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External Hard Disk or NAS

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Hi, question of where to keep images and backing up ?


For a long time I've been keeping things as follows:-
Current year images on my iMac
Previous years images on my NAS (not enough room on mac to keep them there)
Import backup images on external drive connected to iMac
iMac is manually backed up onto NAS and the NAS is backed up onto an EHD on site and occasionally that is copied to a EHD kept off-site.


A few months ago I've started using online backup solution Backblaze which backs up my iMac and EHD but they don't support NASs. Very pleased with it and means that new imports and other new documents are backedup (erm what should the past tense be) straight away off-site compared to waiting for me to manually back them up to the NAS onsite then sometime later copied to the off-site backup.


All works well and I feel it's not a bad system. Two things I'm thinking of changing and like views on are:-
1. Could use auto backup software to backup mac to NAS. Any good, over the top as already have Backblaze, any suggestion of which software.
2. I'm thinking of buying another EHD, connecting to mac and moving my previous years images from the NAS to it therefore they would also be backed online by Backblaze. I would copy this EHD to NAS and then copy NAS to off-site as I do now. Reason not to just rely on Backblaze is that if you needed to retrieve all the images from Backblaze it would take weeks and weeks to download them.


After re reading the above I'm obviously totally paranoid about backing up (years of working with business data) and it looks totally OTT !!!


Be very interested in people thoughts (don't hesitate to say if you think I'm totally bonkers with whatI do) and also may be helpfully to others planning a backup strategy. Thanks
 
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I would switch backup vendors. :)
Crashplan like many others has the ability to backup NAS.

Otherwise, go ahead and get another local EHD and move the images from NAS to the new EHD and then it will be included in Backblaze.
Then Google for the directions to enable NAS to be a Timemachine backup location.
Use the NAS as your local backup server solution.

So at the end, you have everything local on the machine, with a local site backup via Timemachine to the NAS and a remote offsite backup via Backblaze.

Tim
 
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"new documents are backedup (erm what should the past tense be)"

The past tense of back up is backed up. There is no past tense of backup, because backup is a noun (or occasionally an adjective). Using 'backup' as a verb may be the most common grammatical error on computer-related forums. :)
 
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I would switch backup vendors. :)
Crashplan like many others has the ability to backup NAS.
I agree with Tim. In addition to TimeMachine for backup to a local NAS, I use CrashPlan as a cloud backup and for a second local backup to a EHD. CrashPlan is the same price as BackBlaze for unlimited cloud backup and free to backup locally.
 

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Since I'm a fan of KISS, I'm wondering why the NAS?

NAS is a more complicated beast than an external, so I'd think that there would need to be a reason why networked storage is preferable to DAS. Could be other users have to access it. Or perhaps other devices, although having NAS just for one user's iPhone access seems like overkill.
 
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Since I'm a fan of KISS, I'm wondering why the NAS?

NAS is a more complicated beast than an external, so I'd think that there would need to be a reason why networked storage is preferable to DAS. Could be other users have to access it. Or perhaps other devices, although having NAS just for one user's iPhone access seems like overkill.
A NAS is not any more complicated than an EHD. Apple TimeCapsule is a NAS. Most other NAS are a simple LINUX interface that works out of the box and appear in the network area of the local computer. A NAS can be shared between multiple devices on the same local network. Whereas a EHD is dedicated to the local computer (unless you turn your local computer into a NAS)
 

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Two things to keep in mind for EHD (in my experience). 1) in an effort to make them as small and sexy as possible, they tend to skimp on the cooling and power supplies for those drives. The are fine for limited blocks of data, but copying many gigabytes of data can cause them to run too hot. 2) because they are external, they tend to get banged around more. While most of todays drives lock the heads when they are powered down (remembering having to "park" the heads on the early drives?), they are pretty much ok being transported etc, HOWEVER, I have seen a number of cases where the drive got knocked over while spinning by the user who was doing other things while stuff was being copied etc. The results of a spinning drive being knocked over can be somewhat less than rewarding.

mikey
 
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Since I'm a fan of KISS, I'm wondering why the NAS?

NAS is a more complicated beast than an external, so I'd think that there would need to be a reason why networked storage is preferable to DAS. Could be other users have to access it. Or perhaps other devices, although having NAS just for one user's iPhone access seems like overkill.

Besides what Cletus as already stated.


  1. Your volume size is no longer limited to the size of your hard drive.
  2. Protection against drive failures (RAID 5 and 6)
  3. Advanced volume management such as extending volume size by adding additional hard drives on the fly.

Also some NAS systems such as Synology come with a whole suite of applications for things like sharing music.

-louie
 
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Besides what Cletus as already stated.
  1. Your volume size is no longer limited to the size of your hard drive.
  2. Protection against drive failures (RAID 5 and 6)
  3. Advanced volume management such as extending volume size by adding additional hard drives on the fly.
These are all advantages of a RAID system, not specificly of a NAS system. After all, a NAS is little more than a network-connected RAID. I you don't need to access your files from more than one device, a NAS has little or no advantage over a local RAID.
 

rob211

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Besides what Cletus as already stated.


  1. Your volume size is no longer limited to the size of your hard drive.
  2. Protection against drive failures (RAID 5 and 6)
  3. Advanced volume management such as extending volume size by adding additional hard drives on the fly.

Also some NAS systems such as Synology come with a whole suite of applications for things like sharing music.

-louie

True, but still more complicated. You need to configure a network to run them, and they have a system on top of storage, which adds another layer of complexity and configuration. Then there's the file protocol, NFS or AFP etc. And RAID of course is another layer.

That has advantages, and we used them at work all the time. But again, for a single home user with photos, why? And I could see a RAID just for speed, but RAID isn't backup and again, it adds complexity where none might be needed, emphasis on the "might" since I still don't know what the OP needs, other than changing his backup strategy.
 
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Rob,

A lot of home routers have plugs now to turn a USB drive into a NAS.
Also, many NAS support WPS....
Basically it is not that hard anymore. Finding the correct cable (USB 1, 2 or 3 or Firewire or....) is more of a headache then hooking the NAS into the WiFi.

Tim
 

rob211

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Rob,

A lot of home routers have plugs now to turn a USB drive into a NAS.
Also, many NAS support WPS....
Basically it is not that hard anymore. Finding the correct cable (USB 1, 2 or 3 or Firewire or....) is more of a headache then hooking the NAS into the WiFi.

Tim
I dunno. I'm certainly aware of the capabilities, and have used all sorts of NAS setups with tons of users with mixed lots of Macs, PCs, phones, etc, in environments small and large.

And I've also been the administrator of said networks. Maybe I just deal with more idiots, but managing a network is harder than managing DAS. But perhaps more importantly, a user's DAS is the user's problem; NAS is perhaps someone else's problem.

Time Capsules are a good example: if one of two main functions dies, both functions are gone. Not very robust. And I think it's easier for users to deal with images on a DAS than NAS and use Lr. I suspect many here are very savvy, and have no trouble, but having had responsibility for fixing others' problems I'd still take DAS over NAS if possible any day. YMMV.
 
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Hi

Sorry for not replying since posting thread, been away.


Thank you everybody for all the advice.

Tim - Just been looking at Crashplan, the do seem to support NAS backup to cloud and like how you can also backup to other drives or other people’s computers. Will look into them more closely, cheers. I do already have Time Machine backing up iMac to the NAS. The thing I don’t like about Time Machine is you can’t just go to the backed up files and see them on the disk (me not trusting operating systems, so many years using microsoft !!). Can Time Machine create a backup of an EHD attached to the Mac ?

Hal - Was only joking but true backup as a verb is used often in correctly,, including by me.

Cletus - Are you backing up a NAS with Crashplaln and if so does it work well ?

Rob - Reasons I have a NAS in order of importance to me are:-
- Access to the data/images by various Windows and Mac computers (run a small business at home)
- Easy implementation of Raid. I’m not hardware techie and found my Netgear NAS easy to setup
- Capacity. It’s 8TB, 6TB useable, and was relatively cheap about 5 years ago when I brought it and now if I spent same money probably would get 2 or 3 times that capacity.

Mickey - Good point which I haven’t thought of, over the years I have had a number of EHD fail and yes generally because they’ve been knocked about.

Louie - Yes exactly the reason I went down the route of a NAS. Mine does do media sharing but I’ve never got around to learning how to do that, would be handy/

Johan - I wouldn’t know how to setup a local raid, the NAS software just gave me a choice of raids (explaining benefits of each) and then just did it.

Couple of questions. Would having images on an EHD be faster than the NAS when using Lightroom, at the moment I have a 2010 iMac so it would be connected via USB2 ? If I did move all my images to an EHD should I move the catalog from the Mac to the EHD ?

Many thanks for all your advice, what a great forum this is.

Regards, Duncan
 

rob211

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Couple of questions. Would having images on an EHD be faster than the NAS when using Lightroom, at the moment I have a 2010 iMac so it would be connected via USB2 ? If I did move all my images to an EHD should I move the catalog from the Mac to the EHD ?

Boy, that's gonna depend on some variables. USB 2 is 480 Mbps and ethernet could be faster...or not, depending on your network, its speed, the speed of the intervening switches, etc. Not to mention that the RAID config might result in faster reads than a single drive in your external USB case. Any of these is limited by the slowest component. I would think gigabit ethernet would be your second fastest data pipeline, and FW800 the fastest. By comparison, USB 3 is like an order of magnitude faster than USB 2, and is faster than say a SATA III drive can spit out data. Your old drives might even be the limiting factor.

Smallnetbuilder has comparisons of the speeds of various NAS configurations; they vary quite a bit since each has its own variables. But a USB 3 connection can go a lot faster, a USB 2, maybe not. But throw a drive into the equation, and they even out. See here for example:
http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/tools/charts/nas/view
http://www.everythingusb.com/speed.html
 
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...
Cletus - Are you backing up a NAS with Crashplaln and if so does it work well ?
...
Couple of questions. Would having images on an EHD be faster than the NAS when using Lightroom, at the moment I have a 2010 iMac so it would be connected via USB2 ? If I did move all my images to an EHD should I move the catalog from the Mac to the EHD ?
First, I no longer use a NAS. If you can define the attached volume to Crashplan, then you can backup the NAS to Crashplan. If your NAS runs Windows or OS X you can run Crashplan on the NAS.

If you look at your EHD I/O speed, Gigabit wired ethernet is rarely gigabit. Firewire 800 (which you should have) is faster USB2 or Ethernet. Thunderbolt(1) is 10Gbit/s, Thunderbolt2 is 20Gbit/s. If you can get to Thunderbolt speeds or USB3.1, your need not worry about speeds until something faster comes along. I've moved away from a NAS to Firewire800 and more recently Thunderbolt EHDs.

Once you have finished your initial post processing. master original images are rarely needed again except for an occasional print or export. These can be moved to a slower drive. USB2 speeds are adequate to access these older image files. So is a NAS on Wifi. Your catalog and your frequently accessed previews should remain on your fasters drive. This is usually your primary drive.
 
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This thread brings to mind a question.
Does anyone know of a good speed/bench marking tool which would help determine what is the best hardware for Lr?
e.g. for the Develop module, the library, exporting....

I am starting to run low on space on my laptop and I am thinking of changing my whole file structure and process flow; and determine if I am going to get a new machine, go for a hybrid drive, just large HDD....

Tim
 
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Many thanks. Think first thing is to checkout Crashplan as this sounds like it offers more options including backing up the NAS at the same price as my current Blackblaze. After that decided about NAS etc, think might leave this till upgrade of the iMac.
Again thanks for advice, Duncan
 

rob211

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This thread brings to mind a question.
Does anyone know of a good speed/bench marking tool which would help determine what is the best hardware for Lr?
e.g. for the Develop module, the library, exporting....

I am starting to run low on space on my laptop and I am thinking of changing my whole file structure and process flow; and determine if I am going to get a new machine, go for a hybrid drive, just large HDD....

Tim

There's Aja System Test and Blackmagic Disk Speed Test, but they are both for benchmarking; they'd tell you X storage solution is faster than Y. But you could probably already figure that out.

And Geekbench for processor stuff.

These tools are used by others for measuring, so you'd be able to compare online. The problem is that it's of limited use, since it's the whole workflow one has to consider, and then the relatively value of RAM vs processor vs GPU and that's kind of hard to compare without just timing tasks on one whole system vs another.

Even Fusion vs SSD is a tough one to answer; Anandtech did an analysis and I doubt you could improve on it for general use, although I'd love to see a long term photo workflow specific test. OTOH, we know it isn't FASTER than an SSD so you could just cut to the chase and buy an SSD.

Maybe you could convince everyone here to take an index set of files, run the same tasks, and time them, and post results. Folks have done that with Photoshop before over on MacRumors and other sites.
 
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...think might leave this till upgrade of the iMac.
Currently the faster transfer speeds are available with Thunderbolt2 Although USB3.1 is similar. [FONT=Titillium Web, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Thunderbolt 3 brings Thunderbolt to USB-C at 40Gbps. Thunderbolt EHDs and Drive enclosures are rapidly coming down in price. So, it makes a lot of sense to invest in a new computer rather that put money into network hardware. This is the direction that I have taken.
I have a Mid-2011 iMac with USB2, Firewire800 & Thunderbolt. Within the last 6 months, I've pulled my EHDs out of USB and Firewire enclosures and Added USB 3 and Thunderbolt drives and enclosures. Last year I purchased this
[/FONT] Lexar Professional Workflow HR2 Hub with 4 bays for Thunderbolt 2/USB 3.0 Readers and Storage Drives - LRWHR2RBNA A USB3 hub that connects thru a Thunderbolt port, With an adapter I can connect my USB3 EHDs and Access the via the faster TB port. An acceptable transition until I can upgrade to a 5KiMac.
 
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Maybe you could convince everyone here to take an index set of files, run the same tasks, and time them, and post results. Folks have done that with Photoshop before over on MacRumors and other sites.

That is a good idea. Probably best if the test/numbers were created via a plugin.
Note sure that would be possible, but it would likely be the most consistent.

As for going all SSD, not me anymore. I have a ~750GB SSD on my laptop. I would rather let the software intelligently move stuff from SSD to HDD and has a faster CPU and less SSD.

Tim
 

rob211

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That is a good idea. Probably best if the test/numbers were created via a plugin.
Note sure that would be possible, but it would likely be the most consistent.

As for going all SSD, not me anymore. I have a ~750GB SSD on my laptop. I would rather let the software intelligently move stuff from SSD to HDD and has a faster CPU and less SSD.

Tim
Makes sense I guess if one were forced to choose. Just don't get the 1TB Fusion; I fear that that smaller SSD drive wouldn't be ideal for photo work.
 
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Next computer will be Windows, so no Fusion drive. I am on my last set of Mac computers.
I will likely go with two SSD and a couple of HDD.
One SSD of 512GB for OS, Temp and Applications.
One SSD of 128 or 256GB with a set of 4TB drives running RAID 1 using Intel SmartDrive as drive D for all data/document storage.

But based on how my current Mac's run; it likely is a year end or next year purchase.

Tim
 
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If your NAS runs Windows or OS X you can run Crashplan on the NAS.

I even had it running on my Synology OS as it's just java, but you'd need a larger amount of RAM for it to work really well.
 
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All works well and I feel it's not a bad system. Two things I'm thinking of changing and like views on are:-
1. Could use auto backup software to backup mac to NAS. Any good, over the top as already have Backblaze, any suggestion of which software.
2. I'm thinking of buying another EHD, connecting to mac and moving my previous years images from the NAS to it therefore they would also be backed online by Backblaze. I would copy this EHD to NAS and then copy NAS to off-site as I do now. Reason not to just rely on Backblaze is that if you needed to retrieve all the images from Backblaze it would take weeks and weeks to download them.
I'm undergoing a similar issue with how to do backups right now.

My current system is versioned backups via Time Machine to the NAS of my main computer and also to a locally connect external drive. The Time Machine backups alternate which drive they are using. Bootable backups of the main system on 3 separate hard drives. 1 lives offsite, one in a media safe onsite and one is local but not connected unless I need it. Those are done weekly and the offsite is rotated out monthly. NAS also has a partition that is my active storage for the image files. They are also backed up to external drives, one offsite and one in a media safe and one local but not connected. CD backups of image files done yearly stored in a different offsite media safe. For security and bandwidth reasons cloud storage isn't an option for me.

I'd agree with previous posters that looking at a cloud system that supports direct from NAS would be my major change and if you are comfortable with cloud backups of your data then yes, do another set there. I would ALSO buy some additional external drives and do backups there. You can never have too many backups! I just both 2 2 terabyte Western Digital drives from Best Buy for $170.00 total before taxes.

For the naysayers on NAS, there re many reasons to consider one even in a small system. Ours has a variety of Linux and Mac machines connected. With RAID there is some level of fault tolerance on the hardware. Ease of set-up and worry free performance is also a big plus.

One caution about NAS systems, The drives are typically running 24/7 and so you should look at replacing the drives every 3-4 years and the entire system every 5-7 years. We just replaced our entire system. The older one had been running for 6 years and the newer system has capacity and speed improvements that make it superior plus we had already done 2 different upgrades of drives on the old system to increase capacity. The old drives have been tested and most are ok for backups not in constant use but I don't consider them primary backup devices given the number of hours on them now.

My one issue with backups is how to do the deep archive of image files since drives to support optical media like CDs are becoming rarer and rarer. It isn't going to matter if the CD itself will last (although I've had many CD's fail over time) if there is no drive or drivers to read it. I have a box of old backup devices, iomega drives of varying flavors, old WORM optical drives, old tape drive systems (2 different styles), I did finally get rid of the old big disk system that was 12 inch platters and ran in a washing machine size drive. It was long since unusable but I had kept it more for nostalgia than any other reason.
 
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