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Software RAID solution

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I have a HTPC hosting multimedia in a 1TB drive. It serves up video over tversity and acts as my IIS box and transdroid server. The OS is on a 250GB HD. I am not worried about redundancy with this.

I am looking for a cheap, preferably free software raid that is very reliable. I currently have a 1TB drive with 700GB of data and no redundancy. I just picked up another 1TB drive. I am looking to do a RAID 1 set up.

My motherboard does not support RAID. I am using a Gigabyte mobo. I picked up in 2009.

I did some reading on flexRAID but have not seen any posts on it here at Overclock.net. If there are and I missed them...whoops!
post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 
Forgot to mention... The OS is Windows 7 PRO 64B.
post #3 of 10
How much data do you expect to grow to over time? If it's just take 1 TB you want to backup, I wouldn't bother with a RAID 1, just copy the files over to the backup drive and keep it offline.

Otherwise, just use Windows 7's Software RAID. You make a spanned volume in disk mananger, it works good enough. Doesn't matter if your motherboard supports RAID, those are FakeRAID usually anyways.

RAID != Backup, it is just redundancy to minimize down time and should not be sole solution for sensitive data
Edited by Jonowxeno - 6/14/11 at 4:18pm
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post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
I will more than likely move to a 2TB drive in the future. But for now I want to have some sort of redundancy.

I have read that changing over to a dynamic disk in the win 7 disk manager is a bad idea if a drive fails, it can be hard to recover.. I can't remember what all I read about it though..

As for using the 1TB drive I just bought as a offline drive, it would be a pain in the neck to copy files over to an offline drive over and over. Unless I read you wrong.

I figure a RAID 1 setup with flexRAID would be perfect as it uses snapshot raid, but I am not sure.
post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhatMuffinMan View Post
I figure a RAID 1 setup with flexRAID would be perfect as it uses snapshot raid, but I am not sure.
If you already have a RAID1 set-up, why bother with FlexRAID?

FlexRAID works kinda similar to unRAID. However, two major differences are:
  1. It sits on top of other operating systems. (unRAID is shipped as a custom Linux distro)
  2. It doesn't work in real-time.

I can't really explain it all that well. Might want to check out the 40TB unRAID server thread. I believe there's an explanation there on how unRAID works and FlexRAID works pretty much the same way (aside from having to manually run the parity calculations).

Don't go with spanned volumes on Windows. You don't get any redundancy with spanned volumes.
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post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
I don't have a RAID 1 setup. I want to achieve one.
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
I see $50 PCI raid controller cards on newegg. I am not sure if this would be a better route to go than flexRAID either.
post #8 of 10
RAID 1
- 1:1 mirror; if you have 2x 2TB drives, you need another 2x 2TB drives to create a RAID 1 array which can be pretty expensive after a while

flexRAID
- parity-based redundancy;

For example, say each bit represents data from one of the eight hard drives and the last digit is the parity calculation, parity bit is 0 if the sum is even and 1 if the sum is odd:

1011 1101 0
0100 0110 1

If one of the drives fail, then you can calculate the value of the data in the failed drive by comparing data from existing drives and the parity bit.

1x11 1101 0
0x00 0110 1

Now if two drives fail in the above scenario, obviously, you won't be able to recover data from the failed drives.

That's a greatly simplified example but it's more or less how flexRAID works. Which one to go for really depends on the level of redundancy you require and how much funds you can allot. Back when 2TB drives were going for $300, going RAID 1 would put a very heavy dent on the pocket, particularly if you're planning on storing 10TB of data. Nowadays, the same $300 can get you 5x 2TB drives if you find a good sale. It really is up to you to weight the risks vs the amount you're willing to spend.

RAID 1 (although I'd recommend just doing offline 1:1 back-ups) is going to be more expensive than flexRAID since it requires more drives than flexRAID but it also offers you better redundancy. However, do keep in mind that flexRAID is very flexible. You can adjust the level of redundancy from basically RAID-5 (can sustain 1 failed drive w/o loss of data), RAID-6 (can sustain 2 failed drives w/o loss of data) all the way to RAID 1 (mirroring) and a bunch of levels in between. Of course the number of drives required for parity will be proportional to the level of protection desired.

By the way, if you have enough ports on your motherboard, you can always use Windows' software RAID. No need to buy a crappy PCI controller. Don't go PCI, either. A single hard drive, even a 5400RPM one can saturate the PCI bus. You want to use PCIe SATA/RAID controllers.
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post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Here is what I have now..what I am going to use.

2X 1TB Drives. 1 drive has 700GB worth of data. I want a simple and reliable means of backup, whether it be flexRAID or whatever. I prefer having to do as little as work as possible.

I am short on case space as I am using a Silverstone Milo. So I do not have a whole lot to work with.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
My question is.. will FlexRAID work with 2X 1TB drives?
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