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post #11 of 16
The blind leading the blind....here we go...

For me the meaning of using backup is:
- Creating an automated process, so I dont have to manually copy files all the time, my comp's does this automatically.
- Knowing my files are duplicated over 3 LOGICAL DISKS (workstation + R5 + R1. So if both my R5 & R1 backups go down, my files are still on the computer. Or one of the other scenarios...(R1 + PC down)(R5 + PC down).
- I have chosen RAID5 for the added storage and speed, and I never felt completely safe with some things only stored there, so I created a RAID1 array to mirror all the really important files..(pic's, mp3s & docs)

As i see it, you have a good structure when you are creating files for your projects.
Store all theese files locally on your workstation, and back them up when you need to.

A backup is a copy of your data copied from whatever location...
If this backup is "corrupted", consider your workstation the backup..It runs both ways..
If your workstation breaks down for whatever reason, you can access this backup location to retrieve you lost files....
The reason for doing RAID1 or RAID5 is simply to create multiple copies for added security.
When you do RAID1, the host of this array sees one (logical) disk.
The hardware controller (SW or HW), then duplicates this information across the 2 physical disks.
The process of backing up to a single drive vs. RAID1 is the same.
RAID1 is actually easy to recover from, since it's basically the same info on two drives,
so if one drive fails and you don't have a spare, you can get access to the single disk with the help of different software...some free some not.
The reason for having RAID1 is to have added security, knowing you have 2 identical copies of one file.
You loose out on transfer speed, and available space, but this is normally not a problem with today's fast drives.

Concerning corrupted data:
Maybe there are some file checksum progs of there? Don't really know..never used it.
But maybe one exists that allows you to compare the files on your workstation with the ones on your backup(s).


RAID5 is like you say, more complex, you gain more space than RAID1, and a little more speed,
and if you have errors with one drive, the R5 array still works opposed to R1
R5 is also not so easy to recover from if everything goes south.
But in the event of drive failure, you "simply" replace the bad one, and let the array rebuid.
But like i said earlier, i have some stuff not stored on my workstation, so I doubled my security by adding a R1 array...But you can easily create only 2 R1 arrays....The options are many....


I really don't know any better way to help you....
But IMO the chances of data corruption, are much greater if the user has poor file creating structure.(with that meaning overwriting files)
I hope this helps you overcome your raidofobia somewhat...
But getting some piece of paper and drawing out what you're thinking really has helped me a lot....
    
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post #12 of 16
@OP

Windows Home Server is not as complex as Server 2008, as it is indeed aimed at end users who want a home server that just works. Its UI is very simple to use compared to Server 2008.

However, I've no idea if WHS can do HTPC functions.
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post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by parityboy View Post
@OP

Windows Home Server is not as complex as Server 2008, as it is indeed aimed at end users who want a home server that just works. Its UI is very simple to use compared to Server 2008.

However, I've no idea if WHS can do HTPC functions.
That's true for sure.
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
gizmo, I'll address your post later.

Parity and Snow,
How is WHS simpler. Just by interface or does it have differnet functions. Is it possible to do the types of software redundancy Gizmo mentioned, or not?

Thanks!!
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post #15 of 16
I've never used WHS, so I don't know the details, however you can set certain folders to be duplicated x number of times (assuming you have the storage to accommodate it). Additionally, unlike RAID WHS operates on a file basis, so it can use different size drives - it simply adds them to its storage pool.

here is a selection of UI shots from WHS.

Amahi Home Server uses a technology called GreyHole which achieves the same thing. AHS is also free forever.
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post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
Gizmo:

Thanks for all that! For the record, I have this all drawn out on a piece of paper also

I realize RAID setups are highly used and work very well for their intended purpose. I am also very aware that I am greatly over thinking this issue - probably. I am currently well protected against most issue though mirroring. I use a robocopy .bat file that automatically shuts down my computer when done. Takes about 5 minutes to run at the end of the day. I have specific folders mirrored from my desktop data disk to two separate drives, one of which is external. Not perfect but it was a start. I have a second .bat that does not include the shutdown command and can be run anytime (or scheduled if I wanted).

Still, as with Raid 1 or 5, this protects me only from disk failure or machine failure (PSU goes and takes disks with it, etc). From what I can tell, this is no different in terms of protection than Raid 1 or 5. Raid runs constantly rather than intermittently and 5 adds some speed to transfers.

Still, if I accidentally delete data or get some software/virus corruption, this would be mirrored to all copies with robocopy or raid.....at least from what I understand. Corruption from a failing disk, though not failed enough to completely die or be recognized, is protected from in Raid 5, but not in a raid 1 mirror....from my understanding.

Using Raid 1 on a Raid 5 gives you immediate and constant protection from everything except software/virus corruption and accidental deletion.... as I understand it.

All this is why I wonder about not mirroring data unless it is being used. I suspect that the amount of data one would loose from software/virus/slowly-failing-hdd is small, but I don't know for sure. I do realize I am being-----excessive--- but at the same time i see this as a learning exercise and I currently have the time to learn.

I don't know enough about how windows file systemt work to really understand what happens when data is accessed. For example, if a program opens a file but does not change any bits, it s closed with an identical length. Any change is reflected in the file's length (checksum). Is there still a record that the file was opened? Is there a last accessed or timestamp? What if bits of a file are deleted or added to through virus, software, BSOD, etc but the file is not opened. The length would change but does any attribute change? Is there a change to the original timestamp? If some of these questions are yes, it seems like it would be "easy" to compare and reveal any corruption.

As I said, I would like to learn more about this. But also as I said, maybe I'm being excessively silly.


Parity:
Quote:
've never used WHS, so I don't know the details, however you can set certain folders to be duplicated x number of times (assuming you have the storage to accommodate it). Additionally, unlike RAID WHS operates on a file basis, so it can use different size drives - it simply adds them to its storage pool.
Sounds like a GUI for something similar to flexRaid or simply a wrapper for native Windows copying within the task manager. I'll definately look more into WHS and Server 08

As for "HTPC" functionality, my needs are simple. If I can install XBMC or VLC media player and BluRay/mkv playing software, and access the internet, I'll be all set. I'd love to be able to use XBMC but its not essential. I can always navigate to my media folder and left click|play. This won't even be used for music playing, only storage.
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