Need help with best storage system

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by BJB Productions, Apr 21, 2015.

  1. BJB Productions macrumors 65816

    BJB Productions

    Nov 10, 2008
    I'm running into the problem where I can't just keep buying hard drives... They're stacking up and it's getting ridiculous. I need something that actually makes sense. I'm a photographer and need a system for working with, archiving, and backing up media.

    Here's what I (ideally) need:

    1. Working SSD Thunderbolt (or USB3) drive - *active projects stored here* (this one is easy to solve)

    2. Some sort of storage device to archive all my old projects. Doesn't need to be super fast. Would be great to have two computers able to access it at the same time but not essential. - *old projects stored here*

    3. A system for backing up EVERYTHING. This includes...
    • Working drive
    • Archives
    • Internal computer drive/ system files...etc

    Since I have a few hard drives I figure I can use one of those with Time Machine to take care of at least my system file backup.

    Okay... So what are your thoughts? Keep in mind I don't have thousands of dollars to blow. :(
  2. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
  3. BJB Productions thread starter macrumors 65816

    BJB Productions

    Nov 10, 2008
    Around $600
  4. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    You haven't mentioned how many terabytes of old projects you need to store.
  5. BJB Productions thread starter macrumors 65816

    BJB Productions

    Nov 10, 2008
    Well, thinking ahead, I'd like to have at least 5TB of storage. Currently I have about 2TB in archived projects.
  6. ColdCase, Apr 21, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    Something that actually makes sense will cost more than $600.

    Basically this is what I ended up with for something similar but oriented more to video:

    At my main working computer, which is a laptop I take on location, I attached a OWC thunderbay, installed a Larger SSD in one bay for working scratch and two 2TB drives RAID0'd for performance (4TB for storage) for day to day libraries and a 5TB NAS type drive and I use CCC to backup the library drive to the 5TB drive. I backup the internal drive to a mini server. Libraries I want to share are on the mini server which is OK for photos, kinda slow for video editing.

    I have a Mac mini set up as server with a OCC thunderbay housing 5 and 6 TB drives. I use one of the mini internal drives for the user computers time machine destination, the other is a small SSD for the OS and server apps. I only use TM to backup computer apps and system files, some data files. I RAID0'd two 5TB drives to make a 10TB volume and store my archives and shared media there. I RAID0'd the two 6TB drives to create a 12 TB volume and use CCC to backup the 10TB volume there.

    My other computers don't have much local storage and they simply use TM to backup to the server... and a TimeCapsule which also serves as our router. (my main working computer is also backed up to the TC).

    I have a few left over drives attached to the mini server basically used as spares and scratch storage.

    Scaling down to smaller drives will save some coin. For years I tried various NAS and USB solutions which were bandaids compared to the current setup. It just works well once set up, no quirky operations that used to take up much of my time to resolve..
  7. BJB Productions thread starter macrumors 65816

    BJB Productions

    Nov 10, 2008
    Well tell me more. It's worth doing it right.
  8. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    Well, at current new prices, I have about $1600 in storage and server hardware and $1300 in drives in the setup I described. I put it together incrementally over several months.

    If you don't want a TC for redundant backup of the computer OS drives, you can cut $300. If you have drives to reuse, then that will reduce the $1300. Instead of new you can buy used or refurbbed or look for sales. So you are looking at ~$1000-1200. If you choose to not do the server now, focussing on your main machine, you can spend ~ $425 for a OWC enclosure plus drives. Then expand later.. if that strategy makes sense for you.

    I also run a media server and web server on the mini, so there is another enclosure and more drives for that. The nice thing about a server is that it is easily scalable when you change your mind.

    But its your money and there are other approaches that save a few bucks. Worth doing right is a bit subjective. I have always found good performing durable storage costs a lot more than one expects.
  9. BJB Productions thread starter macrumors 65816

    BJB Productions

    Nov 10, 2008
  10. PsyOpWarlord macrumors 6502


    Nov 11, 2010
    Colorado Springs, CO
  11. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    My recommendation is 3 tiered. First get a DAS that is adequate for your projected working set. 1 to 2 TB should be a good starting point. That gets you a fast setup for working.

    Next item is your archive storage. Since you want access from multiple devices a NAS or OS X Server is the best option. A cheap (used) Mac Mini plus big external drives gives lots of space for not much cost.

    Backup - I have a family Crashplan account that covers up to 10 computers and unlimited storage for about $100 per year (multi-year purchase). As long as you have good bandwidth it works. I have over 2 TB backed up to their cloud. Some additional local drives are good for Time Machine backups for recovering from those oops moments.

    This is going to cost more than your $600 but isn't your data worth more than that? Lots of stories in these forums from people crying about disasters and inadequate backups. Some willing to spend hundreds to recover the data who it could have been prevented for $50.
  12. donlab, Apr 24, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2015

    donlab macrumors 6502


    Jun 3, 2004
    I'm going to offer a solution that might fit your budget...

    You can solve #1 as you said quite easily.

    #2. Have you looked at a Blu Ray burner with capability to burn to M-Disc? M-Disc offers a true cost effective archive solution for consumers and is supposed to survive a millenia. You can burn two copies of your old data to M-Disc for onsite/offsite and you're done. You don't need to keep buying larger and larger drives to backup the same data over and over again as you grow. Just archive / export out your old projects and store them on M-Disc. The drive is ~$100 and a 50 pack of M-Disc costs $220. 50 x 25GB = 1.2TB.
    The beauty of this solution is that the data is stored safely on read only media. If you go with a NAS solution today then you will still have to reinvest in a NAS solution tomorrow when you either outgrow the current solution or replace hardware. Then you buy all that disk space over again plus room to grow. Instead, just put it on cold storage and don't worry about backing it up or migrating it again. Now, you can use time machine to only backup and version your active projects.
    No solution is perfect and this solution requires that you keep your archive organised. If you archive to M-Disc then you should catalog the contents of each disk on your machine so your archives will remain searchable. For example you can lookup which disc a certain project is on and then go and retrieve that disk to access the files. Toast 12 has a disc catalog program which seems to work well for my uses. Another - is that data is offline until the disc is located and mounted and the access time is slower than NL storage but faster than tape.
    While I'm quite fond of tape, it just doesn't play well in the consumer market. Its too expensive and requires special hardware and software to operate. The nice thing about blue ray is that its backward compatible with all older standards and likewise the current 25GB M-Disc will be well supported into the future even if faster drives and larger discs are released.

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