Mixed drive NAS

Posted on 2009-04-30
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
Ok so I have always made my NAS Boxes by initially filling the RAIDs with the exact make and model drives as I thought this would be the most optimal combination. But I was just thinking of this... What If you created a RAID with all the same make and model or even batch of HDDs and these respective drives were shipped with a bad firmware or some physical problem and due to their similarities they all failed within moments of one another?
What is everyones thoughts on this? Should you infact create a NAS solution by mixing the drives to dodge common faults or are there other more stronger reasons to keep your NAS box filled with the exact drives?
Question by:bnoyzy
    LVL 69

    Assisted Solution

    The actual probability of a defect in the firmware is pretty low compared with the probability of a problem due to non-matching drives.  I would go with the accepted practice using the same drives in a RAID array.
    LVL 28

    Accepted Solution

    Any array will be X times the smallest drive, so it makes sense to have all the same size. Latency (read speed) will be tied to the slowest, so it makes sense to have all drives of the same type. Any system should be backed up regularly so a drive failure will be simply an inconvenience and an array failure will be a pain but not fatal. In summary, do what you have always done for the most efficient outcome, but insure against a complete meltdown with effective backups. The total failure you mention will not be the result of all drives failing simultaneously due to a manufacturing fault, much more likely to be a power spike - so protect against this with a decent ups/filter system.

    Chris B

    Chris B

    Author Closing Comment

    Yes so really although things like firware errors do add to the risks its only minimal in comparison to the effects we protect against everyday. I contract for small businesses and always like to implement at least 2 onsite backups and 1 remote backup at all my clients. All backups are raid 1 or raid 5.
    Thanks for the comments guys, I think I will continue using the same drives as I had been.

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