Raid Array

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by case2001, Oct 1, 2018.

  1. case2001 macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2010

    I’m not sure this is the correct place for this post but here goes. I’m going to purchasing a 2017 MacBook Pro either 13 inch or 15inch.
    I currently have a MacBook Air 2013 with 256gig drive.

    Currently, I have about 160 gigabytes free.

    I use Time Machine to back up.

    I have almost a terabyte photos and business information stored in a separate hard drive. I back that up monthly to a second separate hard drive.

    Here is the meat of the question. When, I move to the new MacBook Pro I will likely increase the hard drive to 512 gigabytes. It will clearly still not be large enough for all the data I need. Would this be a good time to look into a small Raid array? Would it be better to stay with my current system of 2 different external hard drives?

    If a Raid array could you point me in a direction?

  2. Howard2k macrumors 68020


    Mar 10, 2016
    You have two distinct options - NAS or DAS.

    NAS - Network Attached Storage. I have a NAS with 2 x 2TB drives running in Raid1. The bottleneck is my wifi. the MBPros are all 3x3 (except the nTB) so will do up to 1.3Gb/s if you have the router. The nTB is 867Mb/s. That's bandwidth, not throughput. If you go the NAS route and if you're using wifi, it's worth ensuring that you have AC1750 or better. You can also connect via Gigabit Ethernet of course. I also have mine setup so I can connect via VPN if I'm out and about (with the obvious performance penalties).

    Or you can get an array (DAS) that sits on your desk and attaches via Thunderbolt/USB. You'll get far faster throughput, but you need to be connected, physically, to the array of course.

    You could also consider cloud storage. The cheapest and easiest way of getting mass storage. iCloud, Dropbox, Amazon etc.
  3. case2001 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2010
    Thank you for the reply.

    I will probably go with NAS so that I can access via WiFi or gigabyte Ethernet from within my home network. I don’t have a need for access outside the home network.

    Is there a particular brand you would recommend for my modest needs? Any to avoid?

    Thanks again!
  4. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    Synology, Qnap, etc...the generic prebuilt brand names will suit you fine and offer good tech support and a long service life.

    Get a 4+ bay NAS even if you don’t need it because you will eventually. Just use 2 bays initially for data parity and when the time comes that you need more storage you can add another drive or 2 (depends on the type of raid you use).

    You’ll also need to decide on current and future functions you need the NAS to perform. For example since it’s connected to the network you can use it to store movies to serve TVs in the home however you’ll want it to be powerful enough to decode the movies which can add considerable expense.

    Keep in mind though, it shouldn’t be your ONLY back up. Continue backing up manually in case the NAS fails somehow and takes out the drives with it.

    Also get NAS rated HDD too like WD Reds.
  5. Howard2k macrumors 68020


    Mar 10, 2016
    I use a ZyXEL. Works fantastically, but not a popular well known brand.

    I tried a Buffalo Linkstation but the macOS support was atrocious. The tech support guys were great but it just didn't work well in some specific scenarios. I had an issue and in the end their answer was to find a PC, or buy an external drive enclosure to re-set my drives, or something to that effect.

    Synology seems to be the gold standard around here.

    Western Digital have some nice units too, though they tend to be a little more simple. If you're just looking to share files, they're good.

    I also use mine for Time Machine, torrents, DLNA media streaming etc. For that reason I don't think the WD is a good fit for me. If I was buying a new one today it would be a ZyXEL or Synology.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 2, 2018 ---
    Agree. I backup to my NAS, but also to external drives. I then backup my NAS to other external drives too. Overkill? I don't think so, I can't stop my kids from again and can't go and take those photos all over again.
  6. case2001 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2010
    Ok dumb question, what is the best method of backing up the RAID? An external hard drive?

  7. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    Never really backed up my NAS. I just back up separately from the source, so in this case an external connected to the Mac or the network somewhere.

    I use my NAS for time machine backups mostly and drag and drop specific files from the Mac to an external that I keep in a fire resistant safe. A lot of stuff is on iCloud servers too so I have 3 places the data is saved excluding the source.
  8. Howard2k macrumors 68020


    Mar 10, 2016
    Mine has a USB port on it. I attach an external drive to it and dump my data from the NAS onto the external drive, then store that external drive elsewhere.
  9. Mr Screech macrumors newbie

    Mr Screech

    Mar 2, 2018
    Stay with your 2 disks.

    You don't need the speed of a raid array and having two separate disks is a better backup than a single raid enclosure.
  10. case2001 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2010
    That is exactly what I’m beginning to think. It is a bit overwhelming with the costs and the complexity of setup. I don’t need/want to save TV or movies. It is primarily bussiness/family photos and videos. I don’t use torrents. A 2 drive synology and 2 4 terabyte drives it would be over $500.00. I don’t really need high band width access. This is really archival.
    I appreciate everyone’s input. I’ll have to do a bit more research. I will post back to my final decision.
  11. Howard2k macrumors 68020


    Mar 10, 2016

    Good luck, I wouldn't rush into it either way. Better to take a little time and come up with a long term strategy.

    For a simple NAS without all the flash and whizz, the WD MyCloud are good value. A friend bought one and I was amazed. I recommended he try it but told him that I hadn't used it before and it was a cheap and cheerful product that had limited functionality. I was really impressed how easy it was to set up. For simple file storage it's amazing, and also includes "cloud access" too. I don't remember all the specifics but the website will have it. For a cheap and cheerful NAS, I was very impressed.

    A cloud service is worth thinking about for what you're describing. Some cloud services will do backups, version tracking etc. Some don't. I went with a cheaper 2 bay NAS, I think all done it was around CAD$500 (US$5.50) and it's been running for 3 or 4 years. Over 3 years that's $15/month. Cloud services are as little as $10/month? Some free even. For what you're using I'd certainly check into a few cloud providers too.

    I would be a little wary of using an unknown provider if you're storing data in the cloud without have a local copy. I don't know all the big names, but the ones that come to mind are iCloud (obviously), Dropbox, Amazon, Google, Microsoft... I'd be wary of "Fat Tony's Pizza, Wings, and Cloud Services."

    EDIT: I'll also add I a spent a fair bit of time setting home my home system and ending up buying (and returning most of) 3 routers, 2 NAS devices, and 4 or 5 HDDs, before ending up with a configuration that worked for me. Then I had to become familiar with all of them enough to set them up and see how well they worked. Rushing is bad.
  12. jerryk, Oct 2, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2018

    jerryk macrumors 601

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    If it is truly archival, as in put it some place in case the house burns down, keep the existing local external drive, and look at some of the cloud offerings. Specially look at AWS Glacier. Dirt cheap to store ($0.004/GB/mo), reasonable to retrieve ($0.01/GB).

    Just push the new stuff from the local external drive to glacier ever once and a while. You can use the AWS CLI to do this, or someone probably has a nice script.
  13. case2001 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2010

    I have been looking at the Buffalo TeraStation 1200D. Is that the model you had difficulty with?

    It seems well reviewed and at a very good price.

    I appreciate your input.
  14. Howard2k macrumors 68020


    Mar 10, 2016
    No it was the Linkstation 420.

    The issue was that the configuration and OS was stored on the drive(s), not on an internal flash. So I had an issue with a drive (or two drives, never did narrow it down) and had to reimage the NAS. If I recall correctly, they had tools to do this with Windows very easily, but for macOS they had much more limited support. I had to pull the drive out of the NAS and then put it in an external USB3 tray, and connect that to my Macbook. It sill didn't work. I never was able to narrow down 100% whether it was a HDD issue, or a NAS issue, or both. The tech guys were very helpful and very responsive, but in the end it just wasn't really workable. The device itself had Time Machine support, it worked when it worked, but when it didn't work it didn't work, and I wasn't able to use their tools effectively without Windows.

    Maybe it's changed now, it's been a few years.
  15. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    In this case cloud storage is probably the best option for you. For example, 2TB storage with iCloud is $120 per year and its mot likely safer than any solution you can come up with at home. Of course, its still a good idea to have a cheap HDD for backups locally...
  16. case2001 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2010
    So, I have considered that. Will cloud back up do incremental back ups? Is there software that does that natively? I use Carbon Copy cloner typically when I copy from one hard drive to the other external. I think I may just stick with the 2 external hard drives. They are cheaper. I understand how to use it. I don't really need to stream anything and there is no need for internet.

    I appreciate everyone's help!
  17. jerryk macrumors 601

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area

    In backup there is the 3-2-1 rule to ensure you do not lose vital data.
    • Have three separate copies of data (primary copy with two backups),
    • Stored on two different physical media,
    • With one backup copy kept offsite.

    If two externals drives have the exact same information. And one is kept off site you will meet the 3-2-1 rule.
  18. case2001 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2010
    Ok so I have decided to stick with my 2 external drives and leave it connected to a dock. Then use Carbon copy to do incremental backups. It will be cheaper and simpler to administer.

    This has been really helpful. Thanks guys!
  19. Christian Schumacher macrumors newbie

    Christian Schumacher

    Oct 3, 2015

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