USB Hard Drives & NAS

Discussion in 'PC and I.T support/Advice posts' started by Spinal, Jun 24, 2011.

  1. Spinal

    Spinal Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    So I'm starting to run out of space again, and need to consolidate my storage...

    My first thought was to set up a FreeNAS server or buy Drobo...

    That said, at the price of storage now (saw 2TB external drives in PC world for £60 and NAS 2TB drives for £100) it's cheaper and easier for me just to buy a few new drives and move everything onto those....

    So I'm undecided between getting 2x 2TB NAS drives, using one as my data repository, and getting the second to copy the data on the first on a daily basis (i.e. to keep 1 previous day's worth of backup as well as have a mirror in case the main drive crashes)

    Does anyone know of a drive that is capable of "pulling" data (as a pose to having data pushed to it?)

    Otherwise, I could just get 2x2TB USB drives (total cost around £100 if I buy them online) and plug them into a box on the network and get the box to share one out and copy data with a little bash script... The downside is that having a box on 24x7 would mean more power...

    Ideas? Recommendations?
    M.
     
  2. LTD

    LTD MB Club Veteran

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    Yep, one of THOSE !!!
    External drive with the power supply on a timer and a simple batch file working via a timed routine to copy any changed file to the backup might work.
     
  3. moonloops

    moonloops MB Club Veteran

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    forget drobo, nice concept but utterly unreliable so pointless for safe storage.

    Just use a 2,3 or 4 2TB sata drives with your on-board SATA raid controller - or RAID card etc
     
  4. moonloops

    moonloops MB Club Veteran

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    p.s. use synctoy to copy files to extra storage, either manually or via scripts
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Spinal

    Spinal Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Synctoy is nice... but wont work on all my machines ;) I tend to use a simple rsync command running on cron on most of the other machines :)
     
  6. jepho

    jepho Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Every additional drive is another potential point of failure. I would not want to commit data to a hard drive if it was to be stored permanently. Archival strategies are a hot topic and intelligent archiving is top of the pile.

    I spent a while analysing what I was doing and examining how my general workflow imposed limitations on my storage and archival policies. I changed my work practises over a few months and I do not archive anything for clients now.

    My stored data (client's work) goes to each of my clients and they become responsible for what was once a very large headache for me. I only keep working data on my system and I back that up incrementally. As soon as the client portion of the data is dealt with and no longer active, I hand it off to the client and my responsibility for it ceases at that point.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Spinal

    Spinal Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    While you can do that with your clients data, you cannot do that with your own ;)

    As we're told from day 1, you can outsource security, but you cannot outsource risk ;)
     
  8. jepho

    jepho Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    The point about risk is well taken. :)

    Using a Mac here so I use Time Machine for my personal data back up. It backs up incrementally for every hour for the first 24 then every day for a week and then every week for a month and so on...

    When I am no longer using the data actively, I write it out to an archival quality DVD and then remove it from my system. My accountant gets a copy of all my live data and a copy DVD with which to reinstate it if his system crashes. If I ran a larger business, I would consider other solutions but for a single-handed business, what I do is sufficient for my needs. Apart from cas fortuit, I have done what I can to ameliorate the damage which would be caused by a total system loss. :)
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Spinal

    Spinal Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I did consider DVDs to archive the data that needs to be kept longer term... problem is, with a shelf life of 3-10 years, and about a terabyte of data to store... well... it wouldn't be fun :p

    That's why I'm thinking hard-drives... I could start with 2 mirrored, then, once a year or so, pop it all onto a third drive and shove it in the fire-safe...

    I've been looking more in depth at the NAS drives, most use FAT32, which isn't suitable for me as some of the zip archives are more than 2Gb. Additionally, I'm concerned about the throughput on my 10/100 switch... Finally, it's just so much easier to set up if I grab an old mac mini (G5) and run a bash script on that... it's been sitting unused in the loft (pain in the butt to install any real *nix OS on it) and hasn't seen much use...

    At least this way it'll be useful!

    Oh, one last note - this isn't a backup solution ;) This is just a way for me to store data... backup, I entrust to Mozy and for archiving an annual hard-drive shoved into my fire safe...

    Time to get the credit card out...

    M.
     
  10. jepho

    jepho Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    NAS will probably provide you with the most freedom of choice. FreeNAS is likely to work for you. Which *nix would be your preference for a 'real *nix? FreeBSD is stable and can be run using BASH.
     
  11. bolide

    bolide Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Going back to Drobo, why is there so much buzz about these things? Am I missing something?

    Isn't it just another external hard drive - albeit with monstrous marketing?

    Nick Froome
     
  12. OP
    OP
    Spinal

    Spinal Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Will FreeNAS run on a G5? (note to self, look into this later!)

    Drobo has a lot of buzz around it as the drives are hot-swappable. So if you have 4x500GB drives and are running out of space, you remove one and put a 1TB drive in and hey presto, you have more space.

    Also, you can mix&match drive sizes, which historically was difficult (or impossible) to do with most RAID cards.

    M.
     
  13. moonloops

    moonloops MB Club Veteran

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    Drobo in priciple is a very good piece of kit. You can swap drives around as you buy bigger ones. It is proprietary raid tech "beyond raid"

    In operation I found these fundamental flaws:

    1. Really, really slow performance even with 3.0gbps SATA II drives (was attached using ESATA connector)

    2. Totally and utterly unreliable. This is due to the drobo unit not having a secure method of attaching drives in their bays. Fat plastic clip.

    So what the happens is if you sneeze, or your dog farts in another roam you get drive failure errors. You have to reseat drives and wait 18+ hours for the unit to rebuild the array. If two or more drives drop out then you are in big trouble.

    The whole point of having a raid array is peace of mind, not what drobo delivers.

    I had two units after RMA'ing the first and they all did it!
     
  14. saorbust

    saorbust Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I gave up with all those solutions and went for a distributed private network with buddies. Aka mesh. Works fabulously. Replicated data to each others houses, at least two copies of everything in separate locations.
     
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