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Should I Use a RAID Card or Should I use Software to Clone?

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February 23, 2007 2:09:31 AM

I have an Internal IDE Hard Drive in my desktop and I just purchased another Internal IDE Hard Drive for my second slot. I was origianlly planning on hooking it up as Master/Slave, and cloning the Master Drive with software such as Acronis True Image 10 Home at http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage... and then using software such as Super Flexible File Synchonizer at http://www.superflexible.com/ to backup my new data every day to my Slave drive. However, another software backup company (TGRMN) told me that it would be better to use hardware, not software to do this, and to use a RAID-1 PCI Card. I don't know much about the RAID Card or how you would do this. Which way would be better? Using the software that I stated above or using a RAID Card? If using a RAID Card is better, how would I set it up when I put in the second Internal Hard Dive and how would it recognize what is on my original Hard Drive? Will the RAID Card work with my two IDE Drives, and where would I purchase one that would work? Thanks.
February 23, 2007 1:09:56 PM

Unless you disconnect the backup device, some people would say that it isn't a real backup, as you have risk that some malware or bad power problem for example could wipe out everything.

When you have a disconnected backup, it's logically superior to RAID 1, because RAID 1 is connected and will duplicate malware damage, user errors, etc., instantaneously.

It sounds like your process would be a manual-intensive RAID 1 sort of process, which may be why the company is suggesting just using RAID 1 instead -- it would maintain the full copy automatically instead of requiring the manual process. The manual process is slightly better as it won't necessarily duplicate malware damage and user errors immediately, but it may be deemed close enough to RAID 1's level of risk with more risk due to the manual steps so that just RAID 1 is being suggested instead.

A better solution would be a manual process which disconnected the drive when it wasn't being written to. This would be easiest with an external drive -- which you could construct using a firewire or USB 2 enclosure. The performance would be slower than a direct connection, but might be fast enough -- this depends on the enclosure and your Firewire/USB2 implementation. With an external setup you could also cycle an additional backup drive if you wanted greater protection.
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