External storage -- go for NAS (QNAP 439)?

HerrB

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Hi everyone,

I am considering getting a NAS for data storage at home. I am thinking about the QNAP 439. Has anyone used it or similar devices? It has two gigabit ethernet ports. One I could connect to the PC and one I could connect to my MacBook Pro. So I wouldn't even need to get an expensive gigabit router/switch. I can even use the thing as an iSCSI device (getting a bit of a taste of the world of big SANs).

What I wonder now is this: how well will Lightroom work with it? Do people have experience with this?

Alternatively I could get a LaCie 4Big Quadra. Better raw disk performance. But not anywhere near the flexibility of the QNAP.

Currently I have my Lightroom files (including catalog) on an external 5''G FW4'' drive.



Cheers,
Joerg
Moved by moderator to appropriate forum
 

pknoot

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Hi Jorg,

The QNAP certainly looks like a robust NAS. However, I think you have the wrong impression about how they are used. An NAS should be connected to your router/switch on your network, not directly to the computer or laptop. That's the difference between a Network Attached Server (NAS) and a USB/Firewire drive. The latter is a better choice if you want to connect a storage device directly to the PC.

I use the Buffalo TeraStation units; I have two 1 TB NAS boxes on my network for photo and video files. They work great, with some caveats: I use them as a secondary backup for my LR photo and catalog files. The primary files are on a separate SATA drive inside the PC. Keep in mind that you can't put your LR active catalog file on a NAS.
 

HerrB

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Hi Peter,

Thanks a lot for responding -- particularly as the subject does not seem to fetch too much attention around here (a bit to my surprise). I am fully aware of the differences between directly attached storage, NASes and SANs. Again thanks for taking the time to point things out here again, though.

The angle I was coming from was this: the QNAP I am looking at has two very fast ethernet ports and thus allows connecting two machines (each of which would enjoy its own mini gigabit LAN) not even needing a switch or anything. The idea would be I'd actually want to work off the NAS. Ideally even with the catalog file on it.

When you say I can't put my catalog file on the NAS this is because of performance, right? No need to mention that the same catalog file cannot be used simultaneously from two LR instances.

If I was *ONLY* looking at LR work, then such a NAS would not be first choice, I guess. But I'd now be talking all my data, including full backups of my laptop disks etc. If LR was quite workable over a dedicated gigabit LAN connection, then I'd be very partial to the NAS approach because it seems very flexible and convenient. Creating separat volumes for all sorts of data, multi user access, hot capacity expansion (go from 3 TB capacity to 6 TB just replacing the RAID disks one by one!), etc. etc. etc. The QNAP 439 even supports iSCSI.

Should I find out more, I'll post here.

Cheers,
Joerg
 
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When you say I can't put my catalog file on the NAS this is because of performance, right?
NO! It is because Lightroom can't open Catalogs from network resources. It will work only if the device you want to buy can be seen as a local device.
 

pknoot

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Hi Joerg,

I'll readily admit that I'm not an IT expert, but as far as I know, you need a DNS server to assign a network IP to the NAS for it to even function correctly, right? In general, having a switch or router is not a speed-limiting problem as much as the internal workings of your PC or laptop (usually the software is the bottleneck). If you don't want to use the NAS in its intended function, it would probably be just as good to use a firewire 8'' external drive for your catalog.
 

pknoot

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Hi Joerg,

Hot off the presses is the new Droboshare feature for the Drobo:

http://www.drobo.com/index.php

Now you can have exactly what you want: DAS or NAS on demand! Plus you get RAID with any size HD.
 

HerrB

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Hi Peter,

I was out of town and off-line. Hence my late reply: thanks a lot for the pointer to the drobo.

Regarding the NAS, no you don't need an extra DNS. You can either work with IP addresses directly or use the NAS'es built in features. Above mentioned qnap has at least DHCP and other things built in. I would not surprised, if it also had a little DNS.

Thanks again for your responses and cheers,
Joerg
 

HerrB

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Hi Denis,

Thanks!

Cheers,
Joerg
 

Andrew Hayton

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I have just bought a Drobo but there seems to be a lot of discussion going on about it's reliability at themoment. Unfortunately this info isn't available until you buy one. It seems that it is ok as a primary device for large storage but you still need a backup device to back the drobo up.
 
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jedimonkey

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Andrew Hayton;4'512 said:
It seems that it is ok as a primary device for large storage but you still need a backup device to back the drobo up.

Nope - Drobo uses BeyondRaid... as long as you have multiple HDDs (at least 2) with sufficient storage your data is safe no matter which hard disk fails.... using it as a primary storage device would be a waste of cash/features - if thats your aim you would be better buying (eg) 3 x 1tb External drives which would still leave you with cash to spare compared to the drobo price.

Saying that Im a backup freak with full onsite backup, onsite mirrored backup and online backup..... I probaby would backup the drobo too :lol:
 

Andrew Hayton

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I am using the Drobo as primary and backup in one. I did have two WD Powerbook 5''gb drives that I was using as primary and backup then one went down while copying to the other and took the second one down with it.
The reason I said the drobo needs backing up is that there have been quality issues but they have now brought out the drobo pro which is a rack mount system capable of holding 8 drives and will allow for two simultaneous drives going down rather than just the one as it is at present.
 

pknoot

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Hi Andrew,

Using a single RAID array as both primary and backup is probably not a good idea. Good practice dictates having separate hardware for your primary and backup storage. For example, I use a 1TB internal SATA drive as the primary storage, with a Buffalo Terastation 1TB RAID 5 array as the backup. I find that the speed of an internal device is far better than trying to use USB or Firewire 8'' for primary catalog and image storage. In your case with the iMac, you could perhaps use the Drobo as the primary, but back up with several single external drives?

I haven't heard of any Drobo quality or reliability issues; do you have trustworthy sources? In either case, the best configuration is RAID 5 - you need a minimum of 3 disks to set this up, while 4 is the best. The probability of losing two drives at the same time in a Drobo is likely close to zero, so I would not worry about it.
 

Andrew Hayton

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Peter,

I do find the drobo a bit slow to use so am going to put my working catalogue on the iMac and then have a main catalogue (images) on the drobo as a back up of sorts, I am also backing up the drobo to external drives as another backup.
There have been reliability issues with the drobo but this is only found out when you buy one and can get into the forums. btw it uses beyondraid and not raid. They have brought out a pro version at 3 times the price but will allow 2 drives to fail at the same time.
 

hunch

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Hi there, I'm another newbie to Lightroom but see the last post on NAS was a few years ago so hope I'm not going over old ground.

My wife is the photo expert not me, but I get the task of ensuring all the photo's are stored safely. We've got a few hundred thousand pictures so far using 1TB of storage using a Canon EOS 450D soon to upgraded to a Canon 7D. I've just got lightroom 3 to organise the picture as it's getting out of control! I'm currently planing to put in place a robust storage solution to last the next few year. Now I'm hampered by the fact that my wife wants to sit on the sofa editing her pictures so I'll need to use a laptop.

So, based on my very limited lightroom knowledge and general technology knowledge I'm thinking that I can buy 2 * 2TB NAS drives that I can connect to a modern 600N dual band wireless router. The drives will be be mirrors via copying rather than using RAID. on the PC front, to start with I'd be using a USB2 wireless dongle on the laptop, but would upgrade to USB 3 when I replace the laptop. I'd keep one big catalogue on the laptop, but regularly back it up onto the NAS drives (I'll also synchronise the NAS drives with a Cloud storage solution).

My wife tolerates the slowness of opening a 12 mega pixel photo using standard 52mbps wireless so would hope the 400mbs ( theoretical) I'd get over the USB2 would be OK.

Does this sound a valid solution or am I missing some fundamentals of Lightroom? I guess in an ideal world I could also put the catalogue out on the NAS as well, but I believe that's not supported at the moment.

Thanks
 

edgley

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By using iSCSI one setups the appearance of a local folder, so the catalogue could be stored on the NAS that way, but it might not be quick enough.
 
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Sounds like you and the missus are going to have quite a lot of fun over the next few months :)
 
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I'm running 2 Synology NAS devices and have had nothing but great experience. You can't use it to store your master catalog, but for backup use and storing some catalog images its awesome.

Attached is a video I did about it.

http://youtu.be/YXlY0Kd1efU

[video=youtube_share;YXlY0Kd1efU]http://youtu.be/YXlY0Kd1efU[/video]
 

johndegree

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...
I am considering getting a NAS for data storage at home.
...
What I wonder now is this: how well will Lightroom work with it? Do people have experience with this?
..
Currently I have my Lightroom files (including catalog) on an external 5''G FW4'' drive.

You can use your NAS with TTS plugin that allows to manage your catalog contents on NAS right from LR. Check this out - http://toptechphoto.com/products/
 
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