First of all RAID is NOT a backup. Raid is for redundancy hence the acronym.
Unless you specifically need speed than RAID-5 is a bit of overkill for what you need, it also has more issues with a re-build if required. The only issues ive heard with the 1.5tb drives is RAID under Linux and mac, which apparently has the majority of issues fixed with new firmware.
As Zenmaster said if you really need this data as you say you do , best option i agree is 2x1.5tb in RAID 1 then another for a mirror of that in an external enclosure, pref ably stored offsite.
Thank god some people are starting to understand this. RAID is NOT a backup solution. It should be used on servers that a business CAN'T afford any downtime. It only protects against the loss of a drive, not the data.
Lets imagine Amazon. Each of their transaction servers probably has some sort of RAID5 array. How many million read/writes do you think they do in a day? What happens when a drive reaches the end of its life? With a single drive or AID0, the server would be dead. No more money being made for X amount of time while IT tech worker replaces the drive. Now imagine a RAID1/5 array. If one drive dies, the other will continue to work. It didn't back up their data, it just allows the system to work with a dead drive.
I doubt you need this kind of solution for your home. I suggest buying whatever drives you like (WD 640GB drives are large and fast, buy those.) and use a USB external drive for backing up important photos and songs. No lost space with RAID1/5, and you have a backup. Mission accomplished.
Alright, I am definitely sold off of the Raid idea. So let me tell you the features that I want and see if there are some better ideas.
I have 2 computers at home (mine and wife's). She has 8-10 gigs of music, as do I and I have about 10 gigs of photos. They definitely need to be backed up. Also, my system has a lot of games on it that are huge and my system drive floats around 100gb+. I would like to be able to backup images of our system drives. I also have a lot of CD/DVD image files that tend to take up room.
My intention is to set up a separate computer as a file server over a gigabit LAN connection.
If it worked well enough, we may just be able to keep music, pictures and such on the file server computer using a network shared drive. Itunes server, etc...
My idea at this point is to have the file server with a network shared storage drive (large, maybe the 1.5 tb). I would then have an additional large capacity drive to backup (store an image of, not raid 1) the networked drive that I would update once a week or so. That one could be external, but not necesarily.
I could automate image and/or incremental backups to the networked storage drive from my other computers (or just keep files on it and access them over the network) and then have the file server computer automatically copy and image to the second large drive.
I am trying to find a happy medium between convenience and security. I would copy to removable media and store offsite, but not so convenient when you are talking about 100gb image files.
Any thoughts or software that might be useful in this scenario.
The + on the Raid 5 setup is fault tolerence and speed.
Raid 5 needs a min of 3HDD, it split the data between 2 of the 3 drives and keep the last drive for the parity bit. If you use 4HDD then it's 3+1.
When moving or copying large files it's fast.
The only donwside that I can see, at least for me, is for better performance for Raid, you need a dedicate Raid card. You can always use the Raid controller on the MB, but a Raid controller card has a processor and memory.
First - I'm just as glad as the rest of you that the idea of raid<>backup is finally getting out where it belongs!
myriad46 - your idea of a file server @ home will certainly do the trick, as will any decent NAS (network attached storage) system. Even just an external disk on USB that you move from one room to the next will do fine as an image backup store.
Avoid SAN for the same reasons you avoided raid - it's just much more than you need.
Of course, with two systems at home already you can just add additional drive space to each machine and write images from one computer to the other...your stuff's imaged on her cpu, her stuff's on yours. Not as elegant a solution as the server, but it's certainly less expensive.
After hearing the full story, i dont think you need a file server at all. as mford66215 an external hard drive that you can connect to either machine or a single drive NAS would be more than enough as you are keeping the data on the local machines.
The supports 10/100/1000 switches. Upgrade your network to gigabit speeds, and add in whatever two drives you want. It supports SATA inside the box, so adding drives is simple. I feel $120 + shipping is a little steep, but it should be fast enough.
To prevent data loss at my house everything important gets burned to disk. We are currently at 3 binders, soon to add a fourth. Our 30GB+ .mp3 collection is stored on BOTH machines. This way if one goes down, another mostly full copy is on the other machine.
Frankly, seeing as this is only backing up data, using a USB external drive is the cheapest route to go. Yes its not the fastest, but its fast enough for backup work.
As for your eSATA problem more than likely you have your BIOS and/or wrong drivers for your controller. I know it works because mine does, i had to turn on AHCI in the BIOS for the controller and download drivers from the controller manufacturer rather than the motherboard manufacurer.