October 9, 2014 at 8:20AM

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What external storage are you using? Advice/ideas appreciated.

I'm keen to hear suggestions for simple, external storage. I'd like some basic security against drive failure, enough speed for GH4 4K files and something that easily connects to 2013 iMac. Currently using older Mac Pro/7D/FCPX and happy with performance of basic internal storage.

Current idea is a pair of SATA or SSD drives in a simple enclosure (eg. USB) with hardware RAID 1.

What is everyone else using? Any advice? I'd like to avoid more expensive ready-made solutions (eg. Pegasus) if I can assemble something myself.

32 Comments

What I just bought, $797.00:
12.0TB OWC Mercury Elite Pro Qx2 (4x 3.0Tb Hitatchi 3.5" 7200rpm 64mb cache HDD)
1U 4-Bay SATA Desktop RAID with selectable RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 Hardware RAID Mode, NRAID Span Options.
Ports: 3G eSATA (1), FireWire 800 (1) and USB 3.0 (1)
3 Year OWC Limited Warranty.
Available as a bare box or up to 20Tb.

http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/M3QX2T12.0S/

October 9, 2014 at 6:10PM

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Zan Shin
479

I don't mean to shit on your point / choice, but I just had a 6TB version of one of those die on me. It's about 4 years old so maybe that's it's life span. Everyone should definitely be thinking about re-backing up your data around the 3 year mark.

October 13, 2014 at 5:40PM

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Daniel Jarvis
Editor
8

There is a Kickstarter campaign recently launched about a device that allows you to control cameras from the phone and download files to the flash drive or external hard disk https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hpsaturn/lumera-transform-your-came...

October 30, 2014 at 12:49PM

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andresfcalderon
Hardware Developer
8

Sorry, you may want to go with a Thunderbolt drive, they also have those, a bit more in price depending on config.

http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/Thunderbolt/

October 9, 2014 at 6:12PM

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Zan Shin
479

I went with a simple and cheap “2big” 6TB Thunderbolt RAID from LaCie, along with a backup drive. Configured the 2big as RAID 0 and then I just do regular backups to the cheap backup drive. A two-drive RAID is likely to be twice as fast as the internal hard drive speeds you were used to on an old Mac Pro, though I can’t vouch for whether or not it’s fast enough to handle 4K files.

To me, the price of a two-drive RAID was so much cheaper than a 4-drive RAID that I figured I’d get the best performance-to-dollars ratio by getting a cheap backup drive as opposed to a RAID with drive redundancy. You could even get two backup drives and keep one off-site, which is much better for a backup than drive redundancy anyways. Drive redundancy isn’t a true backup as it doesn’t protect against theft, damage or device failure.

If you go this route, be sure to use an app like Carbon Copy Cloner to do your backups, as it will save time by only updating the files that change each time you back up. To speed it up with Final Cut Pro X libraries, you can even go in and uncheck your render folders so that it doesn’t back those up either as they aren’t needed in a backup.

October 10, 2014 at 1:34AM

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Ryan Toyota
Graphic Designer / Typographer / Video Editor
1240

Thanks all. I'm currently using CCC Ryan, so if I'm disciplined about manual backups, maybe I can skip the redundant drives as you suggest.

Does anyone have experience of working from SSDs? I wonder if it would be worth keeping one as a working drive, then just shifting projects over to traditional drives for archiving.

October 10, 2014 at 8:20AM

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Don't waste your time with SSD if you go the USB 2.0 route. USB 2.0 isn't that fast. For internal drive, Thunderbolt, or even USB 3.0, however, go for it.

October 10, 2014 at 9:42AM

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David S.
2880

I don't know how helpful this is, but here is my solution for PERSONAL work. I say personal, because my day job provides me with a better, and significantly more expensive, solution. I assume you don't want to hear about that, but if you do, let me know.

For personal work, I work from three machines:

An iMac at work.
A Windows tower at home.
A Macbook Pro everywhere else.

The iMac and Windows tower each have a backup solution, two Western Digital MyBook Studios set to Raid-1.

On the iMac, I work and store directly from that drive. On the Macbook, I work from the internal drive and don't archive anything. On the Windows tower, I have the OS on a striped SSD set, and work from footage on a large internal HDD.

For redundancy, I literally just keep the three in sync for live projects using Bittorrent Sync. It works beautifully for this purpose. Any changes to any of the three syncs to all three, so long as they are online. This keeps my footage of live projects backed up at up to three different locations.

And then one of the computers is backed up to Backblaze, so I have a worst-case scenario backup.

I really like the WD raids, but they are a little pricey for backing work. So, in the future, I'm probably just going to buy a handful of USB 3.0, bus-powered drives. They are cheap, and getting cheaper all the time (I think 1.5 TB can be had for $75). They are slow, but as long as I work from faster drives, I'm okay. But it requires a little more discipline in backing up.

Is any of that helpful? I'll answer any other questions I can.

October 10, 2014 at 9:41AM

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David S.
2880

im working off a pegases THBolt 2 as the working drive. the server is a mac server running promise vtraks x2 thru a 1Gbit cat 6e network, and tape for storage.
However it's bandwidth is not enough so we're exploring an not so expensive say of going to 10Gbit.
the netgear 8 port is only 900. that paired with a server running SAS2 6Gbit should be significantly faster than the current system.

pegasus gives me about 700MB read, 300MB write.
the CAT6e network gives me about 150MB w/r

the CAT7 10Gbit should be able to give me about 1 GB r/w total over shared network.

October 10, 2014 at 11:33PM

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Kazu Okuda
Filmmaker
1323

I forgot to mention that I also have Final Cut Pro X’s automatic backup saving to my internal MacBook Pro hard drive, so even if I forget to do a backup of my Libraries for a few days, all of my edits should still have backups on my computer if my working Thunderbolt RAID goes down. I just have to remember to back up my Libraries as quickly as possible after I import new footage.

October 11, 2014 at 4:25AM

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Ryan Toyota
Graphic Designer / Typographer / Video Editor
1240

…and for more redundancy, have FCPX’s auto backup save into a Dropbox folder. :)

The backup files are quite small, so it doesn’t bog down your Dropbox storage space very much at all. Just clean it up a bit every few months.

October 11, 2014 at 4:32AM

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Ryan Toyota
Graphic Designer / Typographer / Video Editor
1240

Thanks everyone. Lots of food for thought.

October 11, 2014 at 6:12AM

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There a lot of options for less 600 dolars. With 8 TB of information.

October 11, 2014 at 2:27PM

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Ragüel Cremades
Film producer and director
7662

Call me old-school, but I use a bunch of external usb3.0 4tb hd. I have 10 of those, for 5 main projects. So half are dedicated for backups, and secured at a different location. Having raid is a non sense for me as i'm more concerned about being robbed than loosing a bunch of files. I do the same thing when traveling (one copy with me and one in the checked baggage). And guess what... I have been robbed for the first time of my life recently (by Chineese customs officers)... I didn't lose a file because I had an exact copy with me.

October 11, 2014 at 7:59PM

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Eric Paré
Bullet-time + light-painting artist / filmmaker
74

Currently using a 32tb areca 8 bay thinderbolt raid set up in raid 5 for 24tb of usable storage.

October 11, 2014 at 8:18PM, Edited October 11, 8:18PM

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LaCie 2Big's 8TB Thunderbolt striped RAID's. Split my Libraries across them. My current film project is using 8 of them. I store them when not in use, and that way I don't have to keep moving files off my big 8 bay RAID's I used to use, and the client buys em. ;)

October 11, 2014 at 8:43PM

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Ri Stewart
Filmmaker
154

I was considering offering something similar to clients. Do you sell them at cost and do you pass on any applicable warranty?

October 12, 2014 at 8:08AM

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For the low end mobile office: I'm using a GH4, shooting 4K, running a macbookpro 2012 and LACIE 256GB SSD w/ thunderbolt (has to be thunderbolt). Shot a 30 and 15 second commercial for a national client recently and it works, but add any serious effects and it slows down considerably. I haven't had any luck with anything else but SSD drives, at least not for the type of editing speeds I want.

October 11, 2014 at 9:17PM

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jbpribanic
Director/Editor/Photographer
62

Thanks - which enclosure are you using for the SSD?

October 12, 2014 at 8:11AM

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October 19, 2014 at 3:53PM

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jbpribanic
Director/Editor/Photographer
62

I'm an editor, I do a lot of Motion Design too and some VFXs. My main workstation is a powerful hackintosh awesomely stable. By the recommendation of more experiences editor, I start looking for RAID solution connected by SAS 6G. Early found kind of expensive. Dig more, I found a "unknown" company who introduced 6G eSATA. Sans Digital. More, I found their system without drive and with the 6G eSATA PCIe card being around 220$. At check out, they offer you to buy a kit with Enterprise drive, it's definitively more expensive. So, with 950-1000$, I ended up with a 5 2TB drives in RAID5 for a 8TB of usable storage giving 350MB/s Write and Read.
http://www.sansdigital.com/towerraid-6g/index.php

To work outside, I have a powerful Windows laptop with a read and write HFS+ software. I'm using it with a 80$ USB3 Vantec NextstarMX RAID0/1 (2 drives) which gives me 250MB/S in stripped mode and 130MB/S in mirrored mode. Using Chronosync to update my files between my remote RAID set and my local RAID set.
Oh! And this is all Canadian prices.

October 11, 2014 at 9:34PM

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Drive I have: LaCie 3TB d2 Hard Drive

Price: $250

Specs:
3TB Drive Capacity
1 x USB 3.0 Port
1 x Thunderbolt Port
7200 RPM Rotational Drive Speed
Thunderbolt Transfer Rate Up to 10Gb/s
USB 3.0 Transfer Rate Up to 5Gb/s
USB 2.0 Transfer Rate Up to 480Mb/s
AES 256-bit Software Encryption

Experience:
I've had this drive for about 3 months now and it occasionally dismounts without ejecting (Although, I'm 90% sure this is a problem with my laptop). Other than that it is very fast. I move about 240gb of ProRes 4K footage from a Black Magic in about 30 minutes with a thunderbolt. I also edit in FCPX directly off of the drive while it is hooked up to my 2013 Macbook Pro. I hope this helps!

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?N=10905780&InitialSearch=yes&sts=pi

October 11, 2014 at 9:43PM

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Hi

I edit while travelling a lot and this is by back up regime.
Gear
15" Macbook Pro
2*4TB WD My Pass port Pro Thunderbolt Potable Raid Storeage

Software Carbon Copy Cloner
Chrono Sync Express
DropBox
FCPX

I love the WD Theundebolt drive they are big meaty fast drives, they quite heavy!

Both Drives are set to RAID 0

One is my edit master containing my project files. Media is copied to the project in FCPX.
The Edit Master Drive is cloned after every edit session using CCC straight to the second drive, as a mirror. The second drive is also RAID 0.
I try to keep both drives separate even if only in different bags when actually moving between countries.
I clone everything - it is a mirror. Then if I need the back up its just a plug and go solution, no relinking or re rendering. I can pick up where I left off.
The FCPX back up is left in the Movie folder of my internal SSD drive on the mac. But using Chrono sync I copy it to a sync folder on drop box. I know this effectivly means I have 2 copies on my internal drive and one in the cloud, but it’s just habit.
And that’s it its habit the bits that are automatic I check on. Video production is my business, I cannot afford to loose any files. The original media we keep on the field cards untill after the edit. The cards are all cloned drag and drop copied onto a lacie rugged thunderbolt. We also wrangle all the cards on location. Ingesting them using either a macbook or mini mac in to FCPX copying the media into the project. This will either be onto another lacie if in the field or a 2TB WD if inside. Once the shoot is transferred that is project is copied onto a Pagasus Raid at our company base and also onto the main portable edit drive as described above.

It means we have at least 2 main copies of the original media. and 3 copies of the project edit with 3 copies (albeit 2 on one hard drive and one in the cloud) of the FCPX back up edit files.

If you are serious about back up make a plan and stick to it.

Jonathan Glazier
Creative Director Pepper Rafferty.
http://www.pepperrafferty.com

October 11, 2014 at 11:14PM

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Jonathan Glazier
Creative Director
98

After loosing two LaCie 2Big 4TB Thunderbolt RAIDS within a month of each other that were only a year old, I decided not to use them any more. I now use G Technology Thunderbolt G RAIDS. They are working perfectly for editing 4k in FCP X.

October 12, 2014 at 12:06AM

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I'm very happy with the Drobo 5D. Easy to set up, I don't have or want a computer science degree... RAID 5 means relax, you have redundancy if a drive fails, and Thunderbolt really does make a difference... I used 5 x 3 TB Seagate Barracuda's. Would probably now go with Hitachi's HGST if I had to do it again, and there are now plenty good 4 TB drives (WD Black), but have had no problems with the Seagates. In the field I use their Thunderbolt adapter bolted to a 1TB 2.5 Inch Drive for Temorarily storing Oddysey 7Q files, if needs be. I also use the Seagate Adapter with the Oddysey SSD's.

Whatever one does, back in the studio, redundancy is a must, if you want to sleep peacefully at night, so your system must either use RAID1to mirror the drive, in a 2 disc system like WD MyBook Duo, or a 4 or 5 Disc System, Like a Drobo 5D or Pegasus, etc. use RAID 5. Also, one needs to use 7200 rpm. drives for editing... HGST drives have the lowest failure rate, apparently...

October 12, 2014 at 4:36AM

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Johann Bauermeister
One Man Band
74

Trusting the redundancy in your RAID is not a good backup solution. Sure, it protects against drive failure, but it doesn’t protect against theft, loss or device failure. Even if you’re using a redundant RAID (which is slower than non-redundant options), you should still have another separate drive or two as a backup.

October 13, 2014 at 4:38AM

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Ryan Toyota
Graphic Designer / Typographer / Video Editor
1240

We are using raid 1 internal hard drives (3-3Tb) on the workstations.

But first of all, when the raw material arrive we immediately backup it (from the Atomos Ninjas) to our Thecus N7510 via usb 3. (Thecus has 7*4Tb WD reds in raid 5, so the entire capacity is about 20Tb). This is just for the fresh row stuff and the final MXF and mp4 movies. Anything else will be backup to LTO 5 tapes (in two copy).

So the workflow may be the following:
- we get the recordings from our three Sony PMW-320 and/or from our two 5dmkIII with Atomos Nina.
- backup to the Thecus 7510 via USB 3
- then the editor copy the files to his HP z400
- when the final product is done, we archive the entire raw material to LTO5 tapes, and upload the final mxf and mp4 to the Thecus.
-

October 12, 2014 at 6:46AM

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I'm using http://www.stardom.com.tw RAID enclosure, very happy with it, fast, very well build, not expensive.
I have a SR2 and SR4 drive. They offer Firewire 800, USB3 and Esata.

Stardom also have some thunderbolt device.

October 12, 2014 at 7:12AM

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Vincent Follézou
Motion Designer
81

I use a Western Digital MyBook Duo 4TB with my 15inch 2012 MBP using Raid1. This was certainly a HUGE step-up from the SSD over USB2. However it's not nearly as fast as comparable models at this price point.

October 12, 2014 at 10:18AM

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Clifford Duvernois
Director and Producer
95

I use a LaCie 10TB 5big Thunderbolt with my late 2013 6-core mac pro. I work on media composer, nuke, and resolve. Really happy with my setup.

October 12, 2014 at 11:54AM

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Kevin Greene
Editor
785

If you're looking to buy an external hard drive I'd recommend taking a look at this youtube video. It goes over brand reliability and makes some suggestions. Hope it helps and good luck! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2wZ87EKg-A

March 6, 2015 at 9:03AM

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Anyone have ideas for portable battery powered HDD for SD card backup on the fly? I only know of the Western Digital option.

July 4, 2015 at 8:52AM

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Zachariel Shanahan
Writer/Director
1044

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