External storage system for a photographer

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by ddwit, Dec 6, 2010.

  1. ddwit, Dec 6, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2010

    ddwit macrumors member

    ddwit

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    Dec 4, 2010
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    The Netherlands
    #1
    Hello,

    Can anybody share some knowledge about an external storage system for our photography business?

    We have a small Photography business which is growing. We have one workstation and need external storage to keep and backup our customers photo's for several years. Our current workstation (Imac (is being upgraded to MP)) is getting out of storage so it's time to think of a decent solution.

    We need a 2-5TB storage / backup system, maybe in a couple of years ugradable to 10Tb or so..

    I don't know nothing about these things, read some things over eSata, drobo, usb3 etcera.. So a little help would be appreciated!
     
  2. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    NYC
    #2
    I use a Drobo S; it's not my favorite system since it's mostly proprietary and the upfront costs for the enclosure is high, but on the plus side it is very easy to use and it's expandable. You can start out with some old hard drives and then change them up on the fly as your storage needs grow. The Drobo is best paired with an eSATA card on your Mac Pro; the speed is acceptable for photography work.

    Anyways, for long time backup, I use Bluray discs. They are a bit pricey at the moment, but on the long run they last a very long time (if you store them in a cool, dry, and dark place) and they don't really take up much space (something like a safe or maybe a safety deposit box would do well). On the Mac Pro, all you have to do is buy a Bluray burner and an appropriate software like Toast, and then you can start doing incremental backups daily [or weekly or whatnot depending on your volume]. You can work with DVD as well if your storage volume is low.

    Basically the gist of it is: I store my work on my Drobo for immediate access, but for long term backup and archiving, I burn the files to optical media and store them away.
     
  3. Honumaui macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2008
    #3
    we use simple 5 disc raid 5 boxes

    some thoughts on upgrading later :) get what you need for the season or the year then add to it or change it up a bit prices will come down and capacity goes up !

    I would say you can get a box like this
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816111145

    this along with a set of off site is pretty good way to archive ?

    my reasons for raid 5 on archive is some safety from a failed disc but at the same time long term archive not to worried if I loose it or not ?
    and the other offsite I can always get if I need to

    also for archive work we want to access if we need to we store on two of these boxes again safety of raid 5 or just use JBOD type cases they are cheaper and will work also :)


    one thing I do with my work over the years is move it forward to new media
    so my work from say 80 gig discs moved to 300s my 300s moved to 750 gig those have moved forward to 2 TB and in the future will move those forward to ??? 4TB 5 TB ? who knows

    myself and a lot of other pros I know dont use opticals anymore those that do are switching to BluRay slowly

    I am buying some more 2TB drives and replacing all our 750s
    basically I just copy the info over pack up the 750s and send them away

    when the 2TB get replaced I will do the same thing copy it over and send them away
    this way all of my work gets archived every few years

    bought 5 of the samsung F4 2TB for $79 :) hard to beat at that price so far they seem to be nice drives and for slow RPM drives they are very fast actually !!! faster than my old 750s

    so you can build up a nice archive box pretty cheap

    I am not a drobo fan ? to slow to expensive IMHO but those that have them like them ? so thats cool

    NAS boxes are nice and work also as a alternative but again more $$ when you just need to hold some HDD for local access and usually dont need anything fancy

    so basic raid 5 or JBOD sansdigital box should do you fine

    figure a basic 4 bay JBOD case can run you $175 2TB HDD on sale $80 so for just under $500 you can have a nice 4 TB raid 10 setup that gives you some security for archives or run them as two sets of 4TB JBOD backing one up to the other
     
  4. Flash SWT macrumors 6502

    Flash SWT

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    Mar 14, 2009
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    Houston, TX
    #4
    I store working files on an internal RAID 1 array of mirrored drives. Archive storage is currently on a pair of ReadyNAS boxes.

    .
     
  5. ddwit thread starter macrumors member

    ddwit

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2010
    Location:
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    #5
    Thank you all for sharing.

    So there is:
    - optical (dvd or blu ray) for longtime storage, stores by hand
    - harddisk storage for immediate access (TowerRAID TR5UT-BP, drobo), stores automatically
     
  6. Honumaui macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2008
    #6
    how long do you want to store stuff ?
    meaning your best work do you want to keep forever ? or as long as you can to pass down ?

    if so Optical only is going to fail maybe ? moving it forward every few years ? say 5 is going to be safer in the long run so keep that in mind ! client work you dont care after say 5 years then no problem

    so think of having to reburn of pull off all the data just to move it to another media as time moves on !
    so if you go that route make it PART but not all of what you are doing
     
  7. OZMP macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    #7
    Drobo's are a bit of a joke.

    QNAP or Thecus are what you will want to look at, QNAP you pay a little more for, but they are a bit more polished, work well with OSX etc. The Thecus is cheaper.

    If the business is expanding I would personally be buying something rackmountable- Allows for when you go to rack mount DC/switch etc, and most of the rackmount units will have a redunant power supply.

    Do some reading on here: http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/
    You can check reviews, speed charts, and generally educate yourself on NAS setups.

    Buy the best unit you can now, even if you don't fill it with disks, keep in mind for RAID you do need to use almost identical disks for "ideal" conditions.

    Keep in mind all workstations backing up to a NAS is getting the data onto two sets of discs, but ideally you would have a file server with all workstation data replicated here, with backups going to the NAS. You would also want backups to end up offsite if possible to allow for DR. RAID1/5/6 are not a form of backup, they just protect you against HDD failure, not corruptions or user error :)

    Cheers,
     
  8. ddwit thread starter macrumors member

    ddwit

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    #8
    Cheers! I will have a look on QNAP or Thecus! And thanks for the literature!
     
  9. sim667 macrumors 65816

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    Dec 7, 2010
    #9
    Im a UK photography teacher / photographer......

    Whilst I dont have a studio, I do have a reasonable backup solution for my mac pro. I've got a newertech guardian maximus pro, cost me £130, and 2 WD caviar green 2TB disks in a RAID 1 configuration (cost £75 each).... So for me that was a very good, low cost solution, cost about £280 in total which i was pretty chuffed with (dont know what that costs in USD).

    Im trying to decide whether there's any benefit in installing an esata port on my mac pro now.
     
  10. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    Nov 30, 2008
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    UK
    #10
    The only benefit is speed. If you're fine with your current solution (I assume you use FW800), then there is no need to use eSATA.
     
  11. sim667 macrumors 65816

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    Dec 7, 2010
    #11
    Much beyond the speed i didnt really see the point, but i do like my little projects..... so i may end up doing it anyway :rolleyes:
     
  12. ddwit thread starter macrumors member

    ddwit

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    #12
    Hi Sim 677,
    I took a look at the site, they do look nice, but they are to small. We need at least 4Tb, in the future upgradable to 8tb.

    http://www.newertech.com/products/gmaxmini.php
     
  13. ddwit, Dec 7, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2010

    ddwit thread starter macrumors member

    ddwit

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    #13
    The QNAP looks really nice. Also that you can use them as a network device is super. We now only have one workstation, but also a MacBookPro. With de NAP as a network device the MBP can connect easy as well. And if in the future we get more workstation they can connect to the NAP to..

    The QNAP TS-459 pro+ cost 700 Euro. And then we need some hard disks..

    1) Do you know what brand and type harddisk are ok?
    Maybe it's nice to start with 2x2tb or 4x2tb

    2) And if you work with raid 1 or raid 5 how much storage do you have when for instance you have 4x2TB in the QNAP?

    3) What do you mean by file server. The QNAP is some sort of file server isn't it? For backup the file server I need 2 QNAP system or not?
    (Maybe it's better not to expand, you keep buying extra stuff ;) )
     
  14. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #14
    If you want to get 8TB usable space, I suggest that you buy a unit with more drive bays. Take a look at the Thecus N7700(Pro). It's one of the fastest NAS devices you can these days (up to 100MB/s), comes with 7 drive bay, can be suited with the 10GbE card, and goes for about 1000€.

    1) The best source for drive compatibility is the manufacturer of the NAS itself. They all have a compatibility list.

    2)
    4X2TB in RAID1 = 4TB usable space.
    4X2TB in RAID5 = 6TB usable space.

    So unless you will opt for 3TB drives some day (way to expensive at this point), 8TB won't be achievable with a 4 bay unit and some sort of redundancy.

    If you plan on doing so, you have to look for a NAS that supports online expansion of the array(s). Makes it easier to expand your capacity and you don't have to restore all your data from your (hopefully in place) backup.
     
  15. ddwit, Dec 7, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2010

    ddwit thread starter macrumors member

    ddwit

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    #15
    That's great information Transporteur, thanks!

    We are not that high end. The card is pretty expensive also (+1000Euro)!! Normal 1GB is for us fast enough, it also gives some time to breath out ;)

    1) So you will win some storage space with Raid 5 (vs Raid1) but it will be slower I presume?

    2) And what about the backup of this fileserver (that's the way I look at a NAS). Do I need a extra NAS just to backup the NAS?

    3) The Thecus N7700 looks like a really nice machine to. It has lot's off good specs. Do you know the difference / advantage between Thecus N7700 over the QNAP devices?
     
  16. Honumaui macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 18, 2008
    #16
    besides being a photographer we have a post production company with about 300 Pro Photographer clients album layout PS work and LR for raw conversions are the main focus
    I think I have about 50+TB of storage here ? forgot exact amount cause their is a ton in archive also

    when on Maui I did commercial work and some weddings about 40 commercial jobs a year with about 100 weddings

    my switch to digital was just over 10 years ago
    so have tried a lot of solutions and each has pros cons :)

    the one thing I can say about the NAS boxes is they are great for longer term archive and its nice run a cat cable or wireless extender and hide it in the house :) one more protection layer
    the downside is depending on how much you are accessing it the speeds for larger photo jobs it becomes a pain !!!!
    they are great for multi shooter companies
    we found with multiple workstations it was still simpler just to have one box loaded up and access it over the network ?
    cause working on a computer thats doing disc access is no fun

    that is why also local storage attached FW800 or eSATA is nicer to have ?

    again this boils down to your external needs but ask yourself this

    do I need long term storage where I wont access things much ? or do I need storage I can access to finish client jobs ? like waiting on albums to be approved etc..

    so not knocking NAS boxes but you want to think about why ?
    cause for the price of quality ones you can do other things
     
  17. ddwit, Dec 7, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2010

    ddwit thread starter macrumors member

    ddwit

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    #17
    Hi Honumaui,
    I get the point in directness. a quick reaction. It's nice to work with a system like that. But we already have an Apple 2 TB Time Capsule directly connected to the workstation which makes hourly backups through ethernet connection, we can also use it for storage, but yes the reaction is a slow. And we have a LaCie external harddisk connected through FW800. For us this is OK, we don't do DTP all day and by far not as much as you do. Next to the TC we need long time storage, it's ok in that case, as you write yourself, that it is slower in reaction.

    The Newegg box you advised does not support a network connection. It's a Direct-attached storage. It does support USB, eSata. It's something like a big external portable hard disk (but then made of multiple disks and Raid).


    To me it looks like the other (NAS, network attached storage) storage-boxes (QNAP, Thecus) mentioned support all the connections (Network, Usb, eSata, etc.) But they do are more expensive!! But we then we can choose and change how to connect to them if situations changes??? Is this so, or are those connections just to add extra machines to the NAS?



    It's not totaly clear why you store in Raid 5. Is this the most safe way? Is this slower than Raid1. (I will go and read something about raid systems..)
    And you store on two of those boxes..do you take one to a different space, as a backup? Or is it just 2 times storage space?
     
  18. Honumaui macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2008
    #18
    to clarify a bit since I write bad ;) hehehehe

    and also just trying to share since I have been at this a while and work with a lot of other photographers


    we have two raid 5 boxes on each workstation important stuff that might need direct quicker access is backed up to the other box
    this way if one machine dies we just jump on the other machine

    since Raid is not backup its just protection against a HDD failure in my case of the stand alone raid 5 boxes !


    the reason for raid 5 is purely safety of a large storage device with 5 2TB drives have nice 8TB storage blocks and would rather not ever have to recreate it if a drive failed ! also having one large block is much easier to manage than a bunch of smaller ones
    would hate to take the time to recopy that much data and for the price of one drive I can have safety that alone is worth $79 :)

    raid 5 boxes I have top out around 150 MBs but avg is about 125 or so ? so about the speed of a modern single drive


    I think the thing is you have to start somewhere then reevaluate every season to see what you did and did not like and narrow it down the next season ! also you have to do something you know and understand the best solution is one you like are comfortable with and works for you and your work :)

    nobody ever complains about things going to fast but everyone complains about things moving to slow !!!!


    the thing about the speed issue is depending on how many files you work on and the overall size ? today we might have changed 500 gigs of data by the end of today if that was on a slow connection it would make us crawl
    unusual day though :) usually its way less than that we change

    I might on avg change around about 50 or so gig of data every day so for me the speed is critical
    wife changes around that or more ?

    hope that makes sense

    and also study all this stuff and really think about it and do some testing with file sizes and such and as you grow and get busy and deadlines approach make sure your system never gets in the way
     
  19. ddwit thread starter macrumors member

    ddwit

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    #19
    Your right. Thnx for sharing your experience, it appreciated!
     
  20. Honumaui macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 18, 2008
    #20
    no worries :)

    just finishing up a job of raws tonight :) the new LR 3.3 seems a little snappier :) so thats cool


    what kind of work are you getting into more ? just curious :)
     
  21. 3282868 macrumors 603

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    Jan 8, 2009
    #21
    Ugh, I don't envy you. I've done IT work for a friend who is a photographer. So much data over the years in SO many different places and much of it triplicated without his knowing (disorganized doesn't begin). He's had HDD's fail like it's his job, so he's paranoid of losing any data.

    An eSATA card with an attached RAID 5 system is the best way to approach the situation (I read that suggestion a few times, I didn't read the last few comments so forgive me if you have decided on a route already). I also burned a lot of his long term data on Blu-Ray 25 and 50 GB discs. For long term out of the way storage this is a great approach, it will save you from having to organize your media on your storage devices, making current projects much easier to manage.
     
  22. ddwit, Dec 8, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2010

    ddwit thread starter macrumors member

    ddwit

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    #22
    Sorry, I don't understand your question? What do mean by "more"?
     
  23. ddwit, Dec 8, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2010

    ddwit thread starter macrumors member

    ddwit

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    #23
    To be honest we never ever had a problem. But we, my wife business, isn't that big in number and storage amount..

    I can imagine this will work fast and relatively safe yes!


    Yes I can imagine that this approach will work to. I will take it in mind and look at the prices for a burner and disks..

    I do think that the business i'm talking about is relatively small. My first thoughts about 4-8TB storage are to big. I think with 2-4 TB photo storage we can get easy threw the next few years. And I'm starting to think we don't need external storage at all. I think with the internal drives in the Mac Pro we can enough hard disk storage !?!
     
  24. Honumaui macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 18, 2008
    #24
    what kind of photography do you do ?

    more since you said it was growing :) not sure if you branched out and thats the growth or things are taking off :)
     
  25. Honumaui macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 18, 2008
    #25
    get at least one for external or have a way of getting one set of your data OFF SITE
    even if thats a friends or parents house or something once a week is enough rotate them out or bring back and forth ? your call :)

    the reason being if you had a fire or theft or something else happen :) would you be hosed if all your data was gone


    also remember if you have a working HDD of 2TB you dont want to put more than about %60 of data on it (many say no more than %50 full) !!! or it will really start slowing down so something to think about with your 2TB amount that means 4TB of storage really
     

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