I need some raid/backup advice (details inside) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 07-26-2014, 05:42 PM - Thread Starter
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I need some raid/backup advice (details inside)

I know this has been asked x1000 times, but bear with me - my situation is a *little* different.

A little over a year ago I purchased a 4-bay raid box. (this one in particular - http://www.mediasonic.ca/product.php?id=1357292354)

Why? Not because I wanted Raid per-se, but I wanted to use a bunch of mis-matched and random HDDs as I had as a single volume (JBOD). This worked great, until a week ago.

One of the hard-drives went "kaput". In my 20 years of being "in" computers, this is the first HDD I've ever had fail. So, I've learned my lesson.

Now, luckily, I'm actually able to salvage *most* of my media. That being said, I really don't want this to happen again. It's a serious PITA!

I'm looking for some recommendations. I'd like to still use the Raid box, if anything, to be able to use my random assortment of HDDs.

I've seen that the main consensus here is to go with a S/W raid option. Makes a heap of sense (and I wish I researched this last year) but I'm trying to make the most of what I have and not spend *too* much in additional cash to get some sort of safety-net.

Should I go with Raid 5? Raid 10? Raid 1? Can I do some sort of weird JBOD + S/W raid setup by using an additional external (or internal) hard drive? My media PC is a mid-2011 Mac Mini Server edition running Mavericks. It works great, but unfortunately it does not have USB 3.0 (or e-Sata for that matter).

Any advice would be most appreciated. Thanks!
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post #2 of 5 Old 07-27-2014, 02:08 AM
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You could try fiddling around with SoftRAID for OSX using the existing HDD box you have with the drives working in standalone mode.
RAID 0 = performance no fault tolerance
RAID 1 = mirroring, so fault tolerance with drive clones
RAID 5 = combines drives into single volume (like JBOD) but also holds one drive in reserve as fault tolerance so less overall space compared to JBOD.

Other RAID modes are combinations and variations of the above three.

A smarter option might to simply buy a NAS instead like one from Synology like a DS414j which has RAID built in, all you need to do is plug the Synology and Mac Mini into a basic ethernet access point for performance, you could get an Apple Airport Express, have it connect to your wireless network as a client then plug the Mac and Synology ethernet into the Airport so they can talk direct.

You could even improve performance further by turning on iSCSI in the Synology then mount the iSCSI shares in OSX, though that may be overkill and you may be happy with the stock performance with network SMB shares.
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post #3 of 5 Old 07-27-2014, 10:23 AM
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You got lucky and next time it probably won't be so good. You need a backup system and RAID isn't backup. It's better than nothing, but it's not backup.

That being said, if you are using mismatched drives, you are going to have headaches with just about any RAID since different size drives mean you'll have unused storage space on any drive that is larger than the smallest drive in your array. For instance, If you have 2 x 500GB, 1 x 640GB, 1 x 1TB, and you put them in a RAID 5, your entire array will be 1.5TB (3 x the smallest drive & the parity drive doesn't count).

If you are worried about budget, you may need to look at one of these setups since it will be safer without a backup than most any other RAID since data is recoverable with HDDs in the array that didn't crash. In addition, they will let you use all of the space on each drive even if they are not all the same size (parity drive must be the biggest drive):

www.lime-technology.com
www.flexraid.com (You'd probably want to go RAID-F with this setup)
http://snapraid.sourceforge.net/index.html + Stablebit Drivepool

Regardless, none of them run under OS but can be setup on a Linux box on the same network. unRAID is its own OS that runs from a flash drive. If you have old PC spare parts lying around, you can pretty much build an unRAID box from trash.

But really, fix your JBOD and get a large standalone, external HDD and run backups to it.
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post #4 of 5 Old 07-27-2014, 10:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies.

Regarding having it run in "standalone mode". I thought of that as well, but unfortunately the box has to be in a Raid setup. It won't work otherwise.

I was leaning towards continuing to use it as a JBOD and get a large had backup. I actually have a 2TB time capsule. Between that and a 4tb external drive I should be good.

Last edited by Nutdotnet; 07-27-2014 at 12:07 PM.
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post #5 of 5 Old 07-27-2014, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nutdotnet View Post
Thanks for the replies.

Regarding having it run in "standalone mode". I thought of that as well, but unfortunately the box has to be in a Raid setup. It won't work otherwise.

I was leaning towards continuing to use it as a JBOD and get a large had backup. I actually have a 2TB time capsule. Between that and a 4tb external drive I should be good.
I think that is the best option you could choose regardless of budget.
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