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Choosing a mass data storage solution for a mac household

by / October 11, 2008 6:55 PM PDT

I am replacing my old server / htpc with a mac mini - hopefully with a new model if they appear on 14.10.2008.

I am looking for a external mass data storage solution that offers me at least two terabytes of storage distributed among 2 or more drives in order to achieve a secure and redundant storage capacity of 1 terabyte without data loss in case of the inevitable hard disc failure.

I am looking for he following features - ordered by importance

1. redundancy - the data should be mirrored/backed up

2. Noise - no fans or at least smart fans

3. Power management - the system should power down the drives when not in use

4. Accessability over Lan and Internet

5. easy replacability and expand ability.

6. Warranty

8. Speed - USB 2.0 would be enough - fire wire or faster would be great

Things that ate not important.

1. Design

2 .Many connectivity options - the system should be connected to my network only at one point - AEBS ,mac mini or via Ethernet.

3. right now I have two fairly new 500 gb SATA hard drives I would like to reuse but it's not a must.

Most importantly the pricepoint. I figure I can get the 2 terabyte drives + enclosures for arround 350 euros which is about what I want to spend. But since this should be a longterm investment I could be convinced to spend a bit more.

These are the options I have in mind right now.

1. Buying two terabyte drives and putting them in decent enclosures, although I would not know which enclosures, and just hooking them up to the mini on 2 usb ports. -->probably the cheapest and can easily upgraded but problemantic in terms of noise and power management.

2. Getting a two bay raid enabled enclosure like the LaCie Big Disk Extreme+ Dual --> quite expensive - but excellent quality and feature rich. Are there cheaper options?
3. Getting a nas device like the dlink DNS 323. since I actually already have a mac mini always running or the airport extreme basestation I am not sure if its a good idea to bring in another stand alone device.

Please tell me what you suggest and about solutions you use for your self.

greetings from austria

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What I like?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 11, 2008 10:13 PM PDT

The DROBO (see google.)

It neatly fulfills the needs you listed.

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the drobi is quite pricey
by / October 12, 2008 12:35 AM PDT
In reply to: What I like?

I already looked at the drobo but if found it to be quite expensive since it runs about 300 euros without any drives. Is there anyone who is using the drobo who could tell me about their experience with the device?

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Cnet review.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 12, 2008 12:45 AM PDT
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no drobo in austria
by / October 12, 2008 12:59 AM PDT
In reply to: Cnet review.

I just looked at the review and then checked the pricing and availiability in austria and unfortunatly they are not sold in austria - i would have to order it from somewhere else in the eu which will add up to a 500 euro price tag just for the device which simply blows my budget. I guess I have to keep looking.

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Maybe some old PC?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 12, 2008 1:00 AM PDT
In reply to: no drobo in austria

Maybe the answer is some PC you get second hand and craft your own server?

Your "specs" lead me straight to the DROBO. It's a classy solution to what you asked for.

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i am just getting rid of the server I had
by / October 12, 2008 1:09 AM PDT
In reply to: Maybe some old PC?

I currently have a old pc as a file / webserver but the thing is I live in an apartment so I do not have much space or places where the buzzing does not bothers people, more acuratly my girlfriend - i am getting rid of the server and replace it with the the mac mini since it is small and quite and the storage solution should kind of be the same - I know I am kind of asking for the "perfect" thing that just does not exists.

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or cut back on my demands
by / October 12, 2008 1:00 AM PDT
In reply to: Cnet review.

the main issue is that it should be quiet since it will sit in my living room everything else is not so important.

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This does NOT meet your specs.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 12, 2008 1:04 AM PDT

I have this wifi connected storage unit elsewhere in the house. It's a sort of backup of last resort since it's hidden away in a very safe place. If we were burgled then it should survive so along with all the other backups it has a different quality as in the safe its in.

The noise from it is just that of the hard disk spinning. I tried its spindown feature but that just made it sluggish. There are MANY articles about spindown so while your choice on that I find drives last well into the 5+ years under such conditions so I let it spin.

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i guess simple external drives will suite best for my budget
by / October 12, 2008 1:20 AM PDT

I guess I will have to go with a two bay external enclosure that is connected to my mac mini directly like the one from lacie which will give me 2 terabytes --> 1 terabyte mirrored, for 339 euros. if i need more storage than 1 terabyte i can get an other one and simply mirror between the two enclosures using raid or simple backup software.

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Keep shopping.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 12, 2008 1:28 AM PDT

The 1TB drive alone is approaching 100US fast here. The 750GB drives are available here at places like for under 99US.

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I agree
by / October 12, 2008 1:36 AM PDT
In reply to: Keep shopping.

I can get a 1 terabyte drive without an enclosure for 100 euros at my local computer shop which is a very reasonable price, and in case I want to get a drobo like device later on a can still use the drives and I only loose the 100-150 euros I invested in the enclosure, which i might be able to sell or use otherwise.

anyhow thanks a lot for the quick replies, simply talking it through pretty much led me to the most practicable solution.

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I found the perfect solution
by / October 12, 2008 5:07 AM PDT
In reply to: I agree
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