Cake
  • Log In
  • Sign Up
    • I have an old Mac Pro that holds I think 3 internal hard drives in addition to my main drive. All total I have about 4TB of data that I want to have redundantly backed up. While my computer can accept new internal drives of 4 to 6TB, I'm wondering if this is the right option for me. I don't expect to be able to use this computer that much longer as it is so old it can't even run the newest iOS. I have a small external drive that's 500GB and an external drive adapter that allows me to pop in internal drives but use it as an external drive. I expect to buy a new Apple computer when one comes out that has graphics capability that I'm satisfied with. I have been starting to think maybe I should start thinking about buying a NAS system. What about cloud backup? If I went cloud, what is the acceptable lowest speed internet that I'd be needing? My data is just for personal use and I do not use if for work. Most of my access to these drive wouldn't require high speed such as real time video watching although that could be something I want in the future. I want something that could work with an iMac or mac mini that I might buy in the next year or so. I also don't feel like spending too much time learning a bunch of new computer stuff and want something that works without too much fuss or muss. I'd like to have redundancy in my backups. I'm also worried about ending up with a pile of external drives. Thoughts?

    • Just a small heads-up, you have "4GB" in the title. I was wondering why you couldn't just use any random old USB stick. It being several TB instead explains a lot. ;)

    • I use an 8TB Synology NAS. It cost me around $500 for the total setup and is configured using RAID so losing one of the drives doesn't result in data loss. It also automatically backs up my most important files to a cloud account (google drive).

      It was pretty easy to set up and map a volume to my mac for backing up data. You'll need something larger to store 4TB, like 10-12TB at least (half the capacity is used to provide redundancy).

    • The real issue you will have with NAS is that probably none of it will offer fast connections to a 2008 variety of MacPro AND a modern MacPro with Thunderbolt 3 and USB C.

      What sort of external connections for external storage do you currently have? USB 2.0 or USB 3.0, and eSATA or something like it? Firewire 400 and 800 also, of course. All very slow compared to modern external connections.

      My MacPro from 2008 offered all of those, but I think the USB 3 was via an added back plane card, and I think the eSATA was also via that card or another card. Its been a dozen years.

      None of those connections are really offered on modern NAS devices, I think. More likely Thunderbolt 2 or 3, and USB-C or USB 3.2, but USB 3.0 is too slow for large multi TB external storage today.

      Macsales - OWC - offers an 8 Tb drive that connects vie eSata, USB 3.1, ( and USB 2.0 ) and Firewire 400 and 800 -for $308, so this would work with your older machine, but will seem slow with a modern box, and may not even connect or may require an adapter between the drive and your new computer. Most Apples are Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C these days - not sure what they will be by this summer. For storage you can also find 2 Tb external SSDs from Samsung and others - usually USB-C and USB-A

      Add BackBlaze or some other web based external Back up and you should be fine, or just upload your files to AWS or Google drive. Apple drive is too expensive for 4 Tb right now for me.

      If you really want a Raid Array, I have been very pleased with both of my Promise Pegasus RAID boxes, that I purchased via Apple's website several years ago. They are not the most inexpensive, but they have been very reliable, and for b/u, reliability is paramount.

      Another alternative, is an external RAID style SSD box, like the Thunderblade form OWC.

      It is connected via Thunderbolt 3, so it may not work with your present box, unless you can find an adapter to convert eSata to Thunderbolt 3 or some such, but it is very fast in and out via Thunderbolt 3.

      Google finds several eSata to Thunderbolt 3 adapters on Amazon and other vendors. They might work, but I would want to try one before committing, the data flow can be corrupted soemtimes with adapters, I suspect... I do use Thunderbolt 2-> Thunderbolt 3 adapters without any apparent issues though.

    • Get a NAS. You can get a Synology for 3-500 $. Then get some cheap hard drives to fill it. I got 2 3Tb drives for $45 each. Plus some existing 3T drives. Thing is the file system the NAS uses will stretch further than the drives in your Mac, so you'll have lots of left over space to keep adding stuff.

    • I can only testify to the most of a year I've used it, but it's been good so far, and like all the Linux based File systems, it's been very efficient. More than 2x the density of NTFS (Windows file system)

    • Synology is one of the highest rated NAS manufacturers around. And as has been mentioned already, you don't connect to a NAS directly. You plug it into your router and then you connect to it through the network. Unless you have 10 gigabit ethernet, which is unlikely since your computer doesn't support it, your hardwired network speed will likely be slower than thunderbolt. So the initial transfer will take a long time. But after that it should be quick enough for you, even for watching movies over the local network.

      With a NAS you can also access your data from your desktop computer, your phone, a tablet or laptop all at the same time - no switching cables or anything annoying like that. And they're really easy to set up. You can even set up separate volumes for everyone in the family or one for media and others for whatever else - with controls on which users can access each volume. Just whatever you do, don't get a Western Digital NAS. The drives are fine, but the OS is awful.

    • I don't have a Synology, so I'm not familiar with which apps are available. But that's pretty standard. Think of a NAS as a little computer primarily built for lots of storage with an OS designed specifically for helping you access your data, because that's exactly what it is. If you decide to also use a cloud storage service, there are usually apps that will automatically upload your data as well, so you don't have to worry about it.

    • Synology's OS is linux based. There is a whole market of apps, and it supports containers (specifically docker) so you can even run your own custom applications on it.

      The main app I use is Plex.

    • I'll add my voice to those advising a NAS ; also, it is indeed more about your networking situation than external drive attachment interfaces. Yes, it will time to push 4TB through a dodgy wi-fi connection ; yes, you might want to reexamine what sort of wired ethernet throughput you have if you connect both the source machine and NAS to the same wired ethernet. But unless you have serious emergency with symptoms of the original drives falling apart or something of that sort - worst thing, the data will copy overnight, or over the weekend, and then it will be safe. Well, as safe as your NAS configuration allows :)

      I own a pretty basic Synology DS216j - it's just two drive bays and a very basic processor, but it's been chugging along for almost 5 years now. I do have a multilayered backup strategy, with the most valuable data also backed up from the NAS over the Internet, so even if there's a catastrophic failure of the NAS, I won't lose everything.

      If you haven't committed to a purchase yet and prefer to have options, aside from Synology you can also consider QNAP as a manufacturer.

      Also, if you know you have 4TB of valuable data today, I would consider aiming higher, as having a NAS in the home network is very convenient. So I would think of aiming at having 6 to 8 TB redundant capacity available (maybe more if you know you have needs). In terms of the size/number of disk bays - don't try to go after the latest largest drives in the least possible amount of bays - it is generally better to have 4x4Tb drives than 2x8Tb (that's raw capacity; redundancy will eat out of it, google a RAID capacity calculator)

      Last but not least - do consider buying a modest uninterruptible power supply, if even only for the NAS, and one that has a USB management port. It will protect your NAS and thus your data, and most NAS models, even cheap ones, support this connection and can be configured to safely shutdown when they detect there's X minutes of juice remaining. Surge/overload protection from mains is a bonus. Something like 650VA APC Back-UPS is inexpensive and a great investment. I have my NAS and core networking elements all connected to one.