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RAID Guidance - Adding drives, What to buy, Backup

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January 7, 2012 1:20:22 PM

I'm a software engineer and have extensive programming experience. Playing with hardware over the years has become easy. I have never been given an opportunity to setup a raid. Now I need to for my home personal storage.

I'm thinking of setting up a raid5, seems like a good choice for a typical home setup (videos, music, svn/git, other important files). Although I'm not sure how easy it is to backup a raid5, so that leads me to question one. What is the best way to backup a raid as I realize quickly that a raid array is not backup. Put otherwise, which raid is most conducive to being able to backup easily and take off site. I understand all the different raid types (yes I read the FAQ) but other than raid1 it seems the rest are not easy to backup. I see raid10 but from all my research you can't grow a raid10 over time. I was hoping to purchase a minimal raid today and add drives over the next weeks.

I need a PCI-E raid controller. Any advice on what to buy here? Was hoping to keep it ~$100.

Depending on the answer to how to manage backups of a raid I need to get some hard drives. Most raid controllers come with 4 ports so if that is not enough I'll need to buy a port multiplier. Any advice on a good multiplier that won't destroy the bank?

What type of hard drives should one buy. The major hard drive makers like WD and Seagate seem to enjoy selling these "green" drives which in my experience go bad fast but they are often the cheapest. For a raid should I be looking into getting fast so called "black" drives or will it not make a major difference due to the performance overhead of a raid? It is not like I will be doing anything more than fetching files from the raid or streaming a video.

Finally, is it possible or rather easy to upgrade the raid with new drives over time? Lets say I want to start with 4x2TB drives. Is it possible in the future to just plug in another 4x2TB drives (via another port multiplier) and the raid will evolve itself?


Edit: I have a file server running already with 6x SATA ports on the mother board and only two are being used. Is it possible to leverage this and save some money? Although I do like the idea of the hard drives for the raid being external to the PC so I can grab them and run in case of emergency. Maybe combine this with something http://www.addonics.com/products/ad5hpmreu.php


Thanks for the feedback!
January 7, 2012 2:29:16 PM

Decent raid controllers are usually a few hundred, and best backup method is tape due to sheer capacity but high cost
a c 114 G Storage
January 7, 2012 2:46:30 PM

Having "been there and done that", I'd strongly advise an NAS. Installed mine 3-4 years ago..... has required no attention from me since and comes w/ backup software

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...|22-122-010^22-122-010-01%23%2C22-122-095^22-122-095-TS%2C22-122-062^22-122-062-TS%2C22-122-081^22-122-081-TS
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January 7, 2012 3:32:28 PM

kitsunestarwind said:
Decent raid controllers are usually a few hundred, and best backup method is tape due to sheer capacity but high cost


Tape drive backup, I have no heard those words in quite awhile. It seems tape drives cost $1000+ or am I looking in the wrong place?


If I have a 4x2TB drives setup in a raid5 for example. To do a true backup I would need to backup every drive correct. I can't imagine any possible way to do this except with another 4x2TB drives to mirror the raid5 then take off site.


JackNaylorPE said:
Having "been there and done that", I'd strongly advise an NAS. Installed mine 3-4 years ago..... has required no attention from me since and comes w/ backup software

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...|22-122-010^22-122-010-01%23%2C22-122-095^22-122-095-TS%2C22-122-062^22-122-062-TS%2C22-122-081^22-122-081-TS



This is very intriguing. I was going to build a third computer to server as the file storage. However these NAS boxes seem ready to go and relatively cheap. Will they suffice as a video storage medium? My HTPC running XBMC should have no trouble?

It seems the NAS caps out at 4 drives, is there anyway to ever increase this? Can these NAS boxes work with port multipliers.
a c 82 G Storage
January 7, 2012 3:36:13 PM

Quote:
If I have a 4x2TB drives setup in a raid5 for example. To do a true backup I would need to backup every drive correct. I can't imagine any possible way to do this except with another 4x2TB drives to mirror the raid5 then take off site.
Backing up a RAID is no different than a single drive. Back up the whole RAID to an external hard disk that will be taken off-site.
!