HD, Server, NAS

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by domenicopescosolido, May 21, 2010.

  1. Hi,
    I'm try to solve an old my problem. I'm a photographer, mainly sport photographer, and I'm using a Mac system with a lot of external disk where I store all photos (3 disk firewire 800 with total 2Tb more or less) and other USB 2 disk used only for backup. But the storage space is never enough so I would avoid to buy an other disk and an other. I'm check some other solutions like NAS or similar. Do you think that a NAS could be a good idea and which kind of NAS could better considering my use and considering that I'm reading my photos using Lightroom (sometimes also Aperture).
    Thanks for your kindly help
  2. NAS could be slower than directly mountable USB or firewire drive.
    Also some NAS solutions use a propriatory hard disc formatting. (E.g. Linksys NAS200) When the unit fails, you would normally remove one or both discs and use it in another disc enclosure, and recover the contents. This is not the case with some NAS. Disc full of your pictures and videos will not be recognoized by your system that would be expecting any FAT, FAT32, NTFS, etc, since the disc was formatted in the NAS device by a different format. The only recovery would be to purchase another NAS device of the same type and recover the files there.
    A bit less popular but seems faster solution is if you have a desktop and you can insert a card with eSATA ports, and use external SATA drives. If you have a laptop with Express34 card, you can also get plugin card with eSATA interface. Providing that your computer Express34 port is NOT implemented internally on an internal USB bus, killing the purpose of fast Express34 and the SATA.
    Then the USB 3.0 on Express34 implementation and a USB 3.0 would be the latest and fastest technology. I believe one vendor offers USB 3.0 external hard drives already. This could be the promissed future for photographers ?
    I would recommend true file server that contains server operating system and complete computer like electronics. Hewlett-Packard makes few models of increasing capability, speed, and price.
  3. NAS is nothing more than another way of attaching external drives to your Mac like Firewire and USB. Basically the drives are attached to a file server on the network that your computer is attached to as well. If the network is a local area network, NAS should be faster than Firewire or USB. The big advantage of NAS is you can attach as many drives as you want more seamlessly. The drives are attached to the file server and all you see is more disk space magically appearing. The disadvantage is the network management which is quite a bit more complicated.
    NAS offerings can be as simple as a box that you attach to the LAN that looks like a huge disk drive to full blown file servers with fixed internal disk capacity and expandable external disk capacity. The more flexible the NAS offering, the more work it is to manage it.
    From the looks of things, you have no choice but to buy more disk space. If you compress all your disks you might get back a decent amount of disk space, depending on how many of your files are already in a compressed format. Given the amount of disk space you are using, NAS may be the best route to more disk space. You might also want to hire a VAR (Value Add Reseller) or DVAR (Dealer Value Added Reseller) to install the NAS and set up your Mac to use it. The simpler NAS offerings can be set up by you but the more flexible models will require more work than you may want to do. Companies such as Dell, IBM and HP which sell NAS products can refer you to an authorized VAR or DVAR.
  4. A NAS will not do anything to help you with your space problem, except temporarily. Eventually, it, too will fill up, and you will have to add drives or replace drives (with larger ones) in it. Unless you have a need to share the data on the drives with other computers on your network, I'm not sure a NAS (or even a server) is what you're looking for.
    What some people are doing lately is to purchase a device like the NewerTech Voyager. Plug this in to your FireWire or eSata bus, and plug in a "raw" hard disk drive (bare drive, no enclosure, power supply, etc.). Since drives are cheap, simply store data on the bare drives. Swap out drives as you need to. You can organize by project, event, dates, anything you want. The drives that are not plugged in won't be wearing, and so should last longer.

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