Thinking about an external RAID for my iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by eljanitor, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. eljanitor macrumors 6502


    Feb 10, 2011
    I've been thinking about getting a RAID array for an iMac that I have. I have all kinds of data ranging from documents to media files. I was looking around at some external USB RAID enclosures and I'm just not sure whats the best set up for my iMac. It has a 1 TB HD installed and its almost maxed out.

    When I think RAID array I usually think of something connected to an Ethernet cable, through a network, that costs alot of money, and needs to be mounted in a rack.

    However it looks like there's a few companies that make USB RAID enclosures. I'm still not so sure on what to do here. Id really like to find something that has Firewire 800 over USB 2.0 for the transfer rate. Any suggestions?
  2. smithrh macrumors 68020


    Feb 28, 2009
    I'm running 3 pairs of external FW drives on my Mac server, serving a total of 6TB in Mirrored RAID configuration (software RAID). While I'd kinda like them to be in a nicer enclosure, it's fine this way.

    You could at least try this out with some external drives before committing to a dedicated enclosure.
  3. tcassio macrumors newbie

    Mar 23, 2011
    Take a look at the Synology NAS solutions. I have a DS410 with 4-2TB drives in a raid 5 config. This is a little pricey, but they have cheaper and smaller solutions. No rack mount necessary.
  4. guv.c macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2011
    nas / fw800

    ok so usb is a tad slow when you are going to be shifting a lot of data around, so your two options are fw800 or NAS (via gigabit ethernet plugged into network)

    Nas - time consuming and expensive to set up. but its an independent server and you dont need your computer on to use it (i use a freenas server for my storage needs) and its faster than fw800, and its flexible... you can easily add to it later.

    fw800 - I've been using one of these since my mac came with a firewire 800 port... very much improved over USB... but not as flexible as NAS. but you can daisy chain.

    Now with each of those options you can do hardware raid or software raid... either is ok, but hardware inherently should be more stable..

    you need to figure out what you really need in terms of raid

    raid 0 - data written across two or more disks. for speed
    raid 1 - mirrored data.
    raid 5 - bit of both. requires 3 or more disks. one disk is lost to parity (call it backup).

    once you figure out what is best for you then you can look at products.

    I've used LaCie's for a while. speed is great for fw800 and they do raid 0 and 1 on some of their products. They are relatively inexpensive.

    in terms of nas - build your own! (freenas) or drobo or synology as already suggested.

    good luck

    dont forget to backup!!!
  5. jborko macrumors member

    Jan 17, 2011
    I agree to tcassio... Consider NAS storage with 2 or 4 bays...
    There are many on the market for relatively acceptable price, offering up to Raid 10 and they are mostly book shelve models...
  6. eljanitor thread starter macrumors 6502


    Feb 10, 2011
    Yeah after doing some more shopping here I think that NAS might just be the way to go.

    was looking at this: Sabio Storage CM404 1234783 4TB Network Attached Storage Device. seems like a good priced NAS and it can support RAID 5

    but you know they still have ths one its not Ethernet but: Sabio Storage DM4 1234791 Direct Attached Storage Device - 4TB

    they just both look good and within a decent price range. under $700.00
  7. Plod186 macrumors newbie

    Apr 29, 2011
    Check out

    They have a range of easy to use storage devices that can be shared on a network and they have beyond raid technology making for easy setup and ability to mix disk sizes.
  8. smithrh macrumors 68020


    Feb 28, 2009
    I looked at Drobo a while back and essentially decided that it's slow and expensive. On top of that, it's proprietary.

    What this means is that you have a bunch of drives that can only be read by a Drobo. Forget about disk recovery if things go south with your Drobo unit.

    Ars did a review of the Drobo recently, it's a good read. Note, it was something of a "junior" review as it was the author's first review, but it was still generally decent.
  9. archer75 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2005
    The drobo does have, IMO, one huge advantage: the ability to use drives of any size. This is very important to me.

    I built a WHS box because I didn't want to throw drives away to buy matched drives. So now I just get whatever drive is the largest at the time I need more storage and add it to the pool.
  10. Benni-chan macrumors newbie

    Apr 29, 2010
    you can also look at an unraid server, if you are not afraid of building your own server. (the prebuild servers are a bit expensive...)

    (currently running a 7 TB storage server with about 6 TB available for secure storage (one disk fail safe).)
  11. tcassio macrumors newbie

    Mar 23, 2011
    Any raid device that allows you to use different drive sizes is going to be proprietary. Drobo is not the only nas that offers this feature. I know that Synology supports different size drives, and I believe there are several other manuf. that offer this also.
  12. archer75 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2005

    It depends. There are several that allow you to use any size drive and still be able to pull the drive and plug it in another computer and get the data off. WHS is one. Flexraid is another. Several of the 3rd party features for WHS v2 will also allow this. I'm not sure about unraid.
  13. ncc1701d macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2008
    +1 for Drobo. It may be proprietary, but the service is excellent. I've had a drobopro since the day they came out and never had a problem. When the day comes it does go to god, I will happily purchase another (drives go out of one, straight into he other). For ease of use it's hard to beat. If they make one with thunderbolt... it will be sweeeet.

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