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Best set up for mirrored NAS with MacBook Air?

Marcus Wood

Active Member
I bought a MacBook Air a few months ago. Because the internal storage is only 128GB and my iTunes collection needs over 400GB, my intention was always to put the iTunes files and other large files on an external network drive, which would be backed up onto another hard drive. I had assumed this would be fairly easy to do, considering you would think other people must want to do the same thing...

I would like the hard drive to be available at all times to connect wirelessly to my MacBook, without having to go and switch it on. But it would be best if the hard drives could power down after not being used for a while. I will probably be running Windows on the MBA so the drives need to be able to work with that (I’m not sure if that’s an issue).

I discussed this with someone at the Apple store and I was told I would be able to do this with a Time Capsule and another drive. I can’t remember exactly how they said I should set this up though.

So, I bought a time capsule, assuming that Apple would have thought all this through and everything would work out. However, to cut a long story short, they haven’t. It appears the Time Capsule isn’t designed to do this, or at least I haven’t been able to find anyone at the Apple store who can tell me how to do it.

Can anyone recommend products I could use to set up this system?

Deleted member 480461

Time Capsule is more for Time Machine backups, rather then hosting your iTunes Library.

Hmmmm, so you would like your entire library on an external drive, thats easily accessible?
The easiest way is to use a USB/Firewire drive to host your iTunes Library - although that doesnt take the wireless requirement into account.

Ive just purchased a NAS that also supports iTunes Server. Im not sure how these work just yet, but you can place all of your iTunes media here, and access it over wireless. However, I think its just that - a place to access the songs etc wirelessly. Its not somewhere you can actually sync your devices against - if that makes sense!

Apologies for the poor response, but its a good question, and one I wouldnt mind setting up for myself on a NAS at some point. I would assume you need some type of NAS unit to do this over wireless, but am not sure if an iTunes Server will do everything you want - unless you are only after streaming songs etc to your MacBook?

Deleted member 171211

Pretty much any good NAS should do this. But do you want the data to be available when you take the Macbook Air away from home?

Essentially, you are looking at a NAS with a minimum of two disks with the ability to spin the disks down when not in use. I use a Synology one (DS210J, the DS211K is available now), but other good makes (QNAP, Thecus, Netgear, etc) should offer similar functions. Mine also supports Time Machine backups.

richard plumb

Distinguished Member
WD My Book world Edition II. http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=290

Two hard drives in a single case, with a network port (not wireless built in, you'd need to connect it to your router).

You can set it to mirror, so that anything you write to one drive is mirrored automatically to the other drive. If there is a drive failure you get notified and can swap it out and replace it yourself. Also has a DLNA and I think an itunes server built in.

I have the USB equivalent and find it very easy to use. Previously I had two 1TB drives, used one as my media drive, then had to set up scripts to back one up to the other.

You should be able to sort of do it on the time capsule - I have mine archived to a USB HDD attached to it. But its not automatic - you have to use the airport setup utility I think to kick off an 'archive'. Not sure if thats available as a windows app but should be as time capsule supports windows too. If you don't change the contents that often, you could just archive it once a month or so.
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Deleted member 27989

As Richard already said, a time capsule can do it, wouldn't have been my first choice but can definitely do it.

Marcus Wood

Active Member
Thanks for the info so far.

I would need my Mac to automatically access the NAS for my iTunes library. If the Mac can't access the NAS, it will then automatically start creating a new library on the internal HD, which is really annoying...

To answer a question, I don't need the data to be available when I'm away from home, but it might be useful.

What's an iTunes server?

For my set-up, it would be better to get a NAS that's rack mounted; maybe one of these would work:

QNAP TS-410U TS-410U 4 Bay Rack NAS Enclosure: Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories

Synology RS411 1U - No HDD - NAS Rack Enclosure (No HDD Installed): Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories

Deleted member 27989

I found those two racks too slow in disk speeds. And the current models too expensive.

I ended up getting 1U enclosures myself and build my own based around an Intel D510 Atom board running headless Solaris with a ZFS filesystem shared out using iSCSI so they are effectively a SAN across my Gigabit switch. Works very well, silently and low power.

I don't use an iTunes server as some NAS devices do since they are trouble synching. But I do use a Mac Mini Server as a proper iTunes server to 2 ATVs, and 4 Mac clients :)

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