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Back up or redundancy?


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Ive just got my Gen8 and so far have updated the RAM to 12Gb and have a SSD waiting to be installed on which im going to put Win8.1 then upgrade to 10.


So with 2x 3TB wd red, im i better as a home user goin for RAID 1 or set up both disks as RAID 0 then use the 2nd drive as a back using backup software?


Or am i missing the point somewhere? I am VERY new to homeservers.


Thanks guys

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RAID is not backup.  It is redundancy, intended to reduce downtime by giving you time to replace a failed disk so you don't have to restore from your backup.


With RAID-1, if you corrupt a file on one drive, you do so on the other.  If you delete a file on one drive and then say "Oops!", you have deleted it on both.


It is for this reason that I have a RAID array on my server *and* a backup.  RAID is not foolproof; if more than one drive fails on my RAID-5 array, I lose the array.  But, I still have a backup.  And I can sustain the failure of one drive before having to do a data restore.


If you can afford only two drives, set one up as data storage, then set up backups to the second drive.  If you can afford a third drive, set up RAID-1 and then use the third drive for backup.  Alternately, you could use RAID-1 on the two drives, and then subscribe to a cloud backup service like Carbonite or Crashplan; just note that restoring a large amount of data from the cloud can take a long time (though it has the advantage that if your house burns down or your server is stolen, you still have your data).

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1. An underused feature of Windows which might fit the bill here is FILE HISTORY.

Decent description at:



FH is somewhat wasteful of space, creating copies of entire files, not the clever compaction of incremental backup software.

OTOH the backup is timed and the scanning period can be set to your preference, so could be almost continuous.

And an external drive would provide off-site capability.


​​2​. I don't buy the 'restoring data from the cloud takes a long time argument'. Of course it DOES take a long time (see my recent tests of OneDrive in the CloudDrive post)​ ...

... but most bulk home storage consists of music, images and videos - in other words each item is a small part of the whole: there are no monolithic objects such as databases.


So if my entire home network is down apart from the Internet and my trusty portable, and I want to have a music night in ...

... I'll download 4 hours of music while I'm eating dinner.


Of course if the LAN is down, the Internet is down and OneDrive, Amazon and NETFLIX are all down ... and the family want to see a film then I'm screwed.

Oh no - why don't we go out for dinner that time and watch a film in  theatre!

Sounds like a good backup plan to me!!

OK, so that's just more redundancy ... but why the hurry to get everything back at once?


I have some very big collections ... and I'm thinking to myself ... what percentage of my library did I look at over the whole of last year?

I only needed one digit.

Edited by JackoUK
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People seems to confuse the different data protection mechanisms, which compliment but not replace each other:


RAID - As the name suggests is for redundancy mostly, meaning that you can sustain loss of a number of drives without interruption.


          Does help in event of physical drive failures

          Doesn't help in case of file system corruption, accidental/intentional deletion, keeping historic versions of files, loss of the site/office due to fire/flood/theft etc.

          Pros - no down time for recovery

          Cons - no protection, against the more likely events such as accidental deletion and file corruption, might be expensive if done right


On site/premise Backup - Where a copy(s) of the data is stored alongside the original


          Does help in case of file system corruption, accidental/intentional deletion, keeping historic versions of files, physical drive failures

          Doesn't help in case of loss of the site/office due to fire/flood/theft etc.

          Pros - Cheap and easy to implement, protects against most cases of data loss 

          Cons - TTR (time to restore) and complexity of the restore might be big, if the OS is affected etc.


Off site/cloud Backup - Where a copy of the data is stored in another physical location like DC, another office, home or neighbour


          Does help in case of file system corruption, accidental/intentional deletion, keeping historic versions of files, physical drive failures, loss of the site/office due to fire/flood/theft etc.

          Pros - If done right protects you against all kind of potential data loss

          Cons - might be expensive, TTR is dependant on internet/inter site connection speed, in the case of cloud the privacy and data security is at question and might give you a false sense of security, as you are dependant on the provider.



Edited by sal
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normally no need to add something cause everything was well explained by lone wolf and the others.


I would put both drives as single drives and would do the backup with a app like allway sync.

additional advantage of having deleted files or changes files in a separate folder is also in case of a major break down of your server you can simply install the drives in another desktop and you have immediately access to your data.

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As for my personal home ,non-business , mostly docs or media files . I don't need redundancy I.e. If a disk goes down I just need to have copy of data from another disk while I replace defective disk.


However , I do need multiple backups . For personal stuff I have 2 or 3 backups on differnt drives + 1 backup on external usb-hd



Edited by Riz
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Poll Question:  How many of you "actually test" your backups?  If it's over 25% I'd be surprised.


I have only tested the bare metal recovery of my OS drive. Other than that i don't really do actual backup, just multiple copies of the most important files all over the place.


On the other hand half of the mid/large firms I have work for don't really test backups or backup/DR procedures. It's all about box ticking exercise and "green" reports to management. Lots of horror/comical stories and tears as a result.

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