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BEST RAID/JBOD Enclosure for Mac (USB 3, FW 800, Thunderbolt) (DROBO)?

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February 19, 2013 10:08:38 PM

Hello,
I'm sure this is a common question/topic, so forgive me for any repeats, but I need help.

I have spent weeks doing research, and I have yet to come to a firm decision.

I am caught between JBOD and RAID, as well as USB 3, Firewire 800, and Thunderbolt.

I *WILL* be doing a separate backup ... so I'll buy 2 enclosures. One will backup the other.

Speed is not an issue for me, as long as it is generally fast (At least FW 800 speeds, and USB 3 or Thunderbolt is better... Something like 90MBs/second or 1GB/minute minimum and the faster the better, though I'm not a speed demon).

I have a:
MacBook Air 11" 2012 2.0GHz USB 3/Thunderbolt
MacBook Pro 13" 2010 2.4GHz USB 2/Firewire 800 (phasing out/migrating to the Air)

Mainly my uses are:
Writing (text files)
Photography (100,000+ JPGs and RAWs)
Some video editing (but rarely)

MY DISKS ARE:
4TB ($400 each)
Western Digital 4TB/7200 ENTERPRISE 3.5" SATA6 INTR HD
Mfr# WD4000FYYZ
(I assume these are about the best you can get - are there better?)

JBOD vs RAID...?
Which? I'll be doing a backup no matter what... 2 enclosures. So even if I do RAID, I'll have a second backup.

(I have not looked into NAS, and assumed DAS was better.)

JBOD: I don't mind seeing 4 or 5 disks and having a slower speed. In fact, seeing more disks is better, as I can use each disk as a folder to better organize. However my fear is corruption - a bad bit/block. Of course I'll have a backup... but will RAID be better that for this? Will I never have to worry about bad bits/blocks because RAID will constantly fix this for me (as long as I replace drives and rebuild)? I also like the idea in JBOD I can pop out the disks if the enclosure goes bad, and I can put the JBOD in any other enclosure.

RAID: I don't need speed - I just need average fast and security. My fear is I get stuck in a proprietary RAID, and if the enclosure goes bad, my information is stuck (such as DROBO). (I will have a second backup enclosure, so is this fear unfounded?) Is all RAID the same? Can I move 5 disks from 1 RAID enclosure to another enclosure and be up and running? Or do they have to be identical enclosures (what if one enclosure fails, and they no longer make it for a replacement)?

I hear good and bad about DROBO 5D... should I get 2 DROBO 5Ds (1 main, 1 backup)? Should I get a DROBO 5D and another brand RAID as backup? Should I get 2 of the same brand, or 2 different brands (to prevent both failing in the same way)? What is the best brand? (My budget is Up to $1100 per enclosure - I see most enclosures range from $400-$1100.)

I know most only do RAID 5 (1 disk safety), I prefer RAID 6 (2 disk)... but I am doing a complete backup in another enclosure... so will it matter if I only get RAID 5? (I could also do RAID 1... but this makes no sense on 5-bays.)

My biggest fear is failure and losing data, or wasting time recovering data... so I need the most secure, easiest, within budget.

I am not considering Pegasus, etc. - because I need the enclosure empty, so I can fill it with high-quality 4TB enterprise drives.

SPEED...?
What will FW 800, USB 3, and Thunderbolt really matter? I do video editing on occasion, but mainly I do photography and just copy photos and do backups. I often hear USB 3 is fast enough, especially for JBOD. True?

BOOTING/STARTUP DISK...?
I'm "upgrading" from a MacBook Pro 13" 2010 to a MacBook Air 11" 2012. I like to keep ONE MAIN standard, personal startup disk with all my apps and prefs that grow over time. Should I keep this on my MacBook itself, or on the enclosure and boot from the enclosure? Right now I keep my MAIN startup disk on the external enclosure (a G-RAID I'll also be upgrading from). I use the MacBook to travel and do writing... but when I do serious work like photography and video, I boot from the external enclosure. Is this stupid? Should I just keep the MAIN startup on my MacBook, and use the external enclosure just for files and backup? (I never used Migration Assistant, but I assume it works well when you upgrade Mac-to-Mac?) (My fear was my MAIN boot drive and prefs would get stuck on my old MacBooks - I never used Migration Asst.)

So what I need is: HELP DECIDING WHAT ENCLOSURE TO BUY, and what setup!

1)
Should I do JBOD or RAID?

2)
USB 3, FW 800, or Thunderbolt?

3)
Is my choice of disks good? (Western Digital 4TB/7200 ENTERPRISE 3.5" SATA6)

4)
What is the BEST enclosure? (I need security - I don't want to buy a *** brand that will fail in a year, just to save $$) For around $400-$1100 each. I will buy 2 enclosures.. either identical or different brands. I am looking at:
Most are 4 to 5 Bays
DROBO 5D (with extra SSD) (RAID only, boots in USB 3 only)
Datoptic.com eBOX-TeSU, T5_R5-eSUF, etc.
Micronet.com RAIDBank5/RB5
Other brands?

(I need them empty, because I want to fill them with my own enterprise disks.)

5) Should I boot from my MacBook or from my external enclosure?

6) Other questions listed in the long description above.

Thanks for your help!!!!!!

I've done so much research, but I'm having a hard time deciding, and also having a hard time finding reviews on some of the enclosures, so I don't know their quality or longevity, and that is delaying my decision.

So I was hoping people who have bought RAIDs and JBODs would share their quality, experiences, nightmares, recommendations, and advice on what setup I should take.
February 20, 2013 4:01:51 AM

Buy 2, Areca arc-8050 8-Bay Thunderbolt enclosures - current lowest price $1349.00 - best current Thunderbolt RAID enclosures available today - fast, easy to setup and operate, works with up to 4 TB drives as well as SSD's, high-end Hardware RAID, reliable with some US based tech support - can also be setup as JBOD if desired - they are extremely fast and quiet - I handle 80 plus TB's of data with these and other primary storage systems without any concerns with data loss - each unit can also support multiple RAID arrays and can be easily configured to run a start-up disk or partition

I've owned and used the following:
Pegasus R6 - put in 6 3 TB drives ran as Raid 5 - would never buy again
2 WD 8 TB dual-bay Thunderbolt units - returned both, too hot, cheap construction, expensive
2 Seagate Thunderbolt Desktop adapters - like these a lot

for more info, do an online search

Tony
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February 21, 2013 9:52:03 PM

OK - Use TWO boxes:
1x http://www.datoptic.com/ec/esata-usb3-0-raid-jbod-five-...
1x http://www.datoptic.com/ec/jbod-five-sata-tray-less-enc...

One is RAID/JBOD other is JBOD only both has eSATA and USB3.0.

You can get a eSATA card to your MP about $29.00
If you need speed use 1st box as RAID otherwise use as JBOD
Use time machine to back up Mon-Friday on the 2nd box

TB is fast but wont support JBOD and expensive, USB is fast enough for video editing even

I like DATOptic boxes for its reliable, but not the look...
They implement 2x fans underneath of each HDD to cool off the HDD, this makes the HDD last much longer.

I believe they call as DirectAir Technology
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