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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:10 am 
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well, my Lacie NAS failed on me a week or so ago, so I have been searching for a new backup system.

I read though Bob's thread regarding his raid system and for a time I considered buying a full blown second PC with adaptec raid card etc, until I realised the price was just too high considering what I needed it for.

As I do not need a high-speed solution, I decided to go for low-speed, low-power and low-price:) samsung disks, 2 TB HD203WI EcoGreen x 4 and again as I do not need a high-speed storage system, I decided to buy the QNAP TS-419P Turbo NAS. I looked at the 639 that Bob has, but out of budget for me.

I plan to run the drives configured as 3 drive raid 5 with the 4th drive acting as a hot spare. So, 4 TB of backup storage doubles the 2TB I had previously with my Lacie drive plus more secure.


In total it cost 983 euros (806 in real money:)), including postage etc, which I have to say is still rather expensive. I do not doubt you could probably buy the parts and put something together for less, though unless you are an expert in configuring linux for raid storage, the easiest option is to opt for something like this.

My guess is my new NAS (when it arrives) will live for max 3 years until I need to replace it. So, considering a generous lifespan of 3 years, it works out to be around 330 euros a year (very rough price), .082 euros per GB to store my photos.

Has anyone considered using cloud storage like what Amazon offer? Excellent redundancy and though the price is higher, considering the redundancy on offer it works out pretty good.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:45 am 
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Always interesting to see what options there are. I'm still using the manually managed mirrors of USB HDs for storage and backup, which keeps costs about as low as possible but lacking some automation.

Online storage doesn't seem practical enough yet before I even look at costs. On average, I guess synchronising new uploads is manageable on my budget 1MBit uplink. A gigabyte would take just over a couple hours. For my existing photos, I just did a rough calculation that to upload 1TB would take 3 months continuously. No doubt I'd be hit by throttling or excessive use notices before that. I need to look at the higher packages before this becomes realistic.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:57 am 
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Automation is key for me. The time machine I have attached to my mac is awesome in that it is just so easy to use without error. I backup my local pc to an external hdd as another backup system, though i continuosly get errors from the windows 7 backup manager. I need to find a backup manager that is as good and easy to use as the time machine one.

I used to manually copy my new photos to the lacie NAS, which was not fun.

Some good points about your internet connection for the cloud storage. I used to have a very good connection, 100mbit both ways. I have since moved and no longer have access to a fibre optic connection, so now I have the worst connection to the internet I have had for many years. So, not an option right now.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 1:51 pm 
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ok, so changed the order for a 539, still not the 639 like bob, but a lot more powerful than the 419p I originally ordered. Running in raid 5 with 3 drives for storage, one for parity and 1 live to swap out if needed.

hopefully I will get to play with it tonight when it is delivered.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 2:13 pm 
Ah TimeMachine how I love thee! You make my life simple and carefree! :D


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2010 11:37 am 
Bob Andersson wrote:
My very personal take on this is that RAID 6 is too much of a good thing and that RAID 5 is good enough for a home NAS box. It's pretty unlikely that you'll lose a second hard drive before you have a chance to replace a failed drive and let the NAS rebuild the array and it still doesn't make sense for any NAS to be the only backup solution deployed, particularly for critical data.

I don't know whether you already know about this or not but according to the calculations in this article the simultaneous failure of two drives in RAID-5 should perhaps not be your main concern.

My personal opinion is that most private users don't really have a use for RAID-5. Even for daily backups you can use an external USB/eSATA drive. The nice thing about current modern external drives is that they spin down after being idle for a while which most likely will prolong their lifespan. It'll also remain in such a suspended state if you would shut down the computer and leave the USB drive under power. It would only spin up for the daily backup and shortly after that's done it'll go to sleep again.

I currently have four external Western Digital 1TB drives and two systems with 640GB (also WD) RAID-1 arrays. Such a mirrored size gives me plenty of time to collect a considerable amount of data that is not absolutely safe but as a result of the mirroring has a high degree of protection against data loss. I'm very careful about malware of course although most malware is not out to destroy your data anymore. When I fill up the 640GB array I move the data to one of the external drives which are switched off 95+% of the time. I use few operating hours for these external drives as part of my strategy against data loss. For most situations in private use you can do without storage outside your computer that's on-line 24/7/365. Saves on electricity too. In a professional environment demands can be very different of course.

When I bought the last two 1TB drives I consciously chose for 2x1TB over 1x2TB because 1TB is still pretty huge (well over 200 DVDs) and IF a drive would fail you won't lose 2TB of data in the worst case scenario but only 1TB.

I copy my photos (eventually) to both RAID-1 systems and have them on an external drive AND have also copied them to the netbook I bought a few months ago (250GB HD). Six copies should be enough. :) I only delete photos from my memory cards when the photos on it are at least on one extra drive besides the RAID-1 array of my main computer.

On a side note security wise. I've recently installed Prey laptop tracker software on my netbook which helps to find your property if it would ever get lost/stolen. It does a nice job and if you don't yet have it or something similar installed you should definitely take a look at it. The site could do with a little more information but you'll most likely figure it out.

Ben
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2010 12:58 pm 
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Hi Ben,

Good grief, it's 2010 and my RAID 5 array is still working. :lol: :lol: :lol:

Seriously, check out It is 2010 and RAID5 still works … written in response to your linked article. In particular:
    ...for some time now, RAID controllers (at least the recent ones I’ve read about) have used better methods to determine when to perform the rebuild.

    Consider this alternative, that I know to be used by at least a couple of array vendors. When a drive in a RAID volume reports a URE, the array controller increments a count and satisfies the I/O by rebuilding the block from parity. It then performs a rewrite on the disk that reported the URE (potentially with verify) and if the sector is bad, the microcode will remap and all will be well.

    When the counter exceeds some threshold, and with the disk that reported the URE still in a usable condition, the RAID controller will begin the RAID5 recovery. Robin is correct that RAID recovery after DPF is something that will become less and less useful as drive capacities grow. But, with improvements in integration of SMART and the significant improvements in the predictability of drive failures, the frequency of RAID5 and RAID6 reconstruction failures are dramatically lower than those predicted in the referenced articles as these reconstructions occur on URE and not DPF.

    Look at the specifications for the RAID controller you use.
Not by any means a complete refutation of the scenario you linked to but maybe another good reason to make sure your RAID solution is a good one. That said, I've got no idea whether the firmware in my current NAS unit supports that more intelligent definition of failure described in the text I just quoted. :oops:

Fortunately I run a RAID 10 array on the main computer and in that context the RAID 5 array on the NAS only performs a back-up role for that computer. The NAS does provide primary storage for the files played on my Media PC but I've always got a second copy of those available elsewhere simply because I don't blindly trust any RAID solution. :idea:

Thanks for the heads up, though. Very thought provoking. 8)

Bob.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2010 4:59 pm 
Interesting follow-up. I had some reservations of my own about the 'fatality' of an URE during a rebuild. I would expect it would result in most likely one corrupted file and depending on the nature of that file the damage could be from insignificant to disastrous. But the principle is relevant and seemed of interest to me. I read it probably about 2,5 years ago. When I looked it up for the link I noticed it had been updated. Since I don't use anything else than RAID-1 myself I haven't kept up with the issue but it is to be expected that 'the industry' would be 'working on it'.

Just something that it is useful to be aware of when you use the technology.

Ben
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