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stevecullum
03-08-2009, 02:44 PM
I'm thinking about getting a NAS drive, so I can setup a RAID based backup solution. I was thinking a 2 x 1TB should do the trick, but I'm a noob at this sort of thing!

If one drive dies, say in 3 years time, do I have to find an exact replica in order to replace it or can I just use any drives:question:

Any recommendations on brand or type. Not sure if I should buy one which include HDD or just empty case...

Thanks for any info :)

Hopper
03-08-2009, 03:03 PM
If one drive dies, say in 3 years time, do I have to find an exact replica in order to replace it or can I just use any drives:question:
It depends on "how" you plan on implementing your RAID system. If it is strictly a hardware implementation, you will have to consult the manual because it will vary between systems. If you are planning on using a software RAID setup, then the closer you get to similar sizes, they better off you are and the less space you will waste.

If you plan on using two 1TB disks, then you will be implementing a RAID 1 solution (mirroring), which will be slow if each drive is using the same controller. You could also implement RAID 0+1 with soft partitions. This will allow you to stripe your data across partitions (two drives) , then mirror those two drives. Again, this will be slow with only one controller.

If data safety is your concern (i.e. backup), for an average setup you should use 4 drives in a RAID 0+1 configuration with two controllers. This will allow you to both read and write and higher speeds while maintaining data integrity. If someone recommends a RAID 5 solution, it's a safe bet they are clueless and you should move on unless you plan on creating some sort of data warehouse out of your system.

There are quite a few hardware ready NAS systems out there today that are almost plug and play. I personally don't use them, but I have heard plenty of good things about them. A few names that come to mind are Buffalo and Netgear.

Hopper
03-08-2009, 03:09 PM
I bought one of these for work a couple of months ago.

Netgear ReadyNAS Duo (http://www.netgear.com/Products/Storage/ReadyNASDuo.aspx)

I can recommend this little box, it is pretty nice.
That looks like a pretty solid system. Excellent features too! And a three year warranty is more than most will provide.

kmacphail
03-08-2009, 03:42 PM
I bought one of these for work a couple of months ago.

Netgear ReadyNAS Duo (http://www.netgear.com/Products/Storage/ReadyNASDuo.aspx)

It has been running 24/7 since we set it up, with no issues whatsoever. It is very easy to set up and configure through a browser based remote UI. We're using it to host files for a couple of MacPro workstations, but it works equally well for Windows based clients.

We have it configured with two WD 1TB drives.

I can recommend this little box, it is pretty nice.

I don't think you will need an exact drive match if one of the drives crashes, but I am not 100% certain!

I bought a ReadyNAS a few months ago, great rig, works well with my Linux and Windows workstations (and probably Mac too if I had one). You can mix and match drives with the default configuration, no need to worry about finding an exact match in the future, just the same size or bigger. Later tonight I hope to find the time to install and configure a Subversion server on it.

neverko, I didn't expect you'd ever recommend a Linux server solution.

Cheers,

-K

Titus
03-08-2009, 05:27 PM
I'm thinking about getting a NAS drive, so I can setup a RAID based backup solution. I was thinking a 2 x 1TB should do the trick, but I'm a noob at this sort of thing!

If one drive dies, say in 3 years time, do I have to find an exact replica in order to replace it or can I just use any drives:question:

Any recommendations on brand or type. Not sure if I should buy one which include HDD or just empty case...

Thanks for any info :)

I built mine with FreeNAS (http://www.freenas.org/).

kopperdrake
03-08-2009, 05:56 PM
We've got three Freecom NAS drives, one 500Gb and a couple of 1Tb, though I don't use any as RAID setups. Instead I run a backup piece of software that duplicates the information on both of the 1Tb drives as long-term backup of old projects and the 500Gb housing live projects gets backed up to another standard 500Gb drive.

The reason I didn't go for a RAID setup was that two of the drives above are in a separate building as a security precaution; a fire or burglary would mean I still had a backup of everything in another location, both old projects and current projects

I should say that the 500Gb is a couple of years old now with no problems - about 2 hangs over that time which has just needed a reboot but I don't run the latest firmware which I should probably do. The two 1Tb drives are about a year old each and have never hung, though they get less hammering. The 500Gb drive is used by three users every day and is left on pretty much 24/7.

biliousfrog
03-09-2009, 03:39 AM
If data safety is your concern (i.e. backup), for an average setup you should use 4 drives in a RAID 0+1 configuration with two controllers. This will allow you to both read and write and higher speeds while maintaining data integrity. If someone recommends a RAID 5 solution, it's a safe bet they are clueless and you should move on unless you plan on creating some sort of data warehouse out of your system.



Just wondering why RAID 5 is so bad?

I bought one of these (http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps9962/index.html) the other week, currently got 3 x 1TB drives in RAID5 with another 1TB hot spare.

The higher speeds offered by RAID 0+1 is surely pointless when the bandwidth offered by LAN is restricted to less than the throughput of the system anyway?...A gig lan max is 125Meg/sec.

sandman300
03-09-2009, 08:07 AM
Where I work we have 2 ReadyNAS NV+ (one has 4x 500gb and the other has 4x 750gb) all set to raid 5. Raid 5 is great for data safety if you don't mind the lower speed. Raid 5 spreads the data over the available drives so that if one drive fails, it reorganizes the data so there is no loss. Also drives can be upgraded by switching out current drives for larger ones. And you can set it so it emails you if a drive goes bad.

I sit in front of 7 rack mount computers and to access the same data quickly and easily from any multiple of them raid 5 does the job. I actually used to run video off the ReadyNAS. :boogiedow

accom
03-09-2009, 08:45 AM
We have this:

http://www.3ware.com/products/Ext_serial_ata2-9000.asp

and it's a really great product! It does require a machine with PCI Express slot (an old G5, for example) to be constantly turned on. It's incredible fast, plus - being a "local disk", acts just like one, so, searching for files, for example, is really fast, thumbnail preview works fine etc..., which on a real NAS drive doesn't.

If you have a spare computer, go for something like this... it performes way better then NAS drives. We use this machine as a file and FTP server, and yes - as a workstation too.

sandman300
03-09-2009, 09:03 AM
accom:thumbnail preview works fine etc..., which on a real NAS drive doesn't.


Works fine for me.

Wat you have there is external storage which is vastly different from Network Attached Storage. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. It really comes down to what best works for the end user.

Lightwolf
03-09-2009, 09:33 AM
Raid 5 is great for data safety if you don't mind the lower speed.
Which isn's quite the case in the most common set-ups.
Let's assume 4 1TB drives.
Raid 1+0 gives you 2TB of available space and the speed of 2 drives.
Raid 5 gives you 3TB of available space and the speed of 3 drives (even using current on-board controllers).

Edit: One caveat - Raid-5 is slower on most cheap NAS boxes as the CPUs are too slow, but that seems to be changing this year.

Cheers,
Mike

biliousfrog
03-09-2009, 10:35 AM
The big problem with all RAID setups is that when one drive goes it's extremely likely that the others won't be far behind as they're probably the same age and have been used for the same amount of time...which is why RAID is not a failsafe storage method and should still be backed up.

Lightwolf
03-09-2009, 10:39 AM
The big problem with all RAID setups is that when one drive goes it's extremely likely that the others won't be far behind as they're probably the same age and have been used for the same amount of time...which is why RAID is not a failsafe storage method and should still be backed up.
Absolutely.
One way to make that less likely is to buy drives from different manufacturers.

Cheers,
Mike

VirtualFM
03-09-2009, 12:50 PM
Just to add to the confusion, here is what I am looking up to:

http://www.synology.com/enu/products/DS209+/index.php

http://www.qnap.com/pro_detail_feature.asp?p_id=85

But those are a bit more expensive.

stevecullum
03-09-2009, 12:54 PM
Thanks for the advice.

That readyNAS looks like the one for me then. Not sure I can stretch to a 4 bay drive, so a 2TB solution seems like the best for my needs.

Along with backing up my project files, I was hoping to stream video or music - is this going to be possible or is that only possible with Raid 5?

Hopper
03-09-2009, 01:24 PM
Just wondering why RAID 5 is so bad?

I bought one of these (http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps9962/index.html) the other week, currently got 3 x 1TB drives in RAID5 with another 1TB hot spare.

The higher speeds offered by RAID 0+1 is surely pointless when the bandwidth offered by LAN is restricted to less than the throughput of the system anyway?...A gig lan max is 125Meg/sec.
I'm not saying RAID 5 is bad by any means. RAID 5 is great for specific applications like non OLTP database systems. For simply storing data over the network in a NAS configuration (not SAN), it's a bit overkill. The original purpose stated was basically for concurrent data backup using 2 drives without hot spares, so a 0+1 configuration would be more than sufficient without the additional cost. And as you stated, the bottleneck is the bandwidth of the network, so speed really isn't much of an issue.

Now if there are plans on expanding the same appliance, RAID 5 becomes less expensive as you expand unlike the necessary pairing of mirrored sets like LightWolf mentioned. You get more bang for the buck as far as adding drives later. The CPU overhead becomes a nominal issue unless the appliance is is only a dual controller system with limited cache.

Hopper
03-09-2009, 01:30 PM
The big problem with all RAID setups is that when one drive goes it's extremely likely that the others won't be far behind as they're probably the same age and have been used for the same amount of time...which is why RAID is not a failsafe storage method and should still be backed up.
Can't get any more true than that. 1st commandment of computing: "Thou shalt make backups."

For our HA systems, we do somewhat of an offset replacement program where we will take one half of a mirrored set and replace it with new drives and leave the old ones in until they fail or get upgraded. The replaced drives get put into integrated test systems or dev boxes. It works out pretty well and we've had zero down time for drive failures so far.

sandman300
03-09-2009, 01:56 PM
stevecullum:Along with backing up my project files, I was hoping to stream video or music

The Raid configuration and/or network speed don't really have anything to do with streaming. Any way you have it you really don't want to stream directly from your own hardware. Generally speaking, you would upload to a service, and it would be streamed from there.

Hopper - I've been using Raids for over 10 years, and yes I've seen many drives go bad over that time, and not just my own; also the company I work for uses them and builds them for video studios. But, I've never seen more than one drive of an array go bad at a time. I sure it could happen, the theory is sound but in practice its just not a worry.

Also there are hard drives out there that are made specifically to run around the clock for long periods of time. There a little more expensive than regular drives but the security is worth the few extra bucks.

Hopper
03-09-2009, 02:16 PM
Hopper - I've been using Raids for over 10 years, and yes I've seen many drives go bad over that time, and not just my own; also the company I work for uses them and builds them for video studios. But, I've never seen more than one drive of an array go bad at a time. I sure it could happen, the theory is sound but in practice its just not a worry.
I'd say that's pretty true in most cases. We rarely see drive failures. I think I've seen more controller failures than drive failures in my time. We practice our drive replacement program more or less for insurance. Since we house all the real-time data for the Texas Energy Market, we can have absolutely 0 down time unless it's scheduled maintenance. From our last analysis (about 5 years ago), 1 minute of down time equates to a possible $13.6 million revenue loss for the market. Obviously, "one" drive failure won't bring down the market and our entire system has multiple failover sites, but it's just the precautions that are required to make the market participants "feel" better. Just silly if you ask me.

The funny thing is, I don't necessarily agree with our own program. When drives go bad, it's rarely an "old" one. It's usually a "defective" one and there's not much you can do about it other than ensure you buy quality drives like you said.

Lightwolf
03-09-2009, 02:49 PM
But, I've never seen more than one drive of an array go bad at a time. I sure it could happen, the theory is sound but in practice its just not a worry.
I've seen it happen on our server two years ago, and it was ugly.
In the end 3 out of 6 drives in a RAID-5 (5+1 hot spare) went out within half a week.
I could barely keep up with purchasing new ones and rebuilding the RAID (which, luckily, is an automatic process on that controller).

Cheers,
Mike

sandman300
03-09-2009, 02:51 PM
When drives go bad, it's rarely an "old" one.
Totally true, I rarely see an out of warranty drive go bad. I've got...(walk over to drive cabinet)... 22 hard drives that their warranties all have expired, some as far back as 2001; but they all still work fine. On the other hand the chances of ever needing the data that's on them is very small.

And then you have things happen like with Seagate a few months ago http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/01/16/barracuda_failure_plague/ . I know of at least one of these that was in a Tricaster.

stevecullum
03-09-2009, 05:12 PM
Any way you have it you really don't want to stream directly from your own hardware. Generally speaking, you would upload to a service, and it would be streamed from there.

I kind of meant just locally, but I'm guessing for that I would need more than a NAS drive - Maybe a home sever with multiple drives?

I had visions of having a NAS drive and a PS3 connected to my router, then being able to stream video and music off of it. Or is that now really showing up my ignorance of this kind of stuff!? :o

Lightwolf
03-09-2009, 05:21 PM
I kind of meant just locally, but I'm guessing for that I would need more than a NAS drive - Maybe a home sever with multiple drives?
Actually most "consumer" NAS drives come with a media server. Twonky seems to be quite popular: http://www.twonkymedia.com/learn.html

Cheers,
Mike

Anti-Distinctly
03-09-2009, 05:47 PM
We use a dlink dns 323 http://www.dlink.com/products/?pid=509 and a couple of 500Gb seagates.
One thing that put me off many other models of nas is that the box was sealed. If one drive crapped out then you'd have to either

just leave it with one drive
send it off to the manufacturer to open/restore your data
open it and void the warranty

With the 323 you just slide the front of and put drives in the thing. Great.
Did look at freeNAS but couldn't be bothered.
Also had a linux system up and running at one point (as the main point was to let the render farm have > 10 simultaneous connections or whatever vista limits it to) but within 5 minutes I was editing files just to get ubuntu to recognise the second drive, plus we didn't want to trust all our content to a scraped together machine running linux (which never fails to bite me in the ***)

Anyway, the dlink is great. Been running nearly 24/7 since it was bought on 17/06/08. It's also got a built in ftp server which has come in handy.

kmacphail
03-09-2009, 09:55 PM
I kind of meant just locally, but I'm guessing for that I would need more than a NAS drive - Maybe a home sever with multiple drives?

I had visions of having a NAS drive and a PS3 connected to my router, then being able to stream video and music off of it. Or is that now really showing up my ignorance of this kind of stuff!? :o


I stream pictures, music and video from my ReadyNAS to my PS3 via wifi, works great. My biggest issue so far has been with incompatible codecs, but nothing show stopping.

-K

Exception
03-10-2009, 02:51 AM
I recently saw this sweet solution... it was a box that fitted four or so harddisks, hot swappable, of any manufacturer or brand, auto-configuring and preparing... it always shows on the outside how much space is available and at any point you can swap harddisks to make more space like floppy disks... I seem tor ecall it was called the Box, but I can't find it easily under that name. Maybe someone else remembers... I don't know if it's actually good, but it seems to look like it...

Lightwolf
03-10-2009, 02:59 AM
I recently saw this sweet solution... it was a box that fitted four or so harddisks, hot swappable, of any manufacturer or brand, auto-configuring and preparing... it always shows on the outside how much space is available and at any point you can swap harddisks to make more space like floppy disks... I seem tor ecall it was called the Box, but I can't find it easily under that name. Maybe someone else remembers... I don't know if it's actually good, but it seems to look like it...
Probably the Drobo (http://www.drobo.com/), it needs DroboShare to make it a NAS though.
The ReadyNAS (http://www.netgear.com/Products/Storage.aspx) is quite similar though, as it allows you to expand the RAID in operation as well.

Cheers,
Mike

Exception
03-10-2009, 03:03 AM
Probably the Drobo (http://www.drobo.com/), it needs DroboShare to make it a NAS though.
The ReadyNAS (http://www.netgear.com/Products/Storage.aspx) is quite similar though, as it allows you to expand the RAID in operation as well.


That's exactly it, thanks Mike!

So you say there's nothing special with the Drobo? That netgear does the same, but better and more expanded?

Lightwolf
03-10-2009, 03:07 AM
So you say there's nothing special with the Drobo? That netgear does the same, but better and more expanded?
I'm not sure how much more automation the Drobo has, but from what I've seen from NetGear it can only be slightly more automated.
Most other NAS allow some level of RAID migration as well, but it's a more manual process.
The Drobo was also initially designed as a normal external drive, thus the need for the DroboShare.

Mind you, if you look at the prices for those boxes in a barebone config then you can easily whack something together based on a Linux NAS distribution for the same amount of cash. Getting the power usage low enough and getting it as small will be a challenge though.

Cheers,
Mike

sandman300
03-10-2009, 07:28 AM
I looked around to see if I could figure what the requirements are for what you want to do, I came up with this http://www.readynas.com/forum/index.php . It looks like a lot of people are doing about the same thing.

stevecullum
03-10-2009, 01:34 PM
The cost of Drobo with the Drobo share looks interesting, but I think the ReadyNAS is the one to go for. Thanks for all your feedback guys! :beerchug:

Lightwolf
03-10-2009, 01:42 PM
The cost of Drobo with the Drobo share looks interesting, but I think the ReadyNAS is the one to go for. Thanks for all your feedback guys! :beerchug:
I suppose you can get a barebone and add two WD Green Power drives (they're a bit slower, but that doesn't matter in a NAS. In return they use a lot less power and run cooler).
Configure as a RAID-1 and get a third drive and migrate to a RAID-5 later if you need more space.

Mind you, the migration can take half a day easily (the same goes for swapping out any single drive).

Cheers,
Mike