Need Advice! External Storage for growing iPhoto and iTunes Library!

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Mercury2wo, Sep 14, 2013.

  1. Mercury2wo macrumors newbie

    May 7, 2011
    Hi! Need some advice from the experts on the forum please.

    My Set Up - A 2008 iMac with 1 TB hard disk, a 2 TB time capsule for back up.

    My Problem - With 2 kids at home, my video library and pictures and home videos is exploding. I have bought a TON of movies and TV shows on iTunes and will continue to add on. I intend soon getting a MBP for me and surrender the iMac to the kids and the mommy for home use. I would like all my family pics, home videos and media library on one central repository for the iMac and MBP to access when required. I am not a geek and for me simple dependable functionality trumps sexy flexibility and ability to personalize.

    My requirement - The central storage repository will now be the ONLY storage facility for precious home videos and family pictures, media and iTunes content purchased. So it needs to have a "crash-proof" technology like Drobo or Synology. It should be upgradable as my requirements grow. Accessible over the network by both computers and it should also be a back up device for these 2 computers via time machine. I would also like a solution to stream the Apple DRM-ed TV shows and movies to multiple iPads at home (which is the ONLY NAS-like functionality I need)

    What I need help with - Help me decide on a Drobo 5N versus and Drobo 5D Vs a Synology vs any other relevant solution.

    (How does a Drobo 5N vs 5D make a sensible comparison, did you say? I am thinking a 5D+ router = 5N, plus the 5D gives me the flexibility of DAS for some one off heavy transferring which needs direct access.)
  2. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2011
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    I suggest external storage, not a NAS. You can put your iTunes ans iPhoto libraries on it, and turn on Home Sharing in iTunes and iPhoto so that the libraries will be accessible from your MBP, iOS devices, apple TVs, etc.

    I also suggest a separate external drive for Time Machine. Personally I like SATA docks for this; I use a Plugable with three 4TB disks that I rotate out weekly. This will back up your iMac AND your media drive.

    I use mirrored storage for my media. If you're looking at >4TB there then someone like the Drobo might be beneficial, but there's no such thing as "crash proof" so Drobo is not a substitute for backups.
  3. Mercury2wo thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 7, 2011
    Will home sharing allow both computers to edit the pics, songs, playlists etc? Or is it a read only access?
  4. Mercury2wo thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 7, 2011
    I thought the Drobo's BeyondRaid technology ensures that it protects upto 2 simultaneous drive failures and hence would not need backup anymore. Agreed its proprietary and it doesn't protect against the Drobo's failing and I would need to buy another Drobo machine to recover the data.

    Why do feel the Drobo is not a substitute for backups if used as a primary and only storage space?
  5. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    This is an absolute horrible plan. RAID is not a backup and BeyondRaid certainly is not either. Drive failure is only one of many reasons to need backup.

  6. MyMac1976 macrumors 6502


    Apr 14, 2013
    You still need to back up your NAS it's actually more important if thats where all the no Sh** gotta have files live. It's going to start to get expensive to do it right. I personally wouldn't do DROBO I'd build something on the cheap and run free NAS or Free BSD.

    My NAS with 21TB runs Free NAS
  7. ColdCase, Sep 15, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2013

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    I was there a year or so ago Mercury and chose a synology NAS solution. If I had to do it over again I would bite the $$$ bullet and go with a refurb mac mini running Mac OS X Server, perhaps just the base mini. My advice is don't bother with a NAS or drobo for your application, think about running a true server. I know, more $$ than you want to spend, but you will thank me a year from now. There have been several similar discussion in this forum over the past few months and the conclusion has been that the server satisfies best what you want to do (especially the streaming to apple devices part), but at a cost. There are ways to save money, but with compromises in function, maintenance,... performance... whatever.

    Mac OS X Server is easy to set up for what you want, its just the Mac OS you are used to and much easier than any of the NAS solutions offered. Its your choice on external media that you connect to the server, but I'd think about two media drives, one a CCC clone of the primary (with CCC archiving enabled perhaps). Run iTunes on the mini and share the iPhoto and iTunes library.

    The server will easily meet all your requirements but if you want to be able to edit photos by any number of users at the same time with the possibility of contention, I think you need an enterprise photo app that does that for you.... but I'm not sure what will be offered in the next version of iTunes and Aperture. In any case, you need a server to run that, a NAS won't be of much help.

    The folks in the OS X server and home theater forums can be of some help.

    RAIDs are good if you are looking for performance but, for backup, a second drive and a backup app probably is better. Missing from most RAID discussions is the days they need to rebuild a RAID when a drive fails. You can be back into business with less drama by simply using multiple drive and backup apps. If your iTunes library is more than 4 or 5 terrabytes, you may need to concatenate drives into a single volume. The server can easily handle that job and back up one concatenated set to another and then a third set you store at another location off site. Personally I buy network storage to backup my precious family videos and photos off site.
  8. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2011
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    It's read-only, but each machine can then create their own playlists only available on that machine. There is no practical way to fully share (read/write) an iTunes library on two or more machines, without risking data corruption.

    It IS possible for two people to access the same iPhoto library read/write, but not simultaneously. If one person has it open, the other can't get into it. That's why I prefer using Home Sharing.

    As others said, disk hardware failure is only one possible form of data loss. Data corruption, accidental deletion, and catastrophic failure (surge/fire taking out the whole array) are a few possibilities.
  9. dbernelle macrumors newbie

    Oct 16, 2008
    Synology 1812+ - iPhoto and iTunes question...

    I have a Synology DS 1812+ and wanted to off-load the iPhoto Library and iTunes Library from my Mac Pro and get ready for the new Mac Pros with NO user installable internal hard drive capacity.

    I moved my iPhoto and iTunes Libraries to the DS 1812+ and have not suffered any problems, yet... except I can't access my "photos" (stored in my iPhoto Library on the Synology 1812+) when I use iTunes to try and sync my iPhone and add new pictures - I just watch it swirl and try and find the iPhoto library when in iTunes, under the "Photos" tab of iTune for my iPhone.

    So I started looking.... I found this:

    Which basically states that iPhoto is designed to only work on hard drives formatted as Mac OS extended (journaled). The Synology has a Linix file system.

    Basically, the tread states that I'm playing with a time bomb and that the iPhoto Library could crash on me at any time and I'd lose my photos...

    Anyone know if this still holds true (that tread was from 2010ish).

    Basically, I want to keep my iPhoto Library in my "home" directory on the Synology NAS (so I have restricted use of my photos) and my iTunes Library in the commonly accessible "music" directory on the Synology 1812+.

    Anyone able to shed light?

    Thanks in advance...
  10. priitv8 macrumors 68040

    Jan 13, 2011
    I personally don't understand, how a network file server's internal disk format can have any relevance in this discussion. It is not exposed to the network client at all. All the client sees is the network protocol the server speaks. Provided, your server speaks Apple's AFP, it's just a matter of which AFP features deoes it support and how well does it do this.
    Synology runs on Linux and has Ext3 or Ext4 filesystem, which feature-wise should match (if not exceed) ancient HFS+ (that includes journaling). So it's really a question of how well are these features presented to OS X client over AFP (ie implementation quality of AFP protocol).
    Also I don't believe Syno went to implement AFP on their own. They probably just use Netatalk, like most Linuxes do.
    Can't say if connecting your OS X over SMB instead of AFP would leave OS X missing some network filesystem features iPhoto really depends on.
    I personally prefer to enable AFP on my NAS and ditch the SMB for OS X use. YMMV.
  11. dbernelle macrumors newbie

    Oct 16, 2008
    Currently, at login to my Mac, I use AFP to connect to my Synology NAS for the NAS folders "music" (where iTunes library is kept, as a folder everyone can access) and "home," (where my private iPhoto library is kept in my "Pictures" folder).

    I would never have found the "warning" that stated iPhoto needed to be on Mac OS Extended (Journaled) if I hadn't been trying to find out why I got the swirling icon, while I waited forever for iTunes to find my iPhoto pictures, to add/delete photos from my iPhone before I sync'ed the iPhone...

    I agree with you, why would the structure of the database for iPhoto matter as long as some minimum was met, which I think is so, using the Synology.

    More of these kinda' questions will appear next month when the "R2D2" Mac Pro is released.

    What do y'all think? Is this a call to Apple for the final word?
  12. twoodcc macrumors P6


    Feb 3, 2005
    Right side of wrong
    can you give more info on your setup? can you expand if you need to?
  13. smellalot macrumors 6502

    Dec 6, 2011

    So, what did you choose?
  14. MyMac1976 macrumors 6502


    Apr 14, 2013
    I have a Nas build from a seriously old AMD dual core but the case will take 12 drives. I have another seriously old tower I got from work (optiplex 620) that sits offline and turned off I boot it up on Thursdays and back up the NAS to it then power it down Thursday night. I also have one of those ebay SATA to USB/FW open docks so I anytime we back up pictures or movies of my daughter I manually back up those to a drive that sits in my closet at my work apartment. My wife will also drop them on our 4TB lacie that sits attached to our modem/router. Every few months we send pictures to my folks in the states they love it because it's pic's of the grandkid I love it because it's off site backup. :D

    Data you don't want to loose in three places.. You can trade time for money if you have a few skills. I have a serious quantity of data stored and backed up for not more than the price of high density drives and some time
  15. mikeheenan macrumors 6502

    Aug 8, 2007
    If you keep your iPhoto library separate from your main drive, whatever you do, always make 2-3 backups of it on separate drives. I had my laptop stolen a few years ago which had an ssd/hd setup, but I stupidly did not back up the hd portion before it got stolen (hd had iPhoto, iTunes, movies, tv downloads etc). I was able to rescue about 60% of my iPhoto library from an old backup that was on another drive that was being used as scratch disc. Strangely enough I did rescue the entire iPhoto library from that disc but all images and videos are broken and cannot be viewed or played. I do keep those files on another disc in hopes in the future they can be fixed.


    If iPhoto library is separate from the main drive always make another separate backup or two so you're protected.
  16. Mercury2wo thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 7, 2011
    Nothing yet!! I am still undecided and decided to postpone the mini-project to end of the year.
  17. Cbdboz macrumors regular


    Oct 31, 2013
    This sounds like the solution I am looking if I het this right:
    1 Mac mini with OSX server
    2 attach external storage option to keep content on...any suggestions?
    3 attach further external storage to use as a back up / security option.
    4 can an Apple time capsule also be used to back up the media (2) drive, as well as everything else on Mac mini internal drive?

    Does a synology solution have any part to play in this solution, or would it just be overkill if had the above Mac mini and server solution?

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