Home Storage & Network Topology (2013)
In 2011, I wrote a fairly popular blog post outlining my home solution for storage & backup:
Since it has been almost two years, I thought I’d update the information with some improvements.
Updated Network Topology
In 2012, I had a chance to update our network infrastructure, and as a result we have a slightly different home network topology than the one I diagrammed in 2011. The following image shows the current, high level structure (note: I haven’t documented all devices or switches on the network)
Enhancement: Comcast 105Mbps Service
In March 2013, Comcast announced doubling it’s internet connectivity speeds in the San Francisco Bay Area for no additional cost. This proved to be enough of an improvement to get me to face the reality that AT&T Uverse was never, ever going to get any faster than 24Mbps.
As a result, my order is in to convert to Comcast. I’ll post here if the experience is anything but what’s expected – a massive increase in download speeds. With multiple people in our household now hitting Netflix streaming up to four at once, I think the upgrade is perfectly timed.
Enhancement: WD 6TB Thunderbolt Duo for iTunes
Last month, tragedy struck. The 4TB USB 3.0 hard drive I had been using for the main iTunes library crashed. Fortunately, thanks to the backup solution in place, all files were recovered.
The only problem was recovery time. It was slow. It turns out, restoring about 3.5 TB from the Synology box to a USB hard drive took over 38 hours. Now, granted, Time Machine isn’t the fastest recovery software, but it’s what I’ve been using reliably.
At 3.5TB, I realized I was going to max out the Seagate 4TB drives soon anyway. After some research, I decided to get the 6TB Western Digital Thunderbolt Duo. With two 3TB drives striped with RAID 0, combined with the 10Gbps Thunderbolt bus, I was hoping for significant speed improvements.
Restoring 3.5TB via Time Machine from my Synology box to the Thunderbolt Duo took less than 16 hours, a huge improvement over the previous experience with the Seagate USB drive. Most of this benefit is likely due to Thunderbolt bus (I gave the drive a dedicated port on the iMac.) Regardless, I’m thrilled to have a solution that will continue to scale through the year until larger single disk drives are available. (As a caveat, I’m now at double the risk of failure on the main iTunes drive, since if either drive fails, the whole drive will fail.)
Last Note: Stagnation in Hard Drives
It’s worth noting that it has been over 18 months since we’ve seen a larger single 3.5″ hard drive size. We’ve been promised 6TB drives later this year, with headroom to 60TB for a 3.5″ drive on the upcoming technology, but it’s clear that single disk storage isn’t really keeping up with the increasingly large file sizes of HD video storage. Imagine the strain when files go to 3D and Ultra HD formats.
For those of you who are interested in these type of technical details, I hope you find the above useful.