Wifi HDD options - HELP!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by lowercaseperson, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. lowercaseperson macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    #1
    Hi all,

    I'm posting this to try and find out the best options for my Mom who runs a small business. I'm in grad school 700 miles away and will be going home for about a week over xmas and was hoping to come up with a solution that I could set up while I was there. Like I said I'm in grad school and have really been too busy to research many options, but my mom can't figure this stuff out.

    Here is the situation: my Mom is a small business owner mainly working in graphic design. She has a rMBP 15" she bought a little over a year ago and a fully upgraded HDD that is now full. She has 1000 external HDD's that are all variable sizes that she loses or breaks and has no idea where many of her images go. She bought a Drobo 2-3 years ago but never really got it running right - said it, "took hours to upload OR download ANY image." I think it's hopeless. I tried to convince her to set up a private Flickr account and upload images there, but she says would take too long to transfer her images. It's an absolute mess and I am trying to find the easiest/most stable option out there.

    I'm looking for a way to, via wifi, hook up large amounts of expandable HDDs in a way that is very easy for someone to understand WITH the ability to dump large batches of files (all those old portable HDDs). If there is possibly a way to salvage the Drobo that would be fantastic, but at this point I'm kind of assuming I'd need to start from scratch. The budget is by no means unlimited, but I need something that is stable and easily expandable bc I'm so far from home and my mom refuses to delete anything...and probably has 10 copies of EVERY 60 mb image she owns.

    I was thinking maybe a Mac Mini server to start out with and then the ability to expand HDDs? Trying to keep this as short as possible, please let me know if you need more information!

    Thanks in advance! Let me know your bright ideas!
     
  2. Shubbeh macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2013
    #2
    I would have thought the Drobo to be a good idea, but depending on the size of those images, Wi-Fi is likely to be slow... The 2012 rMBP supports 802.11n if I remember correctly, so is it at least a 802.11n Wi-Fi network?
    If she still has it, I would see what can be done to fix the speed problem, as there is no reason a Drobo would be too slow for a single user unless something is dreadfully wrong with the setup or the device.

    I guess another option would be a Mac Mini with that fancy-looking Promise Pegasus Thunderbolt RAID enclosure, but the bottleneck will still be the WLAN.

    Actually never mind the Promise thing, I just looked at Drobo's website and they now have enclosures with Thunderbolt connectivity. So I don't know what your mom has. But assuming she doesn't have a Thunderbolt-enabled unit, I presume it's the GigE kind. Connect that to the wireless router with a regular patch cable and that should be all you need... provided the WLAN is set up optimally.
     
  3. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

    Joined:
    May 16, 2013
    Location:
    Kansas, USA
    #3
    I'd suggest that in order to make it easy you cut down the number of drives. Get something like an AirPort Time Capsule or a Western Digital My Cloud or My Book Live. Definitely try to cut down on duplicates to maximize space. You could also consider a NAS connected to a router; I'm not sure how easy those are to set up, but they're very easy to access over wifi.

    I don't think there's any way to just connect a bunch of external drives to a wifi network or even put them in a device that can access the drives themselves unless you have a server farm, but I don't know very much about this kind of stuff.
     
  4. simon48 macrumors 65816

    simon48

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2010
    #4
    Synology makes some good NAS boxes. The big thing is, how much data are we talking about? 2TB? 5TB? 20TB?
     
  5. lowercaseperson thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    #5
    Size...

    Simon48 - I'm not entirely sure on size and that's why I would like it to be expandable. I think 5 TB would PROBABLY be MORE than enough...but my mom manages disk space sooooo poorly I can ALMOST guarantee she'll fill what she has.

    The main problem lies in the fact that she never has, and continues to refuse to coherently file her images...whatever photoshop default labels them as is what they are...and she just hit's "save" she literally has NO idea where her images are being saved too (I know, I know it's maddening). So I need a HUGE drive she can literally just dump 2-5 TB of data and then work from there. I'm sitting here laughing that her business can be successful like it is with this level of disorganization...but it is!

    ----------

    I thought about getting a Time Capsule but there are really expensive for the HDD space - not expandable - and (I seriously don't know) can you use them like a normal external HDD? That may be the way I have to go for simplicity.

    What is a NAS router?

    ----------

    I think you're probably right - I've just never used a Drobo. She tried to set it up herself and I'm sure therein lies the problem. I just really don't want to try and troubleshoot it! HAHA but glad to hear Drobo is a valid option.

    She has a newish airport extreme, can I connect it to the WLAN via that (I suppose via USB?)
     
  6. T-Bob, Nov 4, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2013

    T-Bob macrumors 6502

    T-Bob

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2013
    #6
    You need a NAS. Be it a drobo, synology or custom build. And you could run something like this on it: http://www.freenas.org/for-home/ or use NAS as it is and make it a timemachine target.

    http://www.netgear.com/landing/storage/for_home.html#2

    Then get 4 of these:

    http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=810

    or the 4TB seagates, and do a RAID 5 configuation so one drive can die and there will be enough parity to recover the set. A NAS like Netgear will do this automatically for you.

    RAID 5 with 16TB will net you 12TB of usable space.

    About the file organisation, there is software that will detect duplicates and just keep one file.

    Oh and about the wifi. You can use a backup manager (maybe time machine does this, not used it) that will just keep on synching the folders you specify when the system is on, and will resume if not complete. If you told your mother to only save to a supported folder, even over wifi it could backup. Of course for the initial backup used wired, but a few gigabytes of images each day is easy over wifi in the background.
     
  7. Shubbeh macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2013
    #7
    USB should be a last resort. It's painfully slow. Most Drobo units have a Gigabit Ethernet port, and I believe Airport Extreme routers do, too -- so absolutely use that.
     
  8. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

    Joined:
    May 16, 2013
    Location:
    Kansas, USA
    #8
    A NAS is a separate device from the router. Network Attached Storage has (as I understand it in very basic terms) several slots inside for disc drives and is able to make several copies of the data to prevent loss. You connect it to a WiFi router to be able to access it wirelessly. My boyfriend's dad has one where he stores video files, music, and e-books. It's very easy to access once set up. It shows up in Shared devices in Finder, and you just drag and drop, or you can probably save directly to it as well. Synology has a product selector here. Unfortunately they're pricey just like the Time Capsules, but they have the benefit of being expandable.

    Edit: Drobo is a NAS, so I guess you may already know something about this, possibly more than me.
     
  9. lowercaseperson thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    #9
    Hi all!

    Thanks for all the advice! I think I'll probably try and fix the Drobo. Hopefully I can figure it out!
     
  10. lowercaseperson thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    #10
    Update

    Hey all,

    In case you look back this way. I did fix the Drobo, and it worked pretty well for nearly a month and then stopped. I'm not sure why...it could be something really simple but my parents live so far away I just have now idea.

    However, with all my NAS researching I decided to get a Synology, and absolutely love it! It took a little longer to setup than I expected, and I think they could make it a little user friendly...but I managed and since set up I haven't had 1 problem.

    I'm suggesting my mom gets rid of the Drobo and buys a Synology...they seem more reliable to me! Anyways if any of you are in the market for a NAS - I highly recommend a Synology! :)
     
  11. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #11
    I'm on my 4th Synology NAS, a DS214play. They're so useful. I'm currently running AmoK EXIF sorter (freeware) to try to sort out years of photos.
     
  12. lowercaseperson thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    #12
    Does AMoK work better than the Synology PhotoStation App? I've been using it to create smart folders...unfortunately so many of my photos have incorrect dates bc I never set my camera's date and time :( Who knew it would be so important 5 years ago!
     
  13. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #13
    AMoK sorts by EXIF tags and can create, renumber amd make directories based on that info. PhotoStation for OSX copies and creates the thumbnails.
     
  14. Freyqq macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    #14
    If possible, connect the NAS to gigabit Ethernet and do gigabit Ethernet from the router to the computer. At the very least, make sure the computer is on the fastest wifi it supports. Regardless, WiFi and Ethernet are much faster than any cloud storage solution, as then you'd also have to worry about the internet speed.
     

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