Need help building media server! Storage wars..

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Astroboy907, Nov 24, 2013.

  1. Astroboy907 macrumors 65816


    May 6, 2012
    Spaceball One
    I recently came across some awesome deals with some members here, and actually ended up with 5x2tb hard drives due to the amazing generosity of a member, and this is actually a possibility now. I had recently purchased a mac mini to be set up as a media server/backup storage area in the living room. Now here comes the fun part :D

    I want to be able to use the mac mini as a media server (netflix, movies from HDD, even Blu-rays if I upgrade the drive). But I also want the server to be set up to wirelessly back up my laptop (I have this set up currently).

    So this is what I was thinking about doing. I have a Mac Mini, a 3tb HDD (previous macbook backup), 5x2tb HDDs, an Airport Extreme, and a 1tb HDD. Needless to say I've been collecting this gear for a while and it's about time I got everything together how I wanted. The family has a collection of about 200 DVDs, maybe 250. It keeps growing, and we have a Blu-ray player now. I recently became interested in doing full backups of the discs (to ISO, and rip the feature) because we've had a few get unreadable due to scratching. I want to be able to access my data drives over the network too (NAS).

    My plan: Connect two 2TB hdds together to use as a 4TB media volume- this is bigger than I need right now for movies. Use plex/iTunes and play on TV. Connect another two 2TB hard drives to create a mirrored backup for my laptop- mirror the drives so if one fails I still have a backup.
    This is where it gets sketchy- use the remaining 2tb hdd as an external storage drive (?) with the 3tb drive a backup of that, and the 1tb hard drive a nightly backup of my laptop? My laptop drive is 1tb (TB? Tb?, tB?), and nearly full to the brim.

    I just need another opinion on what I should do with all the drives. I've had two backup drives fail me (hardware/controllers) in a row so I've been wanting to create a mirrored backup in case this happens again- then I do not lose all of my backups. My main questions right now are- do you think I should backup the media/movie drives? I mean, they are a backup of the movies after all, not hugely important data. And how do I organize all this? A RAID enclosure? NAS? Am I just being utterly stupid and/or paranoid about backups and redundancy? Should I run some drives offsite? I just need opinions and advice from someone who has done this before...
  2. DavoteK macrumors 6502

    Jan 5, 2012
    Get a multi bay NAS (I use a Synology DS411J which is an older model, the DS413J is available and is a slightly quicker option, but there are other options out there, easily found via a quick google search), stick 4 of those 2TB drives in and use their Hybrid RAID option, this will give you a 6TB single volume with single drive redundancy (Click Here For Their Storage Calculator, very handy tool), meaning if one of those drives goes tits up you don't lose all your stuff.

    You can create sections on that volume, one for media, one for time machine backups for your Mac and any other sections you may deem relevant. I have a Movies folder, TV, Photos, Documents, Time Machine Backups and a couple of others.

    250DVDs, if ripped in to avi or mp4 format should come in at about 2GB a file, taking up a grand total of 500GB, so you've got a fair bit of space left.

    Use the remaining drive(s) (wasn't sure if the 3TB was internal to the mini or not) as external storage, get a caddy for it/them, always handy to have, or keep that 2TB as your ready made spare in case one of the drive goes.

    Off site backup? For digital versions of DVDs? While nice to have a backup, I wouldn't go to the trouble of that. Off site backup, for me, is only really necessary for things that are irreplaceable.
  3. mac8867 macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2010
    Saint Augustine, FL
    +1 on the multi drive enclosure. You can spend a little or a lot depending on your tolerances. Your mac mini can configure the drives in a raid set with disk manager, or if you buy an enclosure with a raid controller its plug and go. In either configuration, the array is portable in terms of being able to plug it into another mac and have it appear "whole". The trick is monitoring the health of the drives and making sure if one fails you replace it quickly.

    Personally, I would put the time machine backups together with your airport extreme (This is how I run). Simply plug one of your drives into the usb port on the router, configure to share it and off you go. But to me, the time machine backups are throw-awayable... mostly for lost file recovery and installs of a new/replacement machine. All my important data is stored on a raid array (previous paragraph).

    As for sharing media to your television... I like apple tv linked to the itunes library. I am betting there are other (better?) options people will respond with.
  4. Astroboy907 thread starter macrumors 65816


    May 6, 2012
    Spaceball One
    Just due to the amount of "different" setups I *think* it would be good to run, I am thinking about buying one of these. Because if I do backup my MacBook, I want that to be RAID probably, so I don't lose my backups. But then I have my media storage, which I wouldn't back up, and then a nightly bootable clone of my laptops HDD.
    So do you think if I had two 2TB drives in mirrored RAID as my time machine backup, two 2TB drives striped/separate for 4TB of media backup -the reason I'd like a lot of media storage is that I would be making burnable copies of the discs- some 8gb for each DVD, plus a rip of the feature. The 1TB drive would be doing a bootable clone nightly, and 2 external non-media drives, one as a backup of the other, that would be a good setup? If I had the mini managing software RAID would it put too much stress on it if it doubled as a media server? I realize time machine backups are not super-vital but I do a lot of stuff with my drives and would like to be able to restore from a backup from at least a month previously if something comes up. It has in the past.
    That would be.... Umm, one 4 bay enclosure and 3 external drives that the mini has to manage :D

    The airport extreme will be used as a wifi/ethernet hotspot, and the mini will connect directly to the TV if possible.

    Recommendations on what to put on RAID would be appreciated.
  5. mac8867 macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2010
    Saint Augustine, FL
    So for RAID... let's list your desire/needs:

    - Media storage, 4 TB, JBOD (striped maybe)
    - Time Capsule/Machine, 2TB, RAID
    - Backups, 2 TB, RAID
    - Boot Clone, 2 TB

    That makes your config look something like this:
    - 4TB RAID
    - 6TB JBOD

    Can your mini handle software RAID and media services, probably. That question is specifically why I use (and recommend) and apple tv. It's a cheap solution to off loading the video processing.

    - AppleTV for serving up media to the television
    - RAID enclosure, 4 bays. A hardware solution is about $180, Sans Digital
    - Put 4 of your 2TB drives in it, configure as RAID 3 or 5, giving you
    approx 5-5.5 TB of storage. More than ample for your raid needs
    - Buy the OSX Server add on for your mini ($20) from the app store and set
    up as a time capsule
    - 1 external drive for bootable clone
    - If you really really really want the backups in addition, $75 gets you a 2
    drive enclosure to set up with software mirroring (Vantex Nexstar)

    ** Disclaimer, the products I named are the ones I use, they work fine and haven't caused any problems. But I am not advocating they are better than other options in the market. I buy my stuff from New Egg, and I only say that because the products can be searched for their.
  6. Astroboy907 thread starter macrumors 65816


    May 6, 2012
    Spaceball One
    I must say I am trying to do this on the inexpensive side of things, but I'll say now that performance is not absolutely critical (thus me running it solely from a Mini). I'll mostly stream internet videos and DVDs, nothing 1080p for a while yet. And after reading this, I am more inclined to go for a software RAID solution. However, looking at amazon this, would seem like an inexpensive solution to my problem, while providing some benefits. I am running the whole thing on a 2009 mac mini, so Firewire 800 would probably be my best connection, apart from eSATA, because I don't have USB3.
    Also, the reason I like the mediasonics is because they are inexpensive, and actually the whole thing will be put into this TARDIS enclosure I am building for the mac mini. The mediasonic is one of the few boxes that will fit :D

    If I got that, I would put 4x2TB disks in, and set to RAID 10 (2 striped 2 mirrored). This seems optimal because then I can lose two (alternate) disks without losing my data. I would use the share disk setting on the mac mini/airport extreme to back up my laptop, limiting the backup to 2TB. Then I would have 2tb free for external files (scratch disk?), which would also be fairly fast due to mirroring. Unless I could set up 2x RAID 1 setups, with two disks each.

    Then use my 1tb disk as a bootable clone, leaving me with a 2TB and 3TB drive for media storage.

    So 8TB RAID 10 = 4TB (2 for time machine, two for media/scratch disk)
    1TB clone
    5TB media storage/offsite backup/extra backups

    I think that might pose a fairly good strategy if something failed, as well as taking off some CPU load and providing better read times due to mirroring.

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