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Author Topic: Any new developments in external storage?  (Read 6228 times)
Tim Gray
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« on: December 10, 2008, 10:42:50 AM »
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My second pair of external back up drives are full so it's time to either get another pair, or go for something a bit more sustainable.

I see that Drobo has version 2 out with Firewire 800 - I'm wondering if there are any other competitive alternatives, and if anyone has any comments on the new Drobo.

Thanks.
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2008, 10:47:18 AM »
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Nothing particularly new but the Buffalo NAS devices are fast.  So if you want access from multiple machines they might be a great way to go.

Also, seagate has a new drive with base setup.  Looks kind of interesting.
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2008, 12:21:48 PM »
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I've had the new DROBO now for a few months and like it a lot.  I posted a fairly complete review here: http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2560
« Last Edit: December 10, 2008, 12:50:18 PM by Jack Flesher » Logged

andyptak
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« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2008, 01:14:24 PM »
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I've had a Drobo for about a year. It's okay, nothing has gone wrong, but it's so damn slow. I just picked up an HP Media Server from Best Buy - $599 CDN., and it beats the pants off the Drobo. I've loaded 4 X !TB drives in it and it is great! Intelligent Managment Software and fast, SATA performance. The Drob is no comparison.
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2008, 02:59:02 PM »
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Quote from: andyptak
I've had a Drobo for about a year. It's okay, nothing has gone wrong, but it's so damn slow. I just picked up an HP Media Server from Best Buy - $599 CDN., and it beats the pants off the Drobo. I've loaded 4 X !TB drives in it and it is great! Intelligent Managment Software and fast, SATA performance. The Drob is no comparison.

Andy, if it's a year old, that is the USB2 DROBO and they are bone slow.  OTOH, my FW800 unit will do sustained reads and writes at 50MB/s with three or four drives installed.  Clearly not screaming, but not horrible considering it's doing all the RAID5 management automatically...
« Last Edit: December 10, 2008, 02:59:48 PM by Jack Flesher » Logged

Tim Gray
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« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2008, 03:24:44 PM »
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Jack thanks for the link - I knew you were a fan from a thread here.  

I appreciated your "torture test" and the tip about the 16TB format.
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andyptak
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« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2008, 03:39:24 PM »
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You're tight about USB. However, that's only part of the story. There's a lot of "overhead managment" that goes on in the Drobo  -you can here the thing churning away sometimes, even when your not doing anything, and it likes to go to sleep - both of which slow my machine down. It also slows down booting my machine up as it slowly loads itself. Part of the fault is USB, but a lot of it is Drobo's "overhead". The HP, by contrast, is really fast, never slows my operations down and comes packed with so many included features, I think the thing is a steal at the price. For very close to the same money, the Drobo loses to the HP in so many areas that it's not even a contest.
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2008, 03:51:45 PM »
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Quote from: andyptak
You're tight about USB. However, that's only part of the story. There's a lot of "overhead managment" that goes on in the Drobo  -you can here the thing churning away sometimes, even when your not doing anything, and it likes to go to sleep - both of which slow my machine down. It also slows down booting my machine up as it slowly loads itself. Part of the fault is USB, but a lot of it is Drobo's "overhead".

Well FWIW, with the new unit: 1) I don't hear it at all, and 2) it does not slow my system down at all, ever, even when it's doing its boot and self-check, and I have mine formatted to the full 16TB size which takes the longest to self-check...  It should be pointed out that I am running mine connected to a Mac, and USB management is system reliant while FW management is device reliant.  If you haven't done so, I highly recommend you download and install the latest firmware and Dashboard software as they made some significant improvements.  Won't necessarily bring your USB version up to FW spec, but may help significantly.

Cheers,
« Last Edit: December 10, 2008, 03:54:27 PM by Jack Flesher » Logged

andyptak
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« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2008, 05:34:51 PM »
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Hi Jack - starting to sound like "mine's bigger than yours", isn't it?

I can't pretend to know anything about Macs and I have no personal reference for Firewire versus USB on the Drobo (other than what I read). All I know is that other external USB drives that I have,and I have a few, are not as slow as the Drobo, which is painful at times. My firmware is up to date.

Even if it wasn't for the issues that I have mentioned, the HP unit is so much better in so many ways. It is a true Network Server and I have mine set up with Seagate Barracudas for a total of 4.5TB. All data is striped and it reads as one huge drive. The managment software is so comprehensive, it's amazing. I don't regret buying the Drobo (at the time) but I wouldn't buy another one now that I have this HP unit.

Each to our own, I guess.
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2008, 05:57:08 PM »
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Quote from: andyptak
Hi Jack - starting to sound like "mine's bigger than yours", isn't it?

Not at all... You are making general statements about your unit as though ALL drobo's work that way, and I am clarifying that I have not seen those same issues with mine.  I think your comments are perhaps most relevant for folks considering the USB unit while mine are more relevant to folks considering the FW unit.  

As for your HP unit, a few questions:  If one drive in the array fails, what happens to your data?  After that failure can you replace the failed drive with ANY drive, or do you have to use an identical drive to the rest in the array?  

Cheers,  
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JDClements
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« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2008, 08:12:20 PM »
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Out of curiosity, why do people need/use RAID anyway?
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2008, 09:10:06 PM »
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Quote from: JDClements
Out of curiosity, why do people need/use RAID anyway?

Answering for me only, I use RAID 5 for my bulk data storage due to it's redundant safety -- one drive fails and my data is still secure.  I use RAID 0 on my working image drives (and CS scratch) for it's added speed on sustained reads and writes of large files.  
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jjj
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« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2008, 09:27:39 PM »
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Quote from: Jack Flesher
As for your HP unit, a few questions:  If one drive in the array fails, what happens to your data?
It should be still there if set up properly.

Quote
After that failure can you replace the failed drive with ANY drive, or do you have to use an identical drive to the rest in the array?
Just one as big as the failed drive.


The main difference bewtween the WHS and the Drobo is one works well with Windows and not Macs [WHS] and one works with both [the Drobo].
However if you have problems with data recovery, one is on a system by MS [so lots of support] and one is on a system that is proprietry and by a small company who could easily vanish.

I was quite annoyed to find WHS doesn't back up OSX/HFS, as the adverts said they work with OSX. They didn't mention it was very limited.
It's Apple's fault why as to why it cannot be used for Time Machine, but as there no OSX drivers to run WHS in OSX, MS or HP are even more to blame [in the HP WHS].
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jjj
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« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2008, 09:40:00 PM »
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Quote from: JDClements
Out of curiosity, why do people need/use RAID anyway?
Safety and/or Speed. - It's very useful.

I have 4 1TB drives in my MacPro that are Mirrored into two 1TB pairs on which I store data, I also have a HD for OSX[backed up to time machine] and a final sixth drive for swap files. I have another 4 eSATA drives which I also RAID into two Mirrored pairs. So 10 Physical drives, but only 6 are shown by Finder.
Though I may stripe the MacHD and the swap file drive as that'll speed OS things up, but then there's twice the chance of failure. But as I use time machine, it's less of a issue. I tested swap file locations in PS a few days ago and using the Mac HD was oddly faster than the empty swap file drive!?

Go here for more info.
RAID Wiki
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GregShapps
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« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2008, 11:27:34 PM »
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Quote from: Jack Flesher
Well FWIW, with the new unit: 1) I don't hear it at all, and 2) it does not slow my system down at all, ever, even when it's doing its boot and self-check, and I have mine formatted to the full 16TB size which takes the longest to self-check...  It should be pointed out that I am running mine connected to a Mac, and USB management is system reliant while FW management is device reliant.  If you haven't done so, I highly recommend you download and install the latest firmware and Dashboard software as they made some significant improvements.  Won't necessarily bring your USB version up to FW spec, but may help significantly.

Cheers,

Can you explain the full 16TB size format???  The box holds 4 drives and if you get the $999 version thats 4 1TB drives which = 4TB

Am I missing something here?


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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2008, 10:06:51 AM »
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Quote from: GregShapps
Can you explain the full 16TB size format???  The box holds 4 drives and if you get the $999 version thats 4 1TB drives which = 4TB

Am I missing something here?

It is explained in the link posted above, so what you are missing is what you didn't read...  

When you format a DROBO, you tell it what you want as the MAXIMUM partition size -- which really has nothing to do with the amount of storage you've installed in it -- and it displays itself as such to your OS.  For example, I have my unit formatted to 16TB yet only have three 1TB drives in it, so my OS reads it as a single 16TB volume and thinks I have 14-1/2TB free when in reality I only have about 500 GB free. (It uses up 1TB of the 3 for the RAID5 redundancy overhead.)  When that 500GB falls to under 200GB or so, the unit will start to warn me I'm running out of room and should add another drive, even though the OS still thinks I have 14 or so TB free.  What this allows for is future-proofing; for adding or replacing larger drives in the future without running into a partition size wall. In this case I could be swapping in and out larger drives all along up to 4@4TB drives without ever having to reformat or reconfigure my unit.  You can get the whole story in the link.

Cheers,
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jjj
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« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2008, 11:42:36 AM »
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Jack do you consider you Drobo as Archive or Backup?
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2008, 12:04:28 PM »
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Quote from: jjj
Jack do you consider you Drobo as Archive or Backup?

Again, I explained my total back-up strategy in detail in that link, but here is an overview:  I use a stripped array (RAID 0) for performance when using my current working image files and some historical data -- this array is large and I keep at least the current and past years worth of images on it. I'll add that the performance boost from RAID 0 is noticeable on batch processing and in general for large file reads and writes.  That working array is then auto backed up to the DROBO, which is onsite and redundant RAID 5 back-up, but also has my historical image files on it -- so to answer your question, this makes my DROBO both onsite back-up and older file archive. (The combination of the RAID 0 array in conjunction with the DROBO is is also why it's relative slower speed than other options is not a big issue for me.)   Then the entire DROBO gets mirrored (RAID 1) to individual drives for 100% redundant *offsite* back-up in case of a disaster loss like fire at my studio.  This last step I do at least monthly and always after any large or important shoot, so at the very least all my raws are there, though some of my recent conversions or CS process versions may not be.  

FWIW, I find this little device very convenient for the bare drive back-ups: http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Newer%20Technology/FWU2ESHDK/ Note that the SATA connection is NOT hot-swappable, but the FW800 is hot-swappable and is pretty darn spiffy.

Cheers,
« Last Edit: December 12, 2008, 09:42:01 AM by Jack Flesher » Logged

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