RAID or NAS for Time Machine/Basic Storage?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Just1nCase, Feb 23, 2013.

  1. Just1nCase macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2006
    #1
    Hi all!

    I'm looking to get a RAID storage for my Time Machine Backup and/or Basic Storage. I was close to purchasing 4.0TB OWC Mercury Elite Pro Qx2, but I began having second thoughts. Is a RAID storage worth getting if I plan on using it for Time Machine backups? or am I better off with NAS?

    I did try a NAS for a bit (a DiskStation 411j with x2 1.0TB Western Digital Green Caviar HDD - WD10EADS), but it was extremely slow accessing it and creating my time machine backup. It said it would take at least a month to complete a full backup. The NAS was also connected to directly to my AirPort Extreme. I do like the versatility of a NAS, but it seems like I'm having a hassle setting it up already. Therefore, I forgo this solution.

    However, I did see people having plenty success with it. Maybe I have a slow performing Hard Drive installed. Should I give it a second chance?

    So, I thought it would be great to open this topic here to get some feedback based on my situation. Any thoughts? Thanks all!
     
  2. drsox macrumors 65816

    drsox

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Location:
    Xhystos
    #2
    A 2 drive RAID NAS is a good combination. With this you get some protection against a single drive failure. NAS setup doesn't have to be difficult - depends on the NAS. Ask here for some help with a 2 drive Synology or a small ReadyNAS DuoV2; I'm sure you will get responses.

    Getting a fast speed of data transfer requires a decent network also, preferably a Gigabit wired connection with Gigabit switches etc.
     
  3. Just1nCase thread starter macrumors member

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    Jul 14, 2006
    #3
    Very cool. Any particular model you recommend for a Synology 2-drive RAID?

    If my computer is running from Wifi (802.11 n) via my AirPort Extreme and my NAS is connected to my AirPort Extreme, will I still need a Gigabit switch? How exactly does a Gigabit switch work in this case? Sorry for my newbie questions, just a bit confused.

    Will I need the NAS to connect to a Gigabit Switch with the switch connected to the AirPort Extreme? (NAS => Gigabit Switch => AirPort Extreme, iMac connected to AirPort Extreme via Wifi to access NAS)

     
  4. drsox macrumors 65816

    drsox

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    #4
    I don't use Synology (I use ReadyNAS), but there are many folks here who do, so I'll leave it to them.

    Your slow(ish) speed might be due to having a WiFi connection from your computer and/or your LAN connections not being Gigabit ethernet. With Fast ethernet you will be limited to 100Mbps (12.5MBps).

    My 2011 MBA connects by WiFi at 300Mbps (37.5MBps), but when I plug in the TB-Gigabit ethernet adaptor it goes at 800Mbps (100MBps). All my LAN connections are with Gigabit ethernet - switches, NAS and cables.

    Do you know what ethernet all your stuff is ? What's the fastest your iMac will run over WiFi ?

    A Gigabit switch or Gigabit NAS or new Airport Extreme/TC will connect at 1000Mbps (125MBps) if the cables are CAT5e or better and the computer is also Gigabit ethernet connected.

    If you have an older Airport unit, then the best you will get is Fast ethernet so a Gigabit switch won't help for now.
     
  5. Just1nCase thread starter macrumors member

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    Jul 14, 2006
    #5
    I don't know the phrase, "Ethernet all your stuff," is. Currently, my iMac gets 450 Mbit/s over Wifi. The Airport Extreme is the newer model with the n-wifi.

    I just found out the switches that's wired throughout my house is a 10/100 Leviton Switch. My house has a configuration where it has pre-configured ethernet port for all the bedrooms. It uses a Leviton Voice and Data distribution panel to help accomplish this.

    Thus, from reviewing my current configuration, it looks like my Switch is holding me back in regards to my link speed.

    In order for me to improve my link speed and connect to my NAS effectively with better transfer speeds, I would:

    1. Swap the Leviton 10/100 Switch to a Gigabit Switch

    2. Swap any CAT5 cables from the Switch to CAT5e and make sure the NAS is connected using a 5e in order to achieve Gigabit speeds. Currently, my Modem is connected to my Airport via CAT5 and all the cables from Switch to the rooms are CAT5.

    Also, the wall outlets are labeled 5e so I believe they're already configured with Cat 5e cables.

    Does this look correct to you? If so, I may reconsider getting NAS again and configure it the right way. This allow me to create a convenient backup for my time machine as well a decent storage space when accessing remotely.

    However, there's one thing that worries me. Is my modem gigabit-capable? I tried to do some Google searching and it's saying that the modem is 10/100 when bridged. My modem is a arris tm602g/115 . Would that mean I would need to get a new modem that is gigabit capable?

    Sorry for the long post. Thanks again for all your help.
     
  6. drsox macrumors 65816

    drsox

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    #6
    Consumer Ethernet usually comes in two flavours : 10/100 and 10/100/1000. 10/100 is called Fast Ethernet (because 100 was fast when it was introduced compared to the older 10). 10/100/1000 is called Gigabit Ethernet because 1000 is actually a 1 Gigabit per second connection (1000x1000 bits per second).

    To get the fastest connections from your iMac to the NAS you need to check that all links in the network chain are connected by Wired LAN, are specified as 10/100/1000 Wired Ethernet and are operating at 1000.

    So yes, you will need to change the switch and the cables. As well as that you should check that the NAS Ethernet connection is capable of 1000.

    Your iMac and the Airport Extreme are already capable of 1000.

    It's rarer for the Modem to be able to operate at 1000 (some do, some don't), because most Internet speeds to homes don't operate fast enough to justify it. What is the rate you get as a download from your ISP ? Are you paying for a speed higher than 12.5MBps ? If you are, then a faster modem, gigabit enabled, will give you higher internet speeds.

    Even if you don't connect your iMac by Wired Ethernet then you will still be able to get 450Mbps (56MBps) over your LAN network with WiFi by improving your switch, cables and checking the NAS LAN speed.
     
  7. Just1nCase thread starter macrumors member

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    Jul 14, 2006
    #7
    That makes sense. I'll make sure the NAS is 1000 capable and is using a 5e cable.

    My Cox ISP's download rate is up to 18 Mbps so it looks like I would need to get a faster modem to take advantage of the higher speeds. However, it's weird though that they provided me with a slower modem when I did purchase a so-called "Perferred" package with 18 Mbps down.
     
  8. drsox, Feb 24, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013

    drsox macrumors 65816

    drsox

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    #8
    I hope the 18Mbps is a typo. Should it be 18MBps ?


    PS :

    Just checked on Cox speeds : (http://ww2.cox.com/residential/connecticut/internet/preferred-internet.cox)
    It is 18Mbps. In that case there is a basic problem to clear up. 18Mbps is 2.25MBps so your 10/100 modem will be fine for your Cox Internet speeds. Your 10/100 modem will handle speeds up to 100Mbps (12.5MBps).

    Just checking - you do know there is a difference between Mbps and MBps ?
     
  9. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #9

    Serial communication speeds are generally specified in "bits per second"... so in fact... an internet connection would be in Mb/s or Mbps. Likewise, your LAN would also be in Mbps... so fast ethernet would be 10/100 Mbps and gigabit ethernet would be 10/100/1000 Mbps.

    /Jim
     
  10. Just1nCase thread starter macrumors member

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    Jul 14, 2006
    #10
    Haha, yea. I got confused with the subtle similarities. Mbps is Megabits per second while MBps is Megabytes per second.

    Therefore, my internet speed would be 2.25 MBps. So, based on this "okay" internet speed, will it take advantage of a Gigabit network? Or is a Gigabit network speed in reference to increasing the performance of the Local Area Network transfer speeds?

    Thanks again! Learning some cool new networking knowledge here. :)
     
  11. drsox macrumors 65816

    drsox

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    #11
    Gigabit network stuff is only going to help with your internal data transfer speeds. Until we all have a dedicated fibre optic cable coming through the wall from the ISP, the Internet data rates are going to be 10% of the rates available on your house LAN.

    I do a lot of LAN file transfers for video and backup so a Gigabit network really helps me. Plus, I'm always fetching files from the NAS for use as local data files so fast access helps a lot.

    Glad to help.
     
  12. murphychris macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    #12
    Unlikely. A good 802.11n connection is only 117Mbps. And 450Mbps is 56MB/s which is premium FIOS offerings, not what your equipment can provide.

    And possibly WiFi.

    That modem has a max bandwidth of 30.72Mbps. That's better than what 802.11n is going to provide. But that assumes your service provides that amount of data. What you should do is use a CAT 5e or 6 cable into the modem directly connected to a computer, reboot the modem, and then use a NDT server to test, such as http://nitro.ucsc.edu/. If you're getting download or upload speeds above 14Mbps then to take advantage of the speed, you need to use wide channels, only available on the 5Ghz frequency, and you have to specify a channel rather than it being set automatically. If it's much above 25Mbps you're going to need to go totally cabled with GigE cables, and router.

    The cable modem doesn't need to support GigE. A GigE router port will fall back to 100Mbps for just that modem, while everything else will run at GigE.
     
  13. Just1nCase thread starter macrumors member

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    Jul 14, 2006
    #13
    Thanks for the info. I'll give that test a try sometime this week.
     

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