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External Hard drive storage ...
Old 10-25-2005, 09:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I just added a new storage device to my system. It is a Netgear SC101 SAN that basically is a empty box that plugs into your Router and provides two empty slots for hard drives. I bought a couple of Seagate 300gb drives at $90 each after a rebate and the Netgear unit was $114 after rebate. So for $294 one gets 600gb of storage added to the network. Since it is an IP addressed device, one has to load a special driver on each computer on the network. It seems to be quite fast. I'm somewhat worried about the fact that it uses a non-standard file format for the hard drives, so you can't use any standard disk utilities like defrag software or Scandisk/Chkdsk, etc. But so far it seems to work very well and I've used Norton Ghost (for example) to backup each hard drive in the computers on my network. It also supports Raid 1, although I'm not using that.

Has anyone else had any experience with a SAN type drive system or any experience with this particular item. I also use 5 external hard drives that connect through firewire and USB2, but this one is the most convenient one I've found.

All comments welcome.

Just to make sure this is seen as something having something to do with photography, here is one of the photos stored on the system:



Cheers,
rfs
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Re: External Hard drive storage ...
Old 10-25-2005, 11:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I dont know this particular unit but you need to research the operating system on the device. Typically Linux, they do not need to be defrag-ed they run efficiently without the need to do these operations. My suggestion though is you should utilize the RAID 1 and lose the extra 300gb, because at least you know if one drive dies you can fail over to the other, but will need an equivalent sized drive sitting waiting if this does fail... And fail in a raided situation it will buit at least there is a failover. raid writes back and forth moreover then just the typical no RAID setup due to the constant writing and erasing. Just some things to think about...
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Re: External Hard drive storage ...
Old 10-26-2005, 12:00 AM   #3 (permalink)
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It is a proprietary system and Netgear doesn't say what the operating system is. When I asked them about the defrag issue their answer led me to believe that they hadn't even considered that issue. I won't know till later if it will be an issue. As I'm just using it for backup purposes, it probably will not be an issue. As for using Raid 1, since these are backups, if one of the drive fails, then I still have the original drive so I can restore from that. So in effect I have raid, but I'm just doing it on my own. Its a bit more efficient that way, since I'm going to backup anyway, but only need to backup files that need to be backed up. And one of the nice things about a Ghost backup is that it looks to the OS just like another hard drive, so you can copy files off of it and don't have to wait for the rebuilding of a whole drive.

I'm more concerned of what happens if power goes off during a write to the drive and messes up the FAT (assuming there is a FAT). That's where having a scandisk type program can be helpful. I have also used Spinrite over the years to recover hard drives that have gone bad. Naturally it doesn't work with a proprietary file format.

Thanks for your comments.

Cheers,
rfs
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Re: External Hard drive storage ...
Old 10-26-2005, 12:52 AM   #4 (permalink)
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it isnt FAT, trying to tell you that. most of these systems that use this proprietary system is built typically on Linux a very stripped down version of it. Like MAC OS or some OS's that run things like my Epson P-2000 picture viewer they do not utilize a fragmenting system of storing files, so no need to defrag anything. Get out of Windows thinking. I am a Systems Admin with 8 years in computer systems engineering and networking, I built entire offices nationally for my company, I wouldnt really respond to a thread like this if I was just blowing smoke out my #@#, LOL. I know what I am saying. Leave the defrag thing alone, and just run the drives as they were designed. But if you are going to do your own backups look into other software out there that does a backup to drive and would only look for changed files, to save you the time unless you dont mind manually doinng this yourself from time to time... Good luck with the setup I will probably look into buying a device like that myself, didnt know they were making small SAN units where you could put in your own drives for the consumer, that is kewl... I currently use a mix of 200 and 250 gb external USB and Firewire drives myself as I do graphics and photography commercially and am always growinng in my storage needs...
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Re: External Hard drive storage ...
Old 10-26-2005, 06:16 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I've been toying with the idea of external storage. One product I have been looking at is the Buffalo Terrastation. I do IT for a living and I know how often drives fail, and garenteed it is at the worst possible time. So having some type of RAID setup is a big deal to me. I mean if you are backing everything to DVD, then maybe it is less important, but even in doing that I have found I am lax in offloading imaes to DVD..

Another way to get the raid setup, possible cheaper then the Terrastation, is to by a SATA raid card and put it in a stripped down computer with the drives.....

Id like my next storage solution to be scalable and last for a few years with the key being redundant....

Regards,
Scott
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Re: External Hard drive storage ...
Old 10-26-2005, 11:38 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I looked at the TerraStation but its about $1000 for 1000gb and the Netgear SC101 with two 300gb drives was $284. So for $568 you could have 1200gb. As the drives get cheaper, or there are more rebates, this price comes down. Both systems provide Raid. But I don't know whether the TerraStation is a NAS or a SAN. NASs seem to cost more at this point.

I also make backups to DVD and CD and backup each session at nearly the same time as I copy them onto one of my hard drives. I try to always make the backup CD or DVD prior to erasing the CF card. So I'm pretty well covered since I end up with 3 copies of every image.

Cheers,
Roger
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