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Thread started 04 Jan 2014 (Saturday) 14:12
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1,2,3,4 TB drives?

 
RTPVid
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Jan 06, 2014 10:58 |  #31

Eyal wrote in post #16580254 (external link)
...if you know how....if you know what you are doing...

The near fatal flaw in the first part of your post (for most users, anyway).

IF the OP remembers that the purpose of RAID is the maximize uptime, AND he knows what he is doing, it is certainly possible to use a RAID system as a backup of sorts.

No one is speaking ill of RAID arrays; they have their purpose. But, far too many people (basing this on past threads on this board, plus a couple of other boards I participate in) think that RAID IS backup.

It isn't. It is redundancy that will keep you up and running in the event of a single drive failure. But, drive failure is only one of the things that can cause you to go to your backup.


Tom

  
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Eyal
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Jan 06, 2014 11:50 |  #32

The near fatal flaw in the first part of your post (for most users, anyway).

I disagree.
If you are running a raid in your computer and you have a problem with hardware, you can either let someone who knows what he is doing fix it, or you can do it yourself if you put your mind to it.
If your HDD dies will you throw it on the floor yelling "work damn you!" and try again? of course not. You will take it to a place which can restore your data for you.

Besides, setting up a raid today is almost dummy proof. Its completely a 5 steps (or less) setup. And 99% of the time you only have to do it once.

I didn't also say it was for everyone. But for people who need large space for storage and are afraid of failures and losing their data which they have yet made a backup to, this is the best solution.
To me it looks like people are more afraid of it because "raid is unknown to be". The same as some people are afraid of a new TV remote or hooking up a receiver to speakers. And the comments earlier about raid not as safe, are years outdated.

RTPVid wrote in post #16582260 (external link)
It isn't. It is redundancy that will keep you up and running in the event of a single drive failure. But, drive failure is only one of the things that can cause you to go to your backup.

This is completely up to a user usage.
Raid can be a home backup, it can be an active redundant solution, it can be both. You are the one who choose what it will be.
Raid has a redundancy function, but you can store on it your data with less worry about the whole data going *poof* because your backup HDD suddenly died. It can replace other backup solutions like an external HDD or storing 10000 DVDs on the side for a long time.
Its a more expensive solution, but chances are it will out-live your external HDD by several years.


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Hogloff
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Jan 06, 2014 12:18 |  #33
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ImCBParker wrote in post #16578646 (external link)
Well aware of Kelby's issues, he is one guy. Go to any review site and look at the positive reviews vs. negative. Overwhelmingly positive, more so than most external devices. I certainly get the skepticism if Kelby was my only resource.

I have not had one drive go bad in either of my Drobos. Ditto for the handful of other photographers I know that use them. Any hard drive failures can be terrible. There are plenty of RAID/NAS devices besides Drobos. Given their prices are in consumer reach, is truly is the best scalable option for large data collections. Individual hard drives are fine up to their capacity, but like all external drives, good luck when either their boards or drives fail.

Count me as another very happy Drobo user. Simple and painless like it should be.




  
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RTPVid
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Jan 06, 2014 12:48 |  #34

Eyal wrote in post #16582376 (external link)
I disagree.
If you are running a raid in your computer and you have a problem with hardware, you can either let someone who knows what he is doing fix it, or you can do it yourself if you put your mind to it.
If your HDD dies will you throw it on the floor yelling "work damn you!" and try again? of course not. You will take it to a place which can restore your data for you.

You are comparing apples and walnuts. If some of the more complex failures of a RAID happen, and you are using RAID as your backup, your ONLY option is to pay someone to "restore your data for you".

With a proper backup, when (not if) your drive fails, you get a new drive, and restore from backup. (And, if it will make you feel better, throw your failed drive on the floor and yell at it.)

Eyal wrote in post #16582376 (external link)
Besides, setting up a raid today is almost dummy proof

But, we weren't talking about setting it up. We were talking about recovery of the data from a failed RAID.

Eyal wrote in post #16582376 (external link)
To me it looks like people are more afraid of it because "raid is unknown to be". The same as some people are afraid of a new TV remote or hooking up a receiver to speakers. And the comments earlier about raid not as safe, are years outdated.

More off-topic stuff. I am not "afraid" of a RAID. I fully understand how it works and what it is best at. It is not best at being a backup.

Eyal wrote in post #16582376 (external link)
This is completely up to a user usage.
Raid can be a home backup, it can be an active redundant solution, it can be both. You are the one who choose what it will be.
Raid has a redundancy function, but you can store on it your data with less worry about the whole data going *poof* because your backup HDD suddenly died. It can replace other backup solutions like an external HDD or storing 10000 DVDs on the side for a long time.
Its a more expensive solution, but chances are it will out-live your external HDD by several years.

This is where you are wrong, or at least, misleading. RAID should NOT be used as a "home backup." It should better be thought of as a fault tolerant single copy of your data, rather than as a backup of your data. There are just too many failures that a RAID will not protect against that a proper backup will.

If you accidentally delete a file, it will instantaneously be deleted from the entire RAID.
If you corrupt a file, it will be instantaneously corrupted throughout the RAID.
If malwear deletes, corrupts, or holds hostage your files, this will apply to the entire RAID.

Add to this that your MTBF for a RAID array is actually less (much less) than for a single drive and hopefully you start to see my point.


Tom

  
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Jan 06, 2014 13:25 |  #35

Yes, before you invest in hardware for a RAID setup, invest time in establishing a proper file archive system for your work flow.

First and foremost you want something that supports file history. Having two copies of A doesn't do you much good when you overwrite both As with a B. Now your A is a B and you have no way to go back to it. This is why RAID is not a backup. When you write file A to the system, a new file is created. If you change A and write it again to the backup system it won't overwrite A with A1, or even just copy A1, but rather it should ideally look at A and A1, see what the difference between them is, and then write the changes needed to go from A to A1 as A1-Delta. It should also automatically build snapshots after so many Deltas of the latest file so the system doesn't have to do excessive computing to get from A to A99. Additionally if accidentally save file B as A2, you can still go back and see A1 and A as distinct and intact files.

Second it needs to be hard to actually delete something from. Backups don't do you much good if you go looking for something in one and find that you deleted A B and C along with the D that you meant to. Removing data from an archive needs to be something you have to go out of your way to accomplish.

Third it is ideally walled off from the 'working' system. A low powered server is usually best. Data passed as requests from your main system, and your main computer can't directly write to the drives involved. This way if your main system is compromised it is far harder for your backup data to be affected as well because it sits behind another layer in another user-space. If your main computer is free to read and write to the archive directly, then any data destructive errors are free to affect the backup as well. Instead of sending direct read and write requests the backup interface software running on your main system instead bundles packets to send off where the archive software reads and writes itself based on the requests.


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joeblack2022
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Jan 06, 2014 13:33 |  #36

John from PA wrote in post #16577766 (external link)
Do you really need ready access to all those images? I'd get a good cataloging program and start burning to DVD. It's lot of work now, but as you move forward if you do this on a regular basis it isn't a difficult task. Just remember FIFO, first in first out.

Backup and archiving are two different beasts. I wouldn't consider optical media (CD, DVD, HD-DVD, Blu-ray) suitable for backup.

Not even taking into account the disputable archive life of optical media there's always the technology gap you need to consider.

Will there be something available in 20-30 years that will read the data from the discs?

EDIT:

My 2 cents on the ongoing RAID discussion. RAID is designed for high availability of data, it doesn't replace a backup. When the RAID is compromised, the failed drive should be replaced ASAP and depending on configuration, it can take a VERY long time for the RAID to rebuild itself once this is done. Your data is a sitting duck without a backup (not to mention it doesn't protect against fire, theft, and all the other things already discussed).


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Jan 06, 2014 14:20 |  #37

joeblack2022 wrote in post #16582625 (external link)
Backup and archiving are two different beasts. I wouldn't consider optical media (CD, DVD, HD-DVD, Blu-ray) suitable for backup.

Not even taking into account the disputable archive life of optical media there's always the technology gap you need to consider.

Will there be something available in 20-30 years that will read the data from the discs?

EDIT:

My 2 cents on the ongoing RAID discussion. RAID is designed for high availability of data, it doesn't replace a backup. When the RAID is compromised, the failed drive should be replaced ASAP and depending on configuration, it can take a VERY long time for the RAID to rebuild itself once this is done. Your data is a sitting duck without a backup (not to mention it doesn't protect against fire, theft, and all the other things already discussed).

There is also a roughly 40% chance of a 4x 2TB raid array failing to rebuild due to an unrecoverable read error. Not to mention all the other freak things that can go wrong, like the power going out during a rebuild etc. RAID 5 also doesn't have snapshots or silent error detection making it even worse for archival.


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Jan 06, 2014 14:25 |  #38

No ones has mentioned printing all your photos yet :P At Least you won't have to worry about whether something can read them in 20-30 years or not.


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Jan 06, 2014 14:32 |  #39

you could do that but then that takes up physical space. What happens if you want to reedit a photo and you don't have the digital file?

I think we should just the photo, commit it to memory and then delete the picture and then tell stories of how good the photo is.


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Eyal
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Jan 08, 2014 02:03 |  #40

RileyNZL wrote in post #16582742 (external link)
There is also a roughly 40% chance of a 4x 2TB raid array failing to rebuild due to an unrecoverable read error. Not to mention all the other freak things that can go wrong, like the power going out during a rebuild etc. RAID 5 also doesn't have snapshots or silent error detection making it even worse for archival.

40% chance? Where did you get that number from?

Also, raid on itself doesn't have any silent error detection, but the controller does, and small errors even in a raid 5 will not cause a raid fault or a rebuild, and only the parity of that block will be rebuilt.
The only times a full disk rebuild will occur is when there are several blocks errors (like when power went down and you don't have a UPS), or when a full HDD crash.

RTPVid wrote in post #16582518 (external link)
You are comparing apples and walnuts. If some of the more complex failures of a RAID happen, and you are using RAID as your backup, your ONLY option is to pay someone to "restore your data for you".

With a proper backup, when (not if) your drive fails, you get a new drive, and restore from backup. (And, if it will make you feel better, throw your failed drive on the floor and yell at it.)

But, we weren't talking about setting it up. We were talking about recovery of the data from a failed RAID.

More off-topic stuff. I am not "afraid" of a RAID. I fully understand how it works and what it is best at. It is not best at being a backup.

This is where you are wrong, or at least, misleading. RAID should NOT be used as a "home backup." It should better be thought of as a fault tolerant single copy of your data, rather than as a backup of your data. There are just too many failures that a RAID will not protect against that a proper backup will.

If you accidentally delete a file, it will instantaneously be deleted from the entire RAID.
If you corrupt a file, it will be instantaneously corrupted throughout the RAID.
If malwear deletes, corrupts, or holds hostage your files, this will apply to the entire RAID.

Add to this that your MTBF for a RAID array is actually less (much less) than for a single drive and hopefully you start to see my point.

You are correct. But also incorrect.

On the same level of "omg my raid died", you can also run weekly backups and suddenly realised the HDD you have been doing your backup to has died and all your hard work has been gone for good.
It can die while running a backup and suddenly there is power surge, it can corrupt all the data because of a faulty HDD controller, it can die because your accidentally dropped it.

The benefit of a raid is that its always available. The chanced of a full raid failure is extremely low, and it can surprise losing a drive while a single point backup will never survive it.
Also, you don't have to overwrite your data. You can save multiple backups on the same RAID because you gain more storage. And the chance for corrupt file because of raid is lower than a full directory and a backup being corrupt on a single point of a single HDD.

Chances to need to recover a dead RAID are very, very low. And just the same as a full HDD dead and need to take it to a company for restoration, you can also do this to a raid (even if you lose 2 drives in a RAID5, its still possible).

Besides, if you re-read what I said, I stated that a raid is good think to work on and you should always do a secondary backup just in case. Same if you are backup to an external HDD, you should always have a second backup just in case.


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adza77
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Jan 08, 2014 03:09 as a reply to  @ post 16578671 |  #41

I was in a similar position a few months back -

I ended up getting a Synology NAS unit - VERY HAPPY with my decision. Not only does it serve as a very suitable storage device - some of the additional featuers it has built in are quite fun and handy.

For instance, I can grab my mobile, be anywhere in the world, install an app and view RAW photo's stored on my NAS on my phone.

Also, my unit has external USB3 ports. I've plugged in an external HDD dock, so I can backup my raid straight to HDD's and store them off site.

And with Synology's own Hybrid Raid System - RAID is a breeze - so easy. Doesn't matter what combination of HDD's, etc - it does all the work for you!

As others have mentioned RAID is not a true backup - but does offer redundancy of HDD failures.


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Jan 08, 2014 08:24 |  #42

Mark0159 wrote in post #16578762 (external link)
I havn't found a good backup software. I would like to just copy the files and not store them in a speical format as you may have guessed. So I use windows copy and make sure that each backup directory has the same size and the same number of files. Just make sure you treat the backup HDD with kid gloves. it's still a HDD with moving parts. Dropping it from any height while it's running is not good for it.

:)

I use FBackup (external link), which is a simple freeware backup program that has an option to just copy the files, and not compress/store them in a special format. I have it set to backup each night, from my primary USB 3.0 external drive to my backup eSATA drive. I also have a manual backup defined, which I run periodically to a portable Passport USB 3.0 drive, which is then disconnected from the PC. Offsite backup is done via CrashPlan, as I am not disciplined enough to rotate my own backups offsite.

I will replace the external drives periodically, as higher capacity drives become affordable. Right now my main drive is a 3TB USB 3.0 unit.


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RTPVid
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Jan 08, 2014 09:30 |  #43

Eyal wrote in post #16587436 (external link)
...On the same level of "omg my raid died", you can also run weekly backups and suddenly realised the HDD you have been doing your backup to has died and all your hard work has been gone for good...It can die ...

No, it isn't. I guess you missed (or don't understand) the term "proper backup".

With a proper backup, you don't have a situation where "the HDD you have been doing your backup to" has any significance beyond convenience or time. A proper backup has both a local and an off-site backup, so you always have three copies (your working copy, your local backup, and your off-site backup). IOW, there is no "it" do die. There are "them" that have to die. In at least 2 separate places.

Eyal wrote in post #16587436 (external link)
...The benefit of a raid is that its always available.

Close. The benefit of a RAID is higher uptime. It is more tolerant of certain faults (e.g. drive failure), and you can keep running with a single drive failure, and your repair of the failed drive does not take the system down. I have been consistent is saying this. This is why RAID exists. Home (i.e. personal, not for business use) RAID systems are (IMO, and I emphasize, IMO) a waste of money and an unnecessary complication. The value to home users of 99.9% uptime of their data storage is low (unlike for many businesses, even many home-based businesses.) I understand the "cool" factor of having a 5 drive RAID as a home NAS, but in reality, it is unneeded for any rational technical reason.

Eyal wrote in post #16587436 (external link)
...Besides, if you re-read what I said, I stated that a raid is good think to work on and you should always do a secondary backup just in case. Same if you are backup to an external HDD, you should always have a second backup just in case.

I was taking issue with your statement that a RAID can be a good home backup. No, it can't. It is still a single copy of your files, no matter how you cut it. That is, definitionally, NOT a backup.


Tom

  
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Jan 08, 2014 09:50 |  #44

phantelope wrote in post #16577394 (external link)
My 1TB drive is basically full (as is the backup of course) so I need to expand. I might finally get my act together and figure out this RAID thing (I have online backup with CrashPlan, so it's not ultra important to have this extra level of security.

But, what size of drive to buy? It's tempting to get 2 or 4TB drives so I don't have to deal with this again for a while, but I read somewhere that the larger ones simply have more disks (and readers and mechanics) in them, which adds a bit of possible failure chance. Or is it comparable to having four 1TB drives (with all their mechanics etc)?

I'd like to have at least 2TB (and the same as backup), should I go to 4? It's less of a price issue to me, more a reliability and clutter on my desk issue.

I don't know an awful lot about photography but I've been asked to post here. I think you are posting on the wrong forum and you'd be better suited to posting at a computer forum such as hardforum. To answer your question, I think some 3TB western digital reds, 4TB are okay but slightly less reliable, with a bay to load HDDs and freefilesync with truecrypt or bitlocker will achieve your goal. If you'd like to go a more expensive route, then an atom based computer or xeon will achieve your goal. Do not concern yourself with RAID in my opinion. It's a disaster waiting to happen. I'm not saying RAID is bad, it's just overrated for home use.

mike_d wrote in post #16577598 (external link)
I'd buy two 4TB drives of different brands. Work from one, backup to the other.

This is bad advice; there's no logic in buying 4TB drives of different brands, 3TB drives are more reliable and it's better to stick with the same brand.

John from PA wrote in post #16577766 (external link)
Do you really need ready access to all those images? I'd get a good cataloging program and start burning to DVD. It's lot of work now, but as you move forward if you do this on a regular basis it isn't a difficult task. Just remember FIFO, first in first out.

This is poor advice. DVD's do not hold enough data; I'd be surprised if a DVD holds enough data for one hour of shooting with RAW images.

RileyNZL wrote in post #16577982 (external link)
Modern drives have higher storage densities per platter, so an old 1tb drives might have 4 discs inside at 250gb per disc, where as a new one might do the same but on 2 discs. Drives from the same model line that are all modern, for example the Western digital Green line, do indeed increase capacity by adding more internal platters, from what I know platter density is about 750gb-1tb per platter atm.

If you are looking at RAID, don't bother with RAID 5, RAID1 or RAID 1+0 however are good.

Buying two drives, and using one to back up the other (manually or via a backup program) is probably the best bang for your buck, however there are a few things to consider. Where do you store your second drive? If there both in your computer and it gets stolen or broken etc, there goes your backup along with original. If you have the backup as an external drive, and your house burns down, it's the same case.

Ideally, if you can afford to do it, and the data is worth enough to you, having an on location backup as well as an off location backup is the way to go.


Looking quickly online, 3tb drives, followed closely by 4tb are the best $/TB.

Western digital greens should not be recommended for RAID anything. You can keep the drives in the computer while you use them and then take them out after you've powered the computer off such as with the device here (external link) but do keep in mind that although SATA is hotswappable, most HDDs are not.

ImCBParker wrote in post #16578568 (external link)
I cannot recommend going to a a NAS/RAID drive system enough. I was sick of constantly swapping external hard drives, then I bought a Drobo a couple years ago and I do not know what I would do without it. If it dies, I can buy a new one and just put the existing drives in. There are lots of cheap alternatives out there. It will cost more up front than an external drive, but it scales a lot better.

NAS/RAID systems are overrated and used for simplicity. The RAID systems they use are poor and even if you put the most reliable HDDs in them, it won't matter because a few years down the line when you can no longer buy the same NAS model, you'll find it EXTREMELY difficult to swap your RAID array to another RAID card.

It's far easier to get an HDD bay and take out the HDD(s) after backup or to build another small computer with an atom or xeon and then use software mirroring. If you use drive encryption with truecrupt or bitlocker, you will have difficulties with certain drive mirroring software; however, a program like freefilesync will allow backups in addition to full drive encryption.

mike_d wrote in post #16578668 (external link)
RAID is not a backup. Repeat x 10.

As long as everyone knows that you still need to backup your data, RAID/NAS devices can be very useful. Almost all of my data lives on a Synology NAS. I have 3 backups.

They're fast to set up but in every other aspect they are inferior to building a small server. Unfortunately, the term "backup" has two definitions--the literal definition and the IT colloquialism. RAID can be, by literal definition, a backup of sorts but it's such a poor backup that people don't really consider it a backup that's why they use terms like "proper backup" but really there's no such thing. Unfortunately people try to associate one or two word labels with something too complex. You are better to understand what RAID is and how it works instead of trying to fit one or two word labels to it. It can be useful for read and write times or uptime. RAID can add new problems when the RAID card starts to fail, for example it'll try to rebuild data on another disk and end up screwing with both, assuming you're using RAID 1. You're not going to get the benefits of uptime with a home computer because the HDDs you'll use are likely to be non hot swappable HDDs.

Eyal wrote in post #16580254 (external link)
This is not a raid / HDD / hardware forum, so I will not get into it too much.
But to be simple clear, both of you are completely wrong.

Today's technology is way more advanced than how you describe it, which was true maybe 20 years no. Not now.

If your raid controller or motherboard dies, all of your data is still accessible using a different raid card or motherboard (the raid and data is stored on the HDDs along with the file structure, and not on the controller). Raid technology is universal (even it it varies slightly between controllers). You can move a raid between a motherboard and a dedicated controller if you know how. And this can be done without touching your data. Even if one of your raid drives is lost.
I can vouch for all of this. It works. Seamlessly almost if you know what you are doing.

This is not true in all cases. RAID hasn't improved much over the years. You're still generally in trouble if you buy something like a Synology NAS and then it breaks and you wish to transfer your RAID array to a computer. Trying to swap a RAID array from a dedicated card to the motherboard's RAID system is also trouble.

Eyal wrote in post #16580254 (external link)
Regarding chance to losing a second drive on a raid5 or a third on a raid6 or 2 on the same strip of raid 10, or 4 on raid 60, well, it can. Also your computer can die because of an electricity spike, or you can lose several days of data if your HDD dies without a backup. And your external drive can suddenly be dead when you want to restore something off it. **** happens.

But if you use several ways to save your data, you will be covered about 99.9% of the time from any problems.

Also, there are several different raids beside the normal ones. Disk extender, raid-z, unraid and other sort of software raid to spread files between HDDs (which some don't have an active backup if a HDD dies, but still not everything is gone).


Anyway, as this has gone way too much into hardware mode, I suggest two things (three if you want to go the extra mile):
1. Using 2 HDDs in raid 1 (which is just a mirror, no strips or parity). This way there is always a copy on the same computer. Using 2x4TB of drives will make sure that even if one dies, there is always a second with exactly the same data available. You will never be "offline" from your data.
2. Files you have edited and are important to you, to save on a second 2TB+ external drive once a week (which can be setup automatically, so you don't even have to do anything beside hooking the HDD and let it run its automatic backup).
3. If you really want to be sure, duplicate that external drive to a second one and save in a different place.

This whole exercise really depends on how much data you have.
I personally have 10TB of data at home (work related) and 2TB of data stored away which is more important to me (family, projects and so on which I will rip my already missing hair if I lose it).
You don't have to use enterprise level drives. They cost a fortune. There tons of solutions like the WD blues or reds, but green or barracuda can be just as fine if you run them in raid 1 and aren't expensive at all.

I hope this wall of text (which was supposed to be simple) is more clear.

A lot of this is nonsense but you're correct about reds--they are quite reliable. You'll generally need enterprise level drives if you want to hot swap which is essential if you want to sustain uptime otherwise you might as well not bother with RAID for its uptime at all.

Eyal wrote in post #16582376 (external link)
I disagree.
If you are running a raid in your computer and you have a problem with hardware, you can either let someone who knows what he is doing fix it, or you can do it yourself if you put your mind to it.
If your HDD dies will you throw it on the floor yelling "work damn you!" and try again? of course not. You will take it to a place which can restore your data for you.

Besides, setting up a raid today is almost dummy proof. Its completely a 5 steps (or less) setup. And 99% of the time you only have to do it once.

I didn't also say it was for everyone. But for people who need large space for storage and are afraid of failures and losing their data which they have yet made a backup to, this is the best solution.
To me it looks like people are more afraid of it because "raid is unknown to be". The same as some people are afraid of a new TV remote or hooking up a receiver to speakers. And the comments earlier about raid not as safe, are years outdated.

This is completely up to a user usage.
Raid can be a home backup, it can be an active redundant solution, it can be both. You are the one who choose what it will be.
Raid has a redundancy function, but you can store on it your data with less worry about the whole data going *poof* because your backup HDD suddenly died. It can replace other backup solutions like an external HDD or storing 10000 DVDs on the side for a long time.
Its a more expensive solution, but chances are it will out-live your external HDD by several years.

I disagree, it's not the best solution. It's one of the worst solutions and least future ready solution. If you keep a backup of your data on an external drive and computer technology changes a lot, you can still be sure to read the data on a USB drive reader.




  
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Jan 08, 2014 10:23 |  #45

I vote techhelp for epic first post EVER!!!


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