Storage Options

For the last 3 years, my mum and I have been converting our families media from analogue formats (printed photos, VHS and DVDs) to digital files.

As you might imagine, the amount of storage this has taken has been incredible.

Right now, we’ve got 3x LaCie Rugged drives hanging off the side of a Mac mini Server. We’ve got 6TB of space from this and we’re at capacity (technically 40gb still free, but why bother counting that right!).

I’m looking for a solution to be able to store, access and protect our data. I’ve looked into RAID devices and I’d prefer DAS over NAS because we’ve got the Mac mini which we also use as a HTPC and as the Plex Server.

Does anyone have any experience with particular DAS devices that they’d like to share?

Thanks in advance!

EDIT: Should point out, Mac mini has Thunderbolt, USB (2.0) and Firewire - It’s a Mac mini (Mid 2011).

Hmmm @adamd, I have so many questions about how you are compressing. I have probably a similar total amount across all of my drives and systems, and I have photos and video projects (some with lossless files) going back 20 years and I don’t think I’ve actually used all 6TB. For home movies and what not, especially at 480P, a good run through a quality encoder like AMVTool with the h264 codec and placement in an mp4 container out will preserve quality while dropping filesize down significantly.

Above, I was just going to say I have 2 x 4TB drives for my media… 1 “live” and 1 backup. If you do need at least 6TB of storage, you could for instance go with 2 standard 8TB drives. Will cost you at least $500… but may be cheaper than a DAS.

Any reason why not NAS?

I’ve had NAS for a long time since it provides RAID 5 for some level of hardware failure protection as well as the potential to run lots of other services for you. Mine runs my Plex Server (Apple TV4 as a front end) as well as a range of other things for me including a couple of VM’s as well as recording for my IP cameras.

(Of course you still need a backup regime ontop of all that too).

It can be expensive to setup and I’m still looking at ways to lower the total power draw of my comms cabinet (150 - 175W depending on what’s going on) but that does include modem, router, POE switch that also powers WAPs, Cameras and the NAS itself. When it gets too warm the server fans draw another 50W or so too.

It’s also noisy…

Wait. Am I talking you into this or out of it :stuck_out_tongue:

Two 8TB external drives sounds like a simple and easy solution given where you are today and management is just more of what you already do today. I do think there are lots of benefits to a NAS, although it does come at a cost for hardware and time.


I’m running 2 x Synology 1817+ with 20Tb each in a RAID 6 config for each 1817+

One is a mirror of the other

Learnt my lesson on backups the hard way. Never again!

I have backups of backups.

For my union I have triple backups of multiple states. Including cloud and off-site. It’s honestly Overkill but a previous IT officer didn’t and lost some data and the CFO is paranoid.

Thanks for all your suggestions.

@kionon - Compression isn’t an issue as far as I’m aware. We’ve got digital copies of DVDs/BluRays and Audio CDs in that collection. A TV series (6 seasons or so) will take somewhere around 100gb easily.

If you are just ripping the files directly off of the optical media, then lack of compression is indeed an issue. You can significantly cut your size with little quality loss if you use the right codecs and encoders. That’s what I mean. There is no reason to store what you have in the format in which it came.

They’re being encoded using Handbrake using the “Apple 1080p30” preset.

Handbrake is down and dirty. I don’t ever recommend it. Unless it has drastically been improved since the last versions I used, I would avoid it.

I strongly recommend AMVTool:

AMVtool is a GUI for FFMpeg that is geared towards the needs of AMV editors. In addition to handling almost all the formats that editors will use, it also helps out by automatically adjusting certain encode settings that are often incorrectly selected by many editors. Here are some of the features:

Available on Linux, macOS, and Windows.
Automatically chooses the color matrix based on the existing file or guesses based on resolution.
Easy button for setting up file(s) to be recontainered.
Queue for batch encoding.
Shows bit depth of the currently selected video stream.
Supports encoding of AviSynth (Windows Only) & VapourSynth scripts.
Supports encoding to various lossless and lossy formats, including but not limited to x264 & x265.
Supports multiple audio streams.

Configure vs Configure All

Configure will allow you to configure the settings for the currently selected file in the queue. Unlike Configure All, this option will allow you to select an alternate audio file to use when encoding and allow you to select which audio or video stream you want to use (if applicable). Configure All will allow you to change the settings for all files in the queue and will also be the new default settings for any new files added to the queue until the program is restarted.

Handbrake is fine for people like me, ripping DVDs to HD. I’m not looking for the highest of quality, just something which looks decent on my TV screen and which won’t cause me to run out of space on the drive.

The issue is that @adamd is apparently running out of space. It isn’t just about quality, it’s about quality vs size efficiency and handbrake is very inefficient. You can get lower filesizes with higher quality than handbrake typically provides (and that is putting it diplomatically).

Umm… when did you last use it? I have the same issue (spacewise, as I think I indicated already) and its good for my use.

A couple years ago. Around the time Meatwad started developing AMVTool. But it definitely wasn’t anywhere near acceptable at the time.

Oh well, whatever works for you :slight_smile: