Is software RAID good enough?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by bobgorila, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. bobgorila macrumors member


    Apr 21, 2009
    Got a 2008 iMac with 2GB of RAM running lion. Need 3TB of external storage with on-site backup to guard against mechanical failure.

    Simplest is a live disk for the storage and use time machine to keep it safe, but it's inelegant.

    I'm looking at getting two fw drives and daisy-chaining them then using disk utility to whip up a soft raid but...

    I hear software RAID is maybe bad and possibly unreliable, so I'm open to dropping the price of a third drive on a raid enclosure to do the mirroring in hardware.

    My main question is, is a single drive usable alone? What happens if my mac falls over? Can these disks be plugged into another mac and still function?

    My secondary question is what happens when a drive fails in each case? Can you limp on with one drive in either case?
  2. err404 macrumors 68020

    Mar 4, 2007
    While RAID can provide limited protection in the case of a physical disk failure, RAID is NOT a replacement for a proper backup solution. There are many issues that can occur in a RAID setup that will result in data loss on both drives.
    If you implement a RAID setup for performance or capacity, you should still keep the Time Machine backup running.
  3. 88 King macrumors 6502

    88 King

    Jun 18, 2011
    London, UK
    Maybe you should also look into off-site backup solutions through your internet connection. The initial backup will be a pain due to the size, but subsequent backups will be quite effortless.
  4. accessoriesguy macrumors 6502a

    Jul 8, 2011
    3TB of storage would be more then a pain to back up, especially if she has anything close to my internet, not to mention that upload speeds are far lower than download speeds.

    Best bet is to get an expansion storage like a raid drive to keep multiple drives inside and working, and just use time machine for backup rather than RAID. Unless of course you don't mind buying a lot of drives and running RAID 6. which protects against 2 complete hard drive fails but gives you access to only 4 Hard drives (out of 6) [and if all hard drives have the same storage capacity]
  5. bobgorila thread starter macrumors member


    Apr 21, 2009
    Guys, I'm fully aware that any complete backup solution should include off-site storage (I still remember covering that in the first year of my CS degree), but the expense of yet another 3TB disk just to protect further against fire and theft is not something I consider worthwhile for a media library. All my important documents are backed up in Dropbox AND time machine, sure, but getting hold of Firefly again is not the most arduous thing.

    Now, given that two disks in the same room of my house has been deemed acceptable, what's the most sensible way to hang them off my iMac?

    Two separate disks appeal to me because I gather that power supplies are as likely to fail as any other part of a disk, so a dual-bay enclosure with only one power supply might be considered sub-optimal in that regard. Is the easiest way to keep the spare up-to-date RAID 1, Time Machine, or a cron job and carbon copy cloner?

    err404's post steers me towards the latter

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