I work in 3D animation and compositing, so I tend to deal with large numbers of image files (sometimes 1000's but only a few MB in size) and also HD and/or uncompressed video files reaching many GB in size. These need to be written and read reasonably fast and I find my current set up just about ok speed wise.
My current set up:
4 year old AMD Athlon computer with internal dedicated SATA hard drive used as my work drive, which is shared over my GB LAN to 3 other computers. Currently when I'm working, this AMD machine has to be on so I have access to my work drive but normally it doesn't take part in renders and is rarely used as a workstation either. I also have it doing a daily backup to an external HD using SyncBack software.
I am concerned about power consumption and the life of the computer so I've been considering replacing it with a NAS containing x2 "1TB" drives.
My assumption is that, if chosen well and set up correctly the NAS should use less energy, and be more secure (RAID 1 mirroring) than my current set up.
Thanks guys for your advise.
I've been reading up a bit more on NAS drives in general and RAID too. I've found some issues which are making me think that a computer based set up (with software backups) is the safest option.
What I found was that most NAS units have their own proprietary disk format for any installed drives. I'm concerned that if the NAS units fails, I would have to wait for a replacement NAS before I can access the HD's. This would create too much down time for me.
Whilst thinking about falling back to a computer set up using RAID 1 mirroring mode (rather than my current daily backup to an external HD). I wondered, if the RAID controller were to fail would I again have data which I can't access?
I will definitely be using only RAID 1 mode, so perhaps this might mean the disks would be accessible outside the RAID array. (since its just simple mirroring of data)
If not though is it possible to backup a RAID configuration and transfer it to another computer so the disks can be safely transplanted?
It's a common misconception that RAID is backup. However, RAID does not protect from viruses/malware, deletion of files, corruption of files, etc. If you are serious about keeping your data safe, back up your data off site is the best solution. RAID is mostly about keeping up-time, for servers where they can't afford to be offline for a few days.
Ok I think it's settled now!! I'm certainly not going for a NAS (pity as it would have looked cool sitting on my desk!! )
I think my current setup with some new 1TB HDs (1 internal and 1 external) and a tweaked system for lower power consumption should do the trick.
I had a look at some online backup solutions and found they would be crazy expensive since I would have over 500GB to backup.
I know you can get backup systems which use tapes and are sealed in a tough housing that's supposed to resist things like fires etc... which would destroy standard equipment. I have a feeling though that these systems would start in the tens of thousands of pounds!
Probably my best solution is to keep the backups going and say once a month or after a major project to reuse a third TB HD, copy everything to it and store in another building. Could be a pain to keep doing but its probably the only realistic choice I have on a micro budget!!
Wise man, NAS for home use is really a mistake on many levels. For one, it's slow. Plus, it's a headache to make it work the way you want it too. Much better to just upgrade your internal HDD and make regular backups. I have a Buffalo Terastation 2TB and a Buffalo Linkstation. They seemed to work well with Windows XP, but lots of issues after Vista and windows 7. Really slow, even with a quality router, Wireless N 300, Gigabyte network with CAT 6. Keep it simple an low cost, leave the NAS for organizations with an IT department. Personally speaking, I'd like to sell my RAID5 NAS and never go back.