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Old 11-19-2012, 03:43 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default +HDD's = Server (unRAID?)

Hello,

I'm building a new PC, so I want to turn my old one into a server. I have 2x2TB Western Digital hard drives to put in it: Newegg.com - Western Digital WD Green WD20EARS 2TB 64MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

I'd like to add more drives. It's housed in an Antec 900 which has 6 bays, although I'm not looking to add 4 more drives just yet.

First of all, I think I want to run a RAID of some sort. I have no experience with this, but I've read some good things about unRAID. Can anyone give me some guidance regarding that? What I want is to create a server that has an automatic backup system, but I don't need 100% uptime if a drive fails (I would just replace the drive asap).

Do I need to use identical drives? The drives I already have don't appear to be on the market anymore, but a similar Western Digital 2TB drive is. I'd like to start by adding 2 more 2TB drives, for a total of 4x2TB. If I decide to add another in the future, will there be any problems adding it into the RAID?

Do I need a RAID controller of some sort?

The 2 drives I already own are full with data. Do I need to move/backup that data elsewhere before putting them in a RAID?

I have a spare SSD. Would it be beneficial to use the SSD for the OS in this case? Can the primary drive be outside of the RAID?

Any other advice here? This is new territory for me.
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Old 11-19-2012, 12:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: +HDD's = Server (unRAID?)

Do you want the RAID just for backup purposes? There is software for that so you don't lose 2 new drives you just bought. Automatic backup would pretty much just be your current 2 drives in RAID 1 with the 2 new ones. Long as they are close to specs and same size it should work by my knowledge. You don't need a RAID card as long as you have 4 RAID ports on your motherboard.

If you want to RAID any drives they have to be empty or you will lose the info when creating the array.

Yes the primary can be outside of the array, that actually makes it easier. I wouldn't waste an SSD on a server though unless you use it a lot.
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Old 11-19-2012, 06:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: +HDD's = Server (unRAID?)

I don't want to lose my 2 new drives. RAID 1, from what I've read, is not what I want.

Are there not other raids that give me more than 4TB usable space if I have 4x2TB drives?
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Old 11-19-2012, 07:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: +HDD's = Server (unRAID?)

Well, you have RAID 4 and 5 which work off a parity system, but it's not exactly a backup like it seemed like you were explaining. A complete automated backup system is RAID 1. It mirrors exactly what the destination drive gets to a separate drive making it redundant backup. The parity system is you RAID 3-5 drives and if one goes down the others put the pieces back together (in simple) so your RAID is back up to spec.
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: +HDD's = Server (unRAID?)

I want the most usable space while having all data backed up if a drive fails. To do this, I think the best options are RAID 5 or unRAID. Correct?
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Old 11-24-2012, 04:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: +HDD's = Server (unRAID?)

Will you be running a platform that supports unRAID? I'd never heard of it so don't know that much about it but it looks like you will need support for reiserFS (which I doubt Windows has).

At any rate, RAID 5 is a good choice for this sort of application but you should understand that no RAID level is equivalent to a proper backup.
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Old 11-25-2012, 10:31 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: +HDD's = Server (unRAID?)

I decided to just scrap the raid idea for now. I picked up two 3TB drives and hopefully I'll add more in a couple years.
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