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What is the best RAID option for data protection and speed?

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August 9, 2011 5:41:04 AM

Ok, I've got 4 1tb hard drives. One will serve as the backup drive so I have three left. Should I use Raid 1 with all three to get maximum protection against data loss or Raid 5 for increased speed or Raid 0+1? Suggestions?
a b G Storage
August 9, 2011 6:18:45 AM

RAID 10 (or 0+1) will provide the best performance/redundacy if you have 4 drives, but requires a minimum of 4 drives. RAID5 will kill your write performance but you can use 3 drives and get N-1 drives worth of usable space.

If you're really concenred about performance and redundacny do RAID 10 with all 4 drives and backup critical stuff somewhere or keep it in two places like your SSD and the RAID 10.
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a b G Storage
August 9, 2011 7:45:00 AM

Nowadays, when TB is cheap, RAID protection is no longer necessary. You alredy have a backup drive, so RAID 0 the other ones. If you feel better, use 2 drives for backup and RAID 0 the other 2. In a way, you will be making a RAID 10, lol
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a c 289 G Storage
August 9, 2011 1:06:44 PM

leandrodafontoura has an excellent point that backups should be done. It has become a catchphrase here - "RAID is not a substitute for backups."

But any RAID with redundancy (above zero, which is not really RAID, since the R stands for "Redundant") will improve the reliability of your system. A single failed hard drive will not affect the system's usefulness.

My _personal_ choice would be RAID 0+1, using four drives, plus buying at least two more drives for backups. If you only have one backup drive, and you are doing a full backup, and your system crashes, you now have zero backups. I have about eight drives that are used for backups.
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August 9, 2011 2:38:25 PM

Unfortunately, I do not have 4 drives for the RAID setup. I am indignate that one of the four will be for backup and taken off site. So, I have three left. Should I do this? Setup 2 drives at RAID 0 and then one drive as an internal backup? Then I still have one drive for external backup.
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August 9, 2011 5:36:35 PM

Best answer selected by ahthurungnone.
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