External Storage solution Raid URGENT!!! LACIE 4BIG QUADRA OR 5BIG NETWORK?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Doctorsti, May 29, 2010.

  1. Doctorsti macrumors regular

    May 30, 2006
    Basically I need a large storage option that is set up to be resistant to loss for my high def video and images. My 500 GB iMac is full to the brim but I don't want to spend 5-800 dollars to back everything up.

    I have a 500 GB time machine that is also full so I assume it's just erasing old records with new as we go along now.

    I want to purchase 4-5 of the lacie 1TB drives and set up a RAID array external to the iMac. Can I do this? Is it a process a computer novice can do?

    If I got 5x1TB drives and did RAID 1 or something I would have 4TB of storage and one drive could die and still maintain all my data? Is there a better RAID version like RAID 6,10 etc...?
  2. reebzor macrumors 6502a


    Jul 18, 2008
    Philadelphia, PA
    It would be much better (and presumably not much more expensive) to buy something like this: http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/hard-drives/RAID/Desktop/ and 4 harddrives to put in it. This supports hardware raid, and what you are talking about doing is software raid. You also need to look up raid levels and figure out which would be best for you. I really wouldnt even suggest raiding multiple external drives, but I guess doing a raid1 with two externals wouldnt be too bad.
  3. Doctorsti thread starter macrumors regular

    May 30, 2006
    well it turns out I got impatient and just bought a Lacie 4big Quadra but I am regretting it as I just found a place to get the 5big Network for 40 dollars more.

    Should I cancel the 4big Quadra which I would connect FW800 to my IMac and purchase the 5big which I would connect to my time capsule?

    I don't know much about computers so it's really hard to make these decisions when you have no clue what is important.

    Will the gigabit ethernet be MUCH slower then direct FW800 and is the extra 40 dollars worth the extra TB of data storage.

    I would set it up RAID 10 I think (from reading other's posts)
  4. Doctorsti thread starter macrumors regular

    May 30, 2006
    what if I just hardwired the 5big Network to my IMac via Cat5e? Can you do this? I assume this would allow much faster transfer then over the ethernet.

    I have emailed Lacie for help as well but I don't want order the 5big and then be stuck with 1000 dollars worth of external hard drive.
  5. SoCalRich macrumors 6502


    Feb 6, 2010
    I would suggest that you slow down, do your research and due dilligence BEFORE you buy anything.

    First, do you know which RAID system is best for you? Decide on that first and then decide on the hardware.

    Check out http://www.drobo.com/products/drobo.php while you're at it. Several photographer friends of mine use this system and have had no problems.
  6. ciaran00 macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2010
  7. Doctorsti thread starter macrumors regular

    May 30, 2006
    I have been researching for weeks but I am relatively computer illiterate so I need a plug and play type solution. I can't be swapping/buying disks/building/software configuring.

    Basically I need to open it up plug it in and maybe follow a few pages of directions made for a 3rd grader and viola I'm protected.

    I like the idea of a Drobo but read too much about it's exclusive data storage so that you would have to buy another drobo should it fail. In the lacie's case if it fails all the drives can be moved to any other machine to be read and used for backup. I don't see how a hot swappable Lacie NAS is any worse then a hyped up proprietary RAID configuration that can also be hot swapped and costs my first born without any drives in it.

    I looked at the ready nas NV+ options but they are all pricier then what I am paying for the Lacie. I am paying either 560 for the 4big quadra or 600 dollars for the 5big network.

    I can't get any other plug and play options for this type of cash and i have read a lot good about the lacies so i am not too worried unless I have to deal with technical support, which I hear is terrible.

    I have posted about 3 other times in this forum over the last 4-5 months and I think my average number of responses with helpful info is like 2.

    Most everyone just reads it and moves on and most say:
    "get a drobo" or
    "get a ready nas pro, they are the best" or
    my favorite "I just built mine with a few rubber bands and spare chips and platters I had laying around, wrote the code by hand and then just slapped it all in a custom enclosure with a flux capacitor. WAY CHEAPER THEN WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO SPEND"

    I have read all the RAID configs and I believe I have narrowed it down to the RAID 10 as it seems to be pretty resistant to hardware failure, fast transfer rates, and makes my data very safe.
  8. pprior macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    I've owned the drobo, also the 4big quadra, a readynas NV+ and several other raid systems, so I speak from personal experience with the products you're considering.

    You first need to decide what is important to you, a NAS system vs. the 4big are completely different animals.

    My priorities personally were plug and play/ease of use, noise, and stability. Speed was important, but less so. Price was not critical. You may have other priorities.

    The 4big is a very nice system, it will be markedly faster than the 5big so if you're using it for real-time use, it's clearly better than any NAS system. If it's just time machine use, that's less critical.

    Using a RAID-5 setup for time machine backup I think makes a ton of sense - first of all your main drive has to die, then 2 drives have to simultaneously fail on your raid before you'll lose any data. Of course this does not account for user error or fire/flood/theft.

    If you've got the 4big, just enjoy it. If you can do raid-10, that will fly. If you need the space, just go raid-5.

    The drobo is WAY slower than the 4big - maybe 20% of the performance. I've also found mine to be flaky, but I've got a second generation (FW800) unit, they've since upgraded I know.

    The other big downside of the lacies is that you technically have to use their drives to update, a cost issue vs buying generic drives, but again if price is not a critical thing for you, that's fine.
  9. Doctorsti thread starter macrumors regular

    May 30, 2006
    I believe I just learned the definition of irony! My IMac's hard drive just died. Click of death followed by me trying to reboot only to see the flashing folder with a question mark! I have a time machine with the same size hard drive as my machine but I am pretty sure I turned time machine off a few months ago because it was screwing up something I was doing on the internet.. something work related if I remember that was causing my to type slow when I remote logged onto my business server....

    I figure I lost the last few months of pictures of my son and stuff so that is pretty terrible. I can't believe I ordered the stupid drive last night and TODAY my computer goes down. I was planning on offloading all my video and pictures onto the 4big as soon as it got here just so in the case of a failure I would have everything. I gambled and lost this time.

    Anyone know a ballpark number for the data recovery services to mount a damaged drive to pull data... my brain is telling me it's in the neighborhood of 700 dollars or so from some conversation I had with someone.

    (written on my wife's macbook, RIP IMac)
  10. Doctorsti thread starter macrumors regular

    May 30, 2006
    I plan on using it for archive purposes only. If I am going to work on a file or use a picture I will just pull it off the drive. Most of what's going on there is archival video and photos. I doubt I would use if for "working" on a file.

    Is the NAS 5big network better for those needs. I would do whichever RAID config that allows me the most room but also allows for drive failure.
  11. pprior macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    If you're just using it from your own machine, then personally I see no reason to go with the 5big. It's slower, and you have higher hassle factor with NAS (having to mount server drives, etc). The 4big is just plug and play for the most part, and will be much faster. The downside will be noise (it's not that noisy, but I'm very particular to noise levels in my workspace, having a nas in another room removes the noise), limited sharing, and "only" 6TB of file storage space on raid5.
  12. Doctorsti thread starter macrumors regular

    May 30, 2006
    Well to my surprise I emailed Lacie with a "help me decide" email and I had a real person call me back a few times until they got me on my cell phone. I talked with her for about 20 minutes on the benefits of both the 4big quadra and 5big along with other backup strategies to make sure I never lose data again.

    Here's my question. She had mentioned that the an external unit like the 4big could fail in that the actual unit fails and I COULD lose all my data that way. So even if one of the hard drives in the array didn't fail the box could and render the data useless. She recommended the best onsite solution was 2 4bigs or 5bigs so that the data was archived on two RAID arrays so that if one did die the other would most likely be fine. the other solution was to use a 4big locally that is mirrored on a cloud backup like carbonite or mozy.

    I had no idea the actual RAID box could die rendering the data useless. Now I am faced with buying two 4bigs or something to make sure my archived video is safe. I won't have it on my main machine so I thought a single RAID array was enough to prevent loss, is she right and I am wrong?
  13. pprior macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    There is no one solution that can completely protect all your data. Yes if the unit fails it could somehow corrupt your data. However the liklihood of that is minimal.

    If your data is absolutely critical, you need to have multiple backups.

    Here is what I do for my primary data (pictures):

    1) Original source
    2) Time machine backup on external attached drive
    3) RAID5 backup in basement
    4) Monthly rotated hard drive backup to fireproof safe
    5) Mozy online backup

    As you can see, I have 5 backups of my most important data. Relying on one unit does not suffice, even if it's redundancy protected. Having 2 (or 3 or 4) 4big units sitting there will not protect you if there is a fire or theft....
  14. Rawn macrumors newbie

    May 26, 2010
    Flashing folder with a question mark doesn't mean it's dead... I hope you haven't already physically destroyed the drive or anything.

    Mine did this a few months back and I called Apple almost immediately. The guy on the phone told me to chill out cause it's a common problem and easily fixed. Basically what has happened is it doesn't know which OS to load. Just reboot holding down option and then select your Macintosh HD. Should work. If not, try putting in your OS discs and running disk utility to see if there are any errors. Don't give up man!

    I'm afraid I can't really help with the storage problem though, but good luck!
  15. Doctorsti thread starter macrumors regular

    May 30, 2006
    REALLY!? I assumed since I heard clicking and then everything stopped working along with the beachball icon spinning away that the drive crashed at that time which is why it wouldn't start back up, thus giving me the flashing folder. I would be ecstatic if that wasn't the case because now my machine is back up and running and Apple Warrantied my hard drive replacing my 500GB drive with a 640GB drive for free.

    I am planning on sending the drive out to a data recovery company and bite the bullet to pay the 500 plus dollars that it's going to cost to get my pictures from February 28th until now which is the last day time machine ran before I turned it off again (and forgot to turn it back on)

    My other trouble is now time machine is saying my time capsule doesn't have enough room to backup the 460GB on the available 40 or so GB on the time capsule. Funny because time machine is acting like it's my first backup but if you go into time machine you can scroll through many months of backups to see changes to the files and such. Why can't time machine just pick up where it left off?
  16. Rawn macrumors newbie

    May 26, 2010
    Not sure what's up with Time Machine, it seems odd that it think it's the first time you're doing it but you have months of stuff. I'm not a time machine expert though, sorry man. :p

    Did you manage to get it to reboot at all? Even just to transfer the stuff off to a working external?
  17. Doctorsti thread starter macrumors regular

    May 30, 2006
    I wish I had tried a few of the things you mentioned and the apple support page also mentions but I have been around this clicking hard drive thing before and last time it was trashed as well so I immediately turned it off and went to the apple store. They replaced the hard drive and I have the old one. Took me making a scene for them to actually replace the drive AND give my old one back but they did it in the end. I plan on sending it out as I just have the drive in an antistatic bag they gave me. If it's not damaged then the recovery company will have it easy and probably still charge me out he wazoo.
  18. Rawn macrumors newbie

    May 26, 2010
    Ah that sucks man, glad you got to keep the drive though, and I hope they don't charge you do much for the recovery. The other thing you can do if you don't want to pay $$ and feel comfortable doing it, is getting an external harddrive enclosure to put the drive into, then hook it up to the computer and transfer the data off yourself. You'll just need to get one the right size for the drive 2.5inch or whatever and put it in. It's really pretty easy, I used to do it al l the time before completely enclosed portable drives became so cheap. Most enclosures go for $50AUS here so I'm sure you can find something cheap enough for the job.

    Otherwise, best of luck with the data recovery! Sorry I can't help with anything else, I know NOTHING about RAID. :p
  19. Doctorsti thread starter macrumors regular

    May 30, 2006
    Thanks for the help, I don't find you get a whole lot of help on here typically. I appreciate you even posting. I actually just bought one of those hard drive "docks" for 50 bucks from OWC so I may give that a shot. I hope just trying to spin the drive up doesn't damage it further. I know that once the drive sounds like it's going or has gone you really should leave it alone until they can disassemble in the clean room to replace the read heads. Oh well I will gamble a little I think.

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