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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello forum friends,


Going from just getting my feet wet with media streaming less than a year ago, I sort of took to it and now I have a dilemma.


I guess I was thinking "too small" from the get-go and simply built an htpc/sever for my media. I just kept adding drives and ended up with the following:


Five 2TB drives for movies (generally high bitrate MKVs and bluray ISOs) (60% full on average)

One 1.5TB drive for documentaries and such (50% full)

One 1.5TB drive for television shows (50% full)


……and no backup or RAID of any kind for data security. It wasn't a real consideration for me when I started, but now it is something I keep thinking about.


I have decided to spend some more money on this project and was wondering if folks had some suggestions on how I should proceed.


Considerations:


1) I think I have enough drive space, though I see myself maybe adding one more 2TB movie drive at some point in the future. I have room for two more drives in my pc case and two free ports on my Supermicro 8 port SATA card.


2) I need some sort of redundancy – I am willing to buy seven more drives if need be to do this.


3) I'd like to keep using the existing pc in some capacity because I do some transcoding and surfing on it.


4) Anything eSATA or NAS seems like it would probably work as I have Cat6 run in the house and usually access my media with a couple Popcorn Hour streamers.


___


I was thinking of maybe getting something like this 8 bay SATA enclosure and just filling it with 2TB drives and doing one to one mirroring for backups:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-016-_-Product


It would mean an extra "box," but that isn't too big of a deal since I will put it in a closet out of sight.


If anyone has any other suggestions or solutions, I would appreciate hearing them.


Thanks,

David
 

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I would either go raid 6 or some sort of unraid. Theres a million threads on both. unraid would be cheapest and you could use all your existing drives without wasting space. Raid 6 would provide redundency and give you a huge speed boost with the right controller. Both give you easy expansion.
 

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If the majority of your collection is DVD/BD rips (with the obvious exception of the TV shows, assuming those are recorded and not ripped), I would hazard that you don't necessarily need full redundancy. Perhaps, if RAID is what you're looking to do, a RAID-5, or -6 setup would suit your needs? This way, you only have 1 or 2 drives (or 2 or 3 if you add a hot swap) unavailable for new space instead of doubling what you have and not being able to use any of it. Discs can be re-ripped; even though it is undoubtedly a time-consuming process, those files are far from irreplaceable and imho full redundancy is simply not necessary for your setup.
 

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Flexraid would do the job perfectly and needs only one drive for parity. It also work at the filesystem level without any particular controller so this is one less piece of hardware that can go bad and scrap your array. And if multiple drives go bad at the same time, at worst you'll lose only the data on those drive and not the whole array like raid-5.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
thanks very much for the suggestions.


i need to look into flexraid as i am not so familiar with that one
 

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I'm thinking about going with FlexRAID as it's the only software option that I've found that will allow me to use Windows 7 on my server so that I can use it as my server, workstation, and gaming rig. In the future I'd like to have a dedicated server but at this point it's not in my budget.


Plus with the upcoming release of FlexRAID the RAID6 engine is going to be released. That combined with FlexRAID-View should meet my needs.
 

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I don't know if I would go with a software option. The performance could be a bit lacking, although I guess if most of it is just archival, then just a plain 'ol backup would be sufficient.
 

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The problem with unRAID or hardware RAID in this situation is that both would require you to re-build from scratch. You would have to move all your data somewhere else, create the array, then move it back on to the new system.


FlexRAID is really more like a backup system. You would just plug another 2TB drive into your server, and FlexRAID would build parity backup files on it. The data on all your existing drives would remain untouched. You wouldn't have to change anything, only add the new drive and install and configure the software.


As for speed, file transfers would be exactly as fast as they are now. FlexRAID just backs up your data. It doesn't interfere with the OS or file system in any way.


Oh, and FlexRAID is the only free option (excluding the cost of the new drive, which you would have to buy no matter what system you use). unRAID would cost you $120 for the pro version, and hardware RAID would cost around $450 for a 8-port controller card. You'd also have to ditch the two 1.5TB hard drives because hardware RAID only works with equally-sized discs. If you wanted room to expand in the future, expect to pay about $600 for a 16-port card.
 

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One word: disParity. 37TB protected and I sleep fine at night.
 

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I know of at least two people with complete redundancy that lost it all. First, water pipe (4TB lost). Second, theft (12TB lost). They both now keep offsite copies of everything. Crazy.


Don't let it own you.
 

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Do you really need redundancy for all your files?

Maybe only 1TB is critical, and if that is the case just take an offline backup (windows backup tool or anything similar).

All RAID system suffers when files are deleted by accident
 

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Personally I agree with Somy and comixguru.


First RAID is not backup. It lets you carry on even when a drive fails (continuity) and protects against drive failure but not theft, fire, accidental deletion, file system corruption, RAID failure etc. Continuity is not really vital in a home media server and to really be sure your data is safe you need offsite backup too. Can you really afford to use RAID and backup 12TB offsite?


Personally, I backup my system partition and photos, home video and (as it happens) ripped music, just because the space music takes is not that significant, to a second HDD on the same system and offsite. Commercial video I take a chance with. Chances are much of it would never choose to re-rip anyway. The cost of making this stuff secure is not justified and the level partial protection provided by RAID is equally not worth the cost and complexity. It is a personal decision, but the main thing is not to think RAID = backup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by candre23 /forum/post/18253121


The problem with unRAID or hardware RAID in this situation is that both would require you to re-build from scratch. You would have to move all your data somewhere else, create the array, then move it back on to the new system.


FlexRAID is really more like a backup system. You would just plug another 2TB drive into your server, and FlexRAID would build parity backup files on it. The data on all your existing drives would remain untouched. You wouldn't have to change anything, only add the new drive and install and configure the software.


As for speed, file transfers would be exactly as fast as they are now. FlexRAID just backs up your data. It doesn't interfere with the OS or file system in any way.


Oh, and FlexRAID is the only free option (excluding the cost of the new drive, which you would have to buy no matter what system you use). unRAID would cost you $120 for the pro version, and hardware RAID would cost around $450 for a 8-port controller card. You'd also have to ditch the two 1.5TB hard drives because hardware RAID only works with equally-sized discs. If you wanted room to expand in the future, expect to pay about $600 for a 16-port card.

I need to look into this.


I assume that I could get that 8 bay enclosure, install FlexRAID on my pc, add a 2tb drive for FlexRAID parity and then just keep adding new drives to the enclosure as I get new media and those will also be backed up with parity on the FlexRAID parity drive?


Thanks.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davecraze /forum/post/18255436


I need to look into this.


I assume that I could get that 8 bay enclosure, install FlexRAID on my pc, add a 2tb drive for FlexRAID parity and then just keep adding new drives to the enclosure as I get new media and those will also be backed up with parity on the FlexRAID parity drive?


Thanks.

Thats what my understanding is. Does anyone know what the limit is?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by justinm0424 /forum/post/18255619


Thats what my understanding is. Does anyone know what the limit is?

That is correct. FlexRAID has no limit to the number of drives/folders that you back up. You're only limited by the OS, which in the case of Windows, is 24 drives. That's for local drives. There's nothing stopping you from adding network drives/folders to your FlexRAID backup as well, other than the fact that doing parity calculations over the network would take ages.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by candre23 /forum/post/18255774


That is correct. FlexRAID has no limit to the number of drives/folders that you back up. You're only limited by the OS, which in the case of Windows, is 24 drives. That's for local drives. There's nothing stopping you from adding network drives/folders to your FlexRAID backup as well, other than the fact that doing parity calculations over the network would take ages.

You are not limited to 24 drive in windows since you can also mount your drive as directories instead of assigning a drive letter.


I have all my drives containing movies mounted under a Media\\Movies


for exemple:



C:\\Media\\Movies\\Media_01

C:\\Media\\Movies\\Media_02 ...


The disk management utility gives you the option of assigning a drive letter or specifying a mount point.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jong1 /forum/post/18253794


Personally I agree with Somy and comixguru.


First RAID is not backup. It lets you carry on even when a drive fails (continuity) and protects against drive failure but not theft, fire, accidental deletion, file system corruption, RAID failure etc. Continuity is not really vital in a home media server and to really be sure your data is safe you need offsite backup too. Can you really afford to use RAID and backup 12TB offsite?


Personally, I backup my system partition and photos, home video and (as it happens) ripped music, just because the space music takes is not that significant, to a second HDD on the same system and offsite. Commercial video I take a chance with. Chances are much of it would never choose to re-rip anyway. The cost of making this stuff secure is not justified and the level partial protection provided by RAID is equally not worth the cost and complexity. It is a personal decision, but the main thing is not to think RAID = backup.

I agree with most of your points here.
 
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