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[icon] I have an urgent need for new NAS - Patti
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Subject:I have an urgent need for new NAS
Time:10:53 am
My network-attached storage box is FULL. Full full full. When I bought it, a terabyte was a huge amount of data. Now I have nearly that much just in photos, and it's only growing.

My needs are pretty simple: RAID, gig-e, low-hassle, reasonable price-for-performance.

What's currently popular?

I can get a 4TB Buffalo LinkStation for $529 and a 6TB model for $729. That's raw capacity, but it's still a huge upgrade. It looks like a bare 1.5TB drive is $110 right now.
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ts4z
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Time:2010-06-21 07:50 pm (UTC)
Consider a Drobo. Mine is expensive, and occasionally requires a really hideous fsck when connected to my Mac, but it has never lost data.

It is the only RAID-like thing that I'm aware of that deals with different sizes of disks.

It is also plug-and-play.

It is pretty expensive, though, but you won't have to buy another one when you fill it up -- you'll just replace the smallest drive.
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whipartist
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Time:2010-06-21 08:01 pm (UTC)
I could replace the drives in the one that I have, but I figure I'll keep it around as a media station and use a new box for backup.

What makes it worth the extra expense?
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ts4z
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Time:2010-06-21 09:16 pm (UTC)
It presents a larger disk to the OS than what you actually have, giving you a chance to backfill the next time you run low on space. The Drobo sales pitch is that you buy a Drobo, and then when you fill its disks, you replace the smallest drive(s) with bigger drive(s) at the current price/GB sweet spot.

My Drobo is an older model, so it is configured to present 2TB logical devices to the OS. I have one such disk partitioned into a 1TB partition and a second 1TB partition. But I only have 1.5TB of physical space, and a third of that is for redundancy. So I really have a little less than 1TB of actual storage.

What the Drobo does is, it lies to the OS, and when I actually run out of space (slowly, since what I'm actually doing is using it for backup), it will show as nearly full, and give me time to go buy another disk.

The 2TB logical partition thing is an artifact of the OS I have; the new ones present larger logical partitions. (If I had more than 2TB of real storage, it would present additional logical devices.)

But it's also plug and play. I lost a disk not long after I got mine. Now, this particular failure was kind of lame, in that the disk actually prevented the Drobo from booting; perhaps they've fixed that bug in the past two years. But when it went bad, all I had to do was put the two good disks in, and it just worked.

So it's not RAID. It's something else ("virtualized pooled storage"), and frankly a little slower than real RAID, but if you're using it mostly for archival, it may be ideal.

The only problem I've had with it is that occasionally, on a dirty unmount, my Mac declares that the filesystem is unmountable and demands a (very slow) fsck. I have yet to encounter a problem with the fsck. (With no evidence, I suspect this is a Mac problem.)
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ts4z
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Time:2010-06-21 09:56 pm (UTC)
One other note -- the USB2.0/FireWire base model is $400 before you add disks to it.

Like I said, it's not cheap, but I've had one for a few years now and, other than being slow, it's fine. The newer ones are apparently considerably faster.
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thorfinn
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Time:2010-06-22 05:28 am (UTC)
What makes it worth the extra expense? Usability, essentially.

Feed it disks, swap in bigger ones (one at a time) when you're running out of space, tell it to send you email when it has issues.

With every other SOHO RAID device out there, you need to care a lot more than that about the details of RAID.

You probably want the Drobo FS.


Of course I have to note, and you can be presumed know, but which I mention for anyone reading along who might not, that RAID is *not* backup. You certainly can still have catastrophic RAID failure regardless of what you use, and if your house burns down, you still lose the data. If it's not offsite, it's not backed up.


Enterprise NAS/SAN space has even better featureset and usability, then you're talking NetApp, iSilon, etc, and they're an order of magnitude more expensive again.
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whitebird
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Time:2010-06-22 05:48 am (UTC)
If I could afford one for home use, I'd get it in a heartbeat. The boxes are basically miniature NetApps.

I have three of the Drobo Pro Elite (which do iSCSI and virtual volumes) to install at work, but haven't been able to get around to them.

And when people say "just plug in a new drive" they mean exactly that. The box is running, you decide it needs to grow, you get a new drive larger than the current smallest one, pull out the old drive, and plug in the new one and walk away.
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whitebird
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Time:2010-06-22 05:58 am (UTC)
Oh, and I've seen a few demos of their real life performance in MacWorld Expos over the years. The standard demo is as follows:

Demonstrator starts a Quicktime movie playing on the Mac. The Drobo unit is clearly being used for data delivery, as one of the drive activity lights starts flashing. (Just one, under one of the plugged in drives.)

Demonstrator pulls the drive out of the flashing light in-use drive bay.

The video proceeds to not stutter. The next drive bay starts flashing.

Demonstrator plugs in the first drive. It's light turns green pretty rapidly. (As there were no changes to the file system.)

Demonstrator unplugs the second, now active drive. Drobo unit hops over to the original first drive and its light starts flashing, and the video again proceeds to not stutter.

That is why I like the Drobo machines.
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mjosephb
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Time:2010-06-21 09:18 pm (UTC)
I have been very happy with my Synology. It does do RAIDs with different size disks if that is a requirements. It has a lot of extra features I have found handy that you may not need.

It is more than the Buffalo LinkStation. Last I checked it was about $699 for 4TB "home" 410j model and more for business model.

I'm using it in a mixed network with Macs, PCs, Rokus and one Linux box without any significant issues.
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slfisher
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-06-22 12:24 pm (UTC)
Patti, Andrew did some research on this lately. You might want to cross-post this request to the BARGE list so he'll see it.
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[icon] I have an urgent need for new NAS - Patti
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