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Raid 1 Questions

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August 19, 2010 7:14:37 PM

Hey, so I have four hard drives total. Two 500GB and Two 1TB drives. I want to setup RAID 1 (and I never have before) on each. So the completed configuration would have the Two 500GB in RAID 1 and the Two 1TB in a RAID 1; so I will have a mirror of the 500GB drive (which will become extended storage) and the 1TB drive (which will become primary for Windows 7).

1. Is what I want to do possible?

2. Currently I am using one of the 500GB drives for my OS and everything. I need to backup this. Is it possible to keep this data on the drive as it is, format the two 1TB drives and RAID 1 them and install windows on them. Then connect the 500GB drive and transfer my data off onto the 1TB drive, then format the 500GB drives and setup a RAID 1 on them also (for extended storage)?

3. As I don't have any other hard drives big enough for a complete backup besides the four listed above, what are my options if question #2 wont work?

4. Is there anything else I need to be aware of when setting up all of this?

SYSTEM:
OS: Windows 7
MOBO: XForce 780i-SLI
GPU: EVGA 8800GT
RAM: 6GB Corsair DDR2-800
PSU: Xeon 600W
HDD: Two 1TB Western Digital Black, Two 500GB Maxtor/Seagate (all 7200 rpm)
NIC: D-Link Wireless Xtreme-N PCI-e

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a c 168 G Storage
August 19, 2010 7:54:53 PM

The value of raid-1 and it's variants like raid-5 for protecting data is that you can recover from a hard drive failure quickly.
It is for servers that can't afford any down time.
Recovery from a hard drive failure is just moments.
Fortunately hard drives do not fail often.
Mean time to failure is claimed to be on the order of 1,000,000 hours.(100 years)
Raid-1 does not protect you from other types of losses such as viruses,
software errors,raid controller failure, operator error, or fire...etc.
For that, you need EXTERNAL backup.
If you have external backup, and can afford some recovery time, then you don't need raid-1.

You will pay a performance penalty with writing to a raid-1 array since every update must be done twice.

What I would do is remove one of your 1tb drives and put it in an external enclosure of some kind.
Backup what you want to it. Windows-7 backup should be fine. Backups are compressed, so you do not need nearly as much space as the original to hold all the files.
If you ever need to recover, your windows-7 install disk can be used to recover your system.

I use a mobile rack with a 750gb drive in a 5 1/2" drive bay. I can backup at sata speeds, and when I am done, I either turn off the drive or remove the cartridge.
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August 19, 2010 8:39:55 PM

Thanks for the response. I am aware that it will only cover disk failures, which I cannot afford. I have alot of important information on my hdd. I have been using windows backup and it sucks. My C:\ is half full, but from it backing up so much (the backups stack) it has filled an entire hdd of the same size. I have already cleared out non-recent backups so only the most current is still around and it still takes up the entire hdd. Plus I'd rather not use windows backup and have an exact copy.

I am not worried about viruses, I'm pretty smart and avoid them altogether, or remove them if I get one. And as far as my information goes I am using BitLocker to encrypt all drives. So I really want to get this RAID 1 setup working.

As far as the performance penalty for writing goes... if the hard drives are both the exact same speed then why would there be a performance decrease for writing? Sure it has to write it twice technically, but there are two hard drives, each with their own controllers.
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