Mac Based File Storage Server

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by kikobarbada, Dec 14, 2007.

  1. kikobarbada macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2007
    #1
    Hello.

    I'll say my current setting and I'll say what I want. I currently have a Macbook with a 160GB hard drive and a 250GB drive for Time Machine and another 250GB drive for extra files. What I want is some good storage that is future proof, plus a backup of that. So I'm thinking of giving one of my 250GB drives to my mom and leave the Time Machine USB drive on my desk for when I have the macbook on my desk and I'd like to have a 1TB drive connected to the router so I can access movie files from anywhere on the house on the wireless house. Also, another 1TB drive on the same router for backup of the first 1TB drive. Some people told me something about RAID - that I could "RAID" the two drives together so any information I add to one is added to the other, therefore a perfect backup solution. I'd like some info about RAID, options of good future proof drives, and your opinions on my choice of storage.

    Thanks.
     
  2. SthrnCmfrtr macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2007
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    #2
    You're buying a lot of 1TB external drives... how much is that going to cost?

    If you have a cheap PC or old PCI Mac, buy a RocketRAID PCI SATA RAID card. I got one off eBay just the other day for $90 -- a RocketRAID 1820a, 8-ports, PCI-something but backwards compatible to PCI.

    Get four or five internal hard drives of the same size and an appropriate number of hard drive fans ($3 or so on Newegg).

    Throw it all in the Mac/PC, hook it all up, boot, make a RAID-5 Array. You'll lose the equivalent of one drive to parity for redundancy, but, hey, it's redundancy.

    I have eight 500GB drives in a ol' Mac right now. Seven of them are in a RAID 5 array and the eighth is an online spare so that if one fails the array will rebuild without missing a beat. That means I have six 500GB drives worth of space, or about 2.72TB.

    It cost me about $800 for drives and about $150 for everything else. I also bought some other things (fan control, new power supply, etc) but you could probably get away without that.

    Just something to consider.
     
  3. kikobarbada thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2007
    #3
    I'm just buying 2 1TB drives, which would come to 600 dollars. It's cheaper than your idea and no, I do not have an old PC. What is this RAID thing? Anymore opinions? Plus, if I have RAID 1 between these 2 drivers, will it appear as one drive and whatever I copy to it will be automatically backuped to the second drive?
     
  4. desenso macrumors 6502a

    desenso

    Joined:
    May 25, 2005
    #4
    You've been referred to RAID 1.

    Disk Utility allows you to create a "mirrored raid set." Looks like this screencast might hold your hand through the whole process.
     
  5. kikobarbada thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2007
  6. desenso macrumors 6502a

    desenso

    Joined:
    May 25, 2005
    #6
    I'm sorry, would you have preferred that I spend a few hours digesting the information and then pass it on to you in CliffsNotes form?

    Idiot.
     
  7. SthrnCmfrtr macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2007
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    #7
    Sorry, I misread your post and thought you were talking about three 1TB drives.

    Either way, you're talking about 1TB RAID (minus binary math losses) with redundancy for $600, or about 60 cents a gigabyte. What I recommended was 3TB RAID (minus binary math losses) with redundancy for $1000 or so, which comes out to about 33 cents a gig. So your method is cheaper, but my suggestion is more economical :cool:

    I don't believe that any router on the market will give you raw access to the hard drive. Mounted network filesystem access, sure, but not the level of access that you need to set up the drives in RAID-1. You'd likely need to hook them up directly to a computer.

    What you could do, with a little bit of Terminal know-how or the help of a sympathetic MacRumors poster, is set up a <cron> job to synchronize the two drives each night. That'd give you the redundancy of RAID without the logistical headaches.

    Also keep in mind that if you buy two external drives at once, you're probably buying two hard drives from the same manufacturing lot -- which increases your chance of having both drives go kaput simultaneously due to a manufacturing defect à la the problems we're seeing with the Seagate drives in some MacBooks right now.

    RAID's a lot to think about. One thing I definitely wouldn't advise, though, is buying two copies of the most expensive hard drive size out there right now (1TB) in the most expensive and failure-prone form (external) and then halving your useful space by mirroring them. It gives you redundancy, to be sure, but it's extremely expensive. RAID ain't cheap, which is why it's generally the province of professionals, but with an extra investment you can get a greater yield, greatly improve the reliability of the hardware and the speed at which you access it, and make future upgrading less expensive and more fruitful.
     
  8. kikobarbada thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2007
    #8
    But I need mirroring. I need the backup. I could also buy 4 500GB drives that are about 120 dollars each and the best cents per gigabyte option today.
     
  9. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    #9
    Mirroring should NEVER be considered as your back up! If something goes wrong with writing something to a disk. Or you accidentally delete something etc. Both your disks have it written right away. RAID only helps protect from hard drive failures.
     
  10. itickings macrumors 6502a

    itickings

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2007
    #10
    So true. This actually happened to me with Tiger and software RAID1 on two firewire drives... The FW hub died and caused invalid data to be written to the partition map. RAID1 had worked according to specification, so there I was with two byte-for-byte identical and totally inaccessible drives. (Managed to recover them by manually recreating the partition map etc, no data lost.)

    The redundant levels of RAID are great for protection against many hardware problems, but backup is something completely different. (Backing up to mirrored drives will work, though)
     
  11. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    #11
    What you should really do, is have daily clone from one drive to the other. Or weekly depending how much you use the drives.
     

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