6 Replies Latest reply: Nov 2, 2011 6:44 PM by spwbeeper
sszd Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
I need some advice regarding network attached storage (NAS). Here is my current configuration.

iMac – OS X 10.6, Memory 4 GB, HD 1 TB
MacBook – OS X 10.5, Memory 2 GB, HD 150 GB
Router – AirPort Extreme 7.5.2

Additional info - iMac is connected via ethernet, MacBook uses wireless

Here are my goals, questions, and concerns.

1. I would like to use the NAS for regular backups of both Mac systems.

2. I would like to store common application libraries on the NAS and access them from both Mac systems. Things like iPhoto, iTunes, etc. I realize only one system can have access to a particular library at a time. This is not a problem, but what other things should I be aware of?

3. My first concern is speed. Will this be a problem? I tried an experiment just to see if I could access an iPhoto library on an entirely different system. So, I launched iPhoto from the iMac and changed the library to access the one on the MacBook. This worked, but the amount of time it took concerned me. The iPhoto library on the MacBook is around 45 GB in size. Rather large, I know, but this is one reason I want to do this. It's taking up far too much room, and disk space on the MacBook is getting dangerously low. Anyway, it took around 1 min 15 sec before anything showed up in iPhoto, and a little over another minute before the spinning wheel stopped and things became responsive. Would a NAS device be any faster, slower, or about the same?

4. My next concern is how the device is attached. Would it be better to get a NAS with a USB connection or an ethernet connection, or does it even matter (again, with regard to speed)?

5. Another concern regarding how the NAS is attached to the LAN... there is only one USB port on the back of the AirPort, and I only have one ethernet connection left. If I get a USB device, can additional ones be daisy chained off each other? Would that work, or do they even make NAS devices with USB outputs for additional devices? Another thought... can an active USB hub be attached to the AirPort and multiple devices connected through the hub? And lastly, regarding ethernet, can I hang a switch off the ethernet port and attach multiple devices that way? Or, do they make NAS devices with an ethernet passthru?

These are just some of the things I'd like to do, and some of my concerns. I'm sure I have many other questions, but this is a good start. I'm just trying to get some answers from those with experience using NAS devices in some of these ways before I go spend a lot of money and end up being sorely disappointed. Thanks for any help anyone can provide.

Message was edited by: sszd

Message was edited by: sszd

iMac, Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • 1. Re: NAS device advice
    sszd Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Surely someone out there has some kind of network storage for which they can share their experiences or give some advice???
  • 2. Re: NAS device advice
    BobHarris Level 6 Level 6 (13,120 points)
    I use a Mac mini with a Drobo for my bulk storage.

    Benefits.
    o It is 100% Mac OS X file sharing compatible on all fronts.
    o It does allow using the Mac mini for Time Machine backups.
    o I can use Screen Sharing to manage the Mac mini (no need to attach a keyboard, monitor, or mouse, except for initial setup).
    o Since it is a computer, I can have it actively reach out and backup stuff from remote systems. I'm fond of using rsync over ssh to backup my Mom's iMac 300 miles away.
    o I can have it do other services if I desire, such as use an elgato EyeTV video capture as a DVR (dreams for the future).

    Negatives.
    o I've found that laptops that get removed from the home, or often VPN into work, have a tendency to mess up the Time Machine backup volume. I think would occur no matter what NAS device was used.
    o The Drobo is very nice as redundant storage with hotswap replacement and not needing to worry about matching drive sizes, but it is also not the fastest storage. Then again, since most of the backups are traveling over WiFi or the internet, it is fast enough for my needs.

    In my case I use it as my home backup server, and I also use it in a limited capacity as a web server. Limited, because I mostly use it to hold and serve up my ebooks for my the Stanza ebook reader on my iPod Touch. But there are other way to transfer ebooks, this just happens to be an easy way for me and my wife. I little shell script setup up as a Mac OS X Folder Action that dynamically creates a web page in alphabetical order and most recent date order along with book covers and a clickable link that is formatted as stanza://mac.mini.addr/path/to/the/ebook.epub which tells an iPod Touch browser it should pass the URL to the Stanza ebook reader app, which will then download the ebook.

    With respect to your Airport Extreme, you can attach a USB disk to that unit and use it as a NAS. I do not think it will act as a Time Machine backup device, but there are most likely hacks that will allow that.

    Of course there are a lot of people that actual get the Time Capsule (an Airport Extreme with a disk inside) to act as a NAS device.

    After that you are dealing with protocol compatibility issues in your NAS. Did your vendor do a good job and do they keep up with future changes Apple may make to Apple File Sharing protocol (AFP). With the NAS file system store all the additional Mac OS X HFS+ file system metadata. etc...
  • 4. Re: NAS device advice
    sszd Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks Bob for the info. I'll look into the Drobo, and continue my research.
  • 5. Re: NAS device advice
    sszd Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    slowfranklin wrote:
    http://www.netafp.com/status-of-netatalk-and-afp-support-by-nas-vendor-322/


    Sorry, but I have no intention of paying for a service just to obtain some pre-purchase information.
  • 6. Re: NAS device advice
    spwbeeper Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Have you completed your research? And would you care to share what you ended up implementing? I am trying to make a similar decision and would love to hear what you came up with and whether it is working for you.