Consolidating my hard drives (5 of them).

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by weezin, Oct 30, 2013.

  1. weezin macrumors member

    Jul 20, 2012
    So I've found myself in a bit of a mess regarding file organization and hard drives.

    I have 5 hard drives attached to my 2011 iMac (USB 2.0 + Thunderbolt) at this point. I've purchased them over the years when I've needed more space for photos and such and have ended up here. All of the hard drives have different capacities: 2 2tb, 1 3tb, 1 4tb and my internal. Everything is backed up using Crashplan. Here's how it's setup currently:

    Internal: "Working" files (roughly half the year)
    4tb Seagate Backup Plus USB 2.0: All photos (going back to 2007)
    3tb Seagate Backup Plus USB 2.0: Partial backup of 4tb
    2tb Seagate Backup Plus USB 2.0: Partial backup of 4tb
    2tb Western Digital something or over USB 2.0: Music and videos

    I currently have roughly 3.4tb of photo files at the moment and thats going up.

    Its a mess. I can never keep track of where everything is. The 4tb will be full by the middle of next year (or sooner) so I'm going to have to figure something out then as well.

    Here's what I'm looking for:
    I want ALL of my photos somehow accessible via Lightroom.
    I want my current "working" photos on my internal hard drive for speed purposes.
    I want everything backed up twice (one of which is my crashplan setup).

    What should I do here? I don't want to invest a ton of money here, but am open to options.
  2. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
  3. weezin thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 20, 2012
    I'm not too familiar with NAS would that help me?
  4. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    You can pile inexpensive SATA drives into a NAS, you could even RAID them and make expansion fairly easy. I use a Synology NAS, check out their website and Live simulator + package centre to see if it suits you. A NAS is great for archiving your photos and media.

    Unfortunately your USB drives aren't very useful on a NAS, you could plug them in but it'll reformat them to EXT4.
  5. monsieurpaul macrumors regular

    Oct 8, 2009
    Before going for a specific device, it could be useful to "rationalize" your needs:
    - Do you use only one computer or do you need to share your data between several computers ?
    - How much space do you need ? How much new space do you need / year ?
    - Do you plan to backup everything?
    - Your Crashplan setup refers to an off-site backup (Crashplan+) or just a local backup?

    In addition, you should look at the Digital Photography forum here on MacRumors as there are a lots of very interesting posts on how to organize a digital photo workflow/backup.
  6. weezin thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 20, 2012
    Thanks for the reply.

    I think about 8tb would be good for now. I'm using Crashplan+ (offsite) which has been great so far. Granted, I haven't needed to use the backups yet, so I don't know how that will go. I only need the data on one computer.

    I'll have to think about some of this. And thanks for the heads up about the photography section...I'll check it out.


    I'll look into that, thanks!
  7. cerberusss macrumors 6502a


    Aug 25, 2013
    The Netherlands
    Friend of mine got an older model Synology, a DS508 if I remember correctly. It wasn't expensive, 200 euros or so (with our typical sky high European-level sales tax). It has space for 5 disks so it can grow up to 20 TB.

    Nowadays, the needs you mention are actually pretty modest :)
  8. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    [[ Consolidating my hard drives (5 of them). ]]

    Would just like to throw out an old adage here.

    "Don't put all your eggs in one basket"

    Makes good sense for data, as well...
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Yes, this is way everyone is suggesting a RAID of some kind and also a redundant backup. DOn't place all your data on one drive. You can set up RAID to tolerate a disk failure or even two simultaneous failures. And then the RAID itself might fail so you have backups, at least two. (two is kind of a minimum)

    The question is should the RAID be a NAS or directly attached?. The NAS is required if you have two computers or ever plan to have two or more. NAS places the data on the network but a direct attached RAID can use Thunderbolt and can be 10X faster.

    A NAS over WiFi is S-L-O-W you would need gigabit Ethernet to make NAS work as primary storage but Thunderbolt is even faster and will make the RAID as fast or faster than internal disks.

    Don't even consider NAS based RAID unless you can use wired gigabit Ethernet.

    As said sinology is a great system, there are others too. You can also build a NAS device from standard PC hardware but you don't save much money. If you want to go this route Goole "freeness" it is the best NAS out there at any price by far as it is based on ZFS. But even DIY, it's not cheap and required some computer skills to set up.

    Backup is a big problem. If you have a RAID storage, then you need a second RAID for Time Machine and it needs to be larger to allow for multiple versions. This second RAID can be lower performance and if it's a NAS can be hidden inside some closet.

    Your problems you've just stepped over a line from cheap external drives to RAID so the costs jump dramatically. You will need to decide if you really do need that much data. You can generally improve the quality of any photo collection by aggressive editing.

    Always use you largest disk or RAID device for Time Machine and keep the data on the smaller drives. Use TM as the primary backup and crash plan as secondary.
  10. monsieurpaul macrumors regular

    Oct 8, 2009
    Not everyone. IMO, the OP doesn't need a RAID. In addition, installing crashplan on a Synology is not that easy, so that something to be taken into account.
  11. d0nK macrumors 6502

    Nov 4, 2011
    A JBOD Thunderbolt enclosure would be ideal, preferably with 3 or 4 drive bays.
    Shame that no-one does them :roll eyes:

    The Pegasus R4 looks decent but it's £850 for 4 x 1TB drives! which sucks.
  12. Nemic macrumors member

    Mar 18, 2012
    For storage that is very easy to expand I can recommend the Drobo - this is a type of automated RAID system that holds 5 hard drives.

    I have had a Drobo FS (it's the older network attached version) for quite a few years now, and as I have needed more space I have simply removed my smaller drives and replaced them with larger ones.

    This easy expandability is one of the Drobo's great features. Most RAIDs would require a lot of work when changing hard drives, but the Drobo does it all for you. All you have to do is pop out a drive and slide a new one in.

    Also the Drobo will protect your data if you get a drive failure. Your data is duplicated within the device. So if a single drive fails, you can still access everything. It will tell you which drive has failed, so it's easy to replace it - no screws or cables are needed, all drives are spring loaded.

    I have mine set up for Dual Disk Redundancy. This means that even if 2 drives fail at the same time, I still won't lose anything. This setting gives me less storage, but I prefer the extra safety aspect.

    I started of with 1.0 and 1.5 TB drives, and over the years have slowly upgraded them. Now I have 4 x 3TB and 1 x 2TB in the Drobo.

    This gives me 7.21 TB of actual usable storage and 5.52 TB is used for data protection - if I only had single drive protection I would get almost 10 TB of storage.

    This is a capacity calculator, you can also choose dual disk redundancy.

    I plan to start putting 4 TB drives in there eventually.

    So the Drobo will expand for you as your storage needs increase, and you always have the protection if drives fail.

    I plan to buy and extra Drobo soon. I will get the new 5D, which has USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt. I use my Drobo for Lightroom with no issues. The newer 5D model is much much faster.

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