my stuff via the Synology, versus the FW HDs? Could I move my iTunes library to the NAS, and still access it without much delay? I like both Synology models I posted in my last post, but I just want to make sure Im making the right decision, since we are talking about almost $400. I appreciate all the help guys!
     
  7. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
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    UK
    #7
    I dont get any lag at all.
    The only bit of lag I get is when the discs havent been used for a while and go to sleep. It can take around 5 seconds for them to wake up, but once they are in use there is no lag whatsoever.
    Speed depends on your network. Im using mine over WirelessN. Obviously over ethernet it will be much faster then any wireless, but even over my wireless once streaming starts there isnt any lag at all.
     
  8. The.316 thread starter macrumors 65816

    The.316

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2010
    Location:
    25100 GR
    #8
    So I can actually store my itunes stuff on the NAS, and just access that from my imac, ipad, mbp, etc?

    And if I was going to get one, would I back up via the NAS, or would I just still use the time machine via my time capsule?

    Does anyone have an opinion on the two Synology models I posted above? I like the 411j, but Im curious about the speed of it, and the RAM. Is the 1.2GHz and 128mb of ram enough?
     
  9. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #9
    You can enable iTunes server on the NAS, which means you can put your content there and be able to access it on any instance of iTunes on any computer on the network.
    Bear in mind iTunes server just serves the media to an instance of iTunes etc. Its NOT the same as an iTunes library - for example, it does store your downloaded applications for your iPad, or you dont actually sync to it directly etc.

    The NAS is compatible with Time Machine. You can continue to use your Time Capsule for your Time Machine backups and carry on as normal, or you can use the Time Capsule for something else and use the NAS to store all your Time Machine backups instead.

    Depends on whether you want to run applicatiosn like Plex server etc directly on the NAS. If you want to only use it as storage and backups etc, then low CPU and RAM will be fine. If you want to use it as a server for ftp, plex, web, etc then you may want a faster CPU and RAM.

    Not sure about the systems you mentioned, but I am able to upgrade the RAM on my Synology very easily (Ive created avideo showing the process in my YouTube channel). Check to see if its possible on the systems you've mentioned.
     
  10. The.316 thread starter macrumors 65816

    The.316

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2010
    Location:
    25100 GR
    #10
    I havent used time machine yet, and out of the 2tb in the TC, along with the 7.5 in the external drives, I have about 6tb free. I still would have to do a time machine backup because NAS is just like a big storage area, no?

    You mentioned something earlier about the hybrid RAID option. That is something I would have to go with if I have different size HDs? Now if that is the case, should I back up what I have in the NAS to another external drive, or is one drive mirrored to another drive in the NAS? Hope Im not confusing you.

    Well I have my apple tv 2 connected in the living room, and I mostly stream from my imac to it, songs mainly with some video. In order to run Plex, I would have to JB the apple tv, no?

    Im going to check that out. Thanks again for the help, I really appreciate it!
     

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