storage solutions & backups

Posted on 2009-03-29
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I'm getting into video (via new Panasonic HD camcorder) and am starting to rack up the Gigs in terms of movie files.

Also, more generally, at work my office disk will soon outgrow its 250Gb size, which is a RAID1 setup.

I'm looking to create some sort of BACKUP and REDUNDANCY functionality for the home setup (and enhance what I have with the work setup).

I've read the basics of RAID on wikipedia, so now I know that RAID1 is mirrored, but with no error-correction, so redundancy is built in.

But if we start with the home/camcorder situation:

I see that you can buy 1TB external drives now for less than £100. I'm not sure if you can get these set up as RAID(n), but if so I'm assuming they will be very expensive.

Maybe for the home/camcorder PC its best to just get 2x 1TB externals and plug em both in, have one be the working disc, and one be the backup?
How long will it take to copy 1TB from external disc #1 to external disc #2 (both plugged into USB ports) ?
Also to delete 1TB from disc #2?

(or is there a software solution that would turn disc#2 into a backup, so you didn't have to manually delete and copy - I guess so....?)
..and would there be a performance decrease by going thru' the software solution
Question by:zorba111
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Accepted Solution

garycase earned 300 total points
ID: 24015504
Getting a pair of 1TB drives is fine -- that's a very "clean" way of keeping a complete backup of your data without the complexity of a RAID setup.   If you do that, you don't need to delete everything and then re-copy to update your backup.   Simply set up a backup profile in a good 3rd party backup/synchronization utility like SyncBack [ ] and you can run the Syncback profile whenever you want to update your backup.   It will only copy the new/modified data, so the backup time should generally be fairly reasonable.   You can also set the parameters so it will automatically delete anything on the backup that you've deleted on the primary disk (I don't use this option, but it's available if you want to keep the two disks essentially mirrored).

To do a full 1TB copy from disk-to-disk via USB will take a fairly long time => in the neighborhood of 15-20 hours, depending on your speciifc USB controller.   Most USB drive/controller combinations can achieve disk-disk rates of about 20MB/s (160Mb/s -- about 1/3rd the theoretical USB max rate; but remember both drives are active at the same time in this scenario; and there's also overhead associated with opening/closing each of the files).   At 20MB/s a 1TB drive will take about 14 hours, plus the additional time added by file open/closing overhead; any additional USB channel activity; etc.

Deleting a full TB will just take a few seconds to a few minutes, depending on how many files are on the drive (a large number of files will increase this time).

Alternatively, you could buy one of these enclosures and simply install two 1TB (or 1.5TB) drives => there's a built-in RAID controller that will let you set up a RAID-1 mirror that will "look" like a single drive to your computer:
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Assisted Solution

SysExpert earned 200 total points
ID: 24015633
I prefer eSAtA for these amounts of data. At least 3 times faster than USB, and there are prebuilt external boxes that do RAID 0 or RAID 1 ( see calvary external RAID in google ) or simplt get two external eSATA , 1 TB boxes and use a software syncing solution that once the files are backed up, it will just do the changes.

Ever robocopy or the free MS Sync toy can do this.

SyncToy v 2.0  Sync toys

I hope this helps !

Author Comment

ID: 24024504
ok guys, thanks a million, lots of great leads here.

Both of you mentioned enclosures and I found this on amazon, which looks like the best of both worlds. USB for connection to older systems and eSATA if I ever (probably will!) buy a new PC/server I can make sure it has an eSATA port. Do most new systems have them, or is it only high end ?

I then need 2x SATA drives to go inside. Will any spec do? or are there ones specifically made for going inside enclosures. The picture of the one SysExpert directed me to looks like it takes 2x cartridges of some sort, ie. don't look like your normal internal drives.

So if I get the enclosure + 2x drives, I then have a 1TB mirrored RAID 1 i can lug about with me.

But thinking, still like to do backups, so maybe another 1TB esata or USB to act as backup.

But I like backup where one can remove the media, and have a plan like days, weeks, months etc. Would a tape device be much slower than 1TB to disc ?
Can one get 1TB tapes (probably not i guess...) ?

Author Comment

ID: 24024526
note to self:
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Assisted Solution

garycase earned 300 total points
ID: 24025602
eSATA is clearly faster than USB => many newer systems have e-SATA ports;  if not, you can add one as long as you have an available internal SATA port and support for AHCI mode access.

Modern tape drives can actually be FASTER than hard drives ... but they also cost a lot more [A good fibre channel Ultrium 3 drive can easily cost $10,000.].

I'd go with an external mirrored RAID ... and if you want a backup, just get two of them :-)

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