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MIRROR Array or weekly backup

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June 23, 2012 10:24:32 PM

hello everyone,

I have a all purpose HTPC/Server that I have been running for over a year. I have 1 ssd for OS and 2 3tb HD's for storage. I have been running a mirror array but I feel that this is not power efficient. I noticed both hard drives spinning 24/7 and I think its because of the raid. I think spinning one hard drive once a week and the other only when accessing data would be more efficient. the data is mainly movies. nothing mission critical. I noticed while recording TV shows, the hard drives get pretty loud and I think having one write instead of two would reduce the noise.

my questions are, what is the best solution for my setup (raid or a backup solution)? what backup software should I use? would this reduce noise/power significantly?
a b G Storage
June 24, 2012 5:16:39 AM

instead of running a mirror raid, it would be more energy efficient if you simply synced the data between the two drives like once a week or something. with linux you can use rsync which is built into linux distros. I'm sure there must be some windows equivalent. :) 
a b G Storage
June 24, 2012 5:31:57 AM

RAID is not a backup solution. Any errors in the file system are duplicated between both drives in a RAID 1. RAID is for redundancy with redundancy defined by the ability of a system to work through failure.

nhaian is right. syning the drives would be the best backup solution. Aside form power efficiency it would extend the life of the backup drive as it is not constantly spinning and can in fact be powered off by the OS when not in use.
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a b G Storage
June 25, 2012 11:17:58 AM

I would keep both 3TB drives in play independently and check your power option in control panel. If you have the ability use a util like Acronis to backup your OS to one of the secondary drives periodically. The downside to this is if you forget to do your regular backup (or the scheduled event fails) and you run into problems you could lose weeks of data. If the content on the secondary drives isn't mission critical (which mirroring suggests) then double your storage. If a 3TB drive ever fails you will certainly lose the data on that drive in this scenario, but it will be less tasking on the drives and give you more space. (FYI, I am only assuming a Windows OS, but that shouldn't matter much).
a c 328 G Storage
June 26, 2012 3:48:59 AM

RAID1 does not cause your HDD's to run 24/7. I suspect something is accessing your RAID1 array constantly.

Your system is used mainly for an HTPC server, mainly for movies. When you say it's a server, I assume you already are sure that you do not have a multitude of other computers on your network using this machine for serving movies to them, right? BUT, are many of the movies ones you downloaded from a Torrent system? Remember that Torrent systems are designed not just to deliver files to you, but to SHARE those files with other Torrent users. So once you have a file (like a movie) downloaded from a Torrent server system, YOUR machine becomes a source to upload that file to any other Torrent user that wants it. That process certainly could keep your RAID1 array busy most of the time - it's a background process that operates whenever you are not doing something yourself.

IF that is what's happening, check into the way your torrent downloader is set up. Many have a way to stop this process, either altogether or for individual files, so that the Torrent system no longer knows you have a particular file available and won't use your system as a source for others.
June 26, 2012 5:05:38 AM

I thought that was the case as well but I reinstalled windows 7 yesterday and have not yet installed utorrent and my problem still persists. right now I am turning indexing and windows search off to see if that does anything.
a b G Storage
June 26, 2012 1:09:18 PM

Latiinyoungn, in Windows 7 you can use the resource monitor to figure out what processes are causing disk activity.

From the task manager click on the "performance" tab and click the "resource monitor" button. When the monitor loads click on the "disk" tab and you'll get a list of processes accessing disks. Under the disk activity panel you can even see what file the process is accessing.

You can use HDDScan to manual spin down the drives to check the volume of your idle drives.

Also you'll want to check the power management of drives in Windows. You need to make sure your power profile allows for the drives to be idle and after what period of time. If this is set to what you expect you need to check your raid controller allows the drives to become idle in a similar manner.
June 26, 2012 5:47:16 PM

ok I spun down the drive and then after about an hour the drives spun back up but the only thing running was: system and svchost.exe (netsvcs)

these processes do not appear to be accessing any files on the drives directly so I am not sure where to go with this

EDIT: I was only able to spin down the drive with HDDscan. I tried setting the drive to go into power save in windows after 1 minute and it still wont spin down.
a b G Storage
June 27, 2012 9:37:38 PM

Do you share the drive on the network or anything like that?
a b G Storage
June 28, 2012 3:30:53 AM

make sure there are no paging files on the RAID. Also be sure to turn off file indexing.
!