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Raid 1 setup on an already existing external usb hard drive

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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I have two 2TB external usb drives.  The hard drives are not the same make/model.  both drives can be formatted using ntfs.  

The first usb drive has 600 GB of data already on there, no OS  (absolutely cannot lose this existing data). it's also a Basic Disk.

I would like to add a  second usb drive and put these two hdd’s into a Raid 1 configuration.  what is the best way to accomplish this?

Note:  I will be plugging these usb drives into my Windows Server 2008 R2 server.
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Most Valuable Expert 2015

Commented:
I don't think this is a good idea, or even that it will work. First of all unless you are using USB 3.0 it'll be much too slow to work properly in a RAID setup. This will cause constant corruption and rebuilds of the array. Second, whenever you want to eject the disks you will have to shut the server down (you won't be able to use the "Safely Remove" option, either it won't be available, or if it is available you'd again have an array that thinks it is out of sync).
DavidPresident
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Top Expert 2010

Commented:
there is NO safe way to do this that doesn't involve backing up the data.  period.  also, this is a really bad idea, bordering on stupid.  a rebuild will take more than a week unless usb 3.0

put the disks in esata enclosures and buy an esata raid card. you can even find ones for laptop computers.
Top Expert 2011
Commented:
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DavidPresident
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Top Expert 2010

Commented:
No, there is a registry hack that facilitates RAID1 on USB, but it is such a bad idea that I refuse to even post it.

Author

Commented:
I appreciate all the feedback and why it can't be done.

I don't at all appreciate being told I'm borderline stupid for thinking about doing this. You don't know the circumstances of the situation we're in (which is temporary and we'll properly work around it another way now that we know this is far from ideal), and why we were asking for more info. Obviously I'd be using eSATA if that option was available; it's not.

Thanks for the "enlightenment".
DavidPresident
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Top Expert 2010

Commented:
No, I didn't call you stupid, I said the idea is stupid.  (My sincere apologies if you took this personally, it was not my intention) .

You put your data at extreme risk;  it is an unsupported microsoft config;  performance will be awful; it is an UNTESTED UNSUPPORTED config; you risk data loss; if you lose a drive, it will take at least a week to rebuild, if it ever completes;  you put your data at risk; and it is slow; and your data is at risk; plus your data is at risk.

Why is a RAID1 eSATA adapter not an option, unless you don't think your data is worth $50 or so.
Heck, an external RAID-1 NAS appliance with a 1GigE ethernet connection is also a viable solution.  
DavidPresident
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Top Expert 2010

Commented:
If you absolutely have $0 to spend, then there is one way you can actually do this w/o risking data loss.  Load your favorite virtual machine, run solaris in a VM, and use zfs to create a RAID1 with the two volumes (which need to be assigned to the Solaris virtual machine via direct I/O.

One can safely use zfs to even use RAID1, 5, RAIDZ2, etc. on USB pen drives. The zfs file system has enough hardening and extra redundancy to do this.
andyaldersaggar maker's framemaker
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Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
Why not just use something like MS Synctoy to keep the files in sync? It'll still take quite a while for the initial 600GB of course.

Author

Commented:
My apologies on this question becoming stale.

The reason we could not use an eSATA adapter was because this is an Intel modular blade system. Also, regarding MS Synctoy or some other sync utilization to protect the data, we could not due to the data being a Hyper-V VHD constantly in use. It was a quick solution we had to throw on to a USB drive at the time. We have since migrated the VHD to a true server with RAID disk protection as it always should have been.

Thanks for the input.

Author

Commented:
No real solution for us, but not due to lack of info by EE.
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