External Hard Drive Upgrade or Storage Array/NAS

Started Dec 3, 2012 | Discussions thread
Mark K W Senior Member • Posts: 1,715
Re: External Hard Drive Upgrade or Storage Array/NAS

Only things I would chip in and say are - and sorry if these are already clear to you (I just saw your earlier questions):

  • A NAS is only really of benefit when you are wanting to share and have simultaneous access to the content across multiple devices (e.g. combined access from desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, TVs). A NAS and one client device only is not really cost efficient or access-speed efficient. NAS can be configured to share as a file-server and as a media-server, so are good solutions but only really as part of a wider multi-device home-network. A NAS-based photo-library is also not necessarily a good solution over wireless. For photo-access where you are regularly editing/processing then you really also need to have fast access to your images, which means wired, ideally setting up also with CAT6 and GigE routers/switches, etc..
  • A backup should always be a separately housed unit to your primary storage. A RAIDed configuration is not a backup; an array protects only against disk HW failure, not against accidental overwrite/delete. So whatever you need to consider needs to be a solution that still gives you convenient separated backup strategy. There is nothing that says you cannot have your source files on multiple drives, or your backups on multiple drives, but source and backup should not be in same drive enclosure or under same array controller. You can mix solutions with e.g. your prime on NAS if you want the multiple client-access and your backup USB/thunderbolt connected only for backup/restore operations.
  • Personally I would always get all my photos together onto one physical external drive, periodically backed up on another. If needs be, music can be on a separate external drive, but that's personal preference. I keep my USB Time-machine backup for my MBP internal drive, which has my Lightroom catalog, previews, etc., on it.
  • If your current drives are not too old, I would make use of those as backups to whatever new you decide. If you have only one client computer (and that is the expectation for the near-term future), then I would just get another large external disk(s), sized based on a convenient backup strategy.
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Mark W.

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