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Author Topic: Hard earned advice against RAID...  (Read 17211 times)
MarcRochkind
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« Reply #20 on: October 14, 2007, 03:36:58 PM »
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But most importantly: RAID is not meant or suitable for backup; it's meant for maximum uptime.
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Everyone should pay a lot of attention to what feppe said. RAID 0, which is not even R.A.I.D., is for performance (it reduces, rather than increases, reliability). The others are to make recovery faster in the event of hard drive failure.

None of them protect against most of the causes of data loss, which can be grouped into these categories: hardware or software failure (other than single drive), electrical surge, human error, theft, physical destruction (fire, explosion), and area-wide disasters (flood, earthquake, bombing). To protect against some of these, one or more locally-stored backups will work. For physical destruction and area-wide disasters, you need physical separation (e.g., data stored online, at a neighbor's house, across town).

It's not only making the copies that matters, but where those copies are stored.

--Marc
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andybuk99
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« Reply #21 on: October 14, 2007, 04:04:05 PM »
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There is some truth to what you say, but external drives are a different issue from internal drives.  Internal drives are cooled by the computer systems cooling system (fans).  External drives have only passive cooling, are mounted vertically, and experience has shown that they are not as durable as internal drives when kept on 24/7.
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That is just not true. Internal drives get next to no cooling from a standard pc fan setup, therefore an external drive within a normal enclosure would be no better or worse than an internal drive.

External drives are not all mounted vertically, in fact most if not all are designed to lay vertical OR horizontal. Any way why would that make any difference to the drives stability?

Oh and the majority of internal/external drives are exactly the same just in different enclosures.
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Monito
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« Reply #22 on: October 14, 2007, 05:01:17 PM »
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Different configurations result in different wear on bearings and different gravitational effects on heads.  Warranties on external drive units (incl. enclosure) tend to be shorter than internals.  Further, my standard issue PC has two quiet fans, one of which draws air directly through the drive bay.

However, the important thing is to make backups, and backups to external hard drives are the most efficient and flexible, especially when compared to labor intensive DVDs (loading, unloading, stacking, labelling, sorting).  Any drive might fail at any time, running or not, so reliability and MTBF are value issues, not preventative or prophylactic.

Another reason for keeping an external drive off-line is in case of viruses or malware or trojans doing a nasty on the disk.  Once you take it offline (disconnect the USB), it is up to you whether you turn it off or not, but many external drive units are powered via the USB, or have automatic shutdown.

Nothing said here convinces me to alter the way I run: internal drives on 24/7, double backups to external drives (one for offsite), external on only when needed, single backup DVD disk for only the most important data and images, duplicate backup DVD disk for offsite.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2007, 05:12:40 PM by Monito » Logged

MonitoPhoto (Landscape, Architecture, Portraits: Halifax, Nova Scotia)
ericstaud
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« Reply #23 on: October 14, 2007, 06:10:41 PM »
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Miss-labeled thread really.  After reading advice all over the internet that RAID IS NOT A BACKUP, the title should be "Hard earned advice against working without backups".

Raid 5 is great for:
-Creating one large volume instead of several small ones.
-Providing more up-time during drive failures (to keep a web-store alive for example).
-Increasing speed when using many drives (using an Apple X-SERVE RAID with 14 drives and a fibre channel card will give you blazing fast speeds that single drives don't come close to).
-heating your office
-raising the noise floor in a room so that your G5 doesn't sound so loud anymore.

I come home with a job.....
1- put the job on the RAID
2- backup the RAID
3- Process the files
4- backup the RAID
5- retouch the files
6- backup the RAID

I want it backed up frequently enough that if the RAID controller fails that I only loose a few hours of my time at most.

There should be one backup set on site for mission critical work.
There should be another backup set safe from Fire/Theft/earthquakes as well.

It is a huge pain in the butt to be sure.  Most friends and family I know do not put much consideration into securing their family photos, work, quicken files, emails and the like.  It never gets easy to hear that someone else lost all the photos from their kids first 5 years.
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KAP
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« Reply #24 on: October 15, 2007, 09:14:24 AM »
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Well, it's official, I just lost most of my work   About half a year ago I bought a hardware RAID solution with two hot-swappable drives, thinking that my worrying days were over. Instead the very solution that was supposed to protect my files ended up destroying them. It started when one of the drives failed, with a "bad block" error. I googled it and found it would resolve it self with a zero-out format. After formatting the drive I inserted it into the RAID casing and to my horror I see it starting to copy the empty drive to the drive with my files. I try to abort it but it was too late. Desperate I tried using data recovery software only to find that it is total bs, nothing was retrieved.

So, a word of advice, stay clear of RAID and just back up your files on two drives your self. And never completely trust any hardware, however much it's supposed to "protect" your files.

P.s. Please refrain from any hindsight advice, I'm depressed enough as it is. Thanks.
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This is one of the reasons I use Aperture and the vault system, I back up to 3 other drives (4 drives total) in rotation. I never have more than two drives connected at one time.
In short I have the main drive, when I add files to that I plug in another drive, I then ask Aperture to update it, Apertures adds any alterations on the main drive to the back up drive. Next time I back up to a different drive and so on. My theory being not backing up all the drives at once gives me a chance if I've copied a virus or other problem to find it and correct it.
I don't like the idea of Raid, I feel more secure with independant back ups.

Kevin.
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jonstewart
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« Reply #25 on: October 15, 2007, 09:21:46 AM »
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I don't like the idea of Raid, I feel more secure with independant back ups.

Kevin.
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Yes, but, I think this is the general point here. RAID is not really about backup; it's more about uptime reliability and easier disaster recovery (assuming you don't rebuild the new clean drive to the old one with the data!)
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Jon Stewart

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luong
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« Reply #26 on: October 15, 2007, 12:29:32 PM »
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A few years ago, I bought a Miglia box that was supposed to do the same thing as your unit. However, upon deployment, it simply killed the drives in it. This made me think about the liabilities associated with using additional levels of hardware/software. Since then I have stayed with simple backups.

The main problem with RAID 1/5 is that it gives a false sense of security. In the computer lab where I used to work, we had the controller in a RAID 5 box fail. All the drives were toasted.
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santa
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« Reply #27 on: October 15, 2007, 01:11:06 PM »
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Neither RAID0 or RAID1 are of any use for data backup. Raid1 helps in the event of a HD failure, but if a directory structure is corrupted or the user deletes half his hard drive there is no protection there. I have books on my shelf dealing with the simple subject of backup.
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jpjespersen
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« Reply #28 on: October 15, 2007, 01:13:13 PM »
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I just purchased a Drobo robot system.  I hope that it works better than your raid did.
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feppe
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« Reply #29 on: October 15, 2007, 01:35:17 PM »
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I just purchased a Drobo robot system.  I hope that it works better than your raid did.
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Wow, thanks for the heads up. That sounds a lot like Infrant's ReadyNAS NV+, but with an intuitive "user-interface": no interface. Please share your experiences with us. I've been looking for a good NAS which doesn't require me to plonk thousands, and can add drives as I go. Drobo sounds like it fits the bill perfectly.
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #30 on: October 15, 2007, 02:13:33 PM »
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To reiterate a few points:

RAID 0 is more likely to kill your data  than a single drive. With 2 single drives, if a drive fails you lose half your data. With a 2-drive RAID 0 array, if either drive failes you are f***ed.

RAID 1 (mirroring) is slightly better; if you lose a drive you can still access your data. But you're susceptible to user error (rebuilding from blank drive instead of data drive) even if you change out the bad drive.

RAID 5 is the best option overall. You get data protection even if a drive fails, and when changing a bad drive, it is impossible to rebuild the new drive over all the old ones with data. It's also the most efficient option, with only one drive in the array needed to provide redundancy instead of data protection. The more drives in the array, the smaller the percentage of overhead needed to provide redundancy.

RAID provides protection against drive failure (except RAID 0, which increases the probability of data loss due to drive failure), but is not a substitute for having backups of all of your data, preferably in geographically separate protected locations.
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rethmeier
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« Reply #31 on: October 15, 2007, 03:16:19 PM »
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Is anybody using a Mac Pro with the Raid Card from Mac?
I'm in the process of purchasing a new Mac Pro and I noticed that there is a Raid Card available.
It is pricey ,however if it protects your files,who cares.
Also,does anybody know,how much Ram is needed to run CS3?
Cheers,
Willem.
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Willem Rethmeier
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jpop
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« Reply #32 on: October 15, 2007, 03:32:45 PM »
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There are two kinds of data.  Data that's been backed up and data that hasn't been lost yet.

RAID level 1/5 solutions are fault tolerant but by no means a replacement for a back up.
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John Popp
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« Reply #33 on: October 15, 2007, 03:39:59 PM »
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It is pricey ,however if it protects your files,who cares.
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I'm wondering If you've read the rest of the thread?      The point is that while RAID 1/5 do in theory give you small bit of protection, the word "small" is to be emphasized.  RAID is not intended as a replacement for a backup solution; it is intended to be an inexpensive, high-uptime alternative to expensive server drives.  The redundancy added to improve uptime is not foolproof--data can most certainly be lost, as people here have poignantly testified.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #34 on: October 15, 2007, 03:45:07 PM »
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I'm wondering If you've read the rest of the thread?      The point is that while RAID 1/5 do in theory give you small bit of protection, the word "small" is to be emphasized.  RAID is not intended as a replacement for a backup solution; it is intended to be an inexpensive, high-uptime alternative to expensive server drives.  The redundancy added to improve uptime is not foolproof--data can most certainly be lost, as people here have poignantly testified.
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Well said! It would be totally foolish for anyone to rely on any single system. I guess one could say three separate drives with identical data is 'as good' as a Raid 1 and a 2nd back up. Its a lot less work to use the Raid system however. But the bottom line is, you need multiple copies of important data. 2, 3, who's to say? You can't be too rich, too thin or have too many backups.
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Andrew Rodney
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rethmeier
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« Reply #35 on: October 15, 2007, 03:52:09 PM »
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Thanks for the advise Guys.
I did read the whole posts and realize back-ups are the final solution.
My question was,would that Raid card for the Mac Pro be useful?
Cheers,
Willem.
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Willem Rethmeier
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feppe
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« Reply #36 on: October 15, 2007, 03:55:52 PM »
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Thanks for the advise Guys.
I did read the whole posts and realize back-ups are the final solution.
My question was,would that Raid card for the Mac Pro be useful?
Cheers,
Willem.
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If you're not that familiar with RAIDs to begin with, something like the Infrant NV+ or the Drobo mentioned above are quite a bit easier to use than a RAID card - not to mention less prone to user error. Drobo appears to even build itself up in case of drive failure, so you don't have to do it manually, like with most (all?) RAID cards.
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rethmeier
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« Reply #37 on: October 15, 2007, 05:24:40 PM »
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Thanks Feppe!(Bedankt)
I'll go the Drobo route and will use Super Duper for back-up.
Cheers,
Willem
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Willem Rethmeier
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pprachun
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« Reply #38 on: October 15, 2007, 08:35:42 PM »
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Quote from: rethmeier,Oct 15 2007, 08:16 PM
Is anybody using a Mac Pro with the Raid Card from Mac?   I'm in the process of purchasing a new Mac Pro and I noticed that there is a Raid Card available.  It is pricey ,however if it protects your files,who cares.
Also,does anybody know,how much Ram is needed to run CS3?
Cheers, Willem.

YES --
I have the MAC RAID Card on my MAC Pro and you're damn right it's pricey; but aren't all those pretty MACs?  I use it for mirroring (RAID 1) for my System drive for security.  All my photo data is on a second RAID 0 (2x750) drive giving me a fast 1.5TB drive.  The SECURITY for my data is 6, yes six, external drives that get rotated.

I have virtually the same setup with my PC: RAID 1 and RAID 0.  And my $280 PC motherboard has the RAID on board -- no extra $1000 option.

RAID is NOT about security, any more than a computer or a drive is.  Security is about REDUNDANCY -- REDUNDANCY -- REDUNDANCY.

BTW: Windows (Vista 32), beats the MAC Pro for speed, usability, and extent of photography software.
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Paul Prachun
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« Reply #39 on: October 16, 2007, 02:07:59 AM »
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I never run raid for my photography for a simple reason.

WHEN something breaks there is no problem with raid as long as you do what is needed, if you insert the new drive it should mirror the old drive if configured correctly.

HOWEVER when you get a lighting strike it happens often that BOTH drives are affected, and you loose everything.

What I do is much more failsafe (except for EMF).
I own two external drive cases from Addonics, both can house 6 Sata drives with a portmultiplier to one cable.

One case is on when my PC is on and contains drives with old work and a drive with new work.

After every shoot I will power up case 2 and backup the new sessions (retrospect) or added stuff to other folders.
After that it powers down again.

Also once every year I make a backup on an USB drive and this one is stored in my parents house.

Meaning only with a severe EMF load I will loose everthing from that year.

I don't trust DVD's or CD's, I did backups on them a few years ago and although they are still being read you don't want to see the error logs
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