NAS vs. RAID vs. JBOD for storage?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by badlydrawnboy, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. badlydrawnboy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2003
    #1
    I have a Mac Pro (3,1) now but will be upgrading to a Haswell iMac or new Mac Pro. That means I'll be in the market for an external storage device. I thought I'd just get a JBOD enclosure and put my 2x 4 TB HDDs in there along with the 480 GB SSD, all of which are currently inside of my Mac Pro.

    Alas, it seems that's easier said than done. I've been trying to find a USB 3.0 or TB JBOD enclosure, and haven't been particulary successful. I've read that most USB 3.0 enclosures use a chipset that simply doesn't work well with OS X. DataTale has a TB enclosure that can be used in JBOD mode, and it does seem to get good reviews, so perhaps that's my best bet.

    But, I'm somewhat concerned with noise. (Will the DataTale be louder than my current Mac Pro? Equivalent? Quieter?) That got me thinking about NAS and stashing the drive in a corner somewhere. Unfortunately I know little about NAS options and intracacies of RAID. I need whatever device I get to double as storage and backup, so I guess I'd need to use RAID 5 if I get an NAS device?

    I've looked at the LaCie Big and R4, but they come with drives. I have 2 perfectly good 4 TB HDDs and a 480 GB SSD that I'd like to keep using.

    What are my options here? What's the best choice in this situation?
     
  2. NMF macrumors 6502a

    NMF

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2011
    #2
    There's no good choice that's inexpensive. The JBOD's work like crap with OS X. You get what you pay for here... and you need to pay a lot to have a good experience.

    For $500+ there are all kinds of awesome DAS/NAS selections to choose from!
     
  3. Giuly, Oct 10, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2014

    Giuly macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #3
    Actually, the the LaCie 5big NAS Pro and 5big Network 2, as well as the 2big Network also come diskless.

    However, the 5bigs only allow you to RAID5 drives of the same capacity or it will only use the capacity of the smallest drive in the NAS per disks.

    A Synology NAS or Drobo 5N on the other hand allows you mix and match drives with different capacities and still completely use up the capacity.

    You may want to further elaborate that statement until it contains the word "ZFS".
     
  4. badlydrawnboy thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2003
    #4
    Okay, so it sounds like I can use my existing 4 TB drives with the LaCie 5Big, Synology and Drobo—but I won't be able to use my 480 GB SSD. I guess I could get a separate enclosure for that and use it for my Lightroom catalog or ACR/Photoshop scratch.

    Are the NAS units fast enough for photography work? I'm going to be storing my photos on this external unit and accessing them when running Photoshop and Lightroom.

    Sorry for my ignorance, but how do I connect these NAS units to my iMac or Mac Pro? There's a lot of lingo in the reviews of NAS devices that I don't understand. All I really want is an external enclosure that I can store (and backup) my photos on.

    Would I also need a separate enclosure for backup with an NAS, or is the NAS in RAID 5 enough?
     
  5. Giuly, Oct 11, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2014

    Giuly macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #5
    A NAS connects to the network via Gigabit Ethernet.

    All of those mentioned here also support link aggregation to double the transmission speed to 250MB/s, but you need a switch that supports it (i.e. Cisco SG200-08) and connect two cables to both the NAS and the Mac Pro.

    The drobo can utilize your SSD, it even has a slot for an mSATA SSD at the bottom to speed things up. A Synology NAS can do that with your existing SSD as well.
     
  6. ColdCase, Oct 11, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2013

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #6
    NAS units hang off of your network and are accessed via your network connection (wifi or ethernet). Latency and data rate may kill your editing performance if you keep your cache there. Useful for shared files storage and backups.

    You may want to look more at a DAS box, which connects via Thunderbolt or USB 3 or both. The Thunderbolt enclosures are sweet, but $$$. Areca makes some nice 8 bays, the ARC-8050 can be configured to provide exceptional performance. A drobo box is an amateur attempt in comparison with some performance and durability issues, but perhaps good enough for a consumer. As mentioned above, you typically get what you pay for. You will find the web is full of hate towards Drobo, primarily because of box failures.
     
  7. badlydrawnboy thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2003
    #7
    Thank you. Just to make sure I'm clear, I would connect the Mac Pro (or iMac) and NAS to that Cisco switch?

    How does 250 MG/s compare to what I'd get with a Thunderbolt RAID?

    And is it recommended to have a separate backup device in addition to the NAS?
     
  8. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #8
    Very slow, Thunderbolt on the MP is like having another internal drive. Its not only throughput, but latency for real time access. If all you are doing is storing finished stuff, its not much of an issue. I think twice about putting a large aperture library out there.
     
  9. badlydrawnboy thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2003
    #9
    I was interested in the Drobo, but came across the web hate (including an article by Scott Kelby, which mentioned more than one failure). Anyone know about the DataTale Thunderbolt 4-Bay RAID? It's $600 and gets pretty good reviews from what I've seen so far.

    The ARC-8050 would be huge overkill for me. I only really need 4 TB of external storage, and I doubt I need the extra speed of a RAID stripe.

    It's frustrating that there's not an easy way to just connect single drives in an enclosure that I can use in JBOD configuration. That's what makes the most sense for my set-up/needs.
     
  10. tangfj macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2008
    #10
    I wouldn't put too much stock in scott's review of Drobo... There are plenty of people that haven't had any problems with Drobo units. I've had Drobo unit's since the first one came out and have had zero problems. With ANY NAS device that uses RAID or some variant will be prone to failure, just like any hard drive. Right now I have the Drobo 5D and Synology DS1512+. The Drobo 5D is very fast and the Synology DS1512+ has a nice interface with a ton of flexibility.

    If you're interested, you can find my full review of them here: http://www.amazon.com/review/R33KUJ...e=UTF8&ASIN=B008MH1JRQ&linkCode=&nodeID=&tag=
     
  11. badlydrawnboy thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2003
    #11
    Sigh. Maybe I'm better off sticking with my Mac Pro 3,1. I didn't realize finding an appropriate external storage solution would be so difficult.

    I know that many have had Drobos that work just fine, but the 11 1-star reviews on Amazon (all indicating failures) make me nervous. The LaCie 5big seems much better in terms of speed and reliability, but it's more expensive, and I won't be able to use my existing drives.

    Same for the LaCie 2Big. I could get the 4 TB configuration and use it in RAID 1, or JBOD with one disk for photos and the other for photo backup. But again, I lose the ability to use my (nearly brand new) 4 TB HDDs and 480 GB SSD.

    I guess I could sell those drives, but I imagine the resale value for used HDDs and SSDs isn't that good.
     
  12. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2013
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    #12
    The whining following the new MP announcement was in anticipation of exactly these kinds of issues. Theres nothing like the new MP already on the market so the market has nothing ready to make it easy. The hope is that vendors see this coming and have solutions in the works to address them. I'm expecting a wave of press releases over the coming months.

    Given that you have a working system, waiting until you can switch to a working solution seems prudent, if less fun. Personally, I would go with a TB attached raid, then turn on sharing for other computers. You'll have best speed + most redundancy + most access. Given what you have, the SSD could have its own box, daisy chained with the raid.
     
  13. badlydrawnboy thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2003
    #13
    Good points. It probably does make sense for me to wait a couple of months to see what new options become available. I can do that...my Mac Pro is still doing fine, no huge hurry. (Besides, I will be buying a new Haswell Macbook Pro as well, so that can satisfy my gear lust for a while!)

    Question: what do you mean by "turn on sharing" for other computers. I have a MacBook Pro as well as my Mac Pro in my home office, and I'd love for it to be able to access the TB RAID. How do I do that?
     
  14. badlydrawnboy thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2003
    #14
    To your point, ElectronGuru, I just came across the CalDigit T3.

    Looks perfect for my needs. I could use it in JBOD with 2 x 4 TB in RAID 0 for photos, and then use another 4 TB drive in the third slot with two partitions: one for Time Machine, and one for photo backup.

    This is really all I want/need.
     
  15. priitv8 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    Location:
    Estonia
    #15
    Just turn on File Sharing on your Mac Pro and share the connected external drive to the network, thereby turning your Mac Pro into a network file server.
    Here's how: Mac Basics: File Sharing
     
  16. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #16
    I use RAID 1 for my libraries and then backup the boot drive and the external RAID pair via Time Machine to a Time Capsule.
     
  17. badlydrawnboy thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2003
    #17
    Is RAID 0 significantly faster than RAID 1?

    Just thinking I could get a 4 GB LaCie 2Big and configure in RAID 0, and then get a USB 3.0 enclosure with one drive for backing up my boot drive and another for Time Machine (I like to have a bootable copy of my boot drive for emergencies).
     
  18. Giuly, Oct 11, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2014

    Giuly macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #18
    First of all, I tend to disagree. Have a close look at the Areca and you'll figure out that the "amateur attempt" price goes to them. If you charge $1500 for an enclosure, it should support RAID 5 with hard drives of unequal sizes.

    Exhibit A: One hard drive breaks and you replace it with a larger one
    Areca - Wasted space.
    drobo, Synology - The RAID gets rebuilt to this:
    [​IMG]

    Exhibit B: You run out of space.
    Areca - You need eight new hard drives.
    drobo, Synology - You replace the smallest/oldest with a larger one and it just rebuilds the set seamlessly according to the diagram above.

    Exhibit C: Fusion Drive-esque SSD caching
    Areca 8-bay - [​IMG]
    drobo 5D - Any mSATA SSD such as the Crucial m4 256GB or Crucial M500 480GB on top of the five hard drives. AFAIK, it even works with 2.5" SSDs if you care to sacrifice one bay.

    Exhibit D: Price
    Areca 8-bay - $1500
    Drobo 5D - $665 (Two Drobo 5Ds with 10 bays: $1350)

    Secondly, bashing drobo is so 2011. All the bad stuff people say is manly about the drobo FS while the drobo 5D, 5N and Mini are a completely different matter and generally reviewed favorably.

    Really, those Areca 8-bay boxes may or may not be nice (as in: You can buy 15 4-bay USB 3.0 enclosures for the price of one Areca 8-bay), however I wouldn't buy one, at least not unless they ship eight hard drives for the $1500 along with it.

    Thunderbolt enclosures are supposed to get less expensive over time so that it truly becomes a valid alternative to USB 3.0, not even more expensive than a Pegasus R6 (and that one comes with 6x1TB hard drives!).
     
  19. badlydrawnboy thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2003
    #19
    What about this enclosure from OWC?

    It's a 2-bay RAID/JBOD eSata enclosure that comes with the LaCie eSata to Thunderbolt adapter. It's $229 without drives. I was thinking I could put my two 4 TB drives in this and use one for backing up my boot drive and photos, and the other for Time Machine backup. If I understand correctly, I could daisy chain this to a LaCie 2Big which I'd use for my active photo drive.

    ----------

    I'm guessing it would be recommended to have a separate enclosure that backs up the Drobo, rather than using the Drobo for both active files and backup, because it's a single point of failure? i.e. if somehow the Drobo fries all of the internal drives?
     
  20. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #20
    I call that BS, variable drive sizes are fine for consumer devices, its a gimmick... a solution looking for a problem. Have you ever had to spend weeks rebuild the RAID array after on drive fails.

    Pro-smers and pro avoid the RAID 5 with unequal drive gimmick like the plaque. Its an irrelevant feature all things considered to those that understand RAID and RAID maintenance.

    You have to go back to trying to understand the OP needs instead of pushing solutions looking for a problem on them....

    From my understanding, if you want reliability along with performance, Areca device are top shelf, unlike the problem plagued more consumer oriented Drobo hardware. Synology, however, seems to produce some solid hardware.

    Anyway, we can certain disagree, and you will find many here. The performance and recovery downside consequences of variable sized drive RAID5s certainly do not outweigh the convenience.
     
  21. Giuly, Oct 11, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2014

    Giuly macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #21
    Let's recap.

    OP: I have two 4TB hard drives and an SSD from my old Mac Pro and I need an enclosure for them so that they work with the new Mac Pro.
    You: Get an 8-bay Thunderbolt RAID for $1500.

    That sounds almost diminutive. How about the Promise VTrak A3800fDM?
    [​IMG]
    24 bays and four 8GBit/s Fibre Channel connections. Now that should be sufficient for his two 4TB hard drives plus one SSD.

    -

    250MB/s for something like a Drobo 5N or Synology NAS is plenty fast, but when the SSD cache kicks in, it will be limited. The 5D will be faster.

    The LaCie Thunderbolt-to-eSATA adapter doesn't support port multiplexing, so JBOD with the OWC enclosure wouldn't work (you might as well just connect your hard drives to it individually, though). However, any USB enclosure would be fast enough for two hard drives, even in RAID0.
     
  22. badlydrawnboy thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2003
    #22
    Okay. So I can get maybe a 2-bay Thunderbolt unit like the 2Big for active photos (RAID 0), and then just get a USB 3.0 2-bay enclosure with JBOD, one drive for Time Machine and the other for backup of photos/boot drive.

    I read somewhere else on this forum that USB 3.0 enclosures don't work well for JBOD with OS X because the chipset ("jmicron"??) is incompatible.

    Is there any truth to that? Or is that maybe only with the 4-bay USB 3.0 enclosures, rather than the 2-bays?
     
  23. ElectronGuru, Oct 11, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2013

    ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2013
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    #23
    That looks amazing, all it needs for a perfect match is a black ano finish. Sign up for their list and see if anyone else does the same. I would get the MB, add the drive, transition your workstation, sell the old MP, buy the new MP, finish the transition. You can prefund the big purchase and use the time in the middle to fine tune your requirements.
     
  24. Giuly, Oct 11, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2014

    Giuly macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #24
    JBOD on something like the ProBox works fine when you use the USB3.0-to-eSATA with port multiplexing adapter - if it hasn't been fixed fixed to work natively already.

    But as you're waiting for the Mac Pro anyways, you might as well wait for the CalDigit T3 (and other enclosures coming out in that time frame).
     
  25. NMF macrumors 6502a

    NMF

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2011
    #25
    It most certainly has not been fixed natively. I returned my ProBox after two weeks. Absolute junk.

    As I said before, you get what you pay for with external storage. The boxes that don't suck have expensive components. That's just the way it is.

    Also, for what it's worth, most of the "Drobo hate" you read about online comes from people with the older models. Both the 5D and 5N have pretty much been universally praised.
     

Share This Page