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Old 07-21-2009, 03:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default RAID, Backup Questions

Figured this would be the best spot for a question about RAID.

Right now, I have a terabyte hard drive in my desktop computer that I use for storage of...well, pretty much everything. It's a Seagate 7200.11 drive, like the ones with bad firmware, so I'm kind of wary about leaving so much data on it. The best way I can think of to back up the data off a terabyte hard drive is another terabyte drive, so I was considering buying another terabyte drive or two and setting up a RAID 1 or RAID 5 system (single extra for the first, two extra for the second).

Since the drive I have right now is part of the family with problems, I was hoping to buy a different brand or at least the next revision (7200.12). I'd heard that it's best to use identical drives in a RAID setup - would there be a large hit if I didn't?

Also, I'm somewhat pessimistic about my power supply. I recently upgraded it, so it's powerful enough, but it isn't the most high-end brand (it's a Rosewill that had a lower powered sibling on the "Best Bang for your Buck" list in the recommended PSU thread). If something were to go catastrophically wrong (*knocks on wood*), would it be likely to fry two or three attached hard drives? I can probably buy a new...everything, except graphics card and hard drives...and have it be an upgrade for $200 - it's really just the data I'm concerned about.

I was also thinking of just buying either an external enclosure for my current drive and replacing it with two others in RAID 1, instead of three in RAID 5.

If I were to buy just one other hard drive and set it up as RAID 1, could I add another hard drive later and switch to RAID 5 without losing data? Likewise, would I need to reformat or something to set up RAID 1?

Sorry for all the questions, but I'd rather ask now than be sorry later.
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Old 07-21-2009, 03:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: RAID, Backup Questions

I wouldn't worry about RAID necessarily. Depending on your controller you may need to rebuild the drives anyway to get them in a RAID. You could get another HDD and just backup the information to that second drive and use a backup tool to regularly backup the data. Or you could get two drives and RAID them then move the information from the Seagate to the array. I wouldn't include the drive you have in an array though.
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Old 07-21-2009, 04:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: RAID, Backup Questions

synergy is on the money. Never think of a raid array as a backup solution. It is a failsafe for a hard drive going bad. Even with a raid1 or 5 array you still want to have a backup of all important data.
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Old 07-21-2009, 05:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: RAID, Backup Questions

Glad I asked! I've really been horrible with doing backups manually - I always forget! - so is there a good program you'd recommend that can automatically do them (preferably freeware)?

Looked on Newegg at external hard drives and external enclosures. Found a nice combo with a WD external terabyte (here) that looks about the same price as an internal + enclosure.

Wasn't sure how this hard drive and this external enclosure would work. I'd keep the current drive in the computer (7200 v 5900 RPM) and just do backups on this.

Recommendations?
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Old 07-21-2009, 05:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default

Get a seperate RAID card. The advantage being is that you can easily migrate the RAID from one PC to another when you decide to upgrade your computer.

Also I am rather happy with the adaptec RAID cards. I am using an Adaptec 1220SA PCI Express RAID Card. The software is great. It will let me rebuild while still writing data to the drive. I also reports to me if there is any problems too. I have currently have every set up as a RAID 1 (Drive Mirror).

synergy is correct. RAID are a redundancy and not a back up. RAID will protect you from one drive failing. However it will do nothing about protecting you form Virus or accidental deleting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by trekkie00 View Post
Glad I asked! I've really been horrible with doing backups manually - I always forget! - so is there a good program you'd recommend that can automatically do them (preferably freeware)?
NTBackup.exe
It normally comes with windows.

If you are clever with creating a batch file, they work too

If you are looking for an external hard drive, don't by a name brand one. Get a separate and enclosure.
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in a nutshell, most external hard drives are sealed units. So if the enclosure or the drive fails, there is no way for you to test if it's the drive or the enclosure that has failed with out voiding your warranty. And if you want your data back from RMA, you are going to be stuck paying "Data Recover Rates:, and all they could be doing is changing an enclosure and sending it back to you with a rather large bill.
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Old 07-21-2009, 10:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: RAID, Backup Questions

Only problem with a RAID card is lack of available ports - my PCIE x1 and x16 are tied up with a TV tuner and graphics card, and I think the PCI bus maxes out at about a third the max speed of a SATA drive.

Thanks for pointing out that thread - it definitely makes sense to spend a little extra to get the drive + enclosure. Probably faster to get the data quickly by just pulling out the drive and plugging it into my computer, anyway. A terabyte at USB2.0 speeds would probably be a weekend computer project.

I'll probably go for the 1.5TB Seagate and that inexpensive Rosewill enclosure then. Nothing I have supports eSATA (or will for a very long time), so it should be reliable for most everything.

Is there anything I should be wary of? I can't think of anything too particular - I put an extra laptop drive into an external enclosure a while ago, and it's still running well, but are 3.5" enclosures different other than size and an external power supply?
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Old 07-22-2009, 10:37 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: RAID, Backup Questions

Some enclosures will come with a SATA to eSATA adapter. All you need at that point is an available expansion slot in the back. I bought mine from CompUSA for like $30 and it supports up to TB size drives.

These Rosewills are a little more than the one you linked but have eSATA.
Newegg.com - Rosewill RX-358-S BLK (Black) 3.5" SATA to USB & eSATA Ext. Enclosure w/Int.80mm fan - External Enclosures
Newegg.com - Rosewill RX35-AT-SC BLK Full Aluminum Cover, Metal Tray 3.5" Black USB2.0 & eSATA External Enclosure - External Enclosures
IMO the increased speed would be worth a little extra money.

Also, for backup I use Acronis TrueImage. It's a great app and you can usually find it for a pretty good deal.
Newegg.com - Acronis True Image Home 2009 (CD) - Security / Utilities Software (should be in stock next week)
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Old 07-22-2009, 11:49 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: RAID, Backup Questions

Good idea about the eSATA connector. I thought that it would need some sort of addon card (like, to plug into a PCI or PCIe port), but using one of the motherboard ports makes a whole lot more sense than that!

Since this external enclosure is less expensive than the Rosewill enclosures listed above and comes with a SATA to eSATA adaptor, I'll probably go with it. Worst case (bad pun), I can always temporarily plug the drive into my computer.

Thanks for all your help with this - I'll probably wait until the start of next month to purchase anything, so if I see something go on sale or a better deal I'll probably post here again.
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