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[RAID 1] Business Backup Questions

311 Views 9 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  wimcle
My Dad has a computer he runs his business off of. He keeps all his files and emails on it and depends on it to keep his business going. He has been backing up select files to a flash drive using some backup software, but I gave him the idea of setting up RAID 1 since his HD is just a 160gb seagate that would only cost him 42$ to get another. He seemed to like this idea if I could do it for him because a few years ago he had a power surge and his HD got hit, and he had to pay close to 700$ for people to open it up and remove the platters. Now some questions:

1) He has XP and all his files on a HD now. Is there a way to set up RAID 1 by just imaging the new HD to look exactly like the old one, without formatting the old one? He doesn't want to format but would like to start using RAID 1. Are there any helpful tools/utilities you guys know to do this (image the new HD)?

2) This is his motherboard (K9N6SGM-V). It says it supports RAID 0/1. Does this mean it has an onboard controller? If so does that mean I don't need a controller card and just can configure it through the BIOS?
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If he was running Linux, I'd say yes. As far as I know, Windows does not support an in-situ creation of RAID 1, so he'd have to format the drive(s).

What he could do is buy two drives, create a RAID 1 with them, image his existing drive onto the RAID 1, then boot from the RAID 1 and use the single drive as a backup unit. He could even slap it in an external case.

Be aware however, that RAID1 does not mean backup. All RAID levels, with the exception of RAID0, mean availability - if an HD dies, keep on truckin'. If you accidentally delete a file, it's gone, simple as that (undelete tools notwithstanding). RAID does not preclude backups.
I used to use RAID1 back in the day when I was using Nvidia boards but eventually scrapped it after some problems. Once something happened with the SB (don't remember now) and I lost the array which means I lost all the data on said array. Nowadays I'm a firm believer of single drive + backup drive. Just pick up a cheap My Book or something and be done with it.
on my server i have a raid 5 setup + a usb backup for nightly backups. that way if one of my hard drives fails (like it just did) i can just swap in a new HD and it'll repopulate and keep on chugging along. then my night time backs up to my USB drive + soon it will back up to my off site server in houston tx.
You do realize that RAID1 won't protect the system power surges (...theft, robbery, fire, ect.)?

Originally Posted by DuckieHo
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You do realize that RAID1 won't protect the system power surges (...theft, robbery, fire, ect.)?

I understand that it won't protect it from that kind of stuff. Just trying to find an easier way to keep a backup, because this software he has is giving him trouble. It looks like there isn't a way to easily do RAID 1 without formatting... hm. Any other ideas?
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Look for better backup software? There's plenty about. Or use one of those virtual drives on the Internet? Or both? Something like Amazon S3, or X-Drive?
Just buy the HDD and setup a cloning program to clone the HDD every night and you have a poor mans raid1
OP, what I recommend is getting him to purchase backup software and an external HDD. Then as long as he does a backup, he will be fine.

For example, I am running Vista 64 Ultimate which has a complete backup utility. I've been able to make a complete backup (takes me 5 min, but it depends on your hardware), swap out hard drives, and restore the image to the new drive. I've used it with RAID 0 setups, and never have a problem. So if he isnt willing to format, this might be a bgetter option then RAID 1. Besides, RAID 1 will only protect you from hardware failure. There still needs to be a backup system in place for OS corruption.
raid1 is not a backup in any sense of the word!!!

your computer is far more likey to have its drive scrambled by software (windoze) than by a hd failing thus taking them both.

an external usb that is left mounted is only marginally better, one thats pluged in, written to, then unplugged is better.

I would only trust work data to a system that wrote to a network location that is not kept mounted, renames and write protects the files after backups.

a cheap nas and a ups is worth it.

the builtin ntbackup and a small batch file that duplicated the backup file on other office machines would be a low cost redundant system.
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