NAS vs Mac Mini External HD - which is best for multiple access?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Chiquon, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. Chiquon macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    Location:
    Twickenham, UK
    #1
    I have a home network with a number of laptops and macminis using several small external hard drives for photos, movies (run by Plex), and shared files. I'd like to consolidate these into one large 2TB drive. I use Time Capsule for back up so don't need this functionality.

    The options I am looking at are:

    1. 2TB NAS drive, plugged directly into my network switch

    2. 2TB external drive, plugged by Firewire 800 into the Mac Mini that I use a as an always-on home theatre and which is also hard wired into the network switch

    Given that the drive will be accessed by multiple computers, which option would be better. I'm thinking that the Mac Mini would manage the multiple access better than a simple NAS....but I'm not sure if this is correct!

    Any thoughts greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #2
    I think the Mini option is better. It's cheaper and works the same, if not better.
     
  3. Chiquon thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    Location:
    Twickenham, UK
    #3
    Thanks Hellhammer - I'm a bit clueless on NAS so just for info....

    Do you therefore think the mini will do a better job than a NAS at handling multiple file access?

    Will I have to set the mini not to sleep so that other computers can still access the drive?

    Thanks!
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #4
    Yes, because it is backed up by a full-blown OS (i.e. OS X) so that gives you a lot more options in the future if you need a more complicated setup (e.g. server kind of setup).

    Yes.
     
  5. daferrisda macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    #5
    Agree with Hellhammer but only because you already have a time capsule, I'm assuming it has enough capacity to backup the shared drive?

    I've got almost the same solution, I have a FireWire 800 drive on my mac mini which is shared by several people, each month I take a backup of that drive and store it in a firesafe.

    NAS drives are great if you don't have any significant storage and are starting from scratch, however they can be complicated to setup and as Hellhammer says OSX user access is more reliable and easy to setup, I've actually sold my NAS drive in favour of my current setup
     
  6. Chiquon thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    Location:
    Twickenham, UK
    #6
    Thanks and thanks!

    Am I right in therefore thinking I can get the same or better features in terms of remote access for files, and user access rights using the mini?
     
  7. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #7
    Definitely. You have much more options with the Mini as you can use third party software or whatever you want or need for your purposes.
     
  8. Chiquon thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    Location:
    Twickenham, UK
    #8
    I was thinking about a 6TB drive, and opting for RAID1 to protect against drive failure. This will dwarf my 1TB TC, so I will have to be selective about which files I back up. Ditto any that I back up to idisk etc.

    Your comment about the firesafe makes me wonder if I would be better off with 2 separate drives of 2-3TB each. I could then put a back up somewhere safe...hmmm.
     
  9. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #9
    RAID 1 is NOT a backup. It may protect you against a disk failure but it won't protect you against accidental file delete or anything like that. IMO two separate drives is the best option. The other one can be USB 2.0 to save some $ as you won't need much speed if it will be sitting in a closet or something.
     
  10. smithrh macrumors 68020

    smithrh

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    #10
    I've been running a 6TB Mac mini server for a while now, works great.

    I have the disks set up with SW Raid 1. I've lost too many disks over the years to not mirror them. The nice thing about SW RAID is that if the worst happens and a drive dies, I still have a readable disk on hand. This is not always the case with Drobo and other HW solutions.

    Note, I don't backup with RAID, but since I'm the only person to access the server, I'm comfortable with that. I have yet to figure out how to backup 6TB of stuff cheaply.

    As Hellhammer says, Backup is NOT RAID, RAID is not backup.
     
  11. Chiquon thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    Location:
    Twickenham, UK
    #11
    Agreed. My plan was to use the RAID as simple cover against drive failure. I'll use TC to backup a selection of the critical files. Then I'll take a copy every 6 months on another drive and pop it somewhere safe.

    I think that should just about cover it!

    At the moment I'm looking at a 6TB My Book Studio Edition II for £320 which seems like pretty decent value.
     
  12. Chiquon thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    Location:
    Twickenham, UK
    #12
    Just a thought....

    Rather than buying a 6TB drive and running RAID1, would it not be better to buy 2 x 3TB drives and use time capsule to back up one to the other?

    That way you get both back up and drive failure protection....

    ...or am I missing something? (probably!)
     
  13. smithrh macrumors 68020

    smithrh

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    #13
    You might consider 3 x 2 x 2TB drives (6 2Gb drives).

    I've had more failures with higher capacity drives, e.g., the cutting edge. 2TB drives have been out for a while now, you're down the experience/cost curve now. Plus this way, if a drive fails you've only put 33% of your data at risk.

    Note, I think the LaCie 6Tb drive is really 2 x 3TB drives in one enclosure. I prefer to just have one drive per enclosure.

    Everything goes on a UPS, of course.
     
  14. keeper macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2008
    #14
    How are your drives connected to the mini?
     

Share This Page