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Hard drive backup or RAID?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I have never bothered much with hard drive performance, backup, etc. so I am pretty noob with these stuff. So, please bear with me.

I am trying to determine the best way to have a disaster recovery for my hard drives. I am in the process of getting two Samsung 500GB F3s and I got a Seagate 500GB drive already. I can get exact specs if needed later on today. I want to have some sort of backup in case of a catastrophe. So I am wondering if I can do RAID 5 with the three HDs I have. Or if I can use the F3s as RAID 0 and use some sort of backup program to have a backup in the Seagate 500GB. What would be the best option? If I am to use backup program (like Norton Ghost), what would be a good program that I can use for multiple PC? It appears Norton Ghost is only for one PC and I am tired of paying money for one PC - would be nice if I can do at least 3.

Any other suggestion, opinion are welcome.
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post #2 of 17
Data backup and data redundancy are separate.

Whatever RAID redundancy you have, you should also back up the contents of the array to another disk or physical media. If you accidentally delete the text from a file and save it, all your redundant copies save empty text to the file too. You'll be safe in the instance that a drive FAILS on you, but not from other instances of corruption or user error, etc.

RAID 0 is not redundant and is only useful for increasing drive throughput.

If you are using two drives in RAID (RAID0 or something redundant), I would use the third drive to store an image of the array, providing the array is not larger than the storage disk. I keep three disks in RAID0 for programs and OS, but all my critical data is on a stand alone drive, manually copied to a standalone backup drive.

If I had multiple drives in a redundant RAID configuration, I would still back up the contents of the array to a network drive or some kind of media. Keep an archive of that media for as long as you want to keep incremental versions of your data. I manually copy because it is JUST data, no programs or OS files.

There are free imaging apps out there, but I'm not inclined to recommend one for this task, because I don't really image my drives anymore.
Edited by _02 - 3/14/11 at 11:07am
    
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post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank you good sir. That makes a lot of sense.

Question: will redundancy or backup save an application? What I am trying to say is that I understand saving my data such as docs, spreadsheets, music, pictures, game saves, etc. into another media. But if I have a catastrophic failure, where I need to re-install windows, I can got those data back but not applications such as Audiocity, VPN software, Movie maker, etc. I know I can have them re-installed, but just from an education perspective, if I keep an image of the hard drive (or array), will I be able to do a sort of system restore with all the application and data intact without having to re-install everything?
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post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Awaz View Post
Thank you good sir. That makes a lot of sense.

Question: will redundancy or backup save an application? What I am trying to say is that I understand saving my data such as docs, spreadsheets, music, pictures, game saves, etc. into another media. But if I have a catastrophic failure, where I need to re-install windows, I can got those data back but not applications such as Audiocity, VPN software, Movie maker, etc. I know I can have them re-installed, but just from an education perspective, if I keep an image of the hard drive (or array), will I be able to do a sort of system restore with all the application and data intact without having to re-install everything?
If you have all your programs installed on your local C:\\ drive, you would probably be better just imaging the drive, or using window's built in backup function (not sure how this treats programs, though).

A RAID array will allow you to keep running if a disk fails, without losing your data from the RAID array. If you log on one day drunk, and uninstall all your programs, your RAID array will not allow you to return your installation to a state before you uninstalled all the programs (it uninstalls the programs on all the redundant disks too). That is where you would restore an image of your OS.

If you keep your programs on a drive separate from the OS, you'll need to image both, and restore both so that the OS can locate the programs where it expects them (the d:\\, e:\\, f:\\ or whatever drive it was that you installed them to originally).

Hopefully that makes sense.
Edited by _02 - 3/14/11 at 1:06pm
    
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post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Yes it does. Thank you
Wife's bane
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post #6 of 17
Have you considered building a Windows Home Server rig? I think you can even set it up so it does image backups automatically.
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post #7 of 17
What sort of disaster are you preparing for?
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post #8 of 17
I'm using my first WD 1TB Black for the OS on a small partition, and data files plus a few large programs on a second large partition.

I use Windows 7's Backup feature to backup my data, plus creating a system image of the OS and programs (some on the second partition) using the optional system image function. The backups are sent to my second WD 1TB Black.

You can configure Windows Backup to run automatically on a schedule, though I just run it manually once a week.

It just seems like the simplest solution for me. I'll be adding a small SSD, and moving the OS to it before too long, but will keep basically the same backup strategy. For greater security I could send the backup to an external USB drive, or to another drive on my network, but for now I'm happing with the one internal HDD dedicated to backup storage.
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post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rui-no-onna View Post
Have you considered building a Windows Home Server rig? I think you can even set it up so it does image backups automatically.
hmm...never thought of that. I think I will look into this.
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Wife's bane
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post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by error10 View Post
What sort of disaster are you preparing for?
If I understood the question right, basically hard drive failure causing data loss and application loss. Primarily it is for a rig that wife uses to edit music for her yoga class, do book keeping for a small business we have. She do not want to take a chance losing the data and if possible the apps she uses.
Wife's bane
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Wife's bane
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Crucial SSD for OS Samsung Spinpoint F3 Asus XSPC water block, 360 radiator, and 720 reservo... 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
GPU cooling - XSPC Razer full GPU blocks Win 7 Home Premium Asus PB278Q 2560 X 1440p ISP Logitech G15 
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