Mac Mini DAS Storage solution

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by wlossw, Jun 26, 2014.

  1. wlossw macrumors 6502a

    wlossw

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Location:
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    #1
    So my trusty Dell core duo quad media server (and it's 6 internal drive bays) bit the dust today...

    I have been wanting to buy a mac mini but I'm totally waiting for the refresh... in the meantime I'm going to pickup an external USB 3.0 enclosure to use with a spare laptop for media storage until apple releases a new mini...

    So my question is are there any 4+ drive enclosures that don't suck, and don't cost 500$ or more diskless?

    I don't need any raid functions...

    I found this in 4 and 8 bay versions:

    http://www.mediasonic.ca/product.php?id=1357290977 found it for about 120$ cad

    http://www.mediasonic.ca/product.php?id=1357290761 this one's about 300$

    but I read a lot of negative comments about drives un-mounting all the time under OSX...

    Please help a guy out! I need to fix my current problem, with room to move to a mac mini when it's updated...

    :confused:
     
  2. LorenK macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    Location:
    Illinois
    #2
    I can't tell you how good Mediasonic external drive cases are, but I am a longtime user of external drive cases, I have a Vantec, a Rosewill, and an Addonics external drive case, and haven't had a problem with the Vantec and Rosewill unmounting. The Vantec and Rosewill are both four drive cases. Those are connected to a MacPro with an eSATA card.

    The Addonics is also eSATA connected to a MacMini and can hold up to six drives. I do have problems with those unmounting if not in use. I have to use a eSATA to USB2 adapter, so I am thinking that that is the problem, because I am running the other in Mavericks and earlier OS and have never had a problem with them unmounting. I have had single and dual drive cases hooked up to the Mac Mini via USB without any unmounting problem.

    Unfortunately, I haven't been able to answer your question, but I am guessing that you own't have a problem with the Mac Mini directly over USB.
     
  3. wlossw, Jun 26, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2014

    wlossw thread starter macrumors 6502a

    wlossw

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Location:
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    #3
    Well maybe the best solution is to grab a thunderbolt to esata connector and plug my mediasonic into that when i pickup the mini...

    this looks good:

    http://www.kanexlive.com/thunderbolt-esata

    food for thought. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Anyone have experience with thunderbolt to esata, or any other usb drive enclosures that are stable on mac mini?
     
  4. jnachbar macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2010
    #4
    I have the mediasonic 4 bay hooked up via usb3 to my 2011 MacMini though an akitio thunderdock. This is the version of the mini with thunderbolt but no usb3 which is why I bought the dock. I've also hooked it though esata, but am currently using the esata ports for other drives right now.

    I did have a problem with weird disconnects at one point, but it turned out to be a bad thunderbolt cable between the thunderdock and the mini. Akitio promptly sent me another cable and no probs since.

    The dock is pricier than the adapter, but gave me the additional ports I needed, plus it has two tbolt ports so I can daisy chain if I want.
     
  5. wlossw thread starter macrumors 6502a

    wlossw

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Location:
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    #5
    Thanks for your reply. Glad to hear you got the media sonic working smoothly. So I guess that's a plus one to connecting it via usb 3.0 directly.
     
  6. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #6
    Have you checked out Sonnet's site?

    While they tend to carry higher end items, they do have a relatively new item here that just might be ideal for your purposes.

    Btw, Sonnet's Firmtek USB3 2.5" drive got rated as one of the all time fastest enclosures. There are a few other makers that also use similar chipsets that allow for the speed advantage.

    Here is a link to the item that might fit the bill for you and maybe contact them to find out more -

    http://store1.sonnettech.com/product_info.php?products_id=511

    Hope you find what works best for you and matches your budget.
     
  7. wlossw thread starter macrumors 6502a

    wlossw

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Location:
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    #7
    So I checked it out, and it looks good except for 1 small issue, I really don't want to run any sort of raid or disk array, even JBOD. I plan on using cheap drives, and want to be able to add more as I go... But I do thank you for the input, and If I change my mind on the whole hardware raid thing, I might give this one a go.
     
  8. RCAFBrat macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2013
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #8
    JBOD: Just a Bunch Of Disks

    Perhaps I am mistaken, but isn't this is what you are looking for, aside from the fact that you would be paying for the RAID controller too? My understanding is that JBOD disks appear separately on your Mac.

    Cheers
     
  9. wlossw thread starter macrumors 6502a

    wlossw

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Location:
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    #9
    Problem with jbod (an array of all disks as 1 volume with no redundancy) is that if 1 drive fails, the entire array goes down, whereas what I am thinking of is indiviualy mounted drives...
     
  10. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #10
    I gather there might be something to what you say if the JBOD obligates spanning. JBOD may also be just a bunch of drives that are independent of each other which is what made this particular item possibly of interest. You may want to contact them and find out.

    I have JBOD enclosures that absolutely do nothing with the drives, all controls are pretty much from the computer they are connected to for formatting and partitions etc. I can also use software RAID if desired from the computer. This is an example of what JBOD enclosures were all about as opposed to spanning drives within a JBOD (concatenated drives).

    Again, hope you find the right enclosure for your needs.
     
  11. wlossw thread starter macrumors 6502a

    wlossw

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Location:
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    #11
    I'll do a bit more research, thanks!
     
  12. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #12
    I might do some myself as it would be a handy enclosure. I have their Firmtek 2.5 USB3 drive and its impressive as Barefeats said it was. I just hope the USB3 chipset is of the same type.
     
  13. westrock2000 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2013
    #13
    Here's what I'm in the middle of doing.

    I have all my bulk storage on my Mac Pro 1,1. But it will not run the newest operating systems (at a level I'm comfortable with) so I bought a Mac Mini to act as the head of the Mac Pro.

    I use a dedicated LAN between them to communicate over Apple's AFP protocol. I use a crossover CAT5 cable so they are connected directly to each other. The Mac Pro is not connected to the Internet. I bought a $30 Apple Thunderbolt to Ethernet adaptor for the Mini. It uses a dedicated IP address.

    I Use AFP to access the data on the Mac Pro and using Jumbo frame sizes on the Ethernet connections I get just a little over 100MB/s so far. Which is plenty for streaming content.

    If I need to access the Mac Pro, I use OSX's built-in VNC viewer and pull up the Pro desktop through a Safari bookmark on the Mini's desktop.

    What's nice about this, is I get to keep the ZFS Raid system. And a Mac Pro can control ALOT of disks. You can easily fit 7 full size disks in it. You can bump up to 10 if you use 2.5" disks and PCI-E adaptor like Apricorn. And even more if you add on an eSATA card. And it uses built-in communication methods. And the Mac Pro 1,1 is about the same cost as some of the low end disk enclosures.

    Since the "server" computer will basically stay the same software wise, you could even build a simple hackintosh to keep the cost and power usage down compared to a Mac Pro which is fairly excessive for this duty. And you wont have to worry about doing updates or anything. But that case is beautiful :D

    I think you could even use a Mac Pro in Target Disk mode and let the Mini directly control the hard drives as independent drives. But you would be limited to FireWire 800 speeds which would probably be about 70-80MB/s.
     
  14. wlossw thread starter macrumors 6502a

    wlossw

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Location:
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    #14
    That's also an interesting solution! Thanks for the idea. I haven't seen any Mac pros at a decent price where I live, even the 1.1, but I'll keep my eyes open!
     
  15. RCAFBrat macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2013
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #15
    Better option maybe to build a NAS yourself (didn't do a deep dive on specs so you would need to doublecheck but should be okay):

    - ASRock H87M PRO4/ASM mATX motherboard ($82 with IR and MIR)
    - Cooler Master Elite 350 Black ATX Mid Tower Case with 500W PSU ($65 on sale)
    - Intel Pentium G3220 Dual Core 3.0GHZ Processor LGA1150 Haswell ($60 on sale)
    - Kingston KVR16N11S8/4 4GB DDR3 1600MHz 240PIN DIMM ($43 on sale)

    Plus if you want:

    - Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200RPM 64MB SATA 6Gbps 3.5IN Internal Hard Drive ($60 each on sale)

    Without HDD, total based on NCIX prices would be about $250 plus GST (no QST applicable) plus shipping. If you prefer, you could go a little cheaper on the case than the Cooler Master listed above.

    Use FreeNAS or Linux for an operating system and you are off to the races!

    Food for thought?
     
  16. wlossw thread starter macrumors 6502a

    wlossw

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Location:
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    #16
    definitely something to consider, but I wonder if the NAS to mini connection wont cause a lot of congestion on my network, or are you suggesting as above that I use dual NIC with one dedicated to the NAS?
     
  17. RCAFBrat macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2013
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #17
    To be honest I was thinking it a better alternative to the Mac Pro in terms of cost and power consumption, forgot that you original question was about DAS.

    I looking at a somewhat similar DIY to solve a problem for my son (he is using Blender and the GPU in his iMac is inadequate for rendering his projects so I was thinking same CPU and RAM as listed above with bigger power supply, slightly more capable motherboard and two GTX 750 ti GPU).

    Since he will also need more external disk space, the DIY project could also serve as NAS although directly attached to his iMac (he connects to the internet and network printer via Wi-Fi today). Haven't put a whole lot of thought into that part of the build but am pretty impressed with how little $ it can be put together for, and a NAS wouldn't need the GPUs of course.

    Not sure about best implementation. Also a little disappointed with potential transfer rate although that will not be a problem if you are just using HDD in a JBOD configuration (ie no RAID solution).

    I was also keeping an eye out for reasonably priced DAS and to be honest have been skeptical of the low cost multi-disk enclosures, of which there seem to be very few with good reviews, and at the same time taken aback by the costs of Thunderbolt enclosures and the like.

    Anyhow, I suppose a DIY NAS is worth considering but I too am interested too in any recommendations for multi-disk DAS that don't break the bank!

    Cheers
     
  18. wlossw, Jul 4, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2014

    wlossw thread starter macrumors 6502a

    wlossw

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Location:
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    #18
    Got my media sonic 4-bay pro-box in today... 150$ taxes and delivery included. Working like a champ so far with 2x 2tb WD Green drives that I bought for 65$ a piece on sale at Staples. (I know I should be using red, but those where so cheap and it's not in raid).

    It's currently hooked up via USB 3.0 to an old samsung laptop via USB 3.0, but it worked perfectly fine on my 2012 rmbp as well. Still waiting on a mini refresh...

    I will post updates re: any problems as I go along.

    I will be ordering some WD red drives as the greens fill up, so I'll test more than 1 drive type. If anyone has any questions feel free to ask...
     

Share This Page