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Advice on RAID

Last response: in Storage
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November 15, 2012 2:10:27 AM

So I have a lot of media on a 2tb external HDD. Not only is it getting close to full, I'm starting to get a little worried that the drive will fail and I'll lose everything. I've been looking into RAID and I just have a few questions. I have a boxee box so USB 3.0 would be helpful, but I would use esata while connected to PC. This is the enclosure I'm looking at, the price is good and the reviews look okay. It also has USB 3.0 and esata.

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816683001

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

1. Would this be a good enclosure for home use? It would be used a lot.
2. Would RAID 5 be a good choice?
3. Would I be able to use the HDD out of my external without formatting it? I think it's a WD Green (Hardware raid)
4. Can I add more drives in for more space after I've set up it all up? (Everything at once is expensive).
5. Opinions on what HDD I should use. I'm looking at 2tb WD Green drives.

Thanks in advance to anyone who replies. I'm new to raid and any advice would be helpful.

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a b G Storage
November 15, 2012 12:57:55 PM

I have no experience with the product you mentioned and there isn't sufficient reviews on newegg about the product. Looks like support might be an issue, so keep than in mind before you buy.

IMHO, storage devices should be out of sight, away from your entertainment system. If you can, get a network storage device. They offer way more flexibility than home USB/ESATA devices and usual packs more features as well. Your boxee should have a network port to connect to the LAN to stream your media. If you do decide on an USB/ESATA storage, keep it connected to your PC and stream the media from your PC.

1. When choosing an enclosure, think about cooling and sturdiness. HDD need to be kept cool to extend their lifetime. The device you mentioned seemed very cramped with vents only on the top/bottom. This means drives at the end of the air tunnel will run hotter. This may not be an issue with cool/green drives, but it could shorten their lifespan. You should also look for sturdy drive bays. They should offer little to no vibration during operation and the locks should withstand repeated open/closing for drive removal.
2. RAID 5 is fine and will provide ample storage in return. You will need a minimum of 3 drives for RAID5. Some devices offer "Flex RAID" or "XRAID". These are just fancy terms for automatic RAID migration. This allows you to start off with a single drive and the device will choose the RAID level for best protection as you add additional drives.
3. Your data will be erased when the drive is added to a RAID array. The drives will have to be initialized with RAID data (usually proprietary data) which erases the drive. If the drive is add as JBOD and the device recognizes the current file system, then your data will be preserved for access. You still do not have RAID. You will be warned during setup that drive data will be erased.
4. Check if the device support RAID migration and RAID expansion (most do) and you can add drives as need. See response 2 above for additional features that might be offered.
5. For the enclosure mentioned, you need very cool drives. Green drives should fit the bill. Since you plan on using it near your entertainment unit, they also run quieter as well. Best to check if there is a drive compatibility chart for drives which as been certified on this device.
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