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Author Topic: Storage systems and methods for photographers  (Read 2778 times)

Dan Wells

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Re: Storage systems and methods for photographers
« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2017, 06:13:10 PM »

      Yes, QNAP is using the Thunderbolt networking feature - I have mixed feelings about that (it has the unpleasant feature of grabbing control of the Thunderbolt bus, but pleasantly it is much less of a problem on sudden disconnect than an enclosure)... You care much more about it grabbing the bus if you have a Mac with only one Thunderbolt port, because you can't daisy-chain anything to the QNAP. With two or more ports, simply put displays and/or other drives on a different port (this works very well on a 2015 MBP). They say it's actually 20 gigabits per second, not 10 (WHAT kind of disks would it take to test that???).
       The fact that it has a computer inside enables a couple of really nice features - it can back itself up with no interference from an external computer (mine has its own WD MyBook attached via USB, and it keeps a copy of itself on the MyBook updated daily). It'll do this even if I'm out of town for a week with my laptop. It's also accessible over the Internet like any other NAS - not at the blazing speed of a Thunderbolt connection, but try that with a G-tech RAID. A secondary feature, but a nice one, is that it'll control a UPS and shut itself down in a controlled manner if the power fails, resuming on its own when the power comes back. You can sort of get an enclosure to do that if you have it set to power up and down with the computer , and the computer is controlling the UPS(if the computer's not a laptop - a laptop will hum merrily along on its internal battery while the enclosure drains the UPS).
       The Thunderbolt connection saves at least $400 over trying to get a Mac to talk 10 Gb Ethernet ($1000 or more if you want to include a switch in the network)... I agree with Joe that it's basically a 10 Gb NAS that can run its network over Thunderbolt - but that's a crucial advantage if you have Macs, since the only way to get a Mac on 10 Gb Ethernet (other than an ancient Mac Pro with slots) is with an expensive Thunderbolt to 10 Gb adapter...
     So far, I haven't seen any major disadvantage to the QNAP compared to a conventional Thunderbolt RAID on a similar scale, and it's not more expensive than a good one (it IS more expensive than the low-end soft RAIDs like the Thunderbay series, but it's very competitive with higher-end LaCies and G-Techs).
    One day, Apple will make an iMac with 10 Gb Ethernet (who knows, maybe they'll put out a reasonably priced Thunderbolt to 10 Gb dongle at the same time), and then a regular 10 Gb NAS will work for creative pros (at least, as they upgrade their computers) - until then, kudos to QNAP for this odd machine.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 06:21:26 PM by Dan Wells »
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pflower

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Re: Storage systems and methods for photographers
« Reply #21 on: April 20, 2017, 01:34:33 PM »

Thanks for your article which was most helpful, although I fear I might be asking a question you counsel against.

My present set up has evolved over a number of years and is pretty haphazard but works.  I do not do video and currently use a 4TB G-Tech drive on a 5k 27inch iMac (FW800 via a thunderbolt adapter) as my main drive.  Backups, or archives, are via a series of 2TB WD Passport drives.  I am actually quite disciplined in making sure that I have copied everything I do to at least 2 drives at the end of each week and never format a card without having done so.  So the worst that can happen (barring total destruction by fire) is that I lose a week's worth of edits but would still have the original files on a card.

Although I work with quite large files (mostly Hasselblad Raws but some 256mb Tiffs) I can't see that I really need thunderbolt speed - I am happy in that respect with my current set up.  But the 4tb is soon to be full.  So I was thinking about a cheap USB3 dock with bare 6tb drives.  One as main storage and 1 or 2 as backup/archives.

Anyone got any thoughts as to whether or not this is stupid?  If so can anyone recommend a better solution and if not any thoughts on reliability of drives or docks and suggestions on brands?

Thanks



I've been hard at work typing this up, so read to get a bit of an idea how I believe photographers and storage line up.  It's about 70% but I keep seeing incorrect or baseless articles come out and I needed to speak out.

https:[email protected][email protected]solsi
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Joe Towner

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Re: Storage systems and methods for photographers
« Reply #22 on: April 20, 2017, 04:29:52 PM »

Unless you start video editing, in reality, USB3 is perfectly fine when plugged directly into the Mac.  I wouldn't do storage off a USB3 hub unless required, but it wouldn't hurt too much.  Thunderbolt speeds really come into play when dealing with SSDs or multiple SSDs.

I wouldn't discount the enclosed 5/6tb drives, especially if you don't have a reason to swap 3.5" drives at this time.  The dock setup ones generally don't stack well  :D

The only bit I would ask is if you have a Flash or Fusion drive.  If you have a Fusion drive, I'd look at doing a 2 bay USB3 enclosure and put a SSD plus a 6tb drive in it.  Use the SSD as a 'working files' space, and leave the fusion drive for everything else.

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pflower

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Re: Storage systems and methods for photographers
« Reply #23 on: April 21, 2017, 02:36:02 PM »

Thanks.  I do have a Fusion drive and also an external SSD directly connected to the iMac on which I have my Lightroom Catalog and the application.  All files however are on my 4TB drive.  I can see the sense in having "working files' on an SSD but frankly I do everything in Lightroom now and moving files around different drives within Lightroom drives me mad and I always end up making a mistake and have to root around in the Finder to find out where everything is.  But with the falling prices of SSDs I might have a look at this again and see if I can't work out a fool proof modus operandi.

I quite fancy the idea of a USB3 dock, and came across the idea from one of OWC's docks - the Drive Dock which sells for 250 or so.  Looking on Amazon there are a huge number of 30 docks.  I suppose for 30 or so it is worth taking a risk, but the price differential is a bit alarming and I am wondering what is the explanation.  There is no point buying something that really can't do the job.



Unless you start video editing, in reality, USB3 is perfectly fine when plugged directly into the Mac.  I wouldn't do storage off a USB3 hub unless required, but it wouldn't hurt too much.  Thunderbolt speeds really come into play when dealing with SSDs or multiple SSDs.

I wouldn't discount the enclosed 5/6tb drives, especially if you don't have a reason to swap 3.5" drives at this time.  The dock setup ones generally don't stack well  :D

The only bit I would ask is if you have a Flash or Fusion drive.  If you have a Fusion drive, I'd look at doing a 2 bay USB3 enclosure and put a SSD plus a 6tb drive in it.  Use the SSD as a 'working files' space, and leave the fusion drive for everything else.
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