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Author Topic: Macbook Pro Photo Workstation Storage  (Read 3036 times)
aaronleitz
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« on: May 30, 2012, 05:42:37 PM »
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Hi All,

I am in the process of organizing and simplifying my professional life (we'll see how it goes!) and am considering retiring my aging MacPro (2007) and using my new MacBook Pro as my primary photo workstation. My Macbook Pro is a 2011 model with 2.2ghz i7 with 16gigs of RAM and an SSD boot drive. I've got a 30" and 20" cinema display. My largest image files that I work with are around 750mb. So I'm not too concerned with performance. Fast file access and storage is another matter....

Currently, I've got a 2 TB internal master volume (RAID0 stripe) that is automatically backed up every few hours to an identical internal volume. Then I have a Firmtek eSATA 2 drive hot swap enclosure for rotating backups. Two drives are in the enclosure and one drive is off site. The drives rotate every 10 days. When filled, these disks become my archive - when I need an old image I look up which drive it's on and pop that drive in to the enclosure. It's simple and easy and cheap. I would like to keep my offsite backup/archive system intact. I am not too concerned with doing away with the redundant RAID0 volumes.

So with all of that said....any suggestions for online and offline storage options?

I was thinking of getting a Lacie eSATA Thunderbolt hub: http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Lacie/9000186/
This way I could connect my Firmtek enclosure and large monitor to my thunderbolt port and still have my firewire 800 port accessible for my main image volume. But what should that be? Or I could save the thunderbolt port for my main working volume and get a spyder hub: http://firmtek.stores.yahoo.net/spyderhub.html to connect the Firmtek enclosure.

I am used to working with drive speeds around 150 MB/s so I don't think I need a burly RAID set up. Does anyone know if the Pegasus RAID Thunderbolt boxes can be used as just a four disk enclosure (no RAID)? I would consider the expense if that was the case.

Your thoughts, links, opinions are much appreciated.....
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jimtron
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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2012, 02:01:08 PM »
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Hey, I'm in a similar situation--replacing MP with MBP--and I just started a thread (though my questions were more to do with displays and calibration): http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=69993.0

Storage was one of the first things I thought about, since the MP has 4 internal bays, plus I have many other drives that I used with FW800 docks. I too looked at the Lacie Thunderbolt hub, but my understanding is that it doesn't work with 4 bay JBOD enclosures (see below; it might work with the Pegasus Tbolt enclosures, but I don't think it works with most current non Tbolt 4 bay enclosures), which is what I decided to use with the MBP. I ended up getting this enclosure, because it's JBOD with FW800, which I knew would work for sure with the MBP (and FW can be daisy chained, so I can connect my 2 FW hard drive docks to the 4 bay enclosure and have access to 6 drives at once using only on FW port on the MBP); but it also has esata which hopefully I can use before too long if new products come out allowing me to connect that to the MBP with Thunderbolt.

Here's some news about Pegasus JBOD enclosures: http://www.jigsawbroadcast.com/news/nab-2012-news-promise-pegasus-j4-jbod-and-vtrak-jx30-chassis-on-show

Personally I don't get RAID for photographers. I have all of my data backed up offsite, and use JBOD storage in my office.

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chrismurphy
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« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2012, 01:20:07 PM »
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Personally I don't get RAID for photographers. I have all of my data backed up offsite, and use JBOD storage in my office.

RAID 1, 5, 6 make sense for photographers by increasing availability of onsite storage in the face of increasing rebuild times in the event of a drive failure. HDDs are increasing in capacity at a greater rate than they are increasing in performance, translating to ever increasing downtime and rebuild time in the face of a disk failure. This affects either arrays or JBODs.

RAID 0 makes sense for photographers by aggregating multiple disks into a single volume rather than having a pile of disk icons on the desktop. By itself RAID 0 only makes sense for creating (small) fast storage for disposable data, like for a scratch disk and possibly work in progress files (but not originals). As the size of RAID 0 arrays increase, the rebuild time from backup get so high that you're better off with RAID 10.
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chrismurphy
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« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2012, 03:35:44 PM »
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I forgot to mention that RAID10 is a kind of nested RAID that Apple's Disk Utility supports. It is a software implementation, and is quite an atrocious UI, making it completely non-obvious how to do it. This Apple kb article explains it somewhat decently, and the example is in fact RAID 10. This is preferable to RAID 0+1.
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jimtron
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« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2012, 03:53:47 PM »
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RAID 1, 5, 6 make sense for photographers by increasing availability of onsite storage in the face of increasing rebuild times in the event of a drive failure. HDDs are increasing in capacity at a greater rate than they are increasing in performance, translating to ever increasing downtime and rebuild time in the face of a disk failure. This affects either arrays or JBODs.

I know that all hard drives can (and probably eventually will) fail, but this has happened to me so infrequently that rebuild times are a non-issue. I've gone through quite a few drives over the years, and only one or two has failed (luckily I've always had backups). I buy new, larger drives every couple years, and always run Diskwarrior on them.

For me JBOD with offsite backups has been working well. One reason I don't want to use RAID is because of the reduced capacity (ie, if your RAID drives total 8TB, you'll only have 4TB or so of storage due to the built-in redundancy; I'd rather use all of the space and have off-site redundancy).

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chrismurphy
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« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2012, 09:22:37 PM »
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I know that all hard drives can (and probably eventually will) fail, but this has happened to me so infrequently that rebuild times are a non-issue.

Complete disk failure accounts for a fraction of problems with data loss. Other problems including silent data corruption[1], and sector read errors[2] and user induced data loss.

You can see from this article, How Many Copies Do You Need, the question is ultimately answered by money. Not strategy. However, also very noteworthy is that of the viable storage medium we have available to us as photographers, consumer SATA disks are the least reliable. This is not merely due to disk failure, which are obvious and in a JBOD context everything on that disk is lost. These are errors that the user has no practical way of determining what files have been adversely affected. They frequently find out only when they try to access the file, and it's damaged.

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I buy new, larger drives every couple years, and always run Diskwarrior on them.

Disk Warrior checks a tiny fraction of the disk surface related to the file system. It's like verifying the integrity of a card catalog at a library. It does nothing to check, let alone repair, the contents of the library itself (the books, i.e. your data).

Bigger drives are slower drives when it comes to a restore. The rate at which they are getting faster isn't keeping up with the rate at which they're getting bigger.

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For me JBOD with offsite backups has been working well.

It works well in that any single disk failure, it's obvious to he who organized the system exactly what has been lost, and thus what must be restored from backup. It requires quite some effort and complexity to organize independent disks, to know what is on them, more importantly on which disk a particular desired image is located on. JBOD can work OK for smaller catalogs. When you're talking about 10 disks, and their 10 backup disks, and possibly another 10 backup disks, well this is a mess. 10 disk icons mounted on the desktop all at once for normal work, and possibly 20 during backups? It's asking for user induced data loss and that's actually quite common too. Vastly more common than disk failure.

You didn't mention internet based offsite storage, perhaps you're storing disks offsite. In any case, average U.S. bandwidth for download is 7 Mbps. Upload is 1 Mbps. For 2 TB of data, that's 26 days to download, continuously - no other internet usage. For uploading that same 2 TB it's 185 days. Some people are lucky enough to have 2-3x that bandwidth. But that's still a week to restore 2 TB from offsite, and two months of uploading.

For active photographers, cloud storage is totally untenable except as the last resort. So higher availability locally is reasonable.

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One reason I don't want to use RAID is because of the reduced capacity (ie, if your RAID drives total 8TB, you'll only have 4TB or so of storage due to the built-in redundancy; I'd rather use all of the space and have off-site redundancy).

Just as long as you realize that you're exchanging local redundancy, referred to as data availability, to a distinctly non-available off-site backup. The contra argument to wanting more capacity instead of redundancy, is that you now have more stuff to lose, when it happens.


[1] Silent data corruption is particularly insidious because it will replicate itself into all downstream backups and archives. In the very common case were photographers recycle (or rotate) their media for various purposes, the migration in effect guarantees replicating corrupted data. Conventional RAID does not correct or prevent SDC.

[2] RAID 1, 5, 6 will all self correct for this. In better implementations, it's self-healing.
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