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Back up raid0 to a single hard drive

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January 9, 2012 7:49:12 PM

I'm wondering if it's possible to set up two drives in a raid0 array and then back them up to a single drive (twice the size obviously) incase of failure of either drive. and to take it a step further - upon hypothical failure could I then rewrite my data from my 1 larger hard drive back into a raid0 set up with 1 hard drive replaced?

I'm ordering hard drives for my new computer thursday/friday so any input would be greatly apperciated, I'd rather not drop the money into 4 hard drives and set up raid 10
a c 358 G Storage
January 9, 2012 10:57:18 PM

Yes, this will work. As far as Windows is concerned (and any backup software running under it), a RAID0 array is just another "drive" - it does not know or worry about the background fact that it consists of two HDD units managed by a RAID controller system, etc.The backup system can copy all files from one drive to another, and back the other way.

I am assuming you are planning to use a real backup system. Some people successfully use disk cloning software to make "backups", and that would NOT work trying to clone a RAID0 array to a single HDD. But any real backup and restore package should be fine.
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January 10, 2012 11:56:13 AM

so if either drive failed (not includeing the back up obviously) I'd be able to use my back-up drive to copy the old data of the failed drive to a new disk and restore the raid arrays functionality correct? how would I go about setting that up? I don't think I can do it in the bios b/c you'd have to partition the back up drive into 2 parts (one per drive that makes up the raid 0 array)... am I on the right track here? because in my mind it a great plan lol
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a c 306 G Storage
January 10, 2012 12:03:03 PM

Backup should always be on a separate drive, preferably a removable one. If your backup is on another partition of the same drive, and the drive fails - no backup.

How to copy the backup back to the new drive depends on how you did the backup, and what backup software you used. If you did a clone (subject to warnings above), you may be able to boot from the cloned drive after doing a Repair from your Windows installation DVD to change the drivers from RAID drivers.

If you used a tool that is installed into Windows, you will need to get a bootable version of that tool. For example, Acronis True Image can make the backup drive bootable, so that if your system dies you can pop in a blank drive, boot into Acronis from the backup media, and restore a bootable system drive.

I personally do system drive backups with a tool that boots separately, so that my restores are always done by booting into that tool. I use either Norton Ghost 8.0 (how's that for an antique?), EASEUS Disk Backup from its boot CD, or Clonemaster from the Parted Magic boot CD.

EDIT: Of the above, I recommend EASEUS for you. The reason is that it has an option to restore to dissimilar hardware, so if your RAID 0 dies and you restore to a single drive, that drive will be bootable without a repair.

===========================

Unasked-for advice: Don't use a RAID 0 for your system drive, or for anything that you want to have tomorrow, unless you do regular backups. Heck, zero is not actually RAID; the R stands for the word Redundant and zero has no redundancy.
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January 10, 2012 1:46:52 PM

@Jitpublisher - I read that thread... rethinking my options now... raid 0 sounds very cool when I tell people it's in my computer but the logistics of setting it up and (more so) backing it up without dropping more $$$ into a raid 10 array doesn't really tickle my fancy in anyway... prehaps I'll rethink how I want to set up my hard drives - seeing as they're so expensive now. and tinker with raid arrays when prices drop to preflood...
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Best solution

a c 358 G Storage
January 10, 2012 6:24:52 PM

First, let me echo several other posters: RAID0 is risky, and the advantages claimed for it over current hardware are small. Even on standard hard drives, the speed-up available is measurable but so small it may make no real difference except in certain special apps and games. Putting two SSD's into a RAID0 always seems to me like trying to squeeze the ultimate out of something already VERY fast just so you can brag you got it to work. The downside is that it doubles the risk that you will lose your data. And it's not always just one or two files that get lost - you can lose EVERYTHING if one HDD in a RAID0 array fails. That is why I say that RAID0 users REALLY need to "get religion" about making backups!

BUT if you do RAID0 PLUS do proper backups, and then a disk fails, this is the basic sequence:
1. Identify which HDD unit has failed. Use your RAID management software to "break" the RAID0 array into two separate HDD's. At this point you cannot hope to get any data from them - your only hope is your backup on a different drive.
2. Replace the bad HDD. Ideally it should be a very good match to the remaining good one, in terms of capacity and performance speed.
3. Use your RAID management software to create a new RAID0 array and Format it. Now you have a good but totally empty "disk" in Windows.
4. Restore all data, etc. to the RAID0 array "disk" using your backup software. This is where it gets tricky. If the original RAID0 array was being used as your "boot disk", you don't have an Operating System to boot and use for doing the backup. That is why WyomingKnott talked about needing backup and restore software that comes in a bootable form (such as a bootable CD) that you can boot and run from even when there is no OS on any hard drive in your system. PLUS that software needs to be smart enough to know how to deal with restoring to a RAID0 array, because there are a few obscure things that need to be done. For example, no OS (not Windows nor most others) knows how to use a particular RAID array unless it has a driver it can load off a storage source like a HDD. So the RAID0 array has to have a few special files that allow the machine to start its boot process by loading first a loader and a driver that enable it to actually read the RAID0 array and boot from it. Those special pieces need to be placed on the RAID0 disks in a particular place so they can be found and used to start the boot. So if you go this route, make sure you check that it CAN be booted from some storage medium other than a hard drive, and that it CAN restore a RAID0 array.

You can tell I'm no RAID0 fan - never have used it. I'd rather use two HDD's to get two reliable drives, do normal backups, and be able to do relatively simple restores. I do have a RAID1 array running in a retail store Point-of-Sale application. That is because even if one HDD in the array fails, the system needs to keep on running immediately - no computer shut-downs, please - until a replacement and repair can be made later when the store is closed. Plus, I have an automated backup system running in background at night. I am not in the store most of the time, so periodically I check the system to be sure there are no error messages or warnings about possible disk failure.
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January 10, 2012 7:31:57 PM

Best answer selected by mcopinger.
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January 10, 2012 7:34:50 PM

okay well maybe I've been swayed away from a raid0 array, it's really just a personal gaming PC that I also use for... everything! so losing everything, even if it is a 1% chance would really be bad - and honestly the back up sounds a little complex for me right now (just getting into this stuff)

I may just end up going with a Seagate Momentus XT 750gig for now and look into raid arrays as the prices come down and it's less of a "big decession" as far as cost goes!
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a c 898 G Storage
January 10, 2012 9:46:26 PM

I've been running raid 0 for .. nearly 15 years. Beyond a professional raid card and utilities don't expect to restore to your raid0. I've long since given up finding something tha actually works reliably for onboard raid. Don't keep anything on there is my recommendation. Just The OS and the few apps/games you use. Reinstalling is easy and fairly quick if you keep up with slipstreaming updates & apps into W7. I swear it takes longer to install StarWars than it does Win7. LoL
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January 10, 2012 11:53:01 PM

Same here, been using RAID0 for 10 years with onboard controller, and there is really a speed difference you can feel. But you don't need to clone the whole drive, but just clone important folders on the other drive. Software solution like Puresync (free) will do the job. If a drive fail, (which never happened with my array yet...), youcan break the array, make a new one (maybe from 2 faster HDD, as I'm doing from time to time) with a new drive, reinstall your stuff and you're good to go. Windows 7 even has a backup utility in control panel/backup and restore.
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July 26, 2012 7:20:18 AM

RAID-0 again. I keep trying to get a personal question answered and keep seeing the same thing. NOTE: No insult intended here, this is an industry issue. On the matter of backing up ANY RAID Implementation to a single drive and restoring.

Here is how you do NOT do it. Acronis or Ghost.

Here is how you do it.


Before I give you the correct answer on exactly how to backup and restore anything from a 32 drive SAS array, 4-Spinners, or 8-SSD’s implemented as RAID-0 (the configuration matters not), I initially noticed on the Acronis website they made the claim they can back up just about any RAID level except I believe RAID-6 , and they made this claim about Fake RAID. Yes, they did have sense enough to put in a disclaimer that to backup and restore (ALTHOUGH I was unable to find the word restore) , what I call Fake/BIOS/Software RAID you needed to pay for their plus pack. They do not tell you the "Plus Pack" is FREE AND simply creating an AIK/WinPE disk and then 'HOPE' your software RAID driver would be seen by Acronis.

I took down a work station just to have a laugh and used the same Work Station’s MoBo I do now, with a board I have come to like, the same ASUS P9 Pro x79 LGA 2011. I simply setup RAID-0 with 2 disks for the test for the first time without a controller.

Even if it did work, for kicks I called ASUS who I do like and asked what they were thinking when they used the Intel x79 Chipset for 2 x SATA3 and 4 x SATA2 and then stuck two silly Marvel SATA3's restricted with the silly sticker that calls out SSD Caching. That is nothing but RAID-0 with no way to back up. I can understand a person using it for a file mirror, RAID-1, but that's it. To use 2 SATA3’s and 4 SATA2'S (total 6), why ANYONE would waste the drop down in bandwidth, is beyond me and they gave me bull about the Optical drives needing SATA2. NONSENSE! Anyway, sorry I digressed, I would NEVER USE on-board RAID if it were 6 x SATA3. Why? It’s on-board. Good for Optical, eSATA, a place to plug in a hot swap and I can think of nothing else useful.

1. First, for BIOS RAID to be able to back up and restore, the backup Application must understand a file system. (simple enough), but to clarify, the reason is the OS has a (let's call it an abstraction layer) which works in terms of logical blocks (both Linux and Windows work this way). There IS yet a different layer which translates logical blocks to physical data on the storage, then organizes it based on the file system.
As long as the imaging software works on logical blocks, and understands the file system structure (so it can do resizes and the software can actually see the raid device
], it works very well even for fake, BIOS/software RAID. However, Acronis still uses their universal restore even for a normal Hardware RAID Controller and lacks the ability to do what I just mentioned. What puzzles me is they cannot even do a simple complete logical boot IMAGE of Hardware RAID either.
Have a look: http://forum.acronis.com/forum/4446
The Acronis rep is answering a question from a user who titled his post: "4446: Hardware RAID drivers with Acronis Bootable Media."

No, the Acronis rep did not reply. “There are no such things as HW RAID Controller drivers, they use firmware, but no drivers.”

To address some of the other questions:

It's NOT Cloning, it's IMAGING and it's been around in business for 25+ years, since replication and snapshots. Servers image all day long to SANs.

One of my workstations users a rather cheap controller, about $600 Loaded. It the Intel (LSI) http://ark.intel.com/products/54160/Intel-RAID-Controll...

My company and a few others had been using:

http://www.farstone.com/

Farstone is a Good solution, one of dozens, focused on Enterprises. The same way IT deploys images to multiple users at a large company the same requirements, [the imaging at the block level keeping the file system out] is how RAID is backed up and restored. The problem many companies will face is Windows 8 Beta (but not for a long while) is Windows Server 12 which uses WinPE 3.1 and has cut the consumer market out. That is why Acronis never worked. They never added just about every known driver to their WinPE boot disk. It comes with the consumer version for just a few more weeks with Future System Solutions, who makes a consumer version of Casper. However, it will always be available for the Enterprise Solutions.

One of the companies we decided to become resellers for is Future System Solutions. It seems when they split from Symantec 8 years ago, they kept the code for imaging, Symantec kept Ghost. :lol: 

Not a wise decision on Symantec’s part.

NOTE: Not all Motherboards allow booting from USB HDD's. In other words, most of us here I assume use our HDDs in the enclosure of our choice. IF your Mobo has the ability to boot from a USB HDD, that is the easy way. If not, then once the image is made, you need to add it to you PC and select it as the boot drive, launch Casper and restore to the RAID-0 array. I tried the Casper Consumer Solution (which removes the admin abilities, the ability to backup Server Images to Disks or SANs, many things not needed to mention and the ability to backup whole disk PGP and Bitlocker encrypted drives. The cheap consumer version does the trick and more.

The second and for most, the fastest way to backup and restore is to purchase a single SATA3 PCIe card ($19.99) for the backup drive (I suggest a WD 2TB 64 Cache SATA3 and if you must, use the software RAID on your motherboard it's easily done, but you cannot tweak it and would be lucky to get at best 3GB/reads and 2.5GB/writes with 6 x 240GB SSDs. I use 8 x 240GB OCZ SSD's 80K IOPS and get 5.8/R and 5.4/R.

1. Not sure how many drives people can use, but a good test is to use two drives and implement them in RAID-0. Use Casper consumer to make your first image, to a single HDD. Use Atto to create a benchmark for the RAID-0 with 2 drives..

2. When you backup the RAID-0 with two drives, intentionally, DESTROY THE 2 DRIVE RAID-0 you just BUILT. Even take one of the drives out and format it, whatever you prefer to kill a RAID-0 Storage Logical Drive. (Do not STEP on the drive, or drill any holes. :) .

Reset your 2-RAID drives, OR, BETTER YET, build a new RAID-0 with 5, OR 9 drives.

Restore 9 drives from the SINGLE DISK backed up from raid-0 originally done with only TWO disks.
(A secret: If business were unable to do this, they’d be out of business. However, I seem to always find most have never heard of this. Then again, I don’t play games. Well, chess.

One who has the biggest doubts, may email me at my company address, I have many copies of the consumer version, I do not sell it, we sell only the server products and disk encryption backup.

Thus, I would be happy to send you one out at no cost to the BIGGEST DOUBTER.

Report back when you’re done if your still think you cannot backup any RAID implementation and restore it easily with one single disk.

Side note: I do agree, most people should not use RAID-0, not because it can't be backed up, heck, it's as easy as a single drive. In fact, you can implement RAID-6 dual parity and back it up and have the disaster recovery of three new drives.

It irks me smart people like those in this thread still believe RAID-0, or RAID-5, 6, 10, or 60 cannot be backed up. People call RAID-0 DANGEROUS and it's no more dangerous than 1-drive. ONLY RAID-6 double parity has a higher factor of disaster recovery. However, the way to equalize is use two drives, then you go beyond RAID-6.

The only limitation for now is you cannot use anything larger than a 1.6TB drive. Everyone (including Casper) is working on restoring NTFS from GBT. An interesting problem, GPT spans a partition. Annoying.

If you'd like a copy, email me at my business address: dpoulos@erpsaa.com

Regards,

Dean Poulos

disclaimer: I take no responsibility for anyone dumping lots of cash on controllers and multiple SSD’s or on 2 or 3 dozen SAS drives.
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