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RAID or Simply "Copy" Files for Backup?


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#1 xenkw0n

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 03:59 PM

Pretty self-explanatory title... Should I set up a certain kind of RAID or simply backup my files to another drive every once in a while? Simply talking about a storage drive with media on it. I have two identical 5tb drives.

#2 scr4wl

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 04:44 PM

It depends on what you are looking for. Personally I like raid, others dont. One down side is that when a drive fails you need to rebuild the array.

If it is super crucial data that needs needs needs redundancy you will build some sort of raid array, and also make copies of your files elsewhere.

If you only need to backup occasionally, it may be easier to just use a backup utility to copy files, or, just make copies of the files that actually are important.

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#3 cchalogamer

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 06:04 PM

First off, RAID is not a backup. RAID can keep you from needing your backup, but it's not a backup.

 

The "best" answer is use RAID for the redundancy in the event of drive failures (like the one I can home to this afternoon) and some sort of offsite backup in the event something far worse happens (like your house burns down). 

 

However best practice and what you should do are sometimes different things. Depending on how important the data is to you decides what you do to save it.  You might just copy the files over in a weekly backup if it's random pictures, but you might want to sign up for something like BackBlaze or CrashPlan unlimited storage if the data's stuff like important documents/baby pictures/etc. (I use crashplan to the VM server at my parent's house from my home server for the important bits)

 

Basically think of how upset you would (or wouldn't be) if one of the possible events happens and decide what's right for you from there.  At the end of the day though even going RAID 1 from just using one HDD is better than just storing it on one drive, just imagine if your data was on my last living non-refurb (well this morning it was living) Seagate 7200.12 1TB.


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#4 xenkw0n

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 06:45 PM

Got it. It's just for my media. Encoded movies and TV shows so I don't have to worry about discs. I have quite a collection at this point and would not be interested in going through the hassle of ripping/re-encoding them all. Although it's also not worth it enough to me to pay for offsite storage so I think simply making copies of everything I rip would be the easiest and most plausible solution.

My condolences for your recent drive failure... I have two HGST Deskstar NAS 7200rpm 5TB drives and so far I've only used half of the storage on one so for now I won't have any issues if I just make copies from one drive to the next. In the future I plan on building an unRAID array... But that's a few years off.

If my house burns down I'm going to have bigger issues to deal with than losing my media  :wacko:


Edited by xenkw0n, 05 July 2017 - 06:45 PM.


#5 cchalogamer

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 11:21 AM

Sounds good, I do something similar with my ripped media where most of the movies are on separate drives but not an actual RAID array because the 3TB WD Greens even with tweaking commonly cause even a simple RAID 1 array to fail.  

 

As for the 7200.12, it's funny I don't even know what if any data I lost from it, I THINK it was a drive I use in rotation for doing quick customer data backups before doing things like OS upgrades but I'm not actually sure.  I use a 5TB RaID 1 array for data backups for systems I plan on deleting the data from while working on.

 

Just for fun here's what my failure sounded like, I walked by the room to the drive doing this:

 

Knowing it was trash anyway I took it apart and here's what it looks like inside:

https://photos.googl...VV3c0I3aFdET3Nn

 

Scratching and scuffs all over the platter


Edited by cchalogamer, 06 July 2017 - 11:24 AM.

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#6 xenkw0n

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 01:58 PM

That's rough.  When I started seeing 4TB+ NAS drives being priced fairly reasonable I did some research and decided upon the HGST Deskstar NAS drives as my best bet for reliability.  5TB 7200rpm NAS drives for $160 each was an easy enough decision for me.  I'll try and stretch these out long enough until 10TB drives become fairly reasonable as well and if these 2 puppies are still working fine I'm planning on building an unRAID array around them all.

 

The only drives I have ever had fail on me were 2 Seagate and 1 WD drives, although they were not high-end models.  I actually still have a first gen external WD passport 1tb drive still kicking... Has something like 7 years of on-time... Nice.  My WD Raptors (75gb) are still running strong after 8 and a half years.  Although I can't do much with 75gb spinning disk drives anymore so those heavy monsters are just sitting in bubble-wrap right now.



#7 Waco

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 05:19 PM

By definition, if it's online, it's not a backup. :P

I'd vote for two copies if only to safeguard against user error. I keep my backups on two cold drives that live in the safe, the online copy is redundant enough to handle drive failures in normal running.

If you have enough drives to do that, do so. If not, multiple copies probably trumps redundant arrays IMO.
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#8 xenkw0n

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 06:39 AM

I'm more concerned about individual drive-failure, not the level of extreme redundancy I can attain through keeping some drives offline.  I guess I could simply leave it in the case un-plugged and back-up anything new at the end of every month.



#9 wevsspot

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 11:46 AM

The only RAID configuration I'd even begin to consider for backup purposes would be RAID 5 and that would require at least 3 physical disks.  Personally I stick with 2 independent disks that I make backups on.  One independent disk is locally housed in an enclosure, the other I keep offsite at my office (this in addition to the backup disk that is physically installed in my tower).  


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#10 scr4wl

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 12:18 PM

With the size of drives now raid 6 should be used instead of 5 if you are gonna use parity. Those rebuild times do play a huge factor for when a drive finally fails though...

Edited by scr4wl, 12 July 2017 - 12:27 PM.

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#11 wevsspot

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 09:08 AM

With the size of drives now raid 6 should be used instead of 5 if you are gonna use parity. Those rebuild times do play a huge factor for when a drive finally fails though...

 

I can get onboard with that.  Not necessarily because drive capacities have increased and pricing remains competitive.  More so because in RAID 6 you can have a disk failure, more un-correctable read errors, and still rebuild the array and recover your data.

 

But really, for the average home, small business user, I still believe that stand alone single drives stored in multiple locations offers the best most economical solutions.  When you get into enterprise it's an entirely different scenario then.  At our business some of our Master Service Agreements require that we archive all relevant quality, process and financial data for seven years after contract expiration.  We still use tape backups in addition to our onsite / offsite data retention and storage solutions. 


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#12 xenkw0n

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 09:46 AM

Have either of you tried unRAID arrays or looked into that?  Seems like the best of both worlds?