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Submission + - How do I insure a consumer RAID array lasts a long time? 4

olddoc writes: I am a home user and I back up all my digital pictures, home movies and several computer install images. This requires a few terabytes.
I look for 5 year warranty HDDs but I wonder if I should use motherboard chipset RAID, Windows software RAID, a stand alone box or a major vendor's (LSI, Adaptec) add-on card? In the past I have had a disk in a motherboard RAID5 array fail and I kept the system off until I installed a replacement drive and it worked like a charm with no data lost. How would /. users set up 4-10TB of storage that they could move on to the next system down the line? Would an LSI RAID array be supported or readable 5 years from now if the card died? Software RAID seems like a good solution since if a mobo fails the array will be easy to move. I also have a 4TB drive in a bank safe deposit box and I keep buying SD cards and saving them after a year or a major vacation.
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How do I insure a consumer RAID array lasts a long time?

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  • Go with soft RAID for sure. The only hardware RAID card you can depend on to read your RAID is the one that wrote it. Even minor revision number changes in firmware on a replacement card have screwed people in the past. Hard RAIDs also sometimes get confused in a single drive failure situation and automatically scrag all the data. Even if it's polite enough to ask first, the choice is between wipe the volume or disable the volume.

    Make sure the on disk format of the soft RAID is documented somehow. As long a

    • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) *

      I had a 4-disk SW RAID on Linux for about a decade. It only really saved me once when one of my 250GB disks died. But I mainly did it for performance!

      One of the benefits of SW RAID is you can do it per partition rather than per array. So I had 20GB of each disk dedicated to a RAID-10 / partition (for high parallel reads), and a 20GB partition in a RAID-0 array for /tmp for fast writes I could afford to lose, and the rest thrown into RAID5 for /home for maximum space with some redundancy. mdadm is you

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        I don't have any experience with those cases. Of course, all SATA can be hot swapped, including internal.

        It is handy to be able to RAID by partition. On smaller systems, I set up a RAID1 for the boot partition and RAID6 for the main volume.

  • never use it.

"So why don't you make like a tree, and get outta here." -- Biff in "Back to the Future"