Higher capacity Image Storage from Synology

For people who need greater digital image storage capacity than the current affordable 10.9TB Thecus then you may want to have a look at the following solution:


I would estimate that filled with 3TB drives this should provide between 24-30TB of usable Raid 5 space (36TB unformatted). To put this in perspective thats enough for over  1/2 million uncompressed A3+ Tiffs or over 1 million camera raw images.

Synology have a good reputation for building solid kit so this look like a viable way to accommodate image collections. The 165mb/sec writing and 195mb/sec reading in raid 5 mode means that access to images is not going to be a problem.

As always – this is not a backup solution in itself, copies of all files must exist in some form as the device is a single point of failure (theft etc). What it does provide is fast and simple access to a large image collection.

Thecus N7700 Pro for Image Storage

I have used many NAS (network attached storage) devices over the years but I’m very pleased with the latest one to join the network here at Copyrightimage.Like many of my clients I have a need to keep an archive of many thousands of images available for instant use and access. The major differences between this device and the more usual NAS devices are speed and capacity.

The N7700 Pro I have here is fitted with 7 x 2TB hard disks in RAID 5 formation which gives a single volume of 10.9TB of disk space, this means that I can hold large collections of images in one place which aids indexing and workflow.
The speed comes from its dual core processor which drives the controller and gigabit Ethernet to its full speed and so I can get real world transfer figures of 65mb/sec writes and even faster reads. This is over twice the speed of a USB2 drive connected directly to a host computer so its very impressive.

When dealing with large amounts of high res images this device would seem to be able to delivery speedy storage with the safety net of RAID 5 which means that if a disk fails I just need to swap it out for a new one (the image above shows the access door closed (left) and open (right) each disk is in a separate caddy.

The power supply to the device is a single point of failure however so its important I have at least one copy of every file on the device backed up somewhere else, as always, redundancy is the safety net.

remote access to Lacie BIG5 devices

Clients who are using LaCie BIG5 devices may have noticed that security updates to Internet Explorer may have blocked their ability to download files using the HTTPS facility (secure web browser).

I will need to look into how to sort this but in the meantime just use Firefox instead, if you dont have it its a free download here:


(Its also a very good web browser for general use).


Drobo, 1 week later

I have added a couple of 500GB drives to the existing pair of 750GB drives in my Drobo and now have 2.2TB of disk space (1.5TB after formatting).

Stability has been excellent with no problems reading and writing to the device. Write speed is approx 14.5mb/sec peak with reads being 18.5mb peak. (speeds reach their maximum when reading or writing large files – like repro sized images).

Obviously these speeds are lower than other USB2 attached drives (up to 50% lower) and I would imagine it is the processing overhead in data protection that is kicking in here. There is no point in wanting a firewire or other faster connection with the Drobo because I suspect its the built in processor that limits the speed.

Having said all that it is still 2x the speed of a consumer Buffalo Terastation with a 1000mbit Ethernet connection so its not too bad. The only other similar option would be a Thecus N5200 which is faster at approx 20-25mb/sec but costs a couple of hundred pounds more.

Im not too worried about transfer speed as my main use at the moment is backing up work via a script at night and even large jobs are backed up before morning. ( I use the Robocopy scripting program from Windows so technically I Robo to my Drobo…)

To put things in perspective here are the approx times to copy 1TB of data:

Bufallo Terastation 46 hours
Drobo 20 hours
Thecus N5200 13 hours
Single external USB2 disk 9.7 hours
Single internal disk 5.8 hours
Internal Raid-0 2.9 hoursOf course the fastest 3 options above would mean that you would lose your data if 1 disk were to fail whereas the other 3 options provide protection.If you currently use single external disks to keep single copies of valuable pictures then cancel anything else you planned today and start copying the files now.I have had too many clients lose images because they were on one external disk that failed.Best practice is to keep valuable images in at least 2 locations (drive + CD/DVD) extra safety comes from RAID5 or similar devices like the Drobo but you still need another physical copy just in case.Would you like my help with your storage requirements? would you like me to setup a series of automatic scripts to protect your day to day work? Get in touch now by emailing me Stephen@copyrightimage.co.uk

Data and image storage

I have just taken delivery of a drobo unit from http://www.vcisystems.co.uk/ the UK distributors for data robotics inc, you can read more about this unit here: http://www.drobo.com/

I need to test the unit thoroughly before I can recommend it to my photographers and photolibraires but early tests are quite positive, the company have developed a product that solves a common problem in data storage – keeping you work safe on disks that will at some random point in the future die.

As you may know I recommend RAID 5 based disks systems as a safe way to keep images long term and popular products include Buffalo terastations and Thecus NAS devices. The drobo is not RAID per se but rather implements its own data redundancy scheme to spread copies over more than one disk. System overhead is similar to RAID 5 with 4x500mb disks offering 1.5TB of space before formatting.

What makes this system interesting compared to NAS devices is its affordability and expansion potential. Another thing in its favour is the ability to hot swap disks in the device (take disks out or put them in while everything is still switched on and being used). This kind of functionality is normally reserved for system costing £10,000+

I will report back on my experiences when I have received a few more disks to populate the device with.


What is NAS?

Vista networking shares to a Buffalo terastation

Vistas increased security can cause problems with network shares on Buffalo terastations.

These cheap raid 5 storage solutions are ideal for backing up images so if you would like to use them from a Vista workstation do the following:

select: start menu > programs > administrative tools > Security and configuration management

Select > Local policies > security options > Network Security: LAN Manager Authenticating Level

Set it to “Send LM & NLTM, use NTMLv2 session if negotiated”

You should now have no problems connecting and accessing shares on the terastation.


New Terrastations

Buffalo have added some new Network Attached Storage devices (NAS) to their range. They will be available in the UK from Febuary. I have seen a price of £577 + VAT for the 1TB version.

We like these (and earlier) drives because they can be configured in a RAID 5 array, a great place to store valuable images in some safety. The capacity of the drive is lowered when set to RAID 5 but they can still store approx 12,000 60MB files which works out at about 5p per image (The price of a GePe slidemount 15 years ago!).
This new version has much easier access to swap the drives out if one fails. Im not certain as yet what the real life file transfer rate is but I have a feeling that like a lot of other similar devices they are not very quick.

These drives are suitable for individual photographers and small photolibraries. Larger organisations may need something bigger and faster. Contact me if you have any queries.

Buffalo website