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Author Topic: RAID 5 recommendations please  (Read 15163 times)
Gregory
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« on: April 06, 2007, 08:35:26 AM »
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[span style=\'font-size:8pt;line-height:100%\'](if this is the wrong forum to ask this question, please forgive me. I checked the forum descriptions but couldn't find one that directly related to storage equipment. The description for the "Managing Megabytes" forum states "Discussion regarding The Great Luminous Landscape 2006 State-of-The-Art Shootout"!)[/span]

hello all.

I need to back up my photo library (and other computer files). I've had too many incidents with DVDs and they take too long to back up to anyway so I've decided to go with RAID 5.

Preferably, I'd like:
  • A minimum of 3 active drives + 1 spare drive
  • FireWire 800 AND 400. USB not necessary. ie; stand-alone RAID without the need for a RAID card (I'm using a Core Duo 2 iMac and a MacBook Pro).
  • Hotswap (albeit optional because I'm not running a business. I can shut the RAID down if I need to.)
  • Compatible with commonly available 3.5" drives (eg, Barracudas from Seagate because I can get 5-year warranties when I buy these locally here in Hong Kong).
I don't want OEM drives because they only offer 1 year warranty.
I don't want Lacie because I've had too many problems with their equipment.

Any recommendations?

kind regards,
Gregory
« Last Edit: April 06, 2007, 08:38:44 AM by Gregory » Logged

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wolfnowl
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« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2007, 02:30:10 PM »
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I'd recommend Infrant but they're networked, not firewire.  I typed Raid 5 firewire 800 into Google and got 1.29 million hits.  You might want to look up Wiebetech (http://www.wiebetech.com/products/rt5.php or http://www.wiebetech.com/products/rt5x2.php if you're really thinking ahead) as I've heard good things about them.

Pity you couldn't stick in an eSATA card as your read/write times would be MUCH faster...

Mike.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2007, 02:32:56 PM by wolfnowl » Logged

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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2007, 03:31:16 PM »
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I was just in my local Fry's electronic supply store.  They had Seagate 500G SATA drives on sale for $119 each.   I have for a long time been preaching RAID 1-1 as a back-up strategy.  In effect I have two redundant copies of my current working image drive, one stored off-site and backed up monthly or after any large shoot, the second on-site as fully redundant back-up, and then keep two identical drives of my historical images, one on-site and one offsite.  At current prices, even keeping 3 equivalent drives for all my images ($360 for 500/500/500) my storage cost is well under $1 per gig ($360/500G = 72 cents per double-redundant Gig of stored data).  Dropping to a single-redundant strategy, your cost is only 48 cents per Gig.  And this is only getting cheaper as time passes.  

FWIW, I also recently picked up a handy little $30 Vantec device to support this strategy -- a SATA/IDE  to USB2 adapter, model CR-ISATAU2.  With this device you can transfer data to a 3.5" or 5.25" SATA OR IDE drive via a USB port and you don't need to have the drive in an enclosure!  Just pull the drive out of its factory cushion pack, plug the adapter onto it, load it with data, un-plug and put the drive back in its factory cushion pack for long-term, off-site storage.  

My .02 only,
« Last Edit: April 06, 2007, 03:39:21 PM by Jack Flesher » Logged

Nill Toulme
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« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2007, 04:44:00 PM »
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What kind of thruput do you get with that little gizmo Jack?

Nill
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digitaldog
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« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2007, 06:22:54 PM »
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Check out the products from these guys:

https://www.g-technology.com/index.cfm

I'm looking at the G-Safe. I did purchase their small driver (Mini) for travel and it's a beautifully built and quite fast unit.
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Andrew Rodney
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Dave Carter
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« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2007, 07:07:10 PM »
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HI,
Yea, I have been using G-RAIDs for quite some time.  I always have two hooked up to my computer via 400 firewire.  They are all 500 Gb (each housing cotains 2 drives) and are the older G-Raid not G-Raid2's
I save data to each one so I have a working housing and a backup housing.  Works quite well and I sleep nights.  Only takes seconds to change housings.  I probably shouldn't say this, but I have never had a problem with them.

I think their new G-SAFE will be a better way to go as soon as it is out and running well.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2007, 07:14:13 PM »
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Yea, I have been using G-RAIDs for quite some time.  I always have two hooked up to my computer via 400 firewire.  They are all 500 Gb (each housing cotains 2 drives) and are the older G-Raid not G-Raid2's
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=111081\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I'm ready to go for the G-Safe but have yet to find out the cost of the swapable drives. So can you swap out the drives from your G-Raids and what's the cost of the shuttles (if that's the right term)?
I can't find anything on their site about cost of additional drives. I'd like to have at least a 2nd drive that is mirrored but in a fire proof safe. Then when the first group fills up, I'd like to be able to add two more.
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Andrew Rodney
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Nill Toulme
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« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2007, 07:38:59 AM »
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The G-Safe looks to me like any other external 2-fer in a RAID-1 arrary with the signal addition of the words "for photographers" attached to it.  How is it better than any other external RAID-1 or, more importantly, than simple multiple redundant external single firewire (or eSATA) drives?

The problem I have with RAID-1 arrays is that while they might be "fail-proof" they're not really "fool-proof."  Yes if one drive dies you have the other — but any OTHER problem that causes an untoward write or delete to the disk — virus, operator headspace error, you name it — does so, by definition, to both drives simultaneously, and there goes your data.  On the downside, they double your drive cost and physical space requirements.

The way I've analyzed this is this:

The first goal of data protection should be not to lose the data in the first place.  That means good hygiene practices and, it seems to me, RAID-5 for your live data.  RAID-5 means if you lose a drive, you keep chugging along with no restore necessary.  For those of us approaching a TB of data or more, that's important, as a complete restore from external HD can take hours and hours.  (I don't even want to think about a complete restore from optical media!)  RAID-6 would provide a little bit of extra comfort here, but that's a cost-benefit tradeoff that, at least here at the low end of the food chain, comes out better IMO in favor of RAID-5.

After that, you're talking about multiple redundant backups to recover from that catastrophic loss.  At this point, yes a RAID-1 at each of the multiple redundant levels would provide some modest extra comfort over a single drive there, but less so than simply doubling the number of levels, which is also less expensive because those cool little RAID boxes aren't.

In practice, this means my live data (which, happily at this stage, is still ALL my data) resides on a 1.1TB RAID-5 in my main graphics machine.  Downloaded cards get automatically duplicated to an external firewire drive, as they're downloaded, so I have at least two copies from the moment the image leaves the camera.  The RAID-5 gets backed up, nightly and automatically, to two other external firewire drives (Seagate 400GB & 750GB).  Those drives in turn get backed up every few weeks or so to their twins that live off-site (at my next-door neighbor's house).

Perfect?  Of course not.  But it seems to me that I've maximized my data security in the most cost-effective (and time-efficient) way possible.  I'm subject to frequent lapses of judgment and insight though, so if I've missed something please let me know.  (For example, I worry about backing up the backups *from* the backups, rather than from the live data, but I do that without deletes, so the backup-backups are larger than the backups, if you see what I mean.  I think this guards better against the occasional stupid inadvertent delete on my part, which is probably the greatest threat to my data.)

Nill
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« Last Edit: April 07, 2007, 07:56:38 AM by Nill Toulme » Logged
Dave Carter
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« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2007, 10:04:08 AM »
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Digital dog
       I do not switch out the drives in my G-RAIDS.  I have purchased them over time, so just use them as complete units. (I know this is probably more expensive - - but ,it sure is easy).

I think Nill has some good points to consider.  Probably a RAID-5 tower is a good way to go.  And to be safe, back it up as well.

I wonder what happened to G-RAID's tower that had five drives in it that were configured to RAID-5?  I just noticed that it is no longer for sale on their web site.  Did thay have problems with it?  I was also thinking about it.  I will try to check with them or VideoGuys next week.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2007, 10:44:02 AM »
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What I'm looking for is a hot swappable system such that I can duplicate my Lightroom library on the fly, having two clones. Then when they fill, I'd like to be able to have one on line, one off (in a fire proof safe). Of course, if I need to update the LR database, I'm out of sync again.

Right now I just use two (or more) sets of external drives and I have to keep syncying them up which is a lot of work (even with a software utility that only updates newer changes).

Of course, having multiple small external drives is useful for working with multiple computer systems. I routinely move an external firewire drive from desktop to laptop.

Nill, I agree with your points. What are you currently using?
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Andrew Rodney
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RicAgu
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« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2007, 11:22:52 AM »
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The question for the new Millenium!

I have really battled with this using all sorts of LaCie, Firewire Direct, Weibetech, xRaid and various other drives and housings.

At the end of the day I discovered a great low cost housing from Weibetech for $89.00 that takes firewire 800 and SATA and Sata 500GB drives from Htachi and Seagate for $119.00.  Then I discovered a great little piece of Software called Softraid ( http://www.softraid.com/ ).  I like the software raid because there is no need to upgrade the chipset on the hardware raid housing, technology does not get old in software and need to be sent for an upgrade that will cost you and X amount of money.  Newer technology drives won't work in the housinig, etc.. etc..

LaCie is great on a whim and needing a quick drive to transfer stuff.  My problem with them is they have failed quite regularly and had a lot of Maxtor drives in them which were notorious for failing.  You cannot reuse the housing for anything.  But their customer service adequate and OK at best.

I demand Hitachi, IBM or Seagate drives with any drive I use.  My main concern now with Seagate is that they bought Maxtor.  In the eight years of buying drives.  The only ones that have failed have been Maxtor.  Out of the 15-20 Maxtor drives i have owned all but two have failed.  Not cool!  Luckily it wasn't arm failure that can destroy the platter and I was able to have them salvadged (before I had redundant backs ups).

Firewire Direct SUCKS.  Their customer service sucks, their RAIDs fail all the time.  I have three different housings and they have all failed and the people do not stand behind their product.  They are rude on the phone and full of EGO.

The Apple XRaid is awesome but the price is INSANE.  I sold it and bought another tower and a ton of drives with Weibetech housings.  Took four of my LaCie 250g housings and placed them in the D2 rack and stripped them together to make a 1tb Scratch disk.  Therefore they are not crucial for anything.

Have double Weibetech housings on every 750g and the working 750G RAIDed through Softraid.  Then I bought a simple Weibetech dock/dongle that lets me buy a drive, remove it from its travel crate, plug it into the double array of each drive and SR backs its up in the background.  When it is done I unplug it, put it back in its travel crate and it comes home and sits in a drawer with gaffers tape and a date and name.

Weibetech makes amazing stuff!  Their customer service is second to none.  They fix and deal with stuff the same day and ship it right out and send advance exchanges on some things.  They have upgraded me for free on some things just because I am such a regular customer.  For me there is no better company.

I do hope Apple gets in the game and designs some cool housings and possibly a sled system like what works inside the new MacPro.  But what I have discovered is the new GTech Raid set ups Raid Mini and Raid2.  My only concern is that I can't swap drives on my own if I want to, like the Weibetech housings.

Right now I have three 750 sets going for images. One 750 set for my iTunes and one 750 set for silly iPhoto point and shoot stuff.  That is 15 750 drives and it cost me an eigth of what major raid systems would cost me.  The minute I introduce a new drive to particular drive set Softraid takes care of it.  I can have ten drives backing up if I want.


Just my two cents.


Best of Luck

 
« Last Edit: April 07, 2007, 03:00:15 PM by RicAgu » Logged
Nill Toulme
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« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2007, 12:51:18 PM »
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Andrew, I'm bottom-of-the-line all the way.  ;-)  My internal 1.1TB RAID is just four Hitachi 400GB SATA drives running off the onboard nVidia RAID controller built into my ASUS mobo.  I know a dedicated RAID controller would be better/faster, but this is working fine for me now.  I actually had one of the drives die on me; I replaced it and the RAID rebuilt itself with never a hiccup, so it really works.  No downtime, no painful restore!

The external drives are inexpensive Seagate firewire externals, a couple of 400 GB and a pair of 750's, plus one smaller one that gets the automatic backup dumps when Downloader Pro downloads my cards.

I back up nightly, automatically, using FolderClone (whose website seems to be down at the moment), and back up the backups every few weeks manually using the same utility.  (That would ideally of course be done weekly, but that's much easier said than done by a slug like me.)

Nill
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Nill Toulme
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« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2007, 12:53:18 PM »
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...  My main concern now with Seagate is that they bought Maxtor.  In the eight years of buying drives.  The only ones that have failed have been Maxtor.  Out of the 15-20 Maxtor drives i have owned all but two have failed.  Not cool!  ...

Ric, I think we all hope that Seagate bought Maxtor solely for the purpose of putting it out of our misery.  ;-)

Nill
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RicAgu
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« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2007, 03:05:10 PM »
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I hope so!  



Quote
Ric, I think we all hope that Seagate bought Maxtor solely for the purpose of putting it out of our misery.  ;-)

Nill
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digitaldog
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« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2007, 03:31:44 PM »
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Is it possible to have say a four bay system where two are Raid 1 (mirror) and the other two are single (JBOD)? That would be ideal for me.
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Andrew Rodney
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RicAgu
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« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2007, 03:59:45 PM »
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Yes,

you could either get it from Weibetech ( weibetech.com )or anyone else who has housings and raid set ups.  The silversata from Weibetech is pretty awesome.  The pre-set it up as you wish before shipping.  Or you can get four drives, a four drive housing system and Softraid.

Below are companies that are amazing.

www.weibetech.com

www.softraid.com

www.granitedigital.com


Quote
Is it possible to have say a four bay system where two are Raid 1 (mirror) and the other two are single (JBOD)? That would be ideal for me.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=111201\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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Ed Foster, Jr.
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« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2007, 04:23:33 PM »
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Is it possible to have say a four bay system where two are Raid 1 (mirror) and the other two are single (JBOD)? That would be ideal for me.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Andrew,
That is exactly the setup I use with a 4 drive SataVault from Coolgear. IMHO, it is an excellent housing with good cooling that has 4 swappable bays that I outfitted it with 4 750 gb SATA Seagate drives. Using Mac's software raid capabilities, two drives are set as a  RAID 1 and the other two are for archiving.  They are connected via a SATA expansion card.  Consequently, the throughput is excellent.  Total cost was less than $1,600.00   See: [a href=\"http://www.cooldrives.com/u6-4s-s2-4-bay-sata-enclosure.html]cooldrives 4 bay SATA Vault[/url]

Regards,
Ed
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digitaldog
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« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2007, 04:31:43 PM »
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Thanks guys. I see that Sonnet technologies seems to support this as well with either a 4 or 5 bay unit and even has the Express Card for the MacBook I'd be using as well. The 5 bay unit runs around $435 on Amazon which isn't expensive (minus drives).

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000F1YJ7...d=1OX2JNK67L6EU

So aside from not using Maxtor and (according to my wife) Western Digital, what's tops for SATA drives?
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Andrew Rodney
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Nill Toulme
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« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2007, 05:21:12 PM »
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MacGurus offers a lot of solutions along these lines.  Any experience with their stuff?

Nill
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digitaldog
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« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2007, 06:01:04 PM »
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Quote
Thanks guys. I see that Sonnet technologies seems to support this as well with either a 4 or 5 bay unit and even has the Express Card for the MacBook I'd be using as well. The 5 bay unit runs around $435 on Amazon which isn't expensive (minus drives).
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=111209\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Ouch, I think I see why its so inexpensive and what might be an issue. The ONLY port out is a SATA cable, no Firewire or USB so I'm not sure if I use one bay as a backup, I can boot from it.

Also, is having the single port a bad option?
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Andrew Rodney
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