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Storage Set Up

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trentk10

New Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2016
Built my first PC a few years ago, just an at home user with enough knowledge to be dangerous to myself and my own system :) Basically a hobby for me.

My Current Set Up:

C: 180 GB SSD (Windows 7 64 bit)
E: Data/ N: Network - 1TB HDD
P: Programs - 400 GB HDD (Currently Not Working)
K: 120 GB USB External (Back Ups)
L: 120 GB USB External (Back Ups)

When I set up this up a few years ago, I knew the Programs HD could have a problem, I took it out of a Gateway that overheated. I figured if it died, I would just have to re install games and non essential software, which at the time seemed like no big deal to me haha. The drive did fail the other day, and I have come to realize after doing some research that my back up plan isn't nearly what it should be. Long term I am going to set up a NAS (kids are getting older, have their own laptops/phones and what not) , but that isn't going to happen immediately. I have a bunch of parts picked out to build it, but not enough free cash to justify it at this point. Anyway, I ordered 2 more 1TB HDD's to replace my drive that died. Also, due to the age of the 120 GB externals, I think I am no longer comfortable having those as back up drives.

Possible New Set up:

C: No Change
E: Data (Move Network to new HDD)
P: Programs / Back Up 1
N: Network / Back Up 2

Thinking of Using the External Drives to set up Virtual Machines to run old windows 98 and XP games, ran across that while doing research, seemed like it might be fun.

Another possibility would be setting up a RAID 5 with my 2 new and 1 existing 1TB HDDs, I ordered the exact same drive that I had, so I would have this option if I wanted. The main draw back to this is I'd still be using the older external drives as back ups for the short term (until the NAS box comes into play), but I would have protection in case one of the 1TB drives failed.

Any ideas or critiques are greatly welcome, thanks in advance :)
 

Janus67

Benching Team Leader
Joined
May 29, 2005
My only recommendation would not to use RAID5. I would do a RAID6 if doing any sort of a drive+parity RAID setup as when one drive fails and you pop in another everything has to pass back over to the new drive. If (and it isn't super uncommon) the stress of doing this takes out another drive your whole volume is gone. With two parity drives you allow for one additional drive to fail just in case.

I also am not a fan of (if you were planning to do so) using the RAID software inside of Windows or built into a motherboard. As if the motherboard dies (I believe) you are somewhat screwed depending on what you'd replace it with and hope that re-creating the raid setup wouldn't wipe the drives again. Someone else can confirm that, though.
 
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trentk10

New Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2016
My only recommendation would not to use RAID5. I would do a RAID6 if doing any sort of a drive+parity RAID setup as when one drive fails and you pop in another everything has to pass back over to the new drive. If (and it isn't super uncommon) the stress of doing this takes out another drive your whole volume is gone. With two parity drives you allow for one additional drive to fail just in case.

I also am not a fan of (if you were planning to do so) using the RAID software inside of Windows or built into a motherboard. As if the motherboard dies (I believe) you are somewhat screwed depending on what you'd replace it with and hope that re-creating the raid setup wouldn't wipe the drives again. Someone else can confirm that, though.

Thanks for the input/advice, its greatly appreciated :)
 

Mighty_Miro_WD

Western Digital Representative
Joined
Jul 30, 2014
Hi @trentk10!

The plan for the new drives sound OK to me, but do have in mind that if you decide to setup a RAID 5 it won't be a proper substitute for backups because there are a lot of risks that it can't protect against - it just give your data some additional redundancy. For instance:

1. If you accidentally delete a file, it will instantly be removed from both mirrored copies.
2. If your disk is corrupted by a software bug or virus, the corruption will be done to both mirrored copies simultaneously.
3. If you're hit by a bad enough power surge, it'll probably fry both disks at the same time, etc.

So basically what I want to say is always to have at least one drive for backups, if possible external one, even if that means to set all your drives in as separate units. Other than that everything looks OK to me. :)

Cheers!

P.S. This absolutely made my day! :D :)

Built my first PC a few years ago, just an at home user with enough knowledge to be dangerous to myself and my own system :) Basically a hobby for me.
 

Janus67

Benching Team Leader
Joined
May 29, 2005
Mighty_Miro has a very good point that I failed to mention. RAID does not equal a backup. A proper backup of anything that truly matters in at minimum one other location should be used. Ideally in different buildings (or to the cloud as a tertiary location, for example), but at least different floors of a house or rooms can be helpful in case there's a fire in one, for example.
 
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trentk10

New Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2016
Thanks again for the input, it is greatly appreciated. The drives are supposed to arrive today (along with a new Fan and Fan Controller lol).

I am going to use this set up. I will partition the two new drives, and have identical back ups on each of them, if one drive fails, I will have another copy. The Programs, and Network partitions will be backed up on the opposite drive, so I am covered there also. Also, gets my backups off of the old external drives. This set up feels like the best option until I can get my NAS & separate dedicated back up PC put together (probably early spring). I will still have the DVD copies of everything too.

C: No Change
E: Data (Move Network to new HDD)
P: Programs / Back Up 1
N: Network / Back Up 2

Thinking of Using the External Drives to set up Virtual Machines to run old windows 98 and XP games, ran across that while doing research, seemed like it might be fun.

Glad my comment made you laugh Mighty haha :)

Thanks again both of you. :)
 

trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
Cloud backup plans are another option. There are many options out there for doing this, everything from fee-based services like Carbonite or free services like Microsoft One Drive or Google drive which can be expanded if you move to the paid versions. Sometimes the limited storage of the free services offer enough storage space for mission critical files. Multiple backup devices/services and locations is the best approach for reasons others have sited such as fires or theft or even backup hardware failure. We never think it will happen to us but it does.
 
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trentk10

New Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2016
Cloud backup plans are another option. There are many options out there for doing this, everything from fee-based services like Carbonite or free services like Microsoft One Drive or Google drive which can be expanded if you move to the paid versions. Sometimes the limited storage of the free services offer enough storage space for mission critical files. Multiple backup devices/services and locations is the best approach for reasons others have sited such as fires or theft or even backup hardware failure. We never think it will happen to us but it does.

Thanks :)