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Raid Question

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May 31, 2012 4:47:40 AM

Hi, I was wondering about RAID, I've never done it before but I'm curious about it.

A few Questions/Possible Scenarios about it

I have a Intel 520 series 120gb SSD (Windows 7 Pro on it and a few games)

My other 1TB HDD has all of my music, videos, backup.

What I noticed a few days ago was when I backed up my files (Made a system image on the storage drive) that it took up a 20 gigs. Its not much but say in a few years when that 20 turns into 100gigs. Over time I will be in trouble if I continue to back up on the same drive.

So my question is can I get another drive of equal or higher volume and RAID the 2 so the computer recognizes it as one whole storage drive.

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System Specs:
Core i5 3570k
Asus P8Z77-V Pro
16gb 1600mhz 4x4gb Corsair xms3
2 HD 6870 1gb ddr5 Crossfire
1 Intel 520 120gb SSD SATA III
1 TB HDD Western Digital Green
1 Samsung Blu Ray CDRW DVDRW
Thermaltake chaser mk-1

More about : raid question

a b G Storage
May 31, 2012 12:26:23 PM

You could, but that is not a good idea based on what you are trying to accomplish. To use the drives in a raid set that doubled the capacity it would be using Raid 0, which doubles the chances of losing all of your data making it a very very poor choice for backups.

Probably just getting a 2tb or 3tb or 4tb drive when the time comes would be a better option.
May 31, 2012 12:53:18 PM

I've been running a RAID 0 setup of 2 Western Digital 640GB Black Edition Drives for 3 years now without incident. As with most things in computers, your mileage may vary. R0 with a File Optimizing Defrag Tool is quite quick. I've gotten sustained reads of up to 200MB/s which is fairly decent for Hard Drives.
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a c 356 G Storage
May 31, 2012 12:54:42 PM

RAID <> BACKUP

RAID is for redundancy and to keep a system up and running. RAID is not a backup solution. A virus or an accidental file delettion will cripple raid just like a single drive. Buy a larger storage drive and make backups to it.
a c 356 G Storage
May 31, 2012 12:58:52 PM

Xenturion said:
I've been running a RAID 0 setup of 2 Western Digital 640GB Black Edition Drives for 3 years now without incident. As with most things in computers, your mileage may vary. R0 with a File Optimizing Defrag Tool is quite quick. I've gotten sustained reads of up to 200MB/s which is fairly decent for Hard Drives.



RAID 0 isn't even a true raid since it offers no redundancy and doesn't help with a system's uptime. If one drive fails the whole array is worthless. Just do a search on these forums for the number of people that had trouble recovering their data when a drive in their raid 0 failed. In a true raid, if one drive dies the system can continue to run with no problems and when the dead drive is replaced, the data is automatically recreated on that drive.
a c 351 G Storage
May 31, 2012 1:25:38 PM

1) Used raid0 from about 1998 -> 2004, Not one failure. Stopped using raid0 when I switched to SSDs.
2) For Raid0: A) Must use more reliable HDDs, The newer run-of-the-mill drives are NOT meant for Raid0, If need the Performance Boost (higher sequencial read/writes), then need to move to the higher end HDDs. Raid0 ONLY provides a nice performance boost if alot of your Computer usage is with LARGE File structures such as; editing/encoding DVD/Blue-ray movie files, working with large spreadsheets or CAD/CAM drawings (and databases), or spend a lot of thime working with large bitmap/jpeg Photos. Raid0 does NOT speed up small file random 4K read/writes. B) backups are important, and should be to an offline HDD (ie USB HDD).
C) If only reason is to increase storages space - FORGET IT.

Comment about raid 1. Recommended for servers where multiple users are connected, and preventing interuption of servce is paramount. For the "Home" user I do not recomment. Raid1 is for single point failure - A HDD. It does NOT protect against the many other failure modes that can kill both drives - ie Virus, malware, or Worse a PSU/MB failure that wipes out both drives. IN the OPs case would NOT increase space, His/her objective. As Stated for Raid0, Backup should be to an external device.

Garrettk4 - Recommend a 2nd drive connected as a 2nd storage drive. You do Not need to keep all of the "C-drive images. My self, I keep the Initial one made: right after windows install, Windows updates, driver installs and program loads. Then the future ones (ie made once a month) I just save the most recent one (total space less than 150 Gigs).
I Write the Image to the internal HDD, then COPY this image to a external USB HDD.
Remember Back ups are to an external device, If your PSU fries your internal HDDs or any problem deveoples that prevents reading the internal drive ,AND NO external BU, you have LOST everything!!

a c 356 G Storage
May 31, 2012 1:44:36 PM

The OP needs to give more info. Is he looking for a backup solution or a redundancy/uptime solution? The original post makes it sound like he's discussing a backup solution which takes RAID off the table.
May 31, 2012 3:24:41 PM

garrettk4 said:
I have a Intel 520 series 120gb SSD (Windows 7 Pro on it and a few games)

My other 1TB HDD has all of my music, videos, backup.

What I noticed a few days ago was when I backed up my files (Made a system image on the storage drive) that it took up a 20 gigs. Its not much but say in a few years when that 20 turns into 100gigs. Over time I will be in trouble if I continue to back up on the same drive.

So my question is can I get another drive of equal or higher volume and RAID the 2 so the computer recognizes it as one whole storage drive.



First off, depending on the backup technology you are using, be aware that you may not in fact be making new 20 GB images with each backup. Some backup software allows for differential backups so that only the blocks that have changed are stored for subsequent backups. There are some risks to this if something in the middle gets corrupted, but it also requires far less storage on your backup location.

That said, you have a few options.
Spanning: Win 7 Pro allows you to create a dynamic volume that will span drives. So you could add a new drive later on (doesn't even need to be the same size), and span your music, pictures, videos and backup data across the two drives. This isn't RAID 0 because the data isn't sliced; it is stored first on one drive, and then on the second once the first is full.

There are downsides to this. First, you typically cannot boot from a dynamic disk. Second, only Windows can read a dynamic disk, which means that your image restore software might not be able to (!). Definitely something you'd want to try before you took it very far. Third, if either of your data disks fails, you lose everything on both. The good aspects of this are: 1) you can use different-sized disks, and 2) you can do this after you already have data on one of the disks, without losing everything.

RAID: Win 7 Pro allows for striping and mirroring, but I don't think it allows RAID 10. And IIRC, I don't think you can migrate a volume to a RAID 0 array without losing the data on it. The Z77 chipset also allows for RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10, but again you would lose your data if you tried to migrate your existing disk. Also, if your O/S drive and boot drive (where that little hidden 200 MB volume is) are connected to one of the Z77's SATA ports, then you'd need to fix your O/S after switching BIOS from AHCI to RAID. Not fun; there's a thread around here somewhere that explains how to do that. You could add two 1 TB drives, set them to RAID 0 using the chipset, copy over your data, and then migrate to RAID 5 by adding your existing disk to the array. That would give you data redundancy while doubling your storage space.

Directory Mounting: Win 7 Pro also allows you to mount a volume into a folder on another volume. So you could get, say, a 3 TB green drive and add it to your system as drive V:. Next, move all of your video files over to it, freeing up space on your 1 TB drive. Then, mount your V: drive into the now-empty video files folder on your data drive, and all of a sudden your videos reappear exactly where they were. There are downsides to this approach relating to performance, backup sizes and indexing, but it might be the solution you need. Three benefits are that (1) the new drive can be bigger, (2) if a drive fails, you only lose the data that was on that drive, and (3) this works with basic rather than dynamic volumes, so you can still get to your data with other O/Ses if your system dies.

I will say that unless you have a redundancy / backup strategy for your data drive elsewhere in your environment, RAID 0 is NOT the way to go. I've lost 5 out of 22 3.5" drives that I've owned. Each dead drive lasted a bit longer than 5 years, running in a 24x7 hot environment. Of the remaining 17, two are just approaching 5 years now, and the rest are all younger. The dead ones are all WD RE series, so they're rated for 24x7 use in RAID environments.
May 31, 2012 5:27:31 PM

Wow thanks guys for the fast responses. A lot of stuff to go through. Thanks again all of you :) 
!