Wireless and NAS/DAS Solution Needed!

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by casey487, Sep 10, 2014.

  1. casey487 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2014
    #1
    So I am converting my apartment into a home office for a start up and need some help with a file storage solution.

    Here is what I'd LIKE to be able to do.

    I have a 500gb SSD laptop and any active projects will be run from that drive. But I work in photography and video and will need a much larger (say 2-3TB) storage solution for inactive projects(scale-able is welcome). Not a backup drive (yet) but something where I can hold a large Lightroom Library and h264 video. I also want the drive to be accessible wirelessly through the apartment (since I have a laptop and don't want to be plugged in all the time). Cloud access would be nice, but not needed. Wireless router is not near my desk so wireless capabilities would have to come from a dongle/built-in/or access point (suggestions on that too welcome).

    To simplify...I am looking for a file storage solution that:
    -Acts as a storage drive.
    -Can be accessed via USB3.0 or Thunderbolt for
    -Can be accessed wirelessly
    -Could be accessed as a cloud drive*
    -Could also act as backup (RAID)*

    *Not as important but would be nice.

    I know I can do all these things with multiple devices, but I am looking for one solution.
     
  2. fanchee macrumors 6502a

    fanchee

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    #2
    I work from home and my home office includes a 2-disk Synology NAS. It checks all your boxes with the exception of "can be accessed via usb/thunderbolt."

    I have it set up such that while at home, my laptop is plugged into ethernet and the Synology is more than speedy enough to transfer files. While away from home, I access my Synology through the web, but mainly to view files. It's rare that I actually need to transfer files to the Synology, just view and/or download from it.

    Works great for me, and I can access my files AND my iTunes collection from any of my devices/laptops/computers while away from home.
     
  3. casey487 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2014
    #3
    I've been thinking this route but my concern is my router is not where my desk is so my Synology would have to be either parked next to the router, forcing me to connect only through wifi...or park the Synology at my desk and finding a way to connect the Synology to the network via wifi and plugging into the synology via ethernet when I am home.
     
  4. ColdCase, Sep 10, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2014

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    NH
    #4
    Whats your budget expectation? Here's a suggestion....

    Sounds like a mini (or any spare Mac) in your office with a multi bay enclosure attached, preferably Thunderbolt but could be USB3. This mini will share the attached disk(s) out over the wireless network for you. It can also do SW RAID for you. When you are in your office and want more responsive data throughput performance when working on your laptop, pull the TB connection and connect it to your laptop and have at it.

    You also now have another CPU to add to your rendering farm :)


    What many photographer/video enthusiast do is have a desktop in the office for office work, transfer dailies or site work off the laptop to the desktop for finishing/storage. The desktop does the sharing with others in the house. Add the $30 OSX server package and you can do more, like being a Time Machine Target or remote access, run iTunes for your AppleTV.... many possibilities and scales nicely.. just add more enclosures/disks. I started with a synology NAS but have moved on. If I had it to do over again, I'd save some money by skipping over the NAS part.
     
  5. casey487 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 10, 2014
    #5
    So why can't somebody come up with this idea without the need for a Mac? I feel like if a NAS like Synology has an OS and processor, it could design something that shares out over a network and respond as a DAS when I need faster connection through TB or USB.
     
  6. robgendreau macrumors 68030

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    Jul 13, 2008
    #6
    Buffalo and Akitio both made hybrid NAS DAS solutions, but not sure if they still do. Probably not a market for it, or adding complexity for litttle gain in functionality.

    And by LR library, do you mean the referenced photos? IIRC the LR catalog will not reside happily on NAS.

    I'm wondering, though, if you could get by with a less sophisticated solution. Attach a drive (USB 3) to a router (dunno what you prefer, but something that can take a HDD). I use one with say an Extreme. Accessible over the LAN, or it just hook it up to a computer via USB. Dunno if RAID is possible, but starting off it could get you some flexibility, and you'd have a drive you could use elsewhere. And minimal start up cost.
     
  7. ColdCase, Sep 11, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2014

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    NH
    #7
    The less $$ NAS have feeble CPUs if any and run on firmware. Reliable disk contention is complicated. You could build your own, however, out of piece parts and some software.

    Most NASs have a USB port for connecting a drive. So you could connect your drive to that port when you want wireless access and to your laptop when you want direct access. The complication is that consumer NASs want to format the drive themselves and use one of the UNIX file systems that may or may not be compatible with your laptop. If your laptop is set up to support two Ethernet networks, you could swap ethernet cable connections... but ... I dunno.

    I don't think there is much of a market for the device you want on the consumer side, even NAS device sales are down. RAID boxes are losing favor as well, as disk drives reach 5-6 TB+.

    In the enterprise space, you will find quite a few more options, but you could buy 10 minis for that price. :)
     
  8. ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #8
    The OPs router is in a different room and he doesn't seem to want to plug a drive there and move it to the laptop and back and forth...... this kind of thing is why photo and video pros eventually end up with a desktop in their office and a laptop for field work, and then move files around instead of disks.
     
  9. casey487 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2014
    #9
    Right and the mini sounds like an option if I REALLY wanted to do that. But we're on a budget and lots of new hardware means costs.

    Could there be a way to have just a drive on my desk that I could connect to my network via a usb dongle or through an ethernet port to an access point...and then just unplug and use via USB or TB when I am at the desk? This removes the idea of a cloud system, but now just something I can access via wireless when I am not at my desk?

    ----------

    Can you comment on Lightroom on a NAS? Because if part of my Lightroom library is on NAS and that's not going to work...NAS aint an option.
     
  10. robgendreau, Sep 11, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2014

    robgendreau macrumors 68030

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    #10
    From Adobe's FAQ re LR catalogs (their word, LR doesn't have libraries):

    Some folks have done it. But of course one big point of NAS is that multiple users can access it, and if they access that catalog, ouch. Even without that it generally isn't recommended. Lightroom isn't a multiuser solution. You mention "part" of a LR "library"; do you mean just photos? LR catalogs are discrete, and can't be split. You can have many catalogs, and export them, but you can only have one whole one open at a time.

    My suggestion for the USB attached to the router was in part because anyone could access that drive who has access to the LAN, just like NAS. I had interpreted comments earlier that the OP needed to BOTH connect via the network AND via direct USB. You wouldn't have to attach it to your existing router; you can buy a router with USB, a 3TB drive, and a case the drive for $250US easily. Or try this: http://www.hootoo.com/hootoo-tripmate-elite-ht-tm04-wireless-portable-router.html. I've got one of their smaller USB powered travel routers and it works great; even has an iPhone app for browsing files via a webserver from the router. Might have to format your drive differently, but it's certainly handy. In any case, the second router might be handy anyway, and all the gear can be repurposed.

    Rob
     
  11. casey487 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 10, 2014
    #11
    Sorry we have one catalog per year and all the files are pointed to in LR. In my experience LR can handle photos on different drives IF they are in the same catalog.

    ----------

    This is probably the route I am going. My only concern is I've heard bad things about having a drive connect to a router via USB because it causes it to constantly run and there is more chance for a failed drive.
     
  12. ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    NH
    #12
    USB drives hanging off a router result in extremely slow performance and high latency. Perhaps suitable for backups or light home use, but otherwise they are nothing but reliability issues. It doesn't cost much to try it, however if you have a router with a USB port. The Airports seem to reliably serve up an attached drive... but slowly.
     
  13. robgendreau macrumors 68030

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    Jul 13, 2008
    #13
    Yeah, it definitely is a bit slow. But I've streamed from my old Extreme without issue. And that was with one or two users. The really bit hit would probably be if everyone is writing and reading big TIFFs or something off it at the same time, or trying to run a database off it.

    Then you'd need something more capable, and ColdCase's server idea would be a better solution, with a HDD attached to it that could be moved (or a couple of caddies). Get a used one with gigabit ethernet. You could even manage it headless. Or even an older iMac, which if you get the right model you could use as a second monitor off the MBP.
     

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