Retiring my NAS, getting a toaster. New workflow for 2014.

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by JamieW, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. JamieW

    JamieW Mu-43 Veteran

    260
    Oct 25, 2013
    I've been busy making a lot of changes recently in how I work in an effort to be more efficient and more organized. I thought I'd post a few notes below for anyone interested.

    A few years back I bought a Netgear NAS. It's really horrible to work with. To illustrate this point, I decided yesterday to pull all of my files off of it and move to a different device. It took 18 hours. I was averaging 4mbps over a Gigabit Ethernet connection, which probably has a lot more to do with the processor they used to manage the RAID setup than anything else.

    I've decided instead to switch to a USB 3 hdd docking station with hot swap drive bays (often called toasters because of the way they look). http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0094C0DYI

    There are a few advantages to a system like this. First, you're not paying extra for an enclosure every time you need to buy a new drive, just grab an OEM commodity drive and hot swap as necessary. Also, you're not having to deal with additional cables every time you add a new drive, and finally, if I decide later to switch from USB 3 to Thunderbolt or USB 4 in the future, I'm not having to gut all of my old storage systems and find new enclosures.

    My plan in a nutshell is to keep it simple:

    • Reuse my existing NAS HDDs.
    • Keep my photos on the master HDD in Slot A. Keep my LR Catalogs on the local laptop, separated by subject (Travel, Portraits, Family)
    • Make online backups of all new work at the end of the day.
    • Use the A to B drive copy feature every 6 months to create an off-site backup in case of fire / theft.
    • When a drive fills up, grab a new drive. They're hot swappable and with the catalog on the laptop drive, I should be able to swap between catalogs and drives with just a few clicks. Keep unused drives in a fire safe.

    It might not be the most elegant solution, but It's a $65 solution to a problem, and it makes doing drive copies for off-site backups a cinch.

    There's a 3 day free creativeLIVE class next week on Lightroom. I've been using LR since beta, but there's always something new to learn so I'll probably watch that.

    http://www.creativelive.com/courses/lightroom-essentials-lesa-snider

    I'm still debating my new catalog strategy for LR, as well as evaluating Capture One Pro, so I have a few ideas, but it's not set in stone yet. I'd love to hear what others are doing to manage their catalogs when using external drives. Do you keep your working files on the workstation and backups on external drives, or do you work directly from the external files? What are some of the challenges of working with multiple catalogs across multiple drives?
     
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  2. fdifulco

    fdifulco Mu-43 Veteran

    251
    Nov 28, 2011
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Frank
    thanks, was trying to see if using a combo of a my passport and a my book essential would work but this may be much faster.

    do you plan to backup the catalog to drive A?

    also i would suppose that the A/B drive should be the same size at least but does it need to be the same model?

    also would the SATA drives be in an enclosure case to sit in the station?


    thanks
    frank
     
  3. JamieW

    JamieW Mu-43 Veteran

    260
    Oct 25, 2013
    As far as backing up the catalog to drive A, I'm going to play with a few options over the next couple of days and see what works best for this. I'll get back to you.

    You don't need the same model drives, but the second drive has to be at least as large as the first drive, and when it copies it will create a partition on the B drive that's the size of the A drive you were copying from. I've read it works best when you have 2 of the same hdd models though. I've only had the unit in my possession for a couple of hours so I haven't had a chance to test this yet. I'm just going based on the comments from other users. The unit actually didn't come with a user manual so I'm going to try to find one online, but the build quality is pretty solid.

    There is no enclosure required to use the SATA drives in the docking station. Just plug them in, / pull them out. Make sure to eject the drive in the OS first before removing the drive.

    As I mentioned in the first post, it took a hair over 18 hours to pull my files off the NAS over the network. It took about 30 minutes to move them back to the same drive via the docking station over USB 3. I'm already pretty ecstatic about the upgrade in performance. You get slower throughput if you're moving a lot of smaller files. For my photos I was getting just under 100mbps. For larger single files, they transferred quite a bit faster.

    I'll post more when I get time. I'm about to get started on the new catalogs.
     
  4. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    Thanks for sharing some of your experiences. I've been looking at various solutions in that vein for a while now, given that my photo backups are growing extremely rapidly the past couple years.

    Unfortunately, I'm still on an older macbook that doesn't have USB 3.0, and anything that supports Firewire or Thunderbolt is monstrously more expensive. Thus far I'm just limping along using USB 2.0 and waiting until I can manage to upgrade my macbook :wink: I might pick up that Dyconn dock myself in the meantime.
     
  5. rklepper

    rklepper Mu-43 Top Veteran

    733
    Dec 19, 2012
    Iowa, USA
    Robert
    I am not convinced I would only do an offsite backup every 6 months. I do that weekly and I am sure that is too much work to lose. Six months though, no way I would risk that.
     
  6. JamieW

    JamieW Mu-43 Veteran

    260
    Oct 25, 2013
    That's what the online backups are for. I may increase the rate as it's needed, but every week would be very overkill.
     
  7. rklepper

    rklepper Mu-43 Top Veteran

    733
    Dec 19, 2012
    Iowa, USA
    Robert
    Okay. I just wouldn't do it. Hope it works for you.

     
  8. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    You saw where he's got an online backup at the end of every day, right?

    That means there's an on-site backup, and an off-site backup (online), plus a tertiary, off-site backup built every 6 months... he's got on *and* off-site redundancy already, so the the off-site drive backup is a backup to a backup as an insurance policy.
     
  9. JamieW

    JamieW Mu-43 Veteran

    260
    Oct 25, 2013
    It really depends on how much you're backing up. If I were doing sports, weddings, something where I'm shooting a high volume of images, then it definitely wouldn't work out. I've been using online archiving for quite a few years though. It works great when you need it, as long as there's an option in your budget.

    I used PhotoShelter for a while. You can even mail them a HDD and they'll archive it online for you, but it's pretty pricey.

    http://www.photoshelter.com/land/1tb

    Smugmug Vault is a bit more economical if you're selective about what you upload. If you dump your entire memory card online every day then it can get out of hand quickly.

    http://www.smugmug.com/price/smugvault.mg

    There are also options like DropBox and the like. There are definitely options. I wouldn't use any of these options on their own, but a combination of redundant drives in the home, online backups of the master / keepers, and off-site storage gives 3 points of redundancy. Knock on wood, hopefully it's enough. :frown:
     
  10. biomed

    biomed Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 22, 2013
    Seattle area
    Mike
    The toaster is not a bad idea. I have one that I use to archive my processed photos. I have found that the drives used with a toaster can sometimes get very hot if used continuously. I would suggest using a small fan to cool the drive if it will be running for extended periods of time.
     
  11. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    834
    Sep 30, 2013
    I recently set up a NAS, a Synology DS413j: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822108123

    With 2 3TB seagate NAS drives, it works really well and seems quite fast over the LAN. Really easy to setup and wonderful web-interface software to control it. I've also got it hooked up to a UPC that will recognize if power is lost and safely power down the NAS (one of the biggest causes of data loss/drive failure apparently).

    I'm using google drive to auto back up the NAS online, I've got the 1TB plan which is $10 a month, might not be the best if you have a huge collection but works well and significantly cheaper than most similar services, plus it integrates into the NAS natively. They offer 10/20/30TB plans as well, unfortunately nothing in the 1-9TB range (2 or 3 would be great!).

    I also use the NAS for general file/media storage between about 5 computers in the house, works quite well but I don't do HD streaming or anything intense with it (Synology has faster models for that sort of use).

    Overall very happy with the setup so far, but I've only had it running for a couple months. I just backed up about 35GB of data and the transfer time onto the NAS was about 45 minutes or so over the wired LAN, though I'm not sure if my CAT5 cables can even max out my gigabit router.
     
  12. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    I have gone to the online storage option. I use Backblaze and it has unlimited storage for very little money. Yes, unlimited storage. Best of all it was designed to be used with Macs. Services like Crashplan, etc., were noticeably bogging down my Macs. I use Dropbox as a file exchanger and not a back up service. And, I still have my G-Tech drives which are probably going to be consolidated into their new Studio series. The beauty of the online backup service is that I don't have to do anything nor think nor worry about backing up any of my drives anymore. No out of pocket hardware costs, no running to the safety deposit box to deposit HDDs. Done, in the background, every change and addition, automatically.
     
  13. HappyFish

    HappyFish Mu-43 Top Veteran

    983
    Sep 8, 2012
    Chad
    good to hear they seem to be the NAS to get


     
  14. HappyFish

    HappyFish Mu-43 Top Veteran

    983
    Sep 8, 2012
    Chad
    I wish you could send them a few HDD to get your main data up there first :)

    upload of Upload Speed: 4920 kbps (615 KB/sec transfer rate)
    will take me just over 400 days to get my data up is the problem

     
  15. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    You can adjust the upload speeds, particularly if your computer is idle and left on 24/7. But, yes, all of the services take a while to get everything up. I would count on a couple of days per TB.
     
  16. thomisus

    thomisus Mu-43 Rookie

    20
    Jul 13, 2012
    Hi.. I can confirm that Synology nas, in my opinion are the way to go.. I use at work a 12 bay with 3tb HD ( raid 6 ) for VIDEO and file archiving for about 3 years now and it is rock solid. You can setup network time macchine backup or use their sync app to remotely sync your folders like a big cloudstation. You can also link together 2 or diskstation.
    At home i use a 4bay nas with 3tb HD in raid 5 for archiving. What i like over usb2 and FireWire is that Synology nas over gigabit are faster ( depending on models you can full bandwidth ).
    They are a bit pricey but you set it up and forget it.
     
  17. HappyFish

    HappyFish Mu-43 Top Veteran

    983
    Sep 8, 2012
    Chad
    what is your upload speed ?
    have a bit over 20TB of data
    don't have FIOS or any super high speed here ? most won't have so much they can do TB of data in days I think :) wish I did



     
  18. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    That is more than I uploaded. I am on Comcast's fastest system and I have upload speeds of 20 - 30 Mbps. Given the price $5/mo, and the free trial, I would just let it run for a 2 - 3 weeks. Once it is uploaded, only the incremental changes needed to added.