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Best Practices for RAID Backup

Last Modified: 2012-06-14
Thanks for taking the time to answer my question.

To put it simply, I am looking for advice on the best practices for setting up a RAID 5 for a backup server. We would have 8 drives of 1TB each. I would like it to run solid with no downtime.

Some things specifically I would like opinions on are:

1. RAID 5 setup - best practices to ensure a solid RAID

2. Hardware to use - reliable brands/drives/RAID controllers etc.

3. Any advice on maintenance, as well as future proofing the backup server

Again, thank you for your help.
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kevinhsiehNetwork Engineer

I suggest not using local storage. Buy a Drobo, probably the B800i. It is future proof as much as anything can be. It is reliable, and dead simple.

Use Enterprise drives.

If you want to build your own, I suggest Enterprise SATA or SAS drives. SAS would be preferable, but they are more expensive. Make sure you have your RAID controller configured to send out email alerts if there is a drive problem.
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Paul MacDonaldDirector, Information Systems

For an added level of redundancy, you might consider RAID 6 (vs RAID 5), which uses an additional parity drive. This allows you to lose two drives before the RAID fails.  Of course, it also means a reduction in your array's capacity.
Irwin W.There are a 1000 ways to skin the technology cat.

BTW for additional redundancy in the event your RAID fails is to have a Tape backup of your online backup in place.

This is known as DiskToDisk with tape migration.

Raid 6 is better but more expensive in disk as compared to raid 5 with hot spare or raid 6 with hot spare.

Ask yourself if you need a 24x7x365 ultra-fast "backup" or a BACKUP.
For a real backup you need a system that allows you to store your data off-site.

What if a lightning blows all your equipment? Or fire fries it?

The speed of your backup depends on time window available to make backups and then you need to take account, what are the probabilities that you loose on-line data and backup data at the same time.
If your backup is not working for one day, but you still can restore data from backup of two days ago it could not be so critical. Downtime is not so critical as in production environment.
You can still buy two or three HP EVAs, set them at different tectonic plates and make replicate data among them ;)
I'm still a fan of tape backups...


This was very helpful and I think will point me in the right direction. Thanks.
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