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Starting over due to loss - Requesting NAS advice

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I am a photojournalist, whose studio and home were destroyed by a tornado last week. I have used two raid 10 systems, with four 500 GB disks in each, via my main x64 desktop and a 3Ware Sidecar. My other desktops and laptop were networked into the raids via an ethernet switch. The mirrored data was backed-up to single hard drives according to content. These drives were stored until needed.

I am looking for two NAS that will allow me to store data on one as a primary and then mirror to the other for back-up. I do not want to use the NAS for anything other than storage and back-up of imagery and text. I still need to be able to copy data to single drives to be stored off-site for redundant back-up. The tornado was a clear reminder than back-up can be useless if it is stored in the same location as the primary content. Thank God I did not lose 20+ years of imagery.

I really liked the 3Ware Sidecar, but AMCC has discontinued the units. Please recommend a NAS under $1,000 that might suit my needs. Also, any suggestions of setting-up the two NAS, such as RAID configuration, will be appreciated.


How much storage do you need?

Have you considered any of the online storage services as secondary backup?
Thank you for the reply. Four to five TB mirrored to a second unit would be a good base for ongoing work.

As for online storage, a single image is usually in the 80 MB range. I may retain 5,000 shots from a destination/assignment. The uploads and downloads from a remote location would seem to be challenging.
I'm not a fan of anything higher than RAID 1 due to cost/performance. But with 4 to 5 TB and the current single-drive NAS limit of 1 TB, that would be 8 to 10 NASes, which is a bit much.

On the other hand, 4 TB of RAID 10 is going to take four 2 TB drives, which ain't going to be cheap either.

Many NASes support NAS-to-NAS backup. But, except for the NETGEAR ReadyNASes, only support it to another of their own kind. But they don't support RAID 10. Actually most "prosumer" NASes support RAID 6 instead of 10, but you'd get the same storage yield with either, i.e. 50% overhead, 8 TB raw to yield 4 TB usable.

I agree that "cloud" backup takes awhile, which is why I don't suggest it as a primary backup. Your mirrored server would provide that. But it could be more reliable and convenient than running attached backups and carrying them offsite.
Would I still need to use RAID 10 if I maintained four or five 1 TB drives in one NAS and mirrored to a second NAS? Or, is the mirroring done by other software outside the RAID? Having identical NAS units would be good for me on many fronts.
Would I still need to use RAID 10 if I maintained four or five 1 TB drives in one NAS and mirrored to a second NAS? Or, is the mirroring done by other software outside the RAID? Having identical NAS units would be good for me on many fronts.
RAID protects against drive failure. It does nothing to protect you from natural disasters, theft, controller or power supply failure.

Once you do the initial backup, your data loss exposure (assuming backup to a secure, offsite location) is limited to the data added between backups, assuming that the single backup is not corrupted and is checked from time to time to ensure that data is being properly backed up.

I think that a reasonable (and most cost-effective) approach would be to configure the drives in each NAS in JBOD. So if a drive dies, only the data on that drive is gone. Don't use RAID 0, because all of your data will be gone if a single drive dies.
OK. If I understand you correctly, I will no longer need to use RAID on either NAS and the mirroring will be done by other software. My ongoing work will be in the primary NAS, which contains four or five 1 TB disks and is mirrored to the secondary or backup NAS. I can then use online uploads or my old method for offsite storage.

Now the big question is "Which NAS units do you recommend I purchase given my parameters?"

Again, I appreciate your help.


If I purchase two QNAP TS-409 units, would I be able to use one as the primary and have the data automatically mirrored to the second? The price point and capabilities of the 409 seems to be a decent fit. I really need to more forward with the rebuild/replacements.

Thank you,

Yes. Any of the QNAPs will support NAS-to-NAS backup.

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