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Viability of RAID, long term

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hat

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Have a read and see if my logic is sound... or point out any flaws...

I'm beginning to gather some data that's important-ish to me and I'd rather not lose it. So, rather than storing it on a single drive, I'd like to employ RAID. RAID5 seems like a good option, but I'm still rolling the dice on running into a URE if I ever have to rebuild the array should a drive fail. RAID1, or RAID10, doesn't have this issue, but all types of RAID do share one issue: a controller fault. Should the controller fail, you're still screwed, regardless of disk health, unless you can find the same controller again. This is data I'm going to keep around indefinitely, so I'm planning on something to fail... else I wouldn't be considering RAID.

So, either way, something will fail and I'll be screwed. I guess this is why they say "RAID is not a backup!". In order to mitigate this, I would hazard a guess that a single external drive matching the size of my array should be an acceptable solution. Of course, this still doesn't work in the "somebody bombed my house" scenario, or in the astronomically unlikely event that both the RAID and the external totally fail at once, but I'm not thinking that extreme. This way, RAID5 should still be acceptable, even if I should run into a URE, as the data will be recoverable elsewhere. The loss of the RAID controller itself also isn't the end of the world.
 

eidairaman1

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Id have a backup setup that is put away in a firebox (drives/discs) at lowest level and highest level a raid/usb/flashdrive.

Id use a external raid card unless if you intend on swapping motherboards when they fail.
 
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RAID 5 is a good way to keep data from being lost. RAID 6 provides even more redundancy at the cost of overall storage space. In general practical applications, RAID 5 requires a minimum of 3 identical drives to function(at a cost of 1 drive capacity for parity and striping functions) and RAID 6 requires 6(with capacity loss of 2 drives for parity and striping data). With RAID 5 you have fault tolerance of 1 drive. With RAID 6 you have a fault tolerance of 2 drives.

Each of those options makes for a good way to store data long term that is available quickly and with fast access times at a moments notice.

A external RAID box, or RAID enabled NAS are also solid options.

However, you should also consider a non-HDD/SSD solution for data backups if instant access is not required.

MDisc Bluray recordable. Available in capacities upto 100GB. It's slower but is infinitely expandable and it also less(in many cases MUCH less) expensive on a per GB cost comparison, depending on the HDD/SSD options you're considering.
 
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RAID really isn’t a backup, and with backblaze being so cheap these days I don’t know why everyone doesn’t use it or similar services.

More, if you’re going to build a RAID, always buy an extra disk. All disks fail eventually, and usually at the same time (assuming the array is made up of the same disk). Once one disk in an array fails it’s only a matter of time before the whole array does. The extra disk is a stopgap for you to move your data somewhere else (which begs the question, why not RAID6 for your use, but that’s an aside).

To get to your concern, most RAID AICs use the same couple of controllers and can often be flashed to other firmwares. You can often swap an array between cards if a) they use the same firmware (different models/controllers across LSI for example) or b) if they use the same controller and you flash to the appropriate firmware (Dell to LSI with same controller). The metadata is on the disks in the array, but, you know — always read the manual. I wouldn’t be surprised if the metadata is the same across vendors and they’re all just swappable, but I’ve never tried.

Finally, because the technology is so ubiquitous and there are so few vendors, you can often find a backup on eBay, or even new. The h700 I bought a decade ago is still the same price on eBay, and the 9750-4i I bought even longer ago for ~$250 new is now ~$125 new, ~$30 used.
 
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What is your use case? Is this just a home machine with family photos and such? Do you need the uptime of raid?

For many people, they dont. Many would be better served with a large international drive and an off site backup. Use two drives in rotation for the backup, updating depending on how often you add data. (or a single backup drive and a copy of backblaze or Amazon glacier)
 

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EVERYBODY SAY IT WITH ME
RAID
IS
NOT
A
BACKUP
 

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Solaris17

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EVERYBODY SAY IT WITH ME
RAID
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gonna quote it for those in the back.

also raid 5 and 6 are terrible. Anyone who says otherwise does not have experience with it at any kind of scale. Consumer drives in raid 5 or 6 will also likely be a faster way to lose your data than a single drive.

raid 1 or 10. though with back blaze being so cheap why someone would want to risk data on something that ISNT a backup while running raid 5 at home is beyond me.

seriously reconsider your options.
 
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RAID 5 is a good way to keep data from being lost. RAID 6 provides even more redundancy at the cost of overall storage space. In general practical applications,
Ugh... RAID is not a way to keep data from being lost. That would be a backup. RAID is for availability, uptime. Maybe it's just your wording cuz you use the right term redundancy....

gonna quote it for those in the back.

also raid 5 and 6 are terrible. Anyone who says otherwise does not have experience with it at any kind of scale. Consumer drives in raid 5 or 6 will also likely be a faster way to lose your data than a single drive.

raid 1 or 10. though with back blaze being so cheap why someone would want to risk data on something that ISNT a backup while running raid 5 at home is beyond me.

seriously reconsider your options.
This.
 
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Raid for availability cloud backup for retention preferably with a periodic offline backup
 
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also raid 5 and 6 are terrible. Anyone who says otherwise does not have experience with it at any kind of scale. Consumer drives in raid 5 or 6 will also likely be a faster way to lose your data than a single drive.
I agree with the rest of your post, but I’m not so sure about this part. Why are you arguing that RAID 5/6 is less reliable than 0/1?

When I was in undergrad I built RAID systems for AV up-and-comers (thousands of systems) using consumer disks to great effect. This was a little more than a decade ago and, AFAIK*, >90% haven’t had a disk failure. IME, 0/1 is less reliable than 5/6, largely due to the number of disks, but it really depends on the use case.l, and I’m curious to hear about yours!

I mean that if, you’re talking about write-intensive conditions, like maintaining a fast database or similar then, sure, RAID0/1 is preferable (and begs for an off-site backup). But for more common use cases/shared environments, IME, RAID5+ is pretty reliable. It sounds like yours differs (or not?), and am curious to hear more!

Regarding OP, I think it’s clear that consensus is with the 3-2-1 backup scenario (I assume you’re familiar, but please say so if not!)... I think RAID5 is fine for “reliable” mass storage, but it really depends on your use and, still, RAID is not a backup — it’s just postponing the inevitable.
 
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Have you considered something like SnapRAID, which technically isn't RAID at all.

I use it on my NAS instead of traditional RAID, in combination with UnionFS, but it also works on Windows.
The trade-off is that you don't get the performance of say RAID-5, since the drives are operating as single drives, but you get parity data, data integrity and snapshots,
It also claims to be more failure tolerant, but luckily I haven't had to try that as yet.
It's also much easier to expand than RAID.

In all fairness, I still back up all the data to an external drive, just in case.
 
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Absolutely what those above have said: RAID is for availability, not backup. I've found a local NAS is good, especially when augmented by Dropbox (I've got 20Gb there. choose your low-cost poison: GDrive, OneDrive, w/e), but RAID is availability.
 
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EVERYBODY SAY IT WITH ME
RAID
IS
NOT
A
BACKUP

Yup, those of us who've had double disk failures in the past can attest to that...!

Even keeping all data in one physical location is a risk. Google or other cloud storage is the way, though then security of the data needs to be taken in to account.

You're trusting Google to manage their servers and data centres properly but it's the best you can do for a reasonable cost.
 
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I just buy new SSD every 2 years when they double the capacity for the same price, bought a 512GB from 6 years back, 1TB from 4 years back and 2TB 2 years ago, all for the same dough.
I do the same for NAS too :D
 
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Have a read and see if my logic is sound... or point out any flaws...

I'm beginning to gather some data that's important-ish to me and I'd rather not lose it. So, rather than storing it on a single drive, I'd like to employ RAID. RAID5 seems like a good option, but I'm still rolling the dice on running into a URE if I ever have to rebuild the array should a drive fail. RAID1, or RAID10, doesn't have this issue, but all types of RAID do share one issue: a controller fault. Should the controller fail, you're still screwed, regardless of disk health, unless you can find the same controller again. This is data I'm going to keep around indefinitely, so I'm planning on something to fail... else I wouldn't be considering RAID.

So, either way, something will fail and I'll be screwed. I guess this is why they say "RAID is not a backup!". In order to mitigate this, I would hazard a guess that a single external drive matching the size of my array should be an acceptable solution. Of course, this still doesn't work in the "somebody bombed my house" scenario, or in the astronomically unlikely event that both the RAID and the external totally fail at once, but I'm not thinking that extreme. This way, RAID5 should still be acceptable, even if I should run into a URE, as the data will be recoverable elsewhere. The loss of the RAID controller itself also isn't the end of the world.
For me, raid 6 via mdadm on Ubuntu Server. Separate drive that has data backed up to it via daily rsnapshot. And a cold storage drive occasionally connected and rsnapshot to as well. Never have gone down a cloud path.

zfs is next level though (avoids bit rot) if you're willing to invest the time to learn it.
 

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also raid 5 and 6 are terrible. Anyone who says otherwise does not have experience with it at any kind of scale. Consumer drives in raid 5 or 6 will also likely be a faster way to lose your data than a single drive.
I've had RAID-5 in my tower since I first built it with the 3820 and I've never had a full RAID failure with WD Blacks. I never lost the entire array and it had become degraded from actual disk failures a handful of times. So, my experience is actually quite different than what you're implying.

With that said though, RAID is not a backup, it's to mitigate unnecessary downtime. You still need to keep a backup of your data regardless of the RAID type you use because they all can fail, or worse, your house could burn down and no raid level RAID will help you there.
 

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I mean that if, you’re talking about write-intensive conditions, like maintaining a fast database or similar then, sure, RAID0/1 is preferable (and begs for an off-site backup). But for more common use cases/shared environments, IME, RAID5+ is pretty reliable. It sounds like yours differs (or not?), and am curious to hear more!
Hi! This thread really isn’t the place but we have multiple locations (tens of thousands of disks) big arrays as in many disks are the most susceptible but if the disks are also large in size the rebuild time and possibly of a URE or another failed disk is very high. These two levels do not scale well with size both physically or data wise. It is not always data at play, a cache chip or other physical issue can cause a drive to fail that may not be registered in SMART and a rebuild taxes other disks greatly. Smaller arrays are bad as well but easier to handle with the right disks. I think maybe the biggest difference in our experiences is the March of time. There are multiple disk “models” that are “meant for X” now. Data creep is also always on the rise, so array sizes may be a lot larger now than what you used. See below.

I've never had a full RAID failure with WD Blacks. I never lost the entire array and it had become degraded from actual disk failures a handful of times
Not much to say to this other than it kind of proves my point. “My disks have failed multiple times” is not a great argument FOR using these raid types or consumer drives.

it’s not a competition to see how many drives fail and each occurrence is a huge risk.
 
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I've had RAID-5 in my tower since I first built it with the 3820 and I've never had a full RAID failure with WD Blacks. I never lost the entire array and it had become degraded from actual disk failures a handful of times. So, my experience is actually quite different than what you're implying.

With that said though, RAID is not a backup, it's to mitigate unnecessary downtime. You still need to keep a backup of your data regardless of the RAID type you use because they all can fail, or worse, your house could burn down and no raid level RAID will help you there.
Just curious, how many hours did it take to rebuild after you lost a drive?
 
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but all types of RAID do share one issue: a controller fault.
Sure, but thats why you wouldn't use a raid system that relies on a hardware raid controller. Plenty of software raid solutions these days for home to enterprise use cases that don't rely on proprietary setups.

I personally recommend a ZFS based raid solution like Truenas for redundancy and portability. Truenas pools do not care how or where the storage devices are attached just as long as the system can see the disks, making transporting the array to a new system or HBA as easy as a few clicks of a mouse button.
 

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RAID5 seems like a good option, but I'm still rolling the dice on running into a URE if I ever have to rebuild the array should a drive fail. RAID1, or RAID10, doesn't have this issue
Uh, RAID1 and RAID10 definitely do have an issue of URE during a rebuild.

all types of RAID do share one issue: a controller fault. Should the controller fail, you're still screwed, regardless of disk health, unless you can find the same controller again.
You ususally don't have to find the same controller, just one from the same company. If you use Intel's built in RAID for example, you can connect the drives to any motherboard with an Intel RAID controller(as long as it supports the RAID type you use) and the array will be usable.
I would hazard a guess that a single external drive matching the size of my array should be an acceptable solution.
Yep, that's a good plan. An offsite backup would be even better, but that can get a little on the pricey side, and backing up tens of TB of data over a slow internet connection isn't fun.
 
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My experience with RAID seems to have been much better than those who have bemoaned and complained of it. I used RAID consistently for nearly 2 decades. First with SCSI then IDE followed by SATA and SAS. I'm not personally using RAID currently as BDR fits my data redundancy needs.
EVERYBODY SAY IT WITH ME
RAID
IS
NOT
A
BACKUP
Thanks for the tip Mr Craft. Not only is such a statement functionally incorrect, it is historically incorrect. RAID was a concept made in a time when backups were either very expensive or very slow and often both. RAID solved a number of problems all at once. It allowed for high capacity, high speed storage that had data redundancy built into the functionality scheme. And for the record, RAID 10, 50 and 60 for examples are, BY DEFINITION, forms of backups. For those of you who fail to understand this, some reading and research is in order.

Everybody say it with me:
Redundant
Array of
Inexpensive
Disks


The ONLY form of RAID that does NOT have data redundancy built in to it is RAID 0(JBOD does not count as an actual RAID form, it's more of an afterthought). ALL other forms of RAID have data redundancy built into them. RAID was originally designed to be a form of data storage that could be maintained on an ongoing basis without the need for supplementary backups, effectively storage and backup rolled into one. With modern drives being IMMENSELY more reliable than drive of the time when RAID was created. Current RAID arrays, even when created using budget drives, are very reliable. However because of the advent of modern backups available, RAID has(ironically) become a somewhat expensive endeavour, comparatively.

As for the idea that a RAID controller is a point of weakness, they are not. RAID controllers fail extremely rarely.

RAID is still a very reliable form of data storage, even when used as a backup. Anyone who states otherwise is expressing an opinion NOT supported by history, evidence or effective practical application of the technology.
 

eidairaman1

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My experience with RAID seems to have been much better than those who have bemoaned and complained of it. I used RAID consistently for nearly 2 decades. First with SCSI then IDE followed by SATA and SAS. I'm not personally using RAID currently as BDR fits my data redundancy needs.

Thanks for the tip Mr Craft. Not only is such a statement functionally incorrect, it is historically incorrect. RAID was a concept made in a time when backups were either very expensive or very slow and often both. RAID solved a number of problems all at once. It allowed for high capacity, high speed storage that had data redundancy built into the functionality scheme. And for the record, RAID 10, 50 and 60 for examples are, BY DEFINITION, forms of backups. For those of you who fail to understand this, some reading and research is in order.

Everybody say it with me:
Redundant
Array of
Inexpensive
Disks


The ONLY form of RAID that does NOT have data redundancy built in to it is RAID 0(JBOD does not count as an actual RAID form, it's more of an afterthought). ALL other forms of RAID have data redundancy built into them. RAID was originally designed to be a form of data storage that could be maintained on an ongoing basis without the need for supplementary backups, effectively storage and backup rolled into one. With modern drives being IMMENSELY more reliable than drive of the time when RAID was created. Current RAID arrays, even when created using budget drives, are very reliable. However because of the advent of modern backups available, RAID has(ironically) become a somewhat expensive endeavour, comparatively.

As for the idea that a RAID controller is a point of weakness, they are not. RAID controllers fail extremely rarely.

RAID is still a very reliable form of data storage, even when used as a backup. Anyone who states otherwise is expressing an opinion NOT supported by history, evidence or effective practical application of the technology.

Might as well have a hard back up of optical discs, tapes/flash drives kept in a vaccum box that is protected from extreme heat/light/humidity and is shielded in lead. And connector ends protected.
 

newtekie1

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And for the record, RAID 10, 50 and 60 for examples are, BY DEFINITION, forms of backups.

Not they aren't. The definition of a backup is "a copy of computer data". Redundancy from a drive failure alone does NOT fit even that very basic definition of a backup as the data isn't actually copied.

You might be able to make the argument that RAID 1 is a backup with that very basic definition, as the mirroring could be considered a copy of the data. But any RAID method that uses parity definitely doesn't fit the definition of a backup at all. And I'd argue that RAID 1 isn't a backup either for reasons stated below.
RAID is still a very reliable form of data storage, even when used as a backup. Anyone who states otherwise is expressing an opinion NOT supported by history, evidence or effective practical application of the technology.
Yes, RAID(with the exception of RAID0) is a very reliable form of data storage. Certainly more reliable than a single drive. That's the point. However, it is not a backup and shouldn't be considered one. Having the mindset that RAID is a backup is a dangerous thing. And I've personally seen it burn people in the past.

The very basics of a backup should have two copies of the data, this protects against more than just a hardware failure. It protects against human error(or software issues) that damages files. This is an important function of a backup that RAID does not do and is why...say it with me now...RAID IS NOT A BACKUP.
 
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Not they aren't.
Yes, they are. RAID 10, 50 and 60 all create multiple sets of the data stored in the array. Should a disk in one of those sets fail, the BACKUP set(or sets) allows continued access until the fault is corrected with a replacement drive. By it's very construct and definition these forms of RAID are realtime, in-use backups. Anyone who fails to understand this very simple concept is in need of further education.

Not they aren't. The definition of a backup is "a copy of computer data". Redundancy from a drive failure alone does NOT fit even that very basic definition of a backup as the data isn't actually copied.

You might be able to make the argument that RAID 1 is a backup with that very basic definition, as the mirroring could be considered a copy of the data. But any RAID method that uses parity definitely doesn't fit the definition of a backup at all. And I'd argue that RAID 1 isn't a backup either for reasons stated below.
You are making a great many assumptions about how RAID arrays are used. Just because some do not use RAID in such a capacity or view it as such does NOT make it any less a valid option as a form of data redundancy and backup.

say it with me now...RAID IS NOT A BACKUP.
You can say that till the Sun stops shining, it will not make such a statement correct. Such an opinion is not supported by historical and current industry-wide usage models.
 
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OneMoar

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Yes, they are. RAID 10, 50 and 60 all create multiple sets of the data stored in the array. Should a disk in one of those sets fail, the BACKUP set(or sets) allows continued access until the fault is corrected with a replacement drive. By it's very construct and definition these forms of RAID are realtime, in-use backups. Anyone who fails to understand this very simple concept is in need of further education.


You are making a great many assumptions about how RAID arrays are used. Just because some do not use RAID in such a capacity or view it as such does NOT make it any less a valid option as a form of data redundancy and backup.


You can say that till the Sun stops shining, it will not make such a statement correct. Such an opinion is not supported by historical and current industry-wide usage models.
if a RAID array Is your only data backup then you are doing it wrong full stop
Raid Controllers fail all the time backplanes fail all the time power supplies can nuke entire 12 disk arrays, not to mention acts of nature or theft

No raid is not a backup it should never be treated as a backup I don't care how many morons on the planet try and use it that way they are all wrong and stupid
thats right if you do this and support doing it in any scenario except maybe a massive data center with 50 drives in a cluster your a fking moron and should have your pocket protector revoked
I have seen this exact kind of blatant disregard for data safety nearly sink business twice in the last year


nobody and I repeat nobody ever uses the Odd raid levels its cost/storage capacity probative todo and thus not common

we aren't talking about data centers where we have racks of 30 drives all in a redundant array with offsite backup

but hey even if we where look what happened to OVH they are major player and a bunch of people lost data and I bet my socks it was running in a massive array with No offsite backup because hey bad things never happen

my statement is very correct there is simply a epidemic of poor data retention policy's in the industry and catastrophe happens everyday because of it

too many people putting there faith that the unthinkable can't happen well it happens A LOT Actually and usually at the worst possible time

you think you are so smart and everybody is as smart as you and would never ever ever put two drives in a Raid 1 with there entire company data on it and no offsite backup
you are very very wrong and need to spend some time in the real working IT world especially on the Small business s side the shit I have seen gives me nightmares, the shit I have done reserved me a spot in hell
 
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