NAS/DAS or SAN plus Backup

I hope this fits better here in storage, but if the question is too "system architecture" oriented, please advise as to the best forum to ask this question.

On a "minimal" budget, I need to figure out a solid storage and backup solution. (No, I don't have a set dollar amount, but obviously, would prefer a sub $5k solution.)

This will be a media content storage solution... multitrack audio and some video.

The media files are generated on local workstation drives that need to get backed up, then eventually archived. The storage won't get a lot of hammering, so it's not like I'll need to stream a lot of data on/off the storage.

My initial solution was to look at using a couple of older U320 RAID5 arrays as DAS shares on a straight ahead Win server. Then use an old LTO1 Tape library for backup/archive of the RAID5 arrays.

I have the spindles and RAID enclosures, but finding legacy U320 cards that are Win Server compatible is a lost proposition, AFAIK. As is locating server solutions that will handle the old RAID controllers.

There's a couple of issues with the spindles... namely that they've been sitting idle for a very long time. e.g., I could fire em' up, and either have all of them fine, or none of them.

One of the RAID's is a 14 bay HP array using 146Gb 10k wide U320 SCSI drives. It was originally configured under a megaRAID controller as a RAID5 w/Hot Swap spare. The other arrays are old Intergraph 8 spindle RAID's, also under PCI megaRAID hardware controllers, using ST318404LC Cheetah's.

Considering the age/unavailability of the spindles themselves, I worry that trying to revive any of these arrays, may very well be an exercise in futility.

I've looked at the QNAP line, and like what I'm seeing for the price point, but if there is a viable solution for a DAS box/archive server, I'm willing to consider anything intelligent/reasonable.

Any thoughts as to a reasonable tape/archive solution, besides the old LTO library? As little data as will delta, even a single drive DAT or LTO could be viable.
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  1. Backups and archives for data sets up to a couple of terabytes are usually done to removable hard drives these days. The drives can be bare, in eSATA enclosures, or in USB 3.0 enclosures.

    Drive backups are faster than tape, you can buy a 2 TB drive for under a hundred dollars, and if you handle bare drives carefully they make wonderful backup media. So for personal and small-business use, this is a viable solution. I personally have ten bare drives and two of these in my PC: .

    On the first question, which DAS to get, I'm agnostic. For enterprise-class reliability, you would use SAS drives. If you have confidence in your backups and are willing to accept occasional downtime, put four enterprise-grade SATA HDDs in RAID 0+1 or five in RAID 5. Depending on the age of your system, your chipset may be able to handle the RAID itself, with internal drives!

    One of our members, FireWire2, built a humungous server using $200 gizmos that will RAID five SATA drives and present the resulting volume to a single SATA port. With the speeds of drives today, this may be throttled by the SATA II connection to the host.

    Edit: you might read this thread:
  2. This ain't my first rodeo, and bare, single drive solutions are NOT going to fly... I've seen, and been burned by going down that road before... like 20 years ago.

    Granted, I'm not looking for an enterprise level D2D2T 12 drive x2 iSCSI SAN solution with replication, but I'm not looking for a simple SOHO solution either.

    My minimum solution has to at least be a fault tolerant, hot swappable, RAID5 that I can archive to some sort of tape. Whether it's in a NAS, DAS or SAN makes no real difference, but looking at QNAP, Synology, etc, these NAS solutions look pretty decent for the price points.

    Dumping +16 cheetah drives for new SCSI drives and a server are definitely more expensive, but I don't know if ROI, TCO, MTBF, or EOL on these cheaper NAS solutions is a better investment... especially when the newer NAS solutions pretty much have built-in compatibility for a tape archive.
  3. That's why I qualified my answer "for personal and small-business use." Sounds like you are out of the scale on which I operate. We do have a few members with large, industrial-grade storage experience. Maybe some of you can pitch in on this thread?
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