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post #181 of 323 Old 10-09-2012, 04:35 AM
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If by identifiers you mean assigned drive letters, I made sure that each drive I formatted was assigned a unique letter so there'd be no overlap or redundancy. It really didn't matter anyway since the server assigned new drive letters automatically based on where they were mounted.

What's weird is that I was able to boot into WHS with the exact same drive configuration with no issues whereas Windows 7 would hang at the Starting Windows screen. I could only get it to fully boot by removing some of the drives from the setup. I plan on sticking with WHS since most of the tutorials for FlexRAID seem to favor using WHS for the installed OS.

I'm thinking of reformatting the few empty drives while installed in WHS and then transferring data around between the drives until they've all been formatted in WHS to ensure 100% compatibility. It's a PITA but it will probably prevent any issues further down the road.
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post #182 of 323 Old 10-09-2012, 09:03 AM
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so... how about we go back on topic. unraid or flexraid? smile.gif
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post #183 of 323 Old 10-09-2012, 09:53 AM
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Well, I'm sharing real-life experiences about both apps so it seems pretty on-topic to me. There have been numerous other threads about the pros and cons of both apps as well as SnapRAID so it's all pretty much been said and done before.
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post #184 of 323 Old 10-09-2012, 05:04 PM
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Can someone explain why Drive Pooling is beneficial?
I'm planning building a media server for XBMC and don't see what the advantage is of having all my files appear to be listed under one big drive.

Thanks
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post #185 of 323 Old 10-09-2012, 05:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chappy16775 View Post

Can someone explain why Drive Pooling is beneficial?
I'm planning building a media server for XBMC and don't see what the advantage is of having all my files appear to be listed under one big drive.
Thanks
what is the alternative? have 10 individual drives that all need to be mapped separately? how is that better?
when it comes time to fill said storage, would you rather have to look through and see which of your 10 drives has enough space for "Movie X" or would you prefer the OS to do that for you?


true, this isn't a life or death either/or type question, but still having your drives pooled just makes life so much easier, why not pool them? and with unRAID & FlexRAID you also get the benefit of parity... (unless your name is EricN, and then there is no benefit to having a parity drive or two tongue.gif )

what is the advantage of having your drives all split up?

NOTE: As one wise professional something once stated, I am ignorant & childish, with a mindset comparable to 9/11 troofers and wackjob conspiracy theorists. so don't take anything I say as advice...
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post #186 of 323 Old 10-09-2012, 06:45 PM
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I have 10 drives with no pooling. I actually prefer it this way. If I ever try flexraid a second time i would go without pooling.

It really isn't that hard. Is everything on your computer in one folder?. No you have multiple folders, sub-folders and folders in sub-folders, so adding a few drives on top of that isn't a big deal.

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post #187 of 323 Old 10-09-2012, 07:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Somewhatlost View Post

what is the alternative? have 10 individual drives that all need to be mapped separately? how is that better?
when it comes time to fill said storage, would you rather have to look through and see which of your 10 drives has enough space for "Movie X" or would you prefer the OS to do that for you?
true, this isn't a life or death either/or type question, but still having your drives pooled just makes life so much easier, why not pool them? and with unRAID & FlexRAID you also get the benefit of parity... (unless your name is EricN, and then there is no benefit to having a parity drive or two tongue.gif )
what is the advantage of having your drives all split up?

OK thanks for explaining. I see how it can be useful but it's not a dealbreaker.

I like UnRaid because it can run straight from a USB drive whereas with FlexRaid I understand I need to buy a separate OS like WHS.
On the other hand, I like the fact that I can keep my current NTFS drives with FlexRaid as opposed to having to transfer them all to Linux drives with UnRaid.
It's a close call but for me I'll probably go with UnRaid as I'm a bit of noobie and I hear it's the easiest to master and the most stable.
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post #188 of 323 Old 10-09-2012, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

Well, I'm sharing real-life experiences about both apps so it seems pretty on-topic to me. There have been numerous other threads about the pros and cons of both apps as well as SnapRAID so it's all pretty much been said and done before.

i didnt mean you specifically, just the whole thread in general. :P
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post #189 of 323 Old 10-09-2012, 09:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chappy16775 View Post

OK thanks for explaining. I see how it can be useful but it's not a dealbreaker.
I like UnRaid because it can run straight from a USB drive whereas with FlexRaid I understand I need to buy a separate OS like WHS.
On the other hand, I like the fact that I can keep my current NTFS drives with FlexRaid as opposed to having to transfer them all to Linux drives with UnRaid.
It's a close call but for me I'll probably go with UnRaid as I'm a bit of noobie and I hear it's the easiest to master and the most stable.

flexraid is less stable than unraid?
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post #190 of 323 Old 10-10-2012, 04:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy_Steb View Post

I have 10 drives with no pooling. I actually prefer it this way. If I ever try flexraid a second time i would go without pooling.
It really isn't that hard. Is everything on your computer in one folder?. No you have multiple folders, sub-folders and folders in sub-folders, so adding a few drives on top of that isn't a big deal.
For general use as a server, drive pooling probably doesn't offer much of an advantage. With a multimedia server, it's a huge advantage. I have four shares set up on my server (i.e., folders for HD.DVDs, DVDs, Videos, and Misc). Each drive contains these four folders. With 20 drives, it can become extremely tedious to search through every drive to find the movie or video I want. With drive pooling, I just map the shared folder and everything across all 20 drives shows up in a single folder. It makes setting up libraries in WMC, XBMC, Media Browser or any other front end a breeze. With individual drives you'd have to map each folder on each drive.
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post #191 of 323 Old 10-10-2012, 05:51 AM
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I am also a proponent of pooling for use with HTPC. Its just easy to drop a movie into a specified folder and then have the software put it on a drive for you that has the space. Its even easier to point your XBMC, Mediabrowser, My Movies, etc program to a single drive or folder. For non-HTPC areas I can see where this isn't a big deal but to me its extremely nice to have for HTPC.
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post #192 of 323 Old 10-10-2012, 08:39 AM
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Good info on the Pooling. Is my understanding correct that FlexRaid has pooling but UnRaid does not?
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post #193 of 323 Old 10-10-2012, 11:20 AM
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UnRAID allows you to set up shares which are basically pooled folders that span across all drives. You can set up as many shares as you like. You simply map the shared folder like you would any other drive. As Assassin said, when you copy a file to a shared folder the software will place it on the drive with the most available space. Both unRAID and FlexRAID can be set to spread your files evenly across the array in this manner. FlexRAID can also be configured to fill up the first drive and then begin filling the next drive in sequence when the first drive is full.
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post #194 of 323 Old 10-10-2012, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Somewhatlost View Post

unless your name is EricN, and then there is no benefit to having a parity drive or two

Depends on your goal. If you want to protect against service outage, they have a favorable cost-benefit ratio compared to alternatives. If you want to protect against data loss, they have an unfavorable cost-benefit ratio versus alternatives.
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post #195 of 323 Old 10-11-2012, 07:25 AM
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There's on important point I'd like to make about unRAID vs. FlexRAID that I haven't seen anyone mention yet. If installing FlexRAID in Windows 7 or Windows Home Server, your disks just show up as generic disks with no exclusive identifiers (i.e., shows up as New Volume or whatever name you give it with the assigned drive letter). If you've got a large number of disks of the same size, it's extremely difficult to know which disk listed in Windows Explorer or the Disk Management screen corresponds to the physical disk installed in the server. UnRAID lists both the model and serial number for each disk on the main screen of the web browser UI. If you need to swap out a disk, unRAID lets you know exactly which disk is which. With FlexRAID (or any other Windows-related app) you have to guess which drive is which unless you made note of them at the time you installed them.
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post #196 of 323 Old 10-11-2012, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

There's on important point I'd like to make about unRAID vs. FlexRAID that I haven't seen anyone mention yet. If installing FlexRAID in Windows 7 or Windows Home Server, your disks just show up as generic disks with no exclusive identifiers (i.e., shows up as New Volume or whatever name you give it with the assigned drive letter). If you've got a large number of disks of the same size, it's extremely difficult to know which disk listed in Windows Explorer or the Disk Management screen corresponds to the physical disk installed in the server. UnRAID lists both the model and serial number for each disk on the main screen of the web browser UI. If you need to swap out a disk, unRAID lets you know exactly which disk is which. With FlexRAID (or any other Windows-related app) you have to guess which drive is which unless you made note of them at the time you installed them.

OK good to know.
+1 to unRaid.
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post #197 of 323 Old 10-11-2012, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

There's on important point I'd like to make about unRAID vs. FlexRAID that I haven't seen anyone mention yet. If installing FlexRAID in Windows 7 or Windows Home Server, your disks just show up as generic disks with no exclusive identifiers (i.e., shows up as New Volume or whatever name you give it with the assigned drive letter). If you've got a large number of disks of the same size, it's extremely difficult to know which disk listed in Windows Explorer or the Disk Management screen corresponds to the physical disk installed in the server. UnRAID lists both the model and serial number for each disk on the main screen of the web browser UI. If you need to swap out a disk, unRAID lets you know exactly which disk is which. With FlexRAID (or any other Windows-related app) you have to guess which drive is which unless you made note of them at the time you installed them.

There are some add-ins that help with that though (at least there were for v1, I haven't checked to see on 2011).
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post #198 of 323 Old 10-11-2012, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

There's on important point I'd like to make about unRAID vs. FlexRAID that I haven't seen anyone mention yet. If installing FlexRAID in Windows 7 or Windows Home Server, your disks just show up as generic disks with no exclusive identifiers (i.e., shows up as New Volume or whatever name you give it with the assigned drive letter). If you've got a large number of disks of the same size, it's extremely difficult to know which disk listed in Windows Explorer or the Disk Management screen corresponds to the physical disk installed in the server. UnRAID lists both the model and serial number for each disk on the main screen of the web browser UI. If you need to swap out a disk, unRAID lets you know exactly which disk is which. With FlexRAID (or any other Windows-related app) you have to guess which drive is which unless you made note of them at the time you installed them.

Ohhh, this is very good to know ahead of time.
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post #199 of 323 Old 10-11-2012, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by ncarty97 View Post

There are some add-ins that help with that though (at least there were for v1, I haven't checked to see on 2011).
I've seen the add-in for version 1.1 but nothing for version 2011 so far. That's similar to what unRAID provides without the need for any add-ins.
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post #200 of 323 Old 10-13-2012, 07:06 AM
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OK, I'm officially frustrated with converting my server to FlexRAID. For some reason, WHS chokes when I add drives to my 2nd Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8 controller. All drives connected to it are recognized at bootup, but WHS hangs and won't actually start. It's got nothing to do with FlexRAID but rather WHS and my hardware. What's weird is that unRAID never had any issues with my hardware prior to attempting the switch except for the inexplicable manner in which it broke after swapping between my old motherboard and the new one, which had functioned just fine previously. I decided to try the latest release candidate of unRAID version 5 to see if it makes any difference. Wish me luck!biggrin.gif
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post #201 of 323 Old 10-15-2012, 04:51 AM
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Update (in case anyone actually cares) - I'm migrating my data from the NTFS drives I had configured for FlexRAID to my new unRAID setup using version 5rc8. This is a bit more tedious than migrating from my old unRAID setup to NTFS drives since I could map each unRAID drive individually and simply copy the contents of the entire drive over to the NTFS drive. Going the other way isn't quite as simple. I've got my shares configured on the unRAID server with the high water settings so it distributes files evenly across all available drives. I'm having to copy the contents of each shared folder over to the unRAID shares one folder at a time. If the shared folder was divvied up between drives I have to monitor it during the copy process to allow it to merge the contents of the folder on the NTFS drive with the sub-folder in the unRAID share. This is going to take a good while before I get everything copied over.

On the upside, unRAID version 5 boots way faster than any previous version and has more features than before. I like the new interface and the way things are laid out. Overall, a major improvement over version 4.x. So far, everything has been working smoothly with the new setup.
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post #202 of 323 Old 09-05-2013, 08:20 PM
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Old thread I know, but EricN, you are officially my favorite forum poster smile.gif

Raid, hard of soft, is not a backup solution.

As EricN mentions, the real advantage of RAID is in protecting system access, it REDUCES DOWNTIME when a disk fails. Raid *may* be useful in mitigating the risk of hardware failure, but it is NO substitute for proper backup solutions.

Personally, I would consider even RAID + Backups to be insufficient in this day and age of massive data storage. IMHO any real solution would included complete mirroring of any server(s) in a server-"hot-swap" scenario in addition to the aforementioned (common) approach, and also the utilization of cloud services where practical/feasible. Of course physical separation of redundancy solutions is a must for any serious data warrior.

I would imagine for the average HTPC enthusiast, mirroring terabytes of video files on a separate machine is likely an impossible dream in terms of labour, cost, and deemed priority. I know I personally rely on RAID setups when managing my movie and tv stores. "Important" data however, the kind that is irreplaceable, or representative of many many many hours of work, I have duplicated in drive bender, and additional backed up on both a physically separate machine and in the Cloud.

A couple of examples where RAID would not help you:
Quote:
1. Human error

There are many ways that you can do something wrong and lose data, but here are two common ones:

Accidental file deletion: We have all accidentally deleted a file or two (or more). In this case, deleting a file from a RAID array is no different than deleting it from a single drive. If you really need to recover the file and don't have a backup, you can use try data recovery software and generally use the same approach as if it were a single drive. The success rate varies with the filesystem type and overall situation, but it is nowhere near 100%.

Making a mistake when working with a RAID: This can be as simple as pulling a good disk in a failed array by accident. Other failure "opportunities" arise during resync of a failed array, RAID level migration and/or RAID expansion. The latter is particularly error-prone since it involves multiple disk swaps and resyncs. One wrong step and your data is gone.

Even with products that provide "automatic" RAID recovery, success is not guaranteed. Poor documentation and badly designed user feedback mechanisms (status and progress displays) can cause users to do the wrong thing and the wrong time and mistakenly kill the recovery process.

2. RAID controller / software failure

RAID arrays can be managed by dedicated hardware RAID controllers, RAID software or a combination of both. Both can fail. Data can be recovered, however using a backup to recover data is significantly faster.

For example, if a controller fails, you need to either purchase exactly the same controller and try to recover array in the original configuration, or to recover array parameters using special RAID recovery software. In the latter case, you need to provide storage to copy recovered array data as well.

Keep in mind that in both cases, recovery takes from several days to several weeks. To repeat: recovering from a backup is significantly faster! Although you might say "Oh, that's all right, we will wait as long as necessary", in practice, it always turns out that the data is very important and needed right away. Once the actual problem happens, no one will be willing to wait a week.

Of course, there are cases where a malfunctioning controller scrambles data so badly that it cannot be "cured" by data recovery software.

3. Fire, flood or other calamity

Your RAID can have redundancy, hot spare disk, be protected from a controller failure, be connected to an UPS, etc.. Nevertheless, your RAID—or data on a single drive—can be destroyed by fire or other calamity. In such a case, only regular backups stored off-site can recover lost data.

We had a case where a flood did not directly affect the storage arrays, but created enough humidity in the room to force a controller to initialize the disks without a command. Unusual, perhaps, but the data was still gone.

4. Theft, hacker attack, or other offensive action

Anything can be stolen and RAID is not an exception. Especially as modern data storage devices become smaller, they become easier to steal. Modern encryption systems may prevent a thief from accessing confidential data. But encryption doesn't help you to get your data back. As in case of fire, flood or other calamity, the single thing that helps you to recover data is a backup.

If you have ever been hacked, or even caught someone messing with your computer or NAS, you are confronted with a choice. You can go through your files one by one looking for lost or modified data. Or simply recover the data from a backup and go on with life.

In this case, it's important to have more than one backup, or use versioned backup, in case the hack is subtle and remains undiscovered for days, if not weeks.

5. Multiple disk failures and URE

A RAID5 array protects your data against a single disk failure, while RAID 6 can withstand up to two disk failures. If the disks fail independently, the probability that the second (or third) disk fails before the RAID is restored is negligible. In real life, however, disks can have much more in common than it might seem.

Disks used in a RAID are usually the same model, often from the same manufacturing batch and sometimes even with sequential serial numbers. All these disks work under the same load and are subjected to the same environment - temperature, vibration, and power spikes. More than that, if a disk has some factory defect, as in the Seagate 7200.11 disks, the entire set is likely to develop the defect nearly simultaneously.

In a RAID 5, you can encounter the so-called URE (Unrecoverable Read Error) problem associated with noticeable probability of a read error occurring when rebuilding an array after a disk failure. However, modern drives are so reliable that the URE issue is no higher than the third in the list of cases requiring RAID recovery after human error and multiple disk failure.

http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/nas/nas-features/31745-data-recovery-tales-raid-is-not-backup


I'm not lulled into thinking that by running unraid, flexradi, zfs, drive bender or any number of other similar solutions, that I have somehow "protected my data". Many RAID proponents fail to acknowledge the simple fact that RAID is inherently vulnerable to numerous threats to data integrity. Having a system that has been running stable for 5 years says nothing for the safety of your data, as that can only be tested when things go wrong. Simple google searches on the topic of RAID and backup will quickly illustrate how many serious tech people feel that relying on RAID as data protection is a fools game.

I am pretty much a lurker on these boards, and I know from reading that there are a lot of members who feel differently about the utility of software such as flexraid and it is not my intent to insult or in anyway diminish your experiences and opinions. My primary interest is in expressing views and having some constructive discussion on the topic of data protection.

Having said all that i have, it should be noted that I am not, and never really have been, a tech person by trade. My interest in the subject is for the more practical reason of wishing to ensure that I am using the "best" solutions in the long term as I setup and integrate devices into my home and lifestyle. I am in the process of deciding what setup I will use when I finally migrate my AV collection from the current WHS solution, and flexraid has been striking a chord with me, primarily because of the great community (that's certainly what has it beating unraid).

Like everybody else, I don't want to end up in a situation where I have to re-rip multiple terabytes of video content. Nor do i personally wish to be complacent in thinking that flexraid has eliminated the risk of that happening.

I think my most likely scenario at this stage will be the dual server approach. I have two N40L boxes, one doing no much at all, the other acting as my WHS media server. I am wondering if anybody else is running duplicate servers, and if so what they have based their setup on. I do have two WHS licenses, but am not adverse to the idea of running mirrored flexraid setups if it is warranted. My problem lies in the fact that as i said , I am not a tech guy, and my experience in configuring such a setup is zero :/

Any thoughts or suggestions as to how I should approach this, or if even indeed it is a worthwhile task?
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post #203 of 323 Old 09-06-2013, 07:01 AM
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Strong bump....

And you are over protective and also over budget with regards to "media" or "media server"

When the cost and effort exceeds the requirement to just re rip your media it's a very bad solution

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post #204 of 323 Old 09-06-2013, 08:17 AM
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Strong bump....

And you are over protective and also over budget with regards to "media" or "media server"

When the cost and effort exceeds the requirement to just re rip your media it's a very bad solution

I don't care that much about my library of movies that I'll probably never watch again. My personal data (pictures, documents, home movies) gets backed up both on site and off site (Crashplan). Replaceable media gets parity protection (FlexRAID-F).

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post #205 of 323 Old 09-06-2013, 08:33 AM
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I don't care that much about my library of movies that I'll probably never watch again. My personal data (pictures, documents, home movies) gets backed up both on site and off site (Crashplan). Replaceable media gets parity protection (FlexRAID-F).

That's the exact approach that I recommend.

Remember that any data that doesn't exist in triplicate (with one of those being off site) doesn't exist --- for storage purposes of course.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryansj View Post

I don't care that much about my library of movies that I'll probably never watch again. My personal data (pictures, documents, home movies) gets backed up both on site and off site (Crashplan). Replaceable media gets parity protection (FlexRAID-F).

A much better over all strategy and than hardware raid.... biggrin.gif

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"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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post #207 of 323 Old 09-06-2013, 10:58 AM
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Why more and more I've seen many hardware raid hatres? Hardware raid is expensive, weak,... or else?
One more question. When I setup a RAID within Windows (raid5 or 6), Is that hard or soft raid?
I was told setting up RAID in BIOS (mobo raid) is a fakeraid, correct?
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post #208 of 323 Old 09-06-2013, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mudz78 View Post

I don't want to end up in a situation where I have to re-rip multiple terabytes of video content [...]I am not a tech guy, and my experience in configuring such a setup is zero :/

Any thoughts or suggestions as to how I should approach this, or if even indeed it is a worthwhile task?

How many TB, what's your budget, and how interested/disinterested are you in diving into storage tech?

Also, the original shiny discs do count as a backup...and a pretty good one. It's just the recovery process (reripping) is laborious and slow. Automating that as much as possible cuts down your backup requirements and makes it easier for you (or others!) to do it in the future.
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post #209 of 323 Old 09-06-2013, 11:47 AM
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Personally, I've never viewed any of the software RAID setups as a viable means for protecting data. Parity is a nice approach in the event of a single drive failure, but I still wouldn't trust it to protect data I want to keep. I use a media server for just what it is intended - distributing media to other networked PCs or media players in my home. There may be other things you can do with it depending on which flavor of software RAID you're using, but they're not of much interest to me. I just want to be able to access movies and videos from any PC whenever I want. Anything else is overkill for my needs.
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post #210 of 323 Old 09-06-2013, 12:46 PM
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http://snapraid.sourceforge.net/
So far the best I have ever used. It's not hard to set up a daily sync and after the first one it doesn't take a long time.
But there is no pooling.
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