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Sync two NTFS hard drives in real time

Posted on 2013-06-23
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Last Modified: 2013-06-24
I'm looking to replace my ReadyNAS NV+ RAID 5 unit for data backups.  I'm currently 82% of capacity of its 1.3TB array.  I have an old PC that I want to stick two 4TB hard drives in it, format them with NTFS and then have a program sync the changes in real time from one disk to the second disk.  Currently, I use Freefilesync to sync certain folders from my 3TB data drive in my main PC to the NAS and from the NAS to a 2TB hard drive in a Stardock enclosure (in case the NAS goes belly up...I'm not sending it in to get fixed).  This is a manual process.  I want to setup one of the 4TB hard drives as a file share, dump my important files to this share and then have the sync program (preferably freeware) copy the contents to the 2nd disk.

I plan to install Windows 8 Pro x64 on the old PC and know that it has built-in RAID capabilities with ReFS, but I want portability and easy recovery.  I want to take these disks and stick them into any PC running any version of Windows and pull the data off without any hassle.  So far, the only program that I can find that does real time syncing is Yadis! Backup.  Are there others?  Is there a better way of trying to do what I am trying to accomplish?
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Question by:Adam Leinss
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garycase earned 1400 total points
ID: 39269760
First, are you sure your old PC supports 4TB drives?    I'd buy one and try it before making that assumption.     This depends a lot of what you mean by "old" => anything built in the last 5-6 years probably supports them;  older than that and they may not.

Assuming they do, then running Yadis on a Windows PC will indeed do exactly what you want.    There are other solutions -- virtually any of the many freeware synchronization utilities will work (SyncToy, SyncBack, Replicator, etc.) ... but except for Yadis, these all just run as scheduled tasks => you could make that a VERY frequent task (every minute if you really wanted to) ... but nevertheless it's not real-time like Yadis.

There ARE other alternatives if you didn't want to run Windows => but the better ones also don't use NTFS formatting for the drives, so you'd have to load an IFS on a Windows box to read the disks.
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by:David
ID: 39269978
So why not just use native windows software RAID1??    No measurable overhead, except when it does the rebuild, and you get benefit of read load balancing so (read) performance doubles in perfect world.
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Author Comment

by:Adam Leinss
ID: 39270102
I'm pretty sure it will do 4TB hard drives...it does at least 3TB.  The boot drive will be a 160GB SSD with data slaves.  It's about 5 years old.  I want to do Windows 8 as the host OS because I would like to have HyperV for VM machines and maybe have it provide other services.

In terms of software RAID 1: I believe Windows 8 is using ReFS and not NTFS for the RAID capability making it not so portable to other computers.  There are lots of NTFS recovery programs: I don't know of any ReFS ones.

Will leave open for another day to see if anyone has additional thoughts and then award points.  Also found something called PureSync that claims to do real-time syncing.
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Assisted Solution

by:Seth Simmons
Seth Simmons earned 600 total points
ID: 39270329
Windows 8 does not support ReFS though I'm seeing it may end up in the final release of 8.1.  Not sure on the raid support yet but obviously the file system won't be backward compatible to other Windows versions.

I just tested a raid 1 array in Windows 8 (ntfs) in a virtual environment to a Windows 7 system and it worked with no issues as long as both disks are there it will import and have the same drive letter.
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Expert Comment

by:kode99
ID: 39270417
Check out MirrorFolder,

http://www.techsoftpl.com/backup/index.php

It's not free but it does exactly what you are looking for.  It can do a software RAID 1 between drives on your system and it can also handle synchronization with the NAS shares and external drives etc.
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