Recommendations for long term storage: RAID or ??

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
PHXAZCRAIG Forum Pro • Posts: 16,611
my suggestions

With only 1TB of data, you have several options, and don't necessarily need RAID.   You do need backup.

Option 1:   Two big hard drives in the same PC, using mirroring to automatically (and quickly) have any data written or erased on one drive duplicated on a second.    This isn't a good backup, but in a sense is the minimum you should do to protect yourself against a hard drive failure.

Problem: A lot of bad things can happen to both drives in a single PC.    You really need to have a backup copy on a separate device.

Good thing:  if either drive fails, you should still have a working pc.

Option 2:  Two big hard drives in two different devices (PC's or other) with some sort of automatic copy routine to copy your important data across a network connection to a second hard drive.   Either one fails, you have at least most of your data on one device or the other.

RAID is involved in option 1 in the form of RAID0 or mirroring.

For my part, I've not tried to prevent my PC's drives from failing (mirroring), but instead put a lot of eggs in a big backup basket.    I have multiple systems backing up to a single device, and in that device I use RAID5 to protect against a drive failure without costing me as many drives as mirroring would.   I used to have a FreeBSD box (homemade) using software RAID5 to give me the capacity of 2 drives from a total of 3.   Mirroring would have cost me two drives from a total of four, so RAID5 is cheaper on disks.    After several years that box failed and I replaced it with a QNAP 451+ with 4 drives in RAID5 (gives capacity of 3 drives, which in my case is 27TB).

My late wife was a big fan of external hard drives for backup.  Cheaper than internal drives, which always made me suspicious.   And those drives seemed to reliably fail soon after the warranty expired.  Still, way better than nothing for backup.

If you have two pc's and an ethernet network connecting them, your easiest answer is to use MS networking to map a drive from one to the other, then some scheduled batch program to copy the appropriate data from one PC to the other.  I use Robocopy,

There is a problem using backup software - you have to choose between one-way sync (copy newer files) or true synchronization, meaning that if you delete a file on the source, that file gets deleted on the destination too.    This is a problem for accidental deletions.

The alternative problem, which I face, is if you copy over data only one-way, you eventually end up with stuff on the backup that you deleted on the source.   In my case that is a lot of files, because I import all my images to a temporary directory for rating, culling and post-processing.   Once I've done all my edits, I use Lightroom to move the data to a permanent directory structure.   Which means I end up with two copies of a lot of stuff.   I periodically delete those directories manually.

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Phoenix Arizona Craig
"In theory, practice and theory are the same. In practice, they're not."

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