Need massive non-RAID storage. Any suggestions?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by rawdawg, Jun 26, 2012.

  1. rawdawg macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2009
    I have around 7 TB of media data but don't want to spend a lot on a RAID system. I would like it to mainly be an archive and when I want to work on a current project I could bring it into a smaller RAID 0 I have.

    In addition I want to have a 2nd of whatever enclosure I find to use as a backup.

    Everything I find that has very large storage capabilities are RAID systems. Thunderbolt is stupid expensive IMO. I would just as soon buy a Mac Pro (as outdated as they are) before spending that much on a fancy enclosure for data.

    Is there something I should take a look at or is a Mac Pro really my best option given the money I'd spend having a decent enclosure for my needs?
  2. Mike Valmike macrumors 6502a

    Feb 27, 2012
    Chandler, Arizona
    The largest physical HDDs available through normal market channels right now are 4TB, so how could a 7TB external storage solution be anything other than a RAID? Not meaning to be snarky -- I'm just not sure what other choice you have here.

    FWIW, I'm in your camp about not wanting a RAID; I have a pair of 3TB drives and one is kept off-site as an archive backup, and every month I mirror them and switch, for maximum longevity. But if I needed 7TB of storage I don't know what I'd do.
  3. flatfoot macrumors 65816

    Aug 11, 2009
    Daisy-chain FW800 drives or attach USB drives and soft-RAID them so you have one big logical volume.
  4. Chabba macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2011
    More importantly, how are you going to back it all up? Without a raid of some sort, you can lose a lot from 1 drive failure.

    As for options, build an unraid or freenas box. Load it up with 2tb drives and go to town.
  5. Chippy99 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 28, 2012
    To be fair, you should back it all up anyway, even if it is stored in a raid array. Raid is safer (depending on raid level) but not safe by any means. There's all sorts of reason why you might lose an entire raid array.
  6. joe-h2o macrumors 6502a

    Jun 24, 2012
    As other people have said, you're not looking at many options for that quantity of data.

    Anything over 3 or 4 TB and you're going to be looking at splitting it up over multiple volumes or using software RAID solutions.

    If you're dead set on just using consumer parts then get four firewire enclosures with a 4TB drive in each one and then either use software RAID to make two 8 TB volumes or break up your data over two 4 TB single volumes.

    Use the other two drives to back the first two drives up. Honestly, though, by that point you may be better off looking at a dedicated hardware RAID setup.

    7 TB is quite a lot of data for "budget" storage options.
  7. Tronic macrumors 6502


    Jun 10, 2009
    Check out Unraid
  8. marzer macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
  9. jmcgeejr macrumors 6502


    Oct 7, 2010
    Seattle, WA
    I would second unraid if you have a spare box to put them in, but be forewarned the write performance is atrocious, and dont believe what they say about using a cache drive, that only makes the client think it is writing faster, it still goes slow going from the cache to the array.
  10. rawdawg thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2009
    Thanks for all the suggestions! This really helped me see it's not as simple as I thought. Currently I use a MBP and it's like hooking it up to life support everytime I do try to edit. I have drives everywhere and ever port is taken (all 3 USB, a few daisy chained FW800, and 2x eSATA through my Express Card).

    I really wanted a Mac Pro thinking I could at least throw some big drives in there and then find an easier backup solution using a dock and separate drive for each inside the MP. But I'm so disappointed by the MacPro, and since I need a monitor, I figure an iMac may hold me off.

    So to clarify my question.... I was wondering if getting an iMac would end up costing more than a Mac Pro considering the costs I'd have to make for exterior enclosures.
  11. Major.Robto macrumors 6502

    May 11, 2012
  12. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Build a small NAS box yourself:

    With a small enclosure, older-gen intel mainboard and power-efficient CPU you can build a box for less than $200. And FreeNAS uses ZFS, so you get RAID-like data security features for free.
  13. Major.Robto macrumors 6502

    May 11, 2012
    If you know nothing about networking or dealing with stuff like that free nas is a pain!

    just go for usb drives
  14. d0nK macrumors 6502


    Nov 4, 2011
    I'm in the same boat.

    My hackintosh uses 6 hard drives; 128Gig SSD for OS+Apps, 1TB for music projects, 500Gig for itunes and movies, 1TB for web development, photo's, 2D/3D design, video's, 1TB for windows for games and 2TB for backup (I also have another HD for backup which I switch out).

    I'm struggling to work out how to incorporate all this into a new iMac setup, so I'm keeping tabs on this thread. As long as the solution isn't expensive and isn't slower than my current setup I'll be happy.
  15. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    Pretty much every RAID enclosure available supports JBOD, which is not RAID. But then you've still paid for a RAID capable enclosure.
  16. AngelGuy7 macrumors regular

    Nov 9, 2006
    New York
  17. driftless macrumors 65816


    Sep 2, 2011
    I can't imagine not using RAID with that much data. I understand the OP's question; however, I think that he is misguided and needs to just plainly explain his need without adding arbitrary requirements. There are solutions.
  18. rawdawg thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2009
    RAIDs are so 2005...

    I don't think they make that much sense. Large disk RAID 5 can lead to failures. And I don't need all my data stripped.

    The truth is having actual backups are far more important that any sort of RAID. Nothing I do needs immediate redundancy. The whole notion of how wonderful RAID is is dated. It just took time for the masses to hear about them. Most people choose RAID thinking it's a sort of back up. It is NOT. Having an actual backup is far more important.
  19. philipma1957, Jul 1, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2012

    philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
  20. d0nK macrumors 6502


    Nov 4, 2011
    Personally, I use an RME Fireface 800 and make music so the last thing I'll ever do is chain my 6 hard drives on my firewire bus.
    A solid 6 hard drive thunderbolt enclosure would be good. Not cheap and every enclosure I've used always breaks too quickly. I dunno... it's looking like a Mac Pro (once they get a proper update) may be the ONLY sensible option.
  21. harcosparky, Jul 1, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2012

    harcosparky macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    7 TB? That has to be the largest porn collection I ever heard of! :eek: :D

    Non raid?

    Get eight ( 8 ) 2 TB drives, use 4 to hold the data and the other 4 to back it up.

    The above setup is referred to as JBOD for the acronym happy folks.

    (J)usta (B)unch (O)f (D)rives

    Honestly though I would get a RAID array, setup with parity so that if one of the drives fail you can plug in a replacement and let it rebuild the failed drive.
  22. Major.Robto macrumors 6502

    May 11, 2012
    Raid is over rated.

    I could only see useing the raid where its mirrord,

    I would think the external hardrive raid boxes will use the drives and show them up as independents. I thought about buying one just to save space.

    doubt any exist that wont do raid and will show all drives as independent.
  23. russofris macrumors regular

    Mar 20, 2012

    You have two choices for JBOD.

    1: Purchase a cheap and dumb enclosure and attach it to your Mac. Mediasonic makes 4-Bay USB3/ESATA enclosures for $150-ish. They're pretty crappy.

    2: Build a cheap custom PC and use it as a NAS (or shared iTunes Library) device.

    With option #2, you can simply set it up once, turn on auto-updates, enable power-savings, and put it in your basement.

  24. Major.Robto macrumors 6502

    May 11, 2012
    What os would you run on your nas? Free nas has so many dam problems with newer parts, Windows...Well then you need antivirus and keep a eye on the system, OSX on a pc, forget it, hackintosh is over rated.
  25. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    I've got 6.5TB, not quite 7. It's done with a bunch of externals on a Mac mini server, which I also use for other server functions besides files. Somewhat more expensive than necessary for just NAS service, but any mini, even a used one, is nice to deal with in a Mac household. Even does Time Machine duty for the other systems.

    "JBOD" works fine. No need to RAID anything as long as you can split files up among the drives.

    Two extra sets of drives (mostly bare) are used for off-site backups, and I'm paranoid enough that important files (about half a TB) are also backed up "in the cloud" using CrashPlan.

    I previously use an old Windows box, and used it for years, for file sharing. Not as convenient, although having anti-virus protection is NOT an issue for a system that effectively never runs any programs.

    If I were only dealing with one computer (and assuming it were a desktop) I'd just hang the drives off of whatever port I had available.

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