Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

What do I do with all these hard drives?

Tags:
  • NAS / RAID
  • Linux
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
Share
January 17, 2013 7:04:25 AM

I have a system I built last year that I want to reconfigure. FWIW, the motherboard has a Z68 chipset. Please understand that I know just enough to be dangerous, so type slowly and I can follow along, with the help of Google where necessary.

The issue that is motivating me to rethink my setup is that I run Windows 7 and I want to be able to run Linux as well, and just use Windows when there is no easy solution in Linux. So, Linux will become my primary OS. I have to reconfigure because Linux hates my RAID arrays, which are run off of the onboard motherboard RAID controller. The linux people tell me that onboard RAID is a hoax. I don't quite understand why, but I've heard it enough times that I'm starting to believe it.

Right now, I have a 64GB SSD, and two 2TB drives. My idea is to confine the OS and applications to a single hard drive and put all my data files on another one. I'm paranoid about losing data after having a hard drive get corrupted some years ago and losing a bunch of data.

Right now I have all my data files being protected via the on board "Fake RAID" in a RAID 1 configuration.

I'm thinking that I can got a 256GB SSD and use that for my Windows installation and applications. I can repurpose the 64GB SSD to be the linux drive. All data files will continue to live on the 2TB drives and I want to keep those backed up. I also want to access that data from both OSes.

So I have these options to achieve this auto backup:
RAID --either RAID 1 or RAID 5 (I will buy a 3rd 2TB drive if I have to)

Forget about RAID altogether, set up 2 distinct volumes, and use a file syncing tool to run every day and back up the files.

If I go for RAID, it has to be true hardware RAID that will play nice with Ubuntu and other linux distributions.

So, do I make the "data" volume external or keep it internal?

My motherboard does not have an eSATA port on it so I'd have to buy a separate card + hardware RAID-enabled enclosure for that.

If I keep everything internal, I will still need a RAID controller card, yes?

I really don't ever see me having to move my 2TB drives around, so I may as well keep them internal if possible and if it keeps data transfer speeds up or saves money.

The 2TB drives are SATA III drives and it seems that eSATA is slower than that, so going external may introduce a bottleneck.

I do a little bit of everything on my computer -- editing hi-res images, some video editing, audio editing and so forth.

So my questions:
Use RAID or file sync utility?
If RAID -- external or internal?

Depending on that, what hardware do I have to buy to make it linux-friendly RAID and avoid the "fake RAID" issues?

I'm open to suggestions and remember to type slowly so I can follow along. Thank you.

More about : hard drives

a c 392 G Storage
January 17, 2013 11:18:00 AM

You don't understand RAID. RAID is NOT a backup. RAID is for redundancy so that if a drive fails the computer can continue to run normally. An accidental file deletion or a virus will destroy your data regardless of RAID. You need to make proper backups of your data.

If your machine got infected right now, the virus would be replicated to the other drive in your RAID 1. If you accidently deleted a file, poof, it will be gone from both drives in the array. You can continue to use RAID if you want, just be sure to backup those arrays.
January 17, 2013 12:17:31 PM

This post made my head hurt
Related resources
a c 76 G Storage
January 17, 2013 12:32:44 PM

I have been in the IT business a while, and there is a vast difference in the needs for a business (25+ users), and home use (2-3 users). RAID is designed for speed in the business world, and quick recovery in case of hardware failure. Businesses still backup data (if they are smart) - even with the best RAID configurations.

If you are a home user, products like SyncBack for Windows does a great job of either synchronizing folders (real-time backup) or performing backups on a scheduled basis. Having data stored on two drives helps ensure that you don't lose data, but it doesn't guarantee it.

Personally, I am using three drives in my main rig - one for the OS/program files, one for data, and one for backup. The backup drive also backs up other computers in the network.

At work, I have many RAID arrays that server as file servers, database servers and backup servers. In the office, I can't afford to be down for an extended period of time - and if I lose a hard drive, it is quickly replaced, the RAID array rebuilt and we are back on track. It is supplemented with a backup (incremental daily, complete weekly).

So unless you can't be down for more than 2-4 hours at home, RAID, while very efficient, is a bit more than is needed, especially since RAID arrays require identical drives.

With the complexity of Ubuntu and Windows, finding a solution that works seamlessly may be difficult, as synchronization/backup tools for Ubuntu and Windows are different.
January 17, 2013 2:59:01 PM


ronintexas said:


Personally, I am using three drives in my main rig - one for the OS/program files, one for data, and one for backup. The backup drive also backs up other computers in the network.

(...)

So unless you can't be down for more than 2-4 hours at home, RAID, while very efficient, is a bit more than is needed, especially since RAID arrays require identical drives.

With the complexity of Ubuntu and Windows, finding a solution that works seamlessly may be difficult, as synchronization/backup tools for Ubuntu and Windows are different.


These are good points that I hadn't considered. Now you have me thinking that I am bing a little OCD about my backups and that maybe I should forget about RAID altogether. Your point about RAID being useful for recovering from a crash within a couple hours hits home and I realize what you mean about it being overkill for home users.

There's an open source utility called Free File Sync that I have been using in Windows. They also have a linux version available. I'll look into using that in the configuration you suggest - i.e.:

1 HDD as a windows system/application drive
1 HDD as a linux system/application drive
1 HDD for data that is shared among the two OSes
1 HDD as a backup drive synced with Free File Sync or similar

No RAID anywhere.

Thanks for your thoughts.
!