more harddisk are headache for storage

Posted on 2006-04-30
Last Modified: 2013-11-15
i am having  5 harddisk ranging 200 to 300 gb exclusively for downloads movies,softwares,extra stuff inside

and  having a pc (winxp) connected to HDD connected to ide cables.
if one harddisk is full, i will take out and i will connect another harddisk.

my question is

1. how to slove this download problem, every time one harddisk i need to buy, i cant erase, i may need to use in future.
2. if one harddisk spoils, whole data is gone.
3. if i go for DVDs, very difficult to keep track for all the DVDS
4. i just want a solution which is all flexible of above, to bulk of data (everyday keep on downloading from internet)


Question by:bsarahim
    LVL 11

    Expert Comment

    The problem is, this is the best you have at this moment if you wanted to store a lot of data.
    Imagine 10 year ago, we were satisfied with 1.4MB floppy discs.
    There will be better storage solutions in future.
    The blu-ray discs will have storage capacity of 25-50GB, but capacities of 200GB on a 8 layer disc is being researched. Hopefully, these will become available in the near future.
    Holographic Versatile Disc with storage capacity of 300GB is also being tested (extremely expensive, but will become cheaper as time goes on).
    LVL 2

    Expert Comment

    I have a few thoughts.

    Option 1: you could start buying the biggest drives available. As of this moment, that would be 500GB, but Seagate has just announced some 750GB drives which should be available later this year:,1121,3153,00.html
    The largest drives are always a little more expensive per gigabyte than the kind of mid-size drives you refer to in your question. However, if you're finding it inconvenient to store so many drives on the shelf, in the closet, etc., then it might be worth a little extra cost per GB to have more stuff on every drive.

    Option 2: take the plunge and build yourself a titanic, dedicated file server that would simply sit on your home network. You could even tell Windows to assign it a drive letter: the Z drive or some such thing. It could have several hard drives that would be joined into a single RAID array (redundant array of inexpensive disks). There are several types of such arrays. I would think of RAID 5, which allows one drive to be lost and all your data is still OK, or RAID 6, which allows 2 drives to be lost. You replace the failed drives, and the array rebuilds itself to its original, safe condition.
           I believe you can build arrays like that in the server versions of Windows, and I know that Linux will do it. You would just plug in your drives and tell the OS to make an single array out of them; the details vary. Or, you can get a dedicated card to handle that, and the drives would all plug in to the card. The biggest one I've seen is the 24-port ARC-1170 from Areca (, but there are many other popular brands. A 24-port card running a RAID 6 array of 750GB drives would give you about 15 or 16 TB, depending on how you measure capacity. And I believe Areca's drivers allow for 4 of their cards in a machine at once!

    Option 3: the middle ground would be to get a raid card, put it in your current machine, and run a RAID 5 or 6 array right there. You might need to get a new case to house however many drives you wanted to use, but you would have the convenience of a single volume (a single drive letter) and the safety of being able to lose a drive with all your data staying 100% intact.

    FYI: RAID 5 takes a minimum of 3 drives in an array, and RAID 6 takes 4 drives. There's a pretty good RAID tutorial at

    Best wishes.
    LVL 2

    Expert Comment

    Sorry, here's another couple interesting gadgets from Areca. They house a few drives in a RAID array, and simply plug into a single, regular hard drive connector on your motherboard:

    Maybe you could use these as you do individual drives now, filling them up one by one and storing them away. Populated with the largest drives available, they'd take a long time to fill, and you'd also have that RAID redundancy.

    What it really comes down to is that, for storing large amounts of data, nothing takes up less space on your shelf per GB than hard drives, unless perhaps you go with a high-end enterprise-grade tape drive of some sort ($$$$) and back up on to tapes.
    LVL 13

    Expert Comment

    by:Nick Denny
    To increase storage, consider an external powered hard disk tower.

    Addonics do a great range to suit all requirements

    You can configure in whatever way you like (RAID or individual drives).

    LVL 44

    Accepted Solution

    bsarahim --

    I have same problem, no easy solution.  If you donwnload complete movie, then save to DVD and erase movie from HDD, that save 4.7 GB.  Better still, if you have time to burn movie to DVD, then that movie can be cloned to others.  SO it can go permanently.

    Whatever you cant burn to movie on DVD, save as MPG file to 8.4 GB double-sided DVD disk.  YOu need double side burner like Sony DW-Q30A for this, and double sided disk, but if you get 4 movies burned to DVD, then save 4 other MPG files, that is total 60 GB -- it all ads up, keep up with it.

    All you can do is keep up with the downloads, by burning the ready movies to DVD -R, and for the unmade mpgs, you save them to double sided DVD on double sided burner.  There is nothing you can do better than this.

    Not worth buying more drives, cheaper to buy 4.7GB DVD disks, they are only 30c now.  Good luck.
    LVL 11

    Expert Comment

    Probably the future may be web based storage. You pay a small subscription, specialised web sites dedicated to storage will do the job for you, saving clutter in your home/office. currently it is not profitable but who knows what the future holds (similar to servers)?
    LVL 8

    Expert Comment

    You could get yourself a tape drive instead - Big upfront costs but fairly cheap running costs.

    I'm sure you can find better prices but as a rough exemple:
    LTO drive - 1000 USD
    SCSI card - 90 USD
    LTO media - 40 USD

    Once you pony up the 1100 USD for the drive, it's only $40 per tape which holds 100GB (more with compression).  LTO2 drives are about $2k and the media is $50, but they hold twice as much (200GB native - expect 1.4:1 compression as an average)

    The in built NTbackup utility is easily configured to run the backup on a schedule.  Of course, you could go for other drive technologies too - eg, DDS is relatively cheap for the drive but the media is a bit more expensive.  DDS are also nice an small (similar to a handycam DV tape) but not as robust as LTO or DLT.

    Going the next step you could buy proper back-up software (eg Veritas Backup Exec) which would then catalog the contents of each back-up for you.  You still need to label your tapes though - no getting around that.  To guard against tapes going "bad", simply run a full back-up of the volume twice to two different tapes  - thus you have two copies.  Also, do a test restore before deleting the data from the hard drive.  And finally, be sure to test your restore ability periodically.
    LVL 17

    Expert Comment

    You can use tape drives to store high volume of data.

    BR Dushan
    LVL 44

    Expert Comment

    Disorganize, seriously dont you think tape is inappropriate for this person, only wanting to store DVD movies to DVD?  Why not just suggest save to DVD, why big investment in outdated tape technology?  In 5 years, tapes will be dead.  As I see it, they are already dead except for server full/diff/inc backups, no one else uses them, no?
    LVL 8

    Expert Comment


    you're having a lend right?

    1) the author has stated in point 3 that DVD's are difficult to track (presumeably due to the number needed)
    2) DVD's hold a paultry 4.5GB (ok 9GB dual layer if you can afford the blank discs) - that's about 67 DVD's per hard drive assuming 300GB
    3) tape's about as dead as the printed book: it just ain't gonna go away 'cos nothing better has been invented yet.  current tape technology packs at least 400GB natively per tape, and a native TB is not far off.  Optical storage is just plain rubbish for bulk storage of data - even blu ray/HD DVD are only talking about 25GB per disc.  I'd MUCH rather store 2 or 3 tapes than 180 odd DVD's.
    4) tape is geneally more resilient than DVD - DVD's just scratch way too easy and need to be treated with a lot of care if you hope for it to last several years, particularly the writeable discs we're talking about (proper pressed discs like movies and audio CD's seem slightly more robust).  A tape also needs care for maximum longevity, but so long as it's put back in it's case it shouldn't get dusty, and it isn't too difficult to avoid dropping a tape from more than knee height.  the only other factor is environmental (temperature and humidity) but most people don't live houses of extreme temperatures (besides optical media would probably suffer similarly anyway).

    If anything, I see optical media becoming a thing of the past.  Distribution will be via download or perhaps flash rom device, with tapes to back the data least until those funky Star Trek storage crystals become a reality

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