NAS vs. External Set-up

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by taylord22, Nov 28, 2014.

  1. taylord22 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2012
    #1
    Current Set-up: iMac (main workstation) --> 3TB Seagate External (location of iTunes folder) --> Apple TV

    Main Use: Streaming to main TV, or iPad when in house

    Problem: External Drive is failing. Space is running out.

    Questions floating in my head:
    • What does a NAS buy me?
    • Can I tack on an additional HD with iTunes pulling from them both?
    • Is the long-term bang for buck of buying an HD enclosure better than continually buying Seagate and WDs?

    I'm aware of the audio issues with the ATV3, but the ATV makes things so simple for my wife to use, so I don't see myself moving away from it until the ATV4 comes out. The only other box I have to work with is the XB1, FWIW.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. If I can clarify anything, let me know. Pretty basic needs, though. I don't really need to throw files on my phone for offsite use, but if it's an easy perk to grab, it might be something that I use.
     
  2. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    #2
    Nothing. There are many reasons to have a NAS, but in my opinion storing iTunes content is not one of them. From your description, you should investigate a new external drive for your iMac. Your Mac already provides the features that a NAS would offer.

    A.
     
  3. taylord22 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 13, 2012
    #3
    Is an enclosure set-up >> External Drive? Especially if I'm looking to pull from multiple?
     
  4. Alrescha macrumors 68020

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    Jan 1, 2008
    #4
    Keep in mind that iTunes will only manage a library on a single volume. You can work around this, but it is not as convenient.

    I think you need the simplest arrangement that handles your requirements. Enough space to store your content. If that is more than 4 GB or so you may need to consider a RAID device. You also need to consider how you will back all this up. A multiple-drive enclosure may help you minimize the number of boxes and external power supplies. I prefer having my content and my backup on completely separate devices, so that means multiple boxes.

    A.
     
  5. Paul Chown macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2012
    #5
    I have a 5 bay Synology NAS (DS1512+) just to store itunes; not just my media, but whole itunes folder.

    The reason i chose this NAS is that its RAID and i can add further drives as and when needed. Currently got 3 x 4tb

    Also the reason i have my whole itunes folder stored on my NAS is if your iMac or PC fails just reinstall and point. Having your iTunes library.itl on a local machine (even if backed up) can cause havoc if the paths are different on your new pc or re-install.
     
  6. priitv8 macrumors 68020

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    Jan 13, 2011
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    Estonia
    #6
    That is all correct, but if you already have a standalone computer performing server duties, you could have achieved similar results with a DAS.
    Completely separate discussion is (also can be followed here on forum), whether RAID is worth of investment for a simple home setup for 1-5 users.
    If RAID is still the way to go, RAID DAS box would achieve all the same goals. With less wasted resources.
     
  7. iMaven macrumors 6502

    iMaven

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2011
    #7
    Synology NAS allows me to add more disk space if I am running out. It's powered on 24/7 and is not dependent on a computer to work. It point Time Machine backups to the NAS and also use it as a media server. A NAS also provides redundancy, so, if it's set up for redundancy and a NAS Drive fails, you won't lose your data. You just replace the failed NAS drive and the NAS will put the data on the new drive. If you choose to get a NAS, be sure to use NAS hard drives. They cost more, but they are made to handle server workloads and being powered on 24/7.
     
  8. Lord Hamsa macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 16, 2013
    #8
    My problem with an NAS for this job is that the Mac OS doesn't do great job of persisting mount points on logout/login or restart. If you don't manually navigate to the remote iTunes library via Terminal or Finder before starting iTunes, iTunes might start complaining about all of you library files being missing, which is a pain in the a** to rectify.

    From the "lessons learned" department: if you are using a remote share to store your iTunes media, make sure your actual library files are stored there as well, so at least you won't bring up iTunes successfully without seeing the remote files.
     
  9. priitv8 macrumors 68020

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    Estonia
    #9
    I wrote a simple Automator script to deal with this. And I run it as my login item.
     
  10. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #10
    I am not sure I am understanding what you mean. I have media files on more than one drive. I do this by using the "add to library" feature in iTunes and make sure in preferences that it is set not to move the files.

    NAS - I have a 5 drive NAS and it works quite well for my purposes. However, from the original OP, it seems that NAS might be over-kill. Perhaps a direct attached storage device that is far larger would be a good option and more so if it had a second drive that was identical/redundant to the main external drive. While many advocate mirroring, I would suggest instead doing incremental backups of one drive to the other with a checksum included. Given that drives are already up to 6 tb, one might find 2 drives should last a long time. Alternatively, going with a multi-bay dir unit has its advantages. Either way, either USB3 or Thunderbolt would be good options (not for the speed but simply because they should stay within the realm of usability for a few years).
     
  11. Lord Hamsa macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 16, 2013
    #11
    Care to share the script? My attempts in the past have proven less than successful. :eek:
     
  12. Alrescha macrumors 68020

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    Jan 1, 2008
    #12
    ...which means you are managing the library instead of iTunes. Which is consistent with what I said earlier.

    In contrast, I just move files to the 'Automatically Add to iTunes' directory and iTunes detects them, creates any required subdirectories, and moves the files appropriately. In addition, if I rename a file or files in iTunes it takes care of creating new subdirectories and cleaning up the old empty ones. Convenient.

    A.
     
  13. Lord Hamsa macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 16, 2013
    #13
    You can have the best of both worlds by going into terminal and setting up symbolic links ("ln -s") in the iTunes media folders' locations, as long as you get around the mount point persistence issues I noted earlier. That would allow you to split up the library at least by media type and have it be transparent to iTunes.
     
  14. Alrescha macrumors 68020

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    Jan 1, 2008
    #14
    Well, if we are going to talk about hacks then I should say that I run multiple copies of iTunes against the same external media store in order to satisfy Apple's 25k song requirement for iTunes Match. :)

    A.
     
  15. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #15
    If it works for you...its a good deal.

    My system works well for me and there is more than one way to achieve the desired results. Enjoy !
     
  16. priitv8 macrumors 68020

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    Jan 13, 2011
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    #16
    No problem. You will need to adjust the server and share names inside the Automator actions.
     

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  17. Lord Hamsa macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 16, 2013
    #17
    Gracias. I'll probably get a chance to test it out on Sunday.
     

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