A penny for your storage thoughts.

Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
1,490
Location
Cougar Country
This may require the services of the Café drinking team

I'm in the process of trying to figure out what I want to do for extra storage and backups. Currently my backups are external hard drives, but I want to do something a little more robust and automatic. In my mind, a scary place to go sometimes :D, I'm thinking I would like a NAS, so that I can have access from any device in the house. Also, I like the idea of being able to switch out hard drives as the need arises vs having to dig into the computer. I also like the idea of setting it up for streaming media too (secondary to backup and storage). What I don't like is the price.

What about a diy nas? Would it be worth it to save some money (would I save money)?

Short term I can install 2 more hard drives into my main computer.

What are your thoughts and suggestions?
 
Last edited:
Joined
May 21, 2019
Messages
113
Location
Albuquerque, NM USA
Real Name
Don Roy
I went with a Synology NAS (excellent brand) and I do daily auto-backups with Acronis (which I've used for 20 years). Besides that, you could also use an external hard drive docking station, which I also have. Mine is an older BlacX model that has eSATA on the back, so fast SATA from the dock to the PC, no USB. Assuming your PC can be set up with an eSATA socket on the back, be sure to get a dock with that too.

Like you said, a NAS lets me easily do other things too, like having Plex software serve up my 8TB video library to my home theater system, any time, without any PCs running.

[Not sure I understand your "don't like the price" part, considering you are posting in a Nikon forum, where the average price for one camera part is maybe $1000... :).]
 
Last edited:
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
1,490
Location
Cougar Country
I am familiar with synology, at least in the sense I've read about them. I got a blacx a couple years ago, with the esata, but I just haven't used it as much as I thought I would. I usually used it to copy batches of video files...hmmmm, I'll have to give that some thought.

[Not sure I understand your "don't like the price" part, considering you are posting in a Nikon forum, where the average price for one camera part is maybe $1000... :).]

While this is true, the last camera I bought was a d700, so its been a few years 😲… I know, blasphemy!
 

Growltiger

Administrator
Administrator
Joined
Apr 26, 2008
Messages
12,239
Location
Up in the hills, Gloucestershire, UK
Please tell us the size and type of each disk you have in your computer now.
Also tell us how much more storage you would like available for use.
Forget about backup storage for now, let's keep it simple.
 
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
1,490
Location
Cougar Country
250gb ssd for os and programs (surprisingly, to me anyways, it's almost full).
1tb hdd as a save drive (probably 1/4-1/3 full)
Multiple external drives, various sizes (250gb-1tb)
I have at least 2 empty Sata ports on the MB.

I am thinking another 2-4 tb as I am not sure how much space is being used on the various external drives, and it would be nice to have it all in one place. I am afraid that there are multiple copies of files spread across the various external drives.

This computer is mainly used by the wife and kids. My wife does a lot of digital scrapbooking, when she has the time.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Dec 16, 2006
Messages
20,980
Location
South Florida
I have several external HDs (I buy internal TB disks and put them into ready made USB casings)

I use a cheap old utility I've had for years called Beyond Compare. Excellent software.

I compare and copy from the newer versions to the different backups daily or more often. Beyond Compare makes it easy to sync files.

As per off-line, I have one pair of exact same drives. One stays in the bank's vault and gets swap regularly with the one at home.

I do not want expensive cloud solutions. They would also take forever to upload the big photo files.

If one drive dies, no big deal. All others contain the same files.

No fancy format or compression or proprietary file systems. All done through BC which uses standard Windows File Explorer backups. Works well and had this system for over 17 years. Even went through three computer upgrades and two hard drive failures with no issues.
 
Last edited:
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
1,490
Location
Cougar Country
I use a cheap old utility I've had for years called Beyond Compare. Excellent software.

I compare and copy from the newer versions to the different backups daily or more often. Beyond Compare makes it easy to sync files.

As per off-line, I have one pair of exact same drives. Once stays in the bank's vault and gets swap regularly with the one at home.

I do not want expensive cloud solutions. They would also take forever to upload the big photo files.

If one drive dies, no big deal. All others contain the same files.
I'll have to check Beyond Compare out. With copies of files floating around various external drives, that could come in handy.

I agree about cloud solutions.
 

Growltiger

Administrator
Administrator
Joined
Apr 26, 2008
Messages
12,239
Location
Up in the hills, Gloucestershire, UK
250gb ssd for os and programs (surprisingly, to me anyways, it's almost full).
1tb hdd as a save drive (probably 1/4-1/3 full)
Multiple external drives, various sizes (250gb-1tb)
I have at least 2 empty Sata ports on the MB.

I am thinking another 2-4 tb as I am not sure how much space is being used on the various external drives, and it would be nice to have it all in one place. I am afraid that there are multiple copies of files spread across the various external drives.

This computer is mainly used by the wife and kids. My wife does a lot of digital scrapbooking, when she has the time.
I wouldn't start complicating your life with a NAS.
And simply adding external drives - which many people do - complicates backups and I think is a mistake. So get rid of your external drives too.
Far cheaper and simpler to make your computer like mine.

1. Replace that little 256GB SSD with one large enough for Windows and all your software into the future. If you have lots of software you will hit that size limit sooner or later. I use 512GB Samsung SSDs for the system drive.

2. Put a sensible sized drive in your computer for your own data and chuck that tiny 1TB drive. I currently use Seagate BarraCuda Pro 8TB (I use WD Black for smaller drives such as 4TB).

Now we have sorted out the computer, let's do the backups. Ultimately buy two or three 8TB WD external USB 3 drives. Alternate their use and keep one offsite. (Initially you could use your current external drives for backups, until they are too small.)

Now let's consider your other requirements. You want access to your data from everywhere. That is easy, simply share the drive and you can see the drive and all your files. For example I can see a movie on my TV by plugging in a little laptop and an HDMI cable. It sees all my files via wifi.
 
Joined
May 3, 2007
Messages
6,524
Location
Colorado Springs, Colorado
I wouldn't start complicating your life with a NAS.
And simply adding external drives - which many people do - complicates backups and I think is a mistake. So get rid of your external drives too.
Far cheaper and simpler to make your computer like mine.

1. Replace that little 256GB SSD with one large enough for Windows and all your software into the future. If you have lots of software you will hit that size limit sooner or later. I use 512GB Samsung SSDs for the system drive.

2. Put a sensible sized drive in your computer for your own data and chuck that tiny 1TB drive. I currently use Seagate BarraCuda Pro 8TB (I use WD Black for smaller drives such as 4TB).

Now we have sorted out the computer, let's do the backups. Ultimately buy two or three 8TB WD external USB 3 drives. Alternate their use and keep one offsite. (Initially you could use your current external drives for backups, until they are too small.)

Now let's consider your other requirements. You want access to your data from everywhere. That is easy, simply share the drive and you can see the drive and all your files. For example I can see a movie on my TV by plugging in a little laptop and an HDMI cable. It sees all my files via wifi.
+1000 on keeping it simple. When I was in the IT world (specifically when I did network security for a living) the mantra was complexity is the enemy of security. It is also true that complexity is the enemy of data integrity and availability.
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2006
Messages
4,169
Location
Columbia, Maryland
Real Name
Walter Rowe
Portable USB-powered 4TB drives are relatively inexpensive now ($100 +/- $20 US). I use 4 x 4TB. One master drive. Two on-site backups. One off-site backup at my office. The extra on-site backup lets me rotate it with the off-site copy at my office while always having a backup at home. If I travel, I take my master and one backup with me and I regularly sync from master to backup throughout the trip. The USB-powered drives are not speedy so don't use your catalogs from there. Sync those back and forth with your internal SSD. You can reference the image files on the portable drive just fine. Another reason that I like these portable drives is they are commodity drives I can replace at any big box store (Best Buy, Staples, Office Depot, etc) while traveling or when at home. I also like that I can disconnect them and put them on a shelf between backups so they cannot be polluted by malware or viruses. A backup drive is safest when it is not connected to anything.

I use ChronoSync for macOS to sync only changes from master to backup disks.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 8, 2019
Messages
245
Location
SF Bay Area, California, USA
I am currently in the process of a drive upgrade.
My system drive is a 500GB SSD.
My current data drive is a 4TB HD. It is being replaced with an 8TB HD.
4TB was more than adequate for ME.
But shooting high school pics has gobbled up a LOT space that made managing the 4TB drive a hassle. So I am simplifying with the 8TB, and putting all the HS pics into a 4TB partition, all by themselves. 4TB "should" be able to keep 5 years of HS photos on-line.

I currently backup to external USB drives, at least once a month, or after I add a LOT of data/files to the computer.
As @Walter said, USB drives are not as FAST as an internal SATA drive. Probably because they don't use a high performance drive in those external drives. As a result LARGE backups take a LONG time, compared to a SATA-to-SATA backup.
However, in a disaster recovery, a USB drive is easy to plug into any new computer.

But because of the long backup times, I am considering switching to a swappable SATA drive bay, or eSATA.
Trade off is more complexity for faster backup speed.

One thing that I would definitely do, is to consolidate and clean up the drives.
It wastes time and space to backup 3+ copies of the same file, and obsolete files (like the install files for Firefox from 5 years ago, and install programs for gear you no longer have, etc.).​
For my archive photos, I only keep the original and the final directories/folders. I delete all the intermediate directories.​
You can do this AS you are moving files to the new drive.
Make a migration plan and keep records of what you are doing, so you don't accidentally NOT copy something that you need.
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2006
Messages
466
Location
San Antonio, TX
I agree that NAS, at least the way I tried it, is too complex. Couple years ago I tried a 'freenas' linux software box with an array of drives.

Performance was just not there even with wired lan. The technical forums showed lots of folks with the same problem.

The large capacity drives are cheap now and I wound up putting them right in my desktop replacing much smaller drives. I do pay for extra storage on Google Drive and it works really well.
 
Joined
May 27, 2006
Messages
7,389
Location
Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Like Don, I've owned and used a number of Synology appliances - they provide a lot of utility beyond just being a form of storage. There's an entire ecosystem of applications that run on Synology boxes that allow you to stream music, videos and access files remotely. They're not complicated or laborious to maintain which is icing on the cake.

Sean
 
Last edited:

Growltiger

Administrator
Administrator
Joined
Apr 26, 2008
Messages
12,239
Location
Up in the hills, Gloucestershire, UK
...
But because of the long backup times, I am considering switching to a swappable SATA drive bay, or eSATA.
Trade off is more complexity for faster backup speed.
...
Regrading the long backup times.
Only a small proportion of my data changes at each backup. By using a program that compares the folders and synchronises (in one direction only), the backup runs 100 times faster. It deletes any files that are no longer there, updates any files that have changes, and adds any new ones.

I use a little free program called Bart, it is very fast and has never let me down. There are many alternatives, but I don't trust ones that do two way sync - I fear the possibility of disastrous error too much.
 
Joined
May 21, 2019
Messages
113
Location
Albuquerque, NM USA
Real Name
Don Roy
I agree that NAS, at least the way I tried it, is too complex. Couple years ago I tried a 'freenas' linux software box with an array of drives.
I looked into 'freenas' years ago too, actually tried it on an old PC, but found it way too much overhead and mental anguish to turn a pile of PC parts into a reliable NAS. I absolutely do not regret going with a Synology box. [Mine is a DS1517+ with four 6TB drives and anther empty slot.]
 
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
1,490
Location
Cougar Country
Thank you for all the thoughts and suggestions. Now hopefully on black Friday or cyber Monday I'll find some good deals.
 
Joined
Jul 8, 2019
Messages
245
Location
SF Bay Area, California, USA
If you are glutton for punishment . . .
You can create a Windows Server and a network domain. :eek:

I did that many years ago, when I was learning to use and manage a Win NT server.
But as @bpdougd said, that is a LOT of complexity that you really don't need or want at home.

Another alternative to a NAS is simply another Win10 computer with LOTS of storage.
Then set up your home network in a peer-to-peer configuration.
Then that new computer would function kinda like a NAS.

The good thing about a NAS is that it is pre-configured for the task.
Turning a PC into a central file server requires a bit more work.
 

JLH

Joined
Jan 28, 2019
Messages
18
I recently had a 2T hard drive fail in my main photo computer. Luckily (well...wisely) I always kept backups of critical data like my photos on at least two external drives. I did lose one piece of software (an Adobe program that was downloaded) but had discs or on-line sources for most of the other stuff. My fix was to replace the "C" drive with a new 500Gg SSD and then a 4TB HD for data. I still have a couple of external drives, some 2TB and others 4TB for back up. For me the 4TB units are big enough. I don't like putting "all my eggs in one basket" so I split up my photos by which camera they were shot with.
Hard drives do fail. Over the years I have had more than one die with data on them. I usually have caught them in time to extract most of the data but a good back-up plan should always be part of your work flow. Bad things do happen to good people.
 
Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Nikon Cafe is a fan site and not associated with Nikon Corporation.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Copyright © 2005-2019 Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom