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Old February 15, 2013, 09:01 PM
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Default advice on storage setup for file server.

I have built several PCs but this will be my first file server and I have a few questions about organizing my storage. To start with the server will store a few different things. I will store scheduled backups of my other PCs, all my entertainment media like music movies etc., and perhaps most important is all the data related to my CAD work such as the design files as well as library of standard parts and custom settings. I am considering the following setup, a primary drive likely a raid 5 of 3 or 4 large drives where everything will be stored to. I have no need to backup the backups or the media really, but the CAD data needs to be backed up. I was thinking of just adding another large capacity drive probably not in any sort of array and just have the server scheduled to backup the CAD data on a regular basis. Anyone see any issues with this setup or suggestions for something different? As for the server OS should I just install it on the main drive or should I put an old small capacity drive in just for the OS?
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Old February 15, 2013, 10:49 PM
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Basically what you described sounds fine. I have a similar setup using Windows Home Server 2011 and it does all the computer backups more or less automatically. If you wanted to avoid RAID you could purchase DriveBender for a nominal fee and then use it to bind together many big drives to make a large volume.

I'm running RAID6, but there are definitely cons to having a RAID array like dropped drives or rebuilding, etc. In a DriveBender setup if the drive dies you just lose the data on that drive, not all the data. It's also easier on drives used.

For the server's OS I would (and did) get a small SSD for that.
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Old February 16, 2013, 07:24 AM
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Is drivebender just like using a jbod setting on a raid controller?
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Old February 16, 2013, 07:29 AM
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I'm anal when it comes to storage, and back-ups... remember, a raid array is not a back-up. A simple PSU failure can toast all them drives, or the controller / corrupt the data. The array protects the data integrity. The back-up protects the data itself. My set-up consists of a raid-6 arrays with 7 WD Reds, and a hot spare. All this is then backed-up on an external USB3 drive monthly, which is stored in a water/fire proof safe. Anal? Loose your data once, and we'll talk..

Woud I set up again as such if I had the chance? Nope. With the performance of the raid enclosures on the market today (Qnap, and Synology, others), it is not worthwhile for a personal user to invest in such an apparatus (case, controller, board, PSU, OS), when NASs are available for a very good price.

Like this one: QNAP TS-419PII 4-BAY iSCSI NAS Hot Swappable Marvell 2.0GHZ CPU 512MB DDR3 RAM USB 3.0 Cloud Ready
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Old February 16, 2013, 07:51 AM
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Like I said the data I am worried about being backed up will still be backed up either on a separate drive in the server or on an external hdd. As for the hardware I am reusing old parts for it, I have a case, psu, dual opteron mobo, ecc ram, video card, optical drives, the only thing I don't have is the hdds. Plus I may end up using the server for other processing tasks from time to time.
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Old February 16, 2013, 08:26 AM
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Drive Bender is a software raid that basically just makes it look like you have one massive storage device, however the items are stored spread across the drives. Like Perineum said, if a drive dies you lose content on just that drive, but the rest and that massive storage drive is still intact.

It's what I'm currently using right now, love it.
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Old February 16, 2013, 08:45 AM
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Drive Bender also has an automatic file/folder duplication system that is actually a pretty decent backup. I'd say give it a shot and see how you like it. It has a 30 day trial. Then $45ish IIRC, it might actually still be on sale.
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Old February 16, 2013, 08:59 AM
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WHS 2011 is at $ 50 at NCIX it's has been discontinued get one Asap if you want it. I have 2 here and it’s very easy to use.
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Old February 18, 2013, 11:42 AM
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Theres a couple other options as well. Keep in mind these are not true backups. To me a backup should survive a flood/fire/theft whatever. For your Cad data you'd want a true backup. For media however, I think just having a couple parity drives is enough insurance.

1. FlexRaid, with drive pooling and parity, this is what I use on top of WHS 2011. If you have large amounts of data or a lot of drives I'd take this option over Drive Bender.

2. I've never used windows 8 but I believe it has something called "storage spaces" you might also want to look into it. I believe it does the same drive pooling and parity.

WHS2011 is cheap but as stated its discontinued and honestly never did have very good support/drivers/development so I'm thinking things are only going to get worse for it. Nice thing about many of the software solutions (flex raid etc) you can mix and match drives manufactures, drive sizes etc, the down side is performance when compared to hardware RAID.
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Old February 18, 2013, 07:49 PM
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I run the higher-end version of this, the TS-469L and I've been quite impressed with it. Easy to setup and it's been reliable thus far (38 days uptime currently). I have 4x 3TB WD Red's in RAID6. I've had it since December 7, 2012, so not an overly long time yet, but we'll see how it does in the future.

Much easier to setup and maintain than my full blown Windows Server PC. I suspect it'll be much easier to replace drives when they fail too since it's hot-swap with LED's per drive.

It supports various forms of cloud-syncing too, so you can upload your more critical data to an offsite location which should be more secure. Currently it supports Amazon S3, Elephantdrive and Symform. It also had a package for Google Drive as well.

It also has a one-touch copy button on the front of the unit that backs up everything to a USB drive that's plugged in. Useful if you want to keep your own local backups as well.

Basically, look at QNAP and Synology units. I'm sure you can find one that fits your price point. Better to have your storage outside of your PC, provides a bit more safety from viruses/corruption/PSU failures. I would also strongly recommend plugging it into a UPS to provide it with clean power and shutdown if the power goes out.
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