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  1. #1
    Joined
    Apr 2016
    Posts
    3

    Question I need help deciding on my new storage solution

    First of all, I love seagate drives, and have been using them in my builds for over 15 years, reusing most of my drives in new builds because they are so reliable. I'm in the process of building a new computer, and I have several storage needs. I haven't built a comp for quite a while, and this time I'm not going to go with a completely new storage strategy, as opposed to just reusing old drives and/or just tossing in another bigger drive. Since I've been out of the game so long, I've also noticed that storage technology has changed quite a bit, and I'm lost, quite frankly. I not only need buying help, but I could REALLY use some help in understanding storage overall. I've read countless articles, and I just end up confusing myself.

    I'd like your help in planning out my build strategy for storage, and I hope someone can get back to me this weekend, because there's currently a very good price on your 4TB NAS drives, thanks to a promo. The uses of this build will be (in order): Gaming, media service, development (.net/SQL). Money isn't really a factor, but I'm not looking to drop thousands in storage for marginal gains. First, I'll lay out my logical drive strategy:

    C: OS
    E: Backup OS (for restore)
    D: Downloads (set as default download location)
    F: Files (mounted as onedrive; default files/pictures are stored here)
    G: Games
    M: Media (video/music)
    P: Apps
    R: Archiving
    X: Desktop (Desktop folder redirects here)

    Formerly, all of this was stored in my main desktop. However, with the new build, I plan on incorporating NAS into the picture. I have 3 storage ideas that I'd like to put together to manage all of this:

    1) 512GB SSD: 30GB for E, then the rest for C
    2) 4+TB "faster" drives: G, P, F, D, X
    3) 12+TB NAS: M, R, also serving to my xbox, and allowing other family members to have their own archives.

    1) I think for the SSD, I've decided on a samsung 850 pro. I looked at m.2 for a while, but there doesn't seem to be a compelling reason to have it for boot and system file access.

    2) The "faster" drives are much more of a conundrum. I'm not going to spend money on velociraptors, and I need much more space than SSDs offer for their cost. I've looked into hybrid drives, but I'm not sold on the idea. In all previous builds, the answer was simply "toss a barracuda at it." That being said, I see you have more classes of drives now, and I'm not sure I understand all of their capabilities. I'm not opposed to the idea of RAID, but every time I start down that path, I end up steering away because of the complexity and cost vs gain. If I did go with RAID, I'd most likely get 3 4TB drives and go with RAID5 for max read performance with a bit of reliability.

    What would your recommendation in drives be for non RAID vs RAID? Is RAID5 even the right idea if I do choose RAID? Should I even be considering it?

    3) This will be my first venture into NAS, and as I'm also planning RAID for it, I'm well out of my element. I don't know the right enclosure, but I'm pretty sure I want to go for your 4TB NAS drives, because there's a deal on them. I'm thinking 4 4TB drives in RAID5 would be best, giving me a logical size of 12TB to use. That being said, I don't currently HAVE 12TB of stuff I need to store. I'm trying to think of the future. With that in mind, am I waaaay overshooting this? Also, what would be the best RAID configuration, and what would be the best enclosure?

    I'm not sure if you're going to laugh at how simple these questions are, or facepalm and how stupid they are, but I'm trying to nail down the last components of my new build, and storage has me running in circles, so I could really use an expert! Also, while I have brand loyalty to Seagate, if there are better options out there, I'm perfectly open to those as well!

    Hopefully I can hear back from someone before the end of sunday so I can decide on whether or not to pull the trigger on this deal.

  2. #2
    Joined
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    177

    Re: I need help deciding on my new storage solution

    Sorry I'm late - I saw your post over the weekend. Did you end up purchasing the NAS HDDs? If not, no worries since deals on NAS drives are becoming quite frequent, so you'll find another one shortly.

    And did you figure out how you're going to layout your drives? While I understand your logic, it seems complex to the point it's going to be difficult to remember where everything goes. Let me ask a few general questions and hopefully this will let you think about how you'll proceed:

    • What setup are you planning, as in how do you plan to set up the computers? One computer with one NAS? Or perhaps three: computer, NAS and backup?
    • Will it be a separate HDD for each drive (save the OS/backup), or will some be partitions are one drive?
    • What do you plan on having on the OS drive (the 480GB carved out of the 512GB) aside from the OS? Games are on a separate drive; apps on a separate one, too. If I take your layout literally, I see nothing else on the OS drive so why buy one so big? 128GB would be enough
    • What (or how much) do you plan on storing in terms of music/videos? That will dictate how much storage you need.



    As for NAS enclosures, Drobo and Synology are popular brands. You can also make your own using an old computer and a Linux distro, FreeNAS.

    RAID 5 is a good choice - it provides recovery in the event one of the drives fails, and I believe read access is pretty good

    As for the drives, you really have Seagate NAS and Western Digital Reds. Either way, you're going to find supporters and detractors. I've noticed that reliability hinges on drive size so take a look at the reviews. If you want 4TB drives, then compare the two manufacturers and go with the one that has better reviews.

    Hope this helps.

  3. #3
    Joined
    Apr 2016
    Posts
    3

    Re: I need help deciding on my new storage solution

    Quote Originally Posted by btdog View Post
    Sorry I'm late - I saw your post over the weekend. Did you end up purchasing the NAS HDDs? If not, no worries since deals on NAS drives are becoming quite frequent, so you'll find another one shortly.

    And did you figure out how you're going to layout your drives? While I understand your logic, it seems complex to the point it's going to be difficult to remember where everything goes. Let me ask a few general questions and hopefully this will let you think about how you'll proceed:

    • What setup are you planning, as in how do you plan to set up the computers? One computer with one NAS? Or perhaps three: computer, NAS and backup?
    • Will it be a separate HDD for each drive (save the OS/backup), or will some be partitions are one drive?
    • What do you plan on having on the OS drive (the 480GB carved out of the 512GB) aside from the OS? Games are on a separate drive; apps on a separate one, too. If I take your layout literally, I see nothing else on the OS drive so why buy one so big? 128GB would be enough
    • What (or how much) do you plan on storing in terms of music/videos? That will dictate how much storage you need.



    As for NAS enclosures, Drobo and Synology are popular brands. You can also make your own using an old computer and a Linux distro, FreeNAS.

    RAID 5 is a good choice - it provides recovery in the event one of the drives fails, and I believe read access is pretty good

    As for the drives, you really have Seagate NAS and Western Digital Reds. Either way, you're going to find supporters and detractors. I've noticed that reliability hinges on drive size so take a look at the reviews. If you want 4TB drives, then compare the two manufacturers and go with the one that has better reviews.

    Hope this helps.
    Hey btdog, fantastic reply.

    I was watching this thread for a week or so and didn't see any real interest, so I strayed away from checking up on it. Decided to take a look, and I see you've provided some really good feedback. In general, I appreciate the confirmation of my thoughts on seagates v WDs and raid 5. Good to know to compare in size as the main category vs the brands themselves.

    Responses:
    - This is the layout I've been going with for over a decade now. I'm quite comfortable with it. When I want files, I hit [windowkey] F:, games G:, downloads D:... you get the picture. It also makes mapping some things easier (although there are still programs out there that can't get over the C:\program files placement).
    - The setup is one desktop with a NAS
    - The partitioning will be logical. As I mentioned in my original point #2, I was considering 3 4GBs in RAID 5, which should give me 8GB space. The question there was, RAID vs nonRAID for "desktop" (apps/games/files) type application? Also, would I be able to throw another drive into the RAID mix to increase total space in the future?
    - The C drive will mainly have the OS, but there are a few applications/games that really don't want to leave the C:\program files structure, and I don't know how to switch the windows store off of using C (not that I get a lot of apps from windows store, but it seems that windows is pushing more towards that. I'm trying to plan w/the future in mind.
    - At the moment, I have about 1.1TB of space allocated to media and archiving, and I've already had to zip a lot of stuff/delete some stuff/decide not to rip certain CDs/DVDs because of space. That, plus I want to plan for the future. I estimate I could take up at LEAST 2.5TB with what I have TODAY that I want to store on my computer, so I would think 12 would be a good goal for storage.

    I was just thinking, depending on what you say about adding future drives (I don't want to have to wipe and restore everything), if I could add space in the future to a RAID5 setup, then really I only need 3 4TB drives on my NAS.


    I have a few more questions after my original post and doing more research:
    1) Do you have any way to compare the performance of the various SSDs to a RAID5 setup like the one I'm talking about for my desktop (3 4TBs)?? As of now, I use my C: SSD drive for SOME applications to help load times, but if I'm going to get the same or better performance from a RAID5 setup, there's no need to worry about that.

    2) I really need some help w/a NAS box. There are soooooo many different types out there, and the prices range quite a bit. I want something efficient and progressive in terms of technology, but I'd rather not pay hundreds of dollars extra for marginal gains.


    Thank you so much for your response. While I still have a lot of questions, you've definitely helped answer some of the broader strokes.

  4. #4
    Joined
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    11,092

    Re: I need help deciding on my new storage solution

    To be honest, I'm not sure I would recommend a RAID5 solution for your "2" list there. Unless you're talking about doing a hardware RAID, you're not going to get the performance you want and the complexity just isn't worth it. If you really wanted data protection, you might consider RAID 1, but a 3 drive RAID5 just isn't worth it in this application IMO

    I'm going to take a bit of a different tack and suggest you reconsider your storage scheme. SSD's are going to be so much faster than spinning platters of nearly any configuration that I would suggest you re-evaluate which of your files need performance, and which need volume. A few might need both, but they will likely be in the minority. Other than games, the vast majority of programs don't need a lot of space installed.

    My scheme, for example:

    C: 250GB SSD, OS drive
    D: 500GB SSD, Apps that really benefit from being on a fast drive and frequently played games
    E: 250GB SSD: Same as D:
    F: 3TB 7200RPM: All other games and some other programs (very few)
    G: 1TB 7200RPM: Media/downloads/stuff that could be on my NAS but I haven't moved it yet
    NAS: 30TB - 10x3TB WD Reds + 2x4TB 7200RPM parity drives. Media storage and automatic backups.

    500GB and 1TB SSD's are basically the same price now as the 250 and 500GB drives back then, so I would get more space if I were to rebuild from scratch today. You can always divvy up the partitions and label them however you want, but rather than an 8TB RAID5 which is way more storage than you need locally, you might have a 1TB SSD plus a 4TB 7200RPM drive for storage/apps you really want locally, and everything else goes on the NAS. After all, if you've mounted network drives, having bulk storage on the NAS is really no more difficult to use than local stuff. Overall, I guess the point I'm trying to make is.... rather than chasing performance off of spinning HDD's, use SSD's.

    As far as the NAS goes, really the biggest question is: Do you want to build it or buy it? Once you answer this question we can make further suggestions. Lots of people like the Synology or QNAP systems (I don't recommend Drobo) but they're going to cost you a pretty good amount extra for the convenience and nice form factor. If you want to build your own there are a bunch of options (FreeNAS, UnRAID, etc) and plenty of flexibility. You'll get a lot more bang for the buck here, but its not a plug and play option
    Last edited by Activate: AMD; 05-18-2016 at 10:01 AM.


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  5. #5
    Joined
    Apr 2016
    Posts
    3

    Re: I need help deciding on my new storage solution

    Hello, Activate. Thanks for the reply.

    As mentioned above, I'll be sticking with the schema as far as the drive letters go because I've been using it for a long time, and I'm very happy with the setup.

    As for the RAID, I was planning on setting this up on an Asus Z170-DELUXE motherboard. I was hoping to do mixed mode, where I have my OS SSD as a standalone drive, and then RAID the 3 mechanical drives, but it occurred to me that it might not be possible to do so. In that event, I could always get an m.2 drive for me OS and still go with RAID on the SATA ports. I was all hopped up on an m.2 drive for the OS, but through research, it didn't seem that the performance justified the price.

    I'm curious why you feel I'm not going to get good performance from onboard RAID, with the assumption that I'll be getting a high end board. I'm assuming by "hardware raid" you meant a raid card controlling it as opposed to onboard? Maybe I'm just confused on the terms. As for the complexity, I thought it was a fairly simple process to set this up, especially given that this is a new build and I don't need to worry about data, because nothing will be on the drives yet. I watched a setup video on an Asus z170 board, and it looked to be quite simple... am I missing something?



    As for the NAS, I do want to buy it. I like the idea of having a box with plug and play bays and indicator lights above each disk to let me know what's going on right away. I have seen QNAP and Synology all over the place. I've been using this site to guide my choices: http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/tools/rankers/nas/view . The thing I still don't get is why there are such huge price differences for the different boxes. I mean, with most components, there are usually certain technologies that significantly affect pricing, but I don't understand what that is in terms of NAS boxes.

  6. #6
    Joined
    Jun 2016
    Posts
    20

    Re: I need help deciding on my new storage solution

    Hey Phrozt,

    I was just reading your post and you've certainly got a nice set up for your storage! Just wondering, what are you doing to back up your data? A lot of my data was lost a few years ago when my computer crashed, so I've been pretty careful about a Plan B since then :P
    I was doing some research on google the other day and found a good article on backup plans. Quite interesting! Incremental backups were not something I knew about before, but will definitely move towards this direction in the future

  7. #7
    Joined
    Jun 2016
    Posts
    6

    Re: I need help deciding on my new storage solution

    I have one of the netgear ready-nas boxes, about 4 years old. It a 4 slot, and it takes all the pain out of the equation. At the time it supported the squeezeserver stuff better then synology or qnap did. Using the dedicated boxes I think you'll find simpler and less work then building a Linux distro etc. I use it for backup destination as well as a music server.

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