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B-Man

RAID anyone ??

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I have amassed a tremendous amount of photos, music, documents, etc. over the years. They are scattered across multiple external USB hard drives and several laptops. For 2019, as part of my celebration of getting a new job and not having to move, I promised myself that I was going to purchase an external RAID storage device and get my digital life in order.

 

With that said, it will be used primarily as just a storage medium - high-performance read and writes are NOT the primary driver. I want to go with Ethernet and / or USB 3.0 as the interface to allow it to work with all of my devices. At a minimum it must support RAID 5 but I would prefer RAID 6 or 10. I am not interested in using it as a video media server so additional hardware to support 4K, DLNA, etc. is not required.

 

With that laundry list, I am looking for suggestions on an affordable unit that is quality built. I would like to keep it at or under $500 if possible, without drives of course. Size is not important (said no woman ever !!) but reliability is. I think 3.5" drive capability is probably the better route because I don't think they make NAS-rated laptop drives but I am open to informed suggestions. Recommendations on disk drives are welcome as well.

 

I have read so many reviews online that my head hurts. It's amazing the garbage that people post as a "review".   (*,)

 

Your advice and experience is most appreciated !!!

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I have a NetGear ReadyNAS. Mine is a 1.04.  Several years old now.  I love it.  I just replaced a drive that went bad over Christmas holidays.  The whole concept of RAID, and rebuilding a lost data volume just blows my mind..., but it saves me from worry, and has saved me from disaster - at least 3 times.

 

I have over 30 years of accumulated life's work, and data on it (since my time in Silicon Valley)..., plus music, media, etc.  It has 4 3TB drives in it.  I have not gone to SSD drives - speed is not an issue in these boxes.  The last drive I just put in cost me $64, from Amazon.  To have the best RAID system, you need to have 4 drives.  I won't go into that - but I have a RAID in my desktop box, with my daily usable files on it, and it's just a mirror raid.  The RAID 5 setup on the NAS is also my redundant backup for my desktop's 6 TB of data.

 

If the box, or power-supply were to die, I would buy another new Netgear, latest generation.  This is the one that I've been looking at..., not for any particular reason, as my old one is still kicking it strong.  Link HERE

 

These boxes (NAS) seem to have religious followings like some audio gear..., LOL.  Some love Netgear, others hate it.   I think you have to pick one, learn it, and stick with it.  None of the UI's are perfect.  But they are better every year.  I've updated my firmware on my old Netgear box every time they tell me to, and I check the console monthly - or when I get a message that says a disk is weakening, or getting ready to fail.  The other thing I like, or have had success with, is using the NETgear support community.  Again, some hate that, some love it.  It works for me.  I also run their Antivirus app, and have never had an issue.  This too is one of those religious things...

 

Oh, yes, my Media system (Oppo, Sony...) at my TV can see this drive, and show pictures from it, or play movies..., once configured.

 

Jump in, get one.  Learn it, and use it.  The benefits far outweigh losing everything.  I hope this helps you make the move..., whatever decision you make.

 

Here's what the REadyNAS monitor looks like.  From here you can jump to your browser, to do more advanced administration. 

 

IF there's an issue with your NAS health, it shows up here and I check this 2-3 times a week.

 

Capture.JPG.a274f58f665a11e327139201d1b88261.JPG...

 

 

 

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I've never had any trouble with Netgear. The devotion with router and switch brands is all about familiarity (mostly).

 

I'd go RAID 10 unless you're trying to store crazy amounts of data, like over 6TB. Go RAID 10, or if you can, stay with RAID 1, they are more reliable than RAID 5 or 6. In fact, I would never consider RAID 5 - too many nightmares involving that mess.

 

I'm devoted to Western Digital NAS and SE drives. I do not trust Seagate. My WD NAS is 10 years old and still going strong. My 15 year old WD NAS still works as well (though it only serves as a back up of some of archives for now).

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The fact that you are still getting firmware upgrades for a device older than 30 days is a strong testimonial for NetGear. Most company's abandon firmware support once the warranty is up or the next generation of the device is released. Thank you very much for the feedback - valuable for sure.

 

I hear you Greg - RAID 5 requires industrial, enterprise class hardware and constant monitoring. It is not for the casual user. I've spent more than one sleepless night rebuilding corrupted volumes. Funny, I've had much more success with Seagate (back before they were purchased by whomever has them now) than I had with WD. I will admit that I have not had to work with a RAID in 5 years or so, so my data points are dated for sure. Thanks for the feedback.

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I have a couple of thoughts to keep in mind, but first of all @B-Mangood for you on looking at a RAID system.  Any file/picture/digital-music that you only have 1 copy of any of these, you don't care about it because it's as good as gone.

 

One thing to watch for is that many of the proper RAID / NAS (network attached storage - basically a smart disk system right on the network) systems will require specific RAID class disks.  They are more expensive but you are getting something meant to run continuously - generally a higher quality drive.   Trying to use a non-RAID or rather non-NAS drive.

 

The other key is you want a unit that will do RAID-5.  You "can" use the 2-disk units, but you are going to be limited to mirroring the disks - that means you only get 1/2 the storage.  Using RAID-5 means that you spread things across multiple drives (minimum 4), so the loss to redundancy is not as much.  Both will let you lose a disk and not lose any info.   

 

The Netgear unitl that @AndrewJohn suggests is certainly a good option.  I don't know what the current pricing is for them.  

 

I have a bit of an oddball unit.  Mine is not stand-alone - it's a RAID-5 unit that connects as a single USB drive.  It's been quite forgiving when drives have failed, but I would strongly suggest a unit that is network based (hard-wired Ethernet to your router is best).  That way you can access it from any computer or device you have on your home network, and possibly beyond.

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4 hours ago, Daddyjt said:

Every once in a while, something comes along that makes me feel really dumb. 

 

Just happened with this thread....

 

Mark, I feel your pain:  After seeing your stockpile in another thread, I felt both dumb and naively unprepared.

 

I would like to upgrade eventually to a raid, but I've been backing up my data using a different method.  I buy two physical drives and copy everything to both - one primary, the other a mirror.  Years ago, I started with two 500MB drives.  Each time that I've run out of space, I've doubled the capacity.  So I've gone from  500MB, to 1TB, to 2TB, to 4TB.   Right now I have two 8TB drives.  I also have an online backup service that also mirrors the primary drive.  This approach also has extra redundancy in that I keep all of the older drives, so the older data is also backed up over several drives. 

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I built a home NAS and use UnRaid OS with 4tb of storage. I bought a case that will handle 6 drives. I did this because it wasn't proprietary and Linux is reliable and easy to use. It is gigabit Ethernet on my network. I use mine for storage and DLNA. Adding more drives is easy. Look up UnRaid online.......grin

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1 hour ago, loner_t said:

Look at Synology and QNAP products. 

+1

I've waffled over getting eith of these more times than I can count, but I will likely go with Dadvw's idea.

 

1 hour ago, Dadvw said:

I built a home NAS and use UnRaid OS with 4tb of storage. I bought a case that will handle 6 drives. I did this because it wasn't proprietary and Linux is reliable and easy to use. It is gigabit Ethernet on my network. I use mine for storage and DLNA. Adding more drives is easy. Look up UnRaid online.......grin

 

Way to go on the homebuilt unit!  Great setup - you get storage  and streaming.

 

7 hours ago, PhilDent said:

I buy two physical drives and copy everything to both - one primary, the other a mirror.  

 

Way to go - you are doing a thousand percent more than most of us.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with the manual method.  You've found the only issue with ANY digital storage - there no such thing as enough.  If you think you have enough, wait a few minutes, your disks will fill on their own!  😉

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10 minutes ago, danowood said:

me#2

 

RAID = Redundant array of independent Disks. RAID is a standard for mass storage. Basically, it is this:

 

1 Hard drive - you store data and its all cool. Hard drives of all sorts have failure rates. If the HD breaks, you lose all your data. So how can we protect data using regular disk drives? Make them into arrays.

 

RAID 0 - Computer writes to two drives as if it were one drive. Data is written in such a way to make it fast to read and to write. This is a read/write efficiency RAID. If either of the drives fails, you lose all your data.

RAID 1 - Computer writes data on one drive and copies it to another (a mirror). Both drives have the same data. If one drive fails, the other drive has the same data, so data is saved.

RAID 5 - Computer requires at least 3 drives. It will write data across all three drives in such a way that if any one of the drives fails, no data is lost. Replace the bad drive and the array will rebuild it so that it operates across all 3 disks again. Primarily designed for mass storage that is closely monitored. The total storage is effectively the total drives minus 1 (so if you have 3 2TB drives in RAID 5, you have 4TB of storage total).

RAID 6 - Computer requires at least 4 drives. It will write data to all 4 disks in such a way that if even 2 drives completely fail, no data is lost. So if you have 10 2TB disks in RAID 6, you'll have about 16TB of storage and up to 2 disks can fail completely, and you lose no data. If you lose 3 before replacing the bad ones, you lose everything (just like RAID 5, only it can handle only one drive failure).

RAID 10 (1+0) - This is a combination of RAID 1 and RAID 0 - at least 4 drives are used such that one pair is written to for read/write speed and the other pair is an exact mirror.

 

Everything else they're talking about is geek speak about what brands to use. Meh. :D

 

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4 hours ago, Daddyjt said:

Thanks for the concise explanation!

 

So are these arrays accessible via WiFi?  Could I just feed it off one of the cat5 ports on my router?

 

Yes, that's the "NAS" part.  NAS = Network Access Storage.   Plug the NAS box into your cat5 port on your WiFi/router.  Then your wireless devices accessing your WiFi/Router around the house should be able to see/access it.  

 

Greg really simplified the definitions of RAID - excellent.  

 

Lots of geek-speak on the web..., can be intimidating.

 

But, as noted earlier, Jump In.  The water is not that cold.  And the net-positive gain after the learning pain is well worth it.  At the first averted disaster, You'll look back and say "Whew, glad I had the NAS."

 

Put a Saturday afternoon into it.  Once you get past the set-up, and configuring your other devices to access it, and then regularly back up to it (if that's what you want it for), it gets easier every time you engage.  Go to the online help forums for your chosen device..., there are other newbies there with geeks to answer questions.

 

 

A couple of epilogue thoughts.

 

Someone mentioned online back-up storage services..., they may also work for some..., but for me, I like the NAS, in my house.   I look at this in terms of mortality.  After I die, I don't want my bits and bytes living on in some corporate server warehouse somewhere my family can't find or access.  When I die, they can destroy my NAS, and my life's record, as they see fit.  🙂   That's my own thinking... The small print on who "owns" the data post-mortem in these online storage service agreements scares me to think someone could own (and profit from) my family pictures (or other data??) 50 years out.  NAS solves all that by isolating control to anyone in my house - and my NAS is located where it will survive a fire.

 

...for the super-inclined,..., you can also use your NAS to programmatically store streaming video from your security cameras...  Like, your RING or SimpliSafe system, or others.  Want to see who stole your FedEx package off your porch?  This is a good way..., but that's another thread.

Edited by AndrewJohn
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@Daddyjt NAS storage systems look like another drive on your PC, and if they have technology like DNLA, they look like media servers to modern receivers and/or DACs. You can control who has access to the files, set up virtual directories so people with cell phones can stream from folders you make 'public' on your wi-fi (provided they have the passwords!) and all kinds of cool stuff.

 

I'm with AJ - local cloud storage is what everybody should be doing. Should be a technology goal for every household, like having your own washer and dryer. Corporate Cloud storage is like a laundromat for your personal information.

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My apologies to many of you - I see so many of you as being incredibly technically adept, that when a topic crosses into an area that is just second nature to me, I miss the fact that not everyone may be as quick on it.  Kudos to @Nahash5150 and @AndrewJohn for some excellent descriptions.

 

Cloud storage may be nice - I use it for a lot of things, but for storing large amounts of information that you want to get at fast, it's both expensive and prone to being too slow, so it's getting there, but not yet.  I agree with @AndrewJohn a home NAS unit is currently the way to go - you have it right at hand and can control it.  You aren't subject to anyone's rule changes, and they are easy to use.  I would recommend if you get one, get at least one spare disk drive to have on hand.

Edited by Brian_at_HHH
Not sure what happened - it posted while typing.
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3 hours ago, Nahash5150 said:

@Daddyjt NAS storage systems look like another drive on your PC, and if they have technology like DNLA, they look like media servers to modern receivers and/or DACs. You can control who has access to the files, set up virtual directories so people with cell phones can stream from folders you make 'public' on your wi-fi (provided they have the passwords!) and all kinds of cool stuff.

 

I'm with AJ - local cloud storage is what everybody should be doing. Should be a technology goal for every household, like having your own washer and dryer. Corporate Cloud storage is like a laundromat for your personal information.

 

I am currently running and Apple AirPort Extreme with an attached 4tb HD that I physically back up at random intervals. I know tech minded folks shun Apple, but with 4 iPads, 4 iPhones, 3 iPods, a MacBook and an Apple TV, it works for me. Even my Oppo pulls FLAC off the 4tb drive. Would this system be considered NAS?

 

So it sounds like the RAID would offer more speed, storage, and easier backups, correct?

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2 hours ago, Nahash5150 said:

Lest we forget what Photobucket did to millions of people. That's the big problem with Cloud Storage - you are basically slave to the corporate engine.

 

+1  Too true.

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On 1/11/2019 at 8:55 PM, loner_t said:

Look at Synology and QNAP products. 

 

Thanks !! THAT is exactly the kind of advice I was seeking. I see Synology gets pretty good reviews from PC Mag and online via Amazon. Pricing looks reasonable too.

 

Mark - A proper RAID device handles the entire storage subsystem by itself - Windows, Linux, iOS - it doesn't matter. The computer / device operating system just sees it as a bunch of storage space - the device itself handles the duties of writing the data across the drives, monitoring the drives for issues / failures, etc. That's why I was asking for suggestions from people who have used these "smaller" types of RAID units. All of my experience is with enterprise class hardware - $10,000 cost is the entry point on most of the systems I have deployed and worked on. Granted, video storage systems require ENORMOUS capacity but there is an even more important aspect to the storage - it has to be fast and fully fault tolerant. That's one of the big differences between the 4 camera video security system you see at Sam's Club and a true commercial video system. The Sam's Club system will have a large hard drive and it will fail one day - and the user will lose all of their recorded video. 

 

I am a big fan of multiple copies of digital data - for archive purposes. My problem is I have 5 external hard drives of various sizes where multiple copies of this stuff resides. It is inefficient, time consuming to manage and not the brightest way to protect something I feel is valuable.

 

One last footnote - I have noticed a trend amongst customers to inquire about SSD storage. Solid State Drives are great for static storage. They are terrible for systems that constantly write to the disk. Every time you write to the disk, you destroy a small portion of it's memory. Write to it enough times and it will eventually fail to operate. Another fallacy about SSDs is that because they have no moving parts they are infallible. Google SanDisk 480 TB drive failures (ask me why I suggest this particular model) and you'll see that SSD is far from the panacea many propose it is.

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I found this unit on my local classified.  A couple things confuse me though: Five (5) drives seems odd, as it seems most of the different RAID types write in pairs. Second, the drives in this unit seem smallish at 3tb. What would the total capacity (usable) of five 3tb drives be? Can you upgrade the drives (size) one at a time, or do all five need to upgraded at once? And lastly, what would a good price for a unit like this be?

 

thanks:-)

 

https://classifieds.ksl.com/listing/54795164

 

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3 hours ago, B-Man said:

 

... My problem is I have 5 external hard drives of various sizes where multiple copies of this stuff resides. It is inefficient, time consuming to manage and not the brightest way to protect something I feel is valuable...

 

I am in exactly the same boat - a stack of portable drives, one for photos, one for FLAC, one for mp3, assorted backups of backups, etc. I am afraid to delete anything, as I once lost all the photos from one of my most memorable photo trips to Glacier NP, because I thought I had backed up when I hadn’t, and lost the photos in the backup drive “leapfrog” process. 

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3 hours ago, Daddyjt said:

I found this unit on my local classified.  A couple things confuse me though: Five (5) drives seems odd, as it seems most of the different RAID types write in pairs. Second, the drives in this unit seem smallish at 3tb. What would the total capacity (usable) of five 3tb drives be? Can you upgrade the drives (size) one at a time, or do all five need to upgraded at once? And lastly, what would a good price for a unit like this be?

 

RAID 5 or 6 can use odd number of drives no problem. 3TB drives in RAID 5 means you have 12TB of storage with 5 drives. Upgrade all drives at once because any drive you add will be treated as the same capacity as the array drives (as long as it is larger). You should always use the same capacity and drive speed for drives in an array - always.

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10 minutes ago, Nahash5150 said:

 

RAID 5 or 6 can use odd number of drives no problem. 3TB drives in RAID 5 means you have 12TB of storage with 5 drives. Upgrade all drives at once because any drive you add will be treated as the same capacity as the array drives (as long as it is larger). You should always use the same capacity and drive speed for drives in an array - always.

 

Min an earlier post you mentioned RAID5 is a nightmare... could this five drive array be used as a RAID 10 (that you said was the ideal)?  

 

Do you get to choose the RAID method, or is it pre-determined based on the hardware?

 

sorry for the dumb questions, but I am learning a great deal in this thread. 

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