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View Full Version : Drobo or other such device is in my future I think...


turtle
2010-03-05, 13:52
But I just want to be sure it's my best option for now. Currently I have a 1TB RAID for my AppleTV media and it's just not enough. Basically all my DVDs get converted for iTunes and then loaded there rather than using the disks. I now only have 25GB free and need more room. I'm thinking a Drobo S with 5 disk should be a good start for future proofing. Plus, it'll give me some extra capacity for backing up something like my photos too.

Is the Drobo my best option now? Also, where is the best place to get it? I've seen an Open Box one on Newegg for about $600.

kretara
2010-03-08, 11:15
I was in a similar situation a while back.
I have an "extensive" DVD/CD collection (that keeps on growing) and wanted it all on disk so I could stream to any computer in the house. I also wanted a place to put all my documents, images and other assorted files for easy retrieval.

I started with a 4 bay firewire 400 enclosure with 4x250gb @ raid5 via my Mini.

Quickly ran out of space so I bought a PC, installed Linux and went with 5x500gb @ software raid5 and moved the firewire enclosure to backups.

Again, ran out of room but also noticed rebuilding issues with raid5 and was worried about moving to a much large raid set with raid5.

Upgraded to 5x1tb drives in software raid10 (1 drive as a spare so ~ 2tb) and this is working for me at them moment, but I am looking forward to upgrading to 2TB drives soon. I also have my eye on a nice 16 bay SATA/SAS enclosure.....drool.....

I recently bought a 4 bay esata enclosure to use as a backup device and am loving it. The firewire enclosure has been retired and is about to go up for sale.


I've looked at Drobo's (and other similar products) in the past, but I feel that they are much too pricey when I can roll something similar myself for MUCH less money.

onlyafterdark
2010-03-08, 12:08
Have you considered Lime Technology (http://www.lime-technology.com/). Im probably going to get one at some point. You can either buy a complete box or just the OS so there is some flexibility.

kretara
2010-03-08, 14:20
Have you considered Lime Technology (http://www.lime-technology.com/). Im probably going to get one at some point. You can either buy a complete box or just the OS so there is some flexibility.


The price for the 12 bay server isn't bad at all. You could do better buying from newegg and such and putting it together yourself, but not bad for a package price AND virtually the same price as a Drobo s (5 drive) vs. 12 drives. The price for the 15 bay server is a bit..um...high, but the components are more server grade than the 12 bay.

The unRaid product (OS) puts me off though. Having your registration key bound to a flash drive does not give me warm fuzzies. I would much rather install Linux and set up raid via mdadm.

Xaqtly
2010-03-08, 15:24
On the subject, how is the AppleTV as a media center for all your various medias that you want access to on your TV? Right now I'm using my PS3 along with Nullriver Medialink on the Mac to stream movies to the PS3 wirelessly. It works, but not all that well.

In the interest of both expanding available storage and having a better media center, would you recommend an AppleTV and some external storage (USB-based, I'm assuming?) to handle it? I haven't used an AppleTV so I don't know what its limitations and/or annoyances are.

How easy is it to get ripped DVDs from the Mac to the TV? I'd like to convert my collection too, having them all online like that is really convenient. I would be concerned about backing them up though, right now all my media gets backed up via time machine along with everything else on my hard drives.

turtle
2010-03-08, 21:18
On the subject, how is the AppleTV as a media center for all your various medias that you want access to on your TV? Right now I'm using my PS3 along with Nullriver Medialink on the Mac to stream movies to the PS3 wirelessly. It works, but not all that well.

In the interest of both expanding available storage and having a better media center, would you recommend an AppleTV and some external storage (USB-based, I'm assuming?) to handle it? I haven't used an AppleTV so I don't know what its limitations and/or annoyances are.

How easy is it to get ripped DVDs from the Mac to the TV? I'd like to convert my collection too, having them all online like that is really convenient. I would be concerned about backing them up though, right now all my media gets backed up via time machine along with everything else on my hard drives.

I use my TV with a wired connection because the wireless connection was prone to buffering. As for using it over my PS3, there is so much difference that it makes the TV a no brainer. Really, it's just that good. Now I did install a 250GB drive in the TV and run ATVFlash too though I rarely use it's features. Most all of my media runs from a Mini sitting in my bedroom with the RAID drives connected. The ATVFlash gives you the ability to hook up an external drive, but I don't right now. It also gives you the ability to play ripped DVDs with menus and everything. FTP transfer to the external drive means you never have to move it to your base computer. Not bad if you asked me. :)

We put all of our media on iTunes on the Mini and use the TV to play it. It works great. So worth switching to using just the TV if you already put most of your media in iTunes.

My method of getting DVDs in to iTunes is rip with RipIt and then queue it up with HandBreak. Once they are finished I transfer them to iTunes via drag and drop. Then I stop the TV sync until I can add the album art to the newly imported media. Once it's metadata is updated I then sync the TV. Now my kids can pick movies based on DVD art rather than text. :)

Things like Pixar shorts are labeled as a TV Show rather than Movie. This means all the shorts are in one show with different episodes. There's a few other things that are done the same for shorter videos of the same group. You can also group movies together if you update the metadata. Like my Terminator movies are all grouped together in the movie listing. You chose Terminator and then you have the 4 movies in that smaller list. This works great for movies with more than two movies. Toy Story currently is listed as two movies in the main listing. Once I get Toy Story 3 on my TV I'll be moving all three movies into it's own group called Toy Story.

So, yeah, I think it's far better than using the PS3 as an extender.

turtle
2010-03-08, 21:24
The price for the 12 bay server isn't bad at all. You could do better buying from newegg and such and putting it together yourself, but not bad for a package price AND virtually the same price as a Drobo s (5 drive) vs. 12 drives. The price for the 15 bay server is a bit..um...high, but the components are more server grade than the 12 bay.

The unRaid product (OS) puts me off though. Having your registration key bound to a flash drive does not give me warm fuzzies. I would much rather install Linux and set up raid via mdadm.

How do you set up your software RAID? I'm open to building my own storage array, just don't have experience and would hate to lose my media. Got something to point me to? I'll build on own and be very happy with that if I do. :)

ironlung
2010-03-09, 01:26
How do you set up your software RAID? I'm open to building my own storage array, just don't have experience and would hate to lose my media. Got something to point me to? I'll build on own and be very happy with that if I do. :)

Setting up software raid in linux is pretty simple. I have a Raid 1 setup in Ubuntu This Link (https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Raid) is a good place to start. I'd be happy to answer any questions. Ubuntu people on irc are very helpful by the way.

turtle
2010-03-09, 01:36
Cool. Thanks for the link. I'll look into something like that again. Maybe just stick with SME server again for another server but let this one server only files. (SME does RAID automatically.)

kretara
2010-03-09, 10:11
How do you set up your software RAID? I'm open to building my own storage array, just don't have experience and would hate to lose my media. Got something to point me to? I'll build on own and be very happy with that if I do. :)

If you have webmin (browser based *nix sys. admin. tool) installed on your linux box you can use that to set up a raid array (provided you have something like mdadm installed). It is very simple, but can take a day to build the array depending on how large the array is, how many drives are being used and the processor speed.


You might want to check which raid level your SME server is running. You would want at least raid 5 so that your data is *safe* if one drive fails. I know nothing about SME but from a few minutes googling it looks like if you are using <= 3 drives you are in a raid 1.

ironlung
2010-03-09, 12:08
If you have webmin (browser based *nix sys. admin. tool) installed on your linux box you can use that to set up a raid array (provided you have something like mdadm installed). It is very simple, but can take a day to build the array depending on how large the array is, how many drives are being used and the processor speed.


You might want to check which raid level your SME server is running. You would want at least raid 5 so that your data is *safe* if one drive fails. I know nothing about SME but from a few minutes googling it looks like if you are using <= 3 drives you are in a raid 1.

Since Raid 1 makes an exact copy of your hard drive, your data is still safe if one drive fails. Raid 5 is better though, but requires at least three drives.

Xaqtly
2010-03-09, 19:39
Thanks Turtle. I would still have to do it wirelessly because my Airport Extreme is on the other side of my house. But thanks for explaining how your setup works, that helps a lot.

turtle
2010-09-04, 23:51
So I'm back in this mode again. My RAID is giving me problems and it's making it really hard for me to keep iTunes sync'ed with my tv. I'm thinking that I'll just move the iTunes library to my HTPC and then it will be solved though I'm not sure that's the best answer. I'm thinking if I were to get a Drobo or build a system using Lime Tech I'd be ok too.

So who here has used Lime and has feedback? I'm looking at building a system because I can to it modularly and add amy my need grows saving a few hundred dollars now when I don't need that capacity yet.

The flip side is I'm trying to make the advanced tech in my home not so advanced. My wife is technically challenged and I'm wanting to make sure she isn't stuck not being able to make something happen if I weren't around for any reason. Drobo is obviously easy without her getting someone to help out. How about Lime? Is it totally hands-off?

nikstar101
2010-09-05, 04:27
Turtle is am sure you have already discounted (and i have just missed it reading this) but what about a NAS setup?

I have got a very basic one at the moment as i wasn't quiet sure what i was getting myself in for but even with this basic equipment it does everything i want.

I have a ReadyNAS Duo with a two drives acting as one giving me 1.5TB of space. On here is an exact copy of my MacPro's Media drive. So when i am on my MacPro everything runs off the internal hard drive there, so if i download a new tune from iTunes or rip a new DVD, it is ripped onto the MacPro. Then at 8:00pm everyday that drive is copied to the NAS drive. So by 8:10pm the ANS drive is update to date with all the latest happenings.

Then i can turn off the computer and stream all my movies and music to my Sonos and PS3 (or even iPad, iPhone etc). This way it is a very simple setup for other people in the house to use. Since new media can only be added via the MacPro (the way i have it setup) but everyone can access media all round the house from the NAS (which is quiet, cool, uses less power and has nothing that can go wrong with it).

OK i understand the ReadyNAS Duo might be a little small for your needs but there are some other bigger brothers in that line or other manufacturers. The one thing i am not sure about is that is AppleTV can stream from a NAS? You can setup ReadyNAS devices as iTunes Servers but i don't know the technical ins and outs of the AppleTV.

This setup has the advantage of being cheaper that a Drobo (by miles!), it is expandable (suing the clever RAID systems) and because all the media is sorted on both my MacPro and NAS, i have some reassurance should one fail i have a backup (actually i use TimeMachine too so 2 backups)!

Maciej
2010-09-05, 12:49
nikstar101, how do you stream to your ps3 from the NAS?

turtle
2010-09-05, 13:49
The thing about a normal NAS is that you can't just upgrade the them like to can a Drobo or Lime Tech based device. You can just add or swap HDDs and make them grow as your needs do. I really want to have a much larger capacity than a normal NAS and I'm not wanting to spend any more than I have to.

The real perk to something like LimeTech is the ability to build a system that doesn't have all the parts until I need them. I can add more drive bays and such as my needs grow. I like this aspect because it makes it more modular.

nikstar101
2010-09-05, 17:56
nikstar101, how do you stream to your ps3 from the NAS?

Well as long as your NAS is DLNA compliant then it will show up in the PS3 x-cross bar thing. You can then simply navigate the NAS device via the folder structure. You might have to turn on the DLNA service on the NAS but that is usually pretty simple (just a toggle in the preferences).

If you are after more detailed instructions then just let me know.

The thing about a normal NAS is that you can't just upgrade the them like to can a Drobo or Lime Tech based device. You can just add or swap HDDs and make them grow as your needs do. I really want to have a much larger capacity than a normal NAS and I'm not wanting to spend any more than I have to.

The real perk to something like LimeTech is the ability to build a system that doesn't have all the parts until I need them. I can add more drive bays and such as my needs grow. I like this aspect because it makes it more modular.

A lot of the new NAS systems use clever RAID systems, like ReadyNAS' X-RAID2 which allow you to simply plug in and get more storage or protection (as you require). Like I said I have mine setup to expand the available space on the share when I put a bigger disk in (although I do manually have to copy stuff across since mine can only hold two disks).

If you are determined to go for a Drobo solution ONLY get the FS model. That way you can run it without a Mac attached and save a shed load of electricity and it is hugely faster.

turtle
2010-09-26, 23:29
So how about I put my Dell R300 to use for this? The question I have though is how would I best connect extra storage to the server. It only has 2 internal HDD slots so there isn't room for expansion.

Looking at Dell's Outlet, my server is worth about $1400 but I'm not putting it to the use it once had. At this point I'd rather have a Mini with SL server on it. So anyway, my server has all open PCIe slots. I looked at a Dell solution to attach to the server but I just couldn't bear to pay the price for this.

So I'm wondering if therre is a way that I can connect up drives to this server even if it means I install Win2008 on it. What are some ideas for me to do with this thing? I'm thinking of selling it too, but not sure how I can effectively sell it for what it's worth.