Please help. I'm in RAID enclosure confusion.


macrumors 68000
Original poster
Sep 20, 2008
Earlier this year one of my 2TB drives failed and I lost the whole drive. It wasn't anything that I was worried about but it got me really worried about my real personal info. So I have decided to do buy an external RAID enclosure. I have looked at NewEgg, OWC and Apple. I found a decent little enclosure from NewerTech, the Guardian Maximus. I thought this was a great idea until I read this: "Thing worked great for quite awhile, but then the enclosure's electronics failed. The biggest problem with that is you can't insert your old data (on the existing drives) and reuse them. I was told by Newer Technology the enclosure always reformats a drive when it is inserted. There goes that sound backup strategy."

So is there a RAID enclosure that won't do this? It's bad enough that I have to worry about the HDDs failing, now I have to worry that the unit could fail and force me to erase the drive if the enclosure breaks. :(


macrumors 6502
Nov 29, 2005
Regina, SK, Canada
FWIW, Drobo will let you move your drives from a failed unit to another Drobo of the same or newer model and the data should still show up. Fortunately I haven't had to try that, my Drobos have been running well for years. However there is a lot of hate for Drobo due to their high prices, expensive warranties, loud and cheap fans, and sketchy firmware updates the last year or so. OTOH, they're real easy to use when it all goes well. They've protected me from many single drive failures over the years.

IMO, RAID isn't a backup solution. I have a copy of all my important data on regular hard drives. Also backup my system drives with Retrospect and SuperDuper.

It's more money for all these drives, but it's worth it for my peace of mind. Backup, backup, backup. My neighbourhood is supposed to be getting fibre internet this year, at which point I can finally look at off site cloud backup as well.

Good luck!


macrumors 6502
Nov 11, 2010
Colorado Springs, CO
A RAID will protect you from a drive failure and allow you can continue on while you replace the drive and allow it to rebuild. It doesn't protect you from an enclosure failure. Although most times if you replace the drive into an identical make/model enclosure it will work.

Even when using a RAID you should still be using a backup solution (external drives, offsite cloud backup, etc etc).

I have a RAID-5 DAS on my desk that I use for my iTunes library, Time Machine etc etc.

I then have a backup drive I keep at my office where I work which I bring home every month at a minimum and update than I take it back to work. So even if everything was stolen out of the house, or there was a fire, etc, I would still have almost all of my data. you can update this more if you have a lot of information that changes often.


macrumors 68040
Feb 10, 2008
A less costly, more effective option is to forget about a RAID enclosure. Use a JBOD type enclosure which presents the two (or more) drives to the Mac (or separate single drive enclosures). Use Disk utility to mirror (RAID1) the drives. You have an exact copy of your data on the two drives that any Mac can read, one or both. With the current crop of large reliable drives available (~6TB) it does not make much sense for anything but RAID0 (speed) or 1 (redundancy) in the home.

I mention JBOD, but the drives do not need to be in the same enclosure or even the same type of enclosure. The drives don't have to be the same model. The mirror volume Disk Utility makes will be sized to the smallest drive capacity.

As others have said, RAID is not the same as backup. Its a way to create large volumes from small drives, provide better data rate performance than a single drive, or allow you to keep working when one drive fails (or more failures depending on RAID type)... albeit very slow to rebuild. Just a few years ago it was a different climate, but the advent of inexpensive 4+TB drives has changed the the landscape, making RAID for RAID sake much less appropriate for most applications.
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