Any advantages for NAS local storage with WD "My Cloud" over My Book and comparable external HDs?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by lex_jenkins, Apr 10, 2014.

  1. Yup, I'm aware of the recent problems Western Digital has with the actual "cloud" implementation of their "My Cloud" Network-Attached Storage devices. I'm not concerned about that - my DSL is too slow for online cloud storage to be a factor anyway.
    What I'm curious about is whether the WD My Cloud NAS system is a viable alternative to their My Book external portable hard drives for local backups and file storage. WD's My Cloud devices are really affordable now so I'd like to try 'em if they're suitable for my needs. They seem to be much faster than the My Book external USB HDs.
    Ideally I'd like to accomplish a few things as cost effectively as possible:
    1. Archiving my photos (I use Lightroom as my primary editing/organizing software).
    2. Making the same catalog and edits accessible to both PCs and any future device.
    3. Doing at least some of this wirelessly. My desktop has Acer's Clear.fi for media sharing, which I've never used. I'm wondering whether the laptop can handle this via local WiFi.
    Or, perhaps, I'm thinking about this the wrong way and I should use both?
     
  2. Lex, the important issue with a NAS is really about how you intent to set it up and use it. Most people will configure a NAS with a RAID volume, which needs to be understood in its own right. Firstly, RAID is never a backup option - its a hardware redundancy option only - although you could consider a RAID volume to be a backup of another drive system.
    The other very important point to consider is which RAID implementation and recovery issues. RAID 0 should be taken out of the options immediately as there is nothing but risk - one drive gone, everything gone. Implementations such as RAID 5 and 6 are popular today but they can be very dangerous as well. They rely on what is usually a vendor specific implementation of the bridge board (that controls the drives to appear as one). Everything is great if a drive fails - just pull it out and replace it and the system rebuilds itself. The potential problem comes later if your NAS itself fails. Your model is no longer made or supported and there is no guarantee that a RAID 5 or 6 volume will work in a newer NAS, even from the same vendor. I've seen this no support problem in some leading NAS boxes already. For home use in dedicated NAS boxes (versus OS based RAID implementations that enterprises use) I would only recommend RAID 1. Not as space efficient but at least you can extract all your data off a single drive. (but its still not a backup strategy)
    One way of doing it would be to use single volume drives in a NAS with one as your primary and use backup software (Goodsync for example) to regularly perform your back ups automatically. With this approach and with multiple drives you could have a working drive then a daily, weekly and monthly backup strategies that would also let you roll back if you had issues or lost/deleted files.
    To address point 2, you could access the images on a NAS from any device on the network, although the Lightroom catalogue itself would need to be on each device locally
     
  3. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    I'd look at a synology box. They just opened up their cloud service as well.
     
  4. Let me put things back into perspective: $$$.
    RAID configurations are so far beyond my budget they aren't even remotely in the picture. The Synology device looks good but even the lowest priced box when equipped with drives will be far beyond my budget. I understand the advantages to RAID but it's beyond my needs and budget.
    Until last year I was still doing backups on CD/DVD. I back up some projects on USB sticks, which are labeled and taped over to minimize the risk of reuse. Only last year did I finally get a - as in one, "1", uno - WD My Book Ultra USB HD for backups. I only did that when it finally became a pain in the neck to span photo sessions across multiple CDs and even DVDs.
    I'm considering the WD "My Cloud" NAS only as a cost effective alternative to the My Book drives for backup. Specifically, a single backup for two or more PCs, rather than multiple portable USB HDs.
    Also, I'm satisfied with WD's SmartWare automated backup utility. It's reliable and works great. Anything more complicated is likely to result in me returning to my former poor habits of archiving only infrequently.
    And, yup, I know I need more than one portable USB HD so that one can be stored away from home. I'll probably get a safety deposit box at the bank for that.
     
  5. Lex,
    I could be wrong here, but maybe someone who knows better can confirm or deny:
    I'm not sure you gain anything by paying extra for a "My Cloud" HD versus a regular USB PC. If you are not using backup software from the HD manufacturer that requires one license per PC, you should be able to connect to one PC, back it up, then connect to another and back it up. Under whatever arrangement, the HD needs sufficient space. Each PC will have its own file or folder in the HD.
    If the "My Cloud" HD costs the same as a regular external HD, there is an advantage in convenience.
     
  6. Lex,

    Dumb advantage using NAS: dosen't use-up all the USB connections. I've got plenty of USB devices attached to the computer so NAS back-up lessens the connection mess afflicting many systems.
    I added a NAS for back-up; the current pricing almost equals external drives so very attractive compared to a few years ago when cost were greater.
    Joe
     
  7. Thanks, folks. I've been doing a bit more reading trying to grasp the main differences between the WD My Cloud and My Book drives. The My Cloud rig seems much faster, which might encourage me to do more consistent backups. Most of the web chatter about WD's My Cloud rig seems to focus on the actual "cloud" storage aspect - which seems to be a bit lacking at the moment - but I'm only interested in the local NAS aspect.
    Good point, Joseph. All six USB ports on my desktop are filled. I should also upgrade my desktop from USB 2 to 3 for the backup drives. There's one PCI Express x1 port that should handle it.
    I should probably use the portable My Book HDs for archiving rather than daily or weekly backups to every edit I make in Lightroom.
    Yeah, I'm learning this the hard way. Still beats doing CD/DVD backup for everything, although I still use them for some projects. Recently I had to ask a friend to store my photos on CD/DVD temporarily while our apartment was undergoing maintenance. Filled up two of those largish plastic storage bins, roughly equivalent to two American Tourister luggage cases. And all of those photos would fit on one or two little portable USB hard drives now.
     
  8. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    Debating between dvd and hdd for back up is apples
    and oranges. You should do both. If I can fit dvd burns
    in, everyone can
     
  9. Oh, I'll still do DVD backups, no problem there. I finally found a good disk spanning utility that makes up for Nero dropping a feature that was on my earlier version for Windows XP and earlier OSs, but oddly missing from one of the more recent version I tried last year.
     
  10. No apples and oranges. You shouldn't do both, unless you don't care about wasting time and money (and indeed space) for no good reason.<br>DVDs are too small. DVD backups are too slow and cost too much. There's no reason not to backup on cheap (per GB) external HDs, and dismiss DVDs as the obsolete thingies they are.<br>A good NAS has a configurable automatic backup option. All we need to do is swap the backup HDs that we connect to the NAS (once a week) and store them somewhere safe (in another building - and that could be the shed in your garden). Much less work, much faster, much cheaper.<br><br>I completely agree that RAID 1, mirroring, is the best (and only) option you should consider. Also that while redundancy offers some degree of data safety, it is not a replacement of regular backups on separate drives.<br>Remember that a NAS runs an OS (usually a Linux variant) that formats the HDs in the NAS in a format it, but not a Windows PC can read. So if a NAS itself fails in a way that leaves at least one of its disks intact, you still cannot get at the data by simply using a SATA to USB adapter. You need to do a bit more. Having a backup in Windows readable format helps.<br>There is no reason at all to rent cloud space to be able to keep your date safe.
     
  11. P.S.<br>If you backup regularly, you don't really need the extra safety using RAID 1 provides, and you could double the NAS's capacity by configuring it's multiple drives as JBOD, just a bunch of discs.
     
  12. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    Hard drive backup is the most vulnerable form of backing up your data.
     
  13. Not worse than DVDs, Eric. Both the write failure rate and 'shelf life' of DVDs isn't really that good.<br>And HD backup being faster, able to run fully automated, and cheaper, a way that doesn't promote an 'i can't be bothered now, will do it tomorrow' approach to backing up.<br>Though you can get a smart backup program running that helps cut down on this, the fact that you need 120+ DL DVDs to backup a measily 1TB disc could give something to think about. ;-)
     
  14. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    Now you're saying it's both?
    It doesn't matter how many drives you bring into your rotation. Having one medium type is the most foolish back up plan. Hard drives are fragile mechanical devices that are susceptible to fire/flood/viruses and is why companies/people that are serious about their data, burn it to good quality optical disks.
    Like many, you've chosen the path of the most convenient/affordable and now justifying it. It's not responsible to be your first and only backup medium. My last post on the matter.
     
  15. Both?<br>No, i'm still saying DVDs are no good. Not archival. Not practical. Too expensive.<br>And you can indeed point out that hard drives are fragile mechanical devices, but doing so doesn't turn hard drives into more of a problem than they are, which is not a big one. Not one that can't be solved by having a hard drive backup. Nothing irresponsible about that. How often and how easily do your hard drives fail?<br><br>Flood, fires, viruses (and most other disasters that could happen), by the way, also pose problems (the same) to DVDs. Not having copies on different media, but having copies in at least two places is what helps reduce the risk of the first two. Nothing will help against the third. No company i know do burn DVD backups. They use tape if still stuck in the olden days, or a large array of hard drives distributed over several locations.<br>DVDs and CDs are still being used to transport and distribute data. Music and film mainly. In the non-mass media segment, though downloads and USB drives have become mainstream, some people still insist on getting plastic discs. Apart from that, these media really are no good.
     

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