Storage advice - Drobo, FreeNAS, externals?

Started May 23, 2012 | Discussions thread
Paul Szilard
Contributing MemberPosts: 766Gear list
Re: Storage advice - Drobo, FreeNAS, externals?
In reply to Eyal, May 25, 2012

I am a recent convert to Macs from Windows. Here are my thoughts:

1) One of the problems I faced with Windows was PC failure, so I ended up building a 2nd powerful PC, at some cost. However it is impossible to have identical PCs, unless you buy/make them at the same time, as motherboards and video cards have a model life of only around 3 months. Also maintaining the environment as a duplicate is virtually impossible. I had over 300 apps and of course things change by the day. I ran ShadowProtect imaging, but even then to bring up the system on another PC was a pain.

Enter the Mac and Thunderbolt (TB) drives. I now have a MacBook Pro (MBP) and an iMac. I run the iMac off an external 4TB LaCie TB twin drive enclosure. If the iMac was to have a problem and had to be sent away for repair, I would just boot the MBP off the LaCie and within 2 minutes, I will have the EXACT same environment available.

The TB LaCie delivers around 250MB/sec speed, which can only be bettered by SSD. Internally it is hard to match, except by RAID 0 so I am not enduring any hardship by having an external drive. This also overcomes Apple's restriction on using any brand or size HDDs and makes changes of drives a synch. No need to open the iMac. Additionally I can run my MBP with 4TB storage! (I have also installed a 480GB SSD SATA3 drive into the MBP)

2) Data archive and TimeMachine target is served by a Netgear ReadyNAS PRO which currently has 6x 1.5TB drives. The ReadyNAS is configured to completely rewrite every single file, once a month, this is called Disc Scrubbing. This rechecks disk integrity and ensures that the magnetic writes are never too old or unreadable. I also have an older ReadyNAS NV+ with 4x 2TB drives, which is an rsync backup target for the ReadyNAS PRO. The NAS replication is done twice a week and does not require any other computer's management or availability.

3) Complete system is protected by a hefty UPS

4) AS I am a belts & braces type of guy, I might add another TB RAID 1 LaCie for TimeMachine. This is still under review, however.

Reasons that I like the ReadyNAS range:

  • disc scrubbing, re-writes all contents on schedule

  • on-line storage expansion. I actually used this when I moved from 1TB drives to 1.5TB drives, WHILE I was using the files!

  • excellent support from Netgear. They call back when needed and provided good answers for me more than once

  • consistant UI across model range

Hope this helps someone a little...
paul szilard

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