setting up an external RAID backup solution

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by vniow, Jul 28, 2006.

  1. vniow macrumors G4

    Jul 18, 2002
    I accidentally my whole location.
    In the coming months I'm going to start to buy the pieces for a backup solution I'm hoping to come up with, I just need to know the best way to go abouts doing it and being cost-efficient at the same time. My current computer has a 200GB hard drive split up into a 40GB partition for the OS and the rest for everything I want to back up, including over 60GB of music I certainly don't want to lose. I don't have anything big enough to back it all up at the moment but I'll get a temporary solution later today since there may be a chance I'm going to need it sooner than later.

    My dilemma is how would I best go abouts setting up an external RAID system for the long term? My next computer will likely be a Mini or a Macbok so internal options are out of the question. I would like it to be easily expandable in case I wanted to install bigger or more drives but I'm still not sure how best to do it. I would like some sort of hardware solution as I don't want to depend on anything tied to the operating system.

    Do I chain FW drives together, go with some sort of network storage, build a low-end PC as a fileserver, something else I haven't thought of yet? What kind of RAID would I need?

    Hope that made sense and thanx in advance,

  2. ph0rk macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2003
    Shortest answer: RAID is not a backup solution. RAID is a disk failure avoidance system.

    However, I'll assume you don't care to mess with a tape robot and daily/weekly incrementals.

    Go with a pair of external firewire drives, I use this (to avoid disk failure data loss).

    RAID arrays are not "easily expandable" - In most any case you will have to rebuild (read: erase) the array. You could attempt to use LVM overtop RAID 1, but that will be a good amount of hassle.

    Really, a pair of 200GB drives mirrored (RAID1, 200GB array size) should get you where you want to go. You can experiment with striped (RAID5, RAID0 is striped but without redundancy) arrays, but without a hardware RAID controller, your CPU will have to make the parity calculations.

    You can go larger of course, but for myself I find that separating what needs to survive a failure from what doesn't is simple enough.

    RAID 5 requires 3 or more disks, and gives you total storage of all your disks together -1 (3x 200GB disks = 400GB array. 9x 200GB disks = 1600GB array).

    Pre 10.4 I ran a 4x 80GB RAID5 array on a linux machine. It ran around $1000 in 2003. I now have a 2x 160GB RAID1 firewire array that cost less than $300 in 2005. The I in raid stands for inexpensive - don't forget it!

    Also: 10.4.x RAID arrays are incompatible with 10.3.x

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