RAID drive recommendations

I have been using a Drobo RAID for many years on and off but they keep failing or having power failures and the support is terrible. I’m looking for other options to store videos for serving to Apple TV as well as storing my many photos that has some expandability. I have looked at Other World Computing’s for their RAID drives and I am considering that.

What do other people use in this circumstance?

A lot of my consultant friends recommend Synology NAS devices, which also do RAID. Not the same as something you attach directly, but might be worth considering.

I’ve been using an OWC “raid drive” (Thunderbay 4) for this very purpose for about a year and a half now, with 100% positive results. I have about 10 TB of audio-video files that I keep online on my home network. I do not have the Thunderbay configured for RAID, however; I have it stuffed with four 8 TB drives that are configured to run independently. My AV files are distributed across them using TuneSpan (a major driver in keeping me at Mojave since TuneSpan uses iTune’s XML file list to track files–the new, “improved” individual programs do not use XML, and TuneSpan is not likely to be updated).

So I’ve got TV shows (iTunes downloads, DVD rips, OTA recordings) on one drive, movies on another, and high resolution audio files on a third drive. Speed is great–the mechanical hard drives are never the limiting factor in performing any operation. And now, 14TB drives are the new 8TB drives–price per TB on spinning drives keeps going down as their capacities keep going up.

I have not used the Thunderbay configured as an actual RAID because of TuneSpan’s ability to automatically move new files to specified locations. I have the earlier, Thunderbolt 2 model which works great with my “server,” a 2013 Mac Mini.

I had an old OWC RAID years back…but it got too small switched several years back to a set of Seagate Backup Plus 2.5 inch USB drives. 5TB is $103 at Amazon and I have them attached to my file server (mini). One is the main data drive that gets served up…and I have a series of Carbon Copy Cloner jobs setup to mirror the drives. Each has a bootable system on it as well as the backup copy of the data drive…one happens daily and I have 2 others one that happens Tuesday and one on Friday. All the syncs are the over write deleted files type in CCC…but if space permits you can easily have it keep the safety net files so you get deleted files backed up as well. In addition…I have 2 more drives set up with CCC jobs that I occasionally plug in then put them back in the cars when I’m done.

The really important file also get backed up to DropBox so there’s an offsite version. Now that we’re moving out of the RV and into a house full time so I will have real internet available…I might look into doing some sort of sync to a drive at our son’s house in Richmond and sync his to my house…there are several ways to do this pretty easily.

My plan is to just replace the drives every couple of years…they’re cheap. They also run a lot cooler than a 3.5 drive so heat is less of an issue. They’re not quite as fast of course…but the file server performance is mostly limited by wifi anyway (it’s wired but all the clients are wifi).

I’ve heard good things about Synology NAS devices…but never really researched setting one up.