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Safest way Forward with NAS Drive setup


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After listening to the lastest Reset podcast with Dave and Schoondoggy  (  Excellent,  a must listen)  got to thinking


( yes dave,  we do pay attention)


Dave's point about not cheapening out was a good one -    

taking the same point to a related topic -  NAS Raid Configuration


My greatest concern about Raid  is losing the array all at once -  either thru a hardware error or with multiple drive failures during a rebuild.   All 4 WD Reds in my QNAP where purchased at the same time and are reasonably close in age -    So the point that was raised about the thrashing the disks would take during a rebuild, increasing the risk of a 2nd drive failure during recovery is troubling.   


When I set up my QNAP ,   I setup a 4 drive Raid 5 array -   the reason was simply that I cheapened out -    I only wanted to lose 1 drives worth of capacity for protection ( RAID 1) versus an alternative like  RAID 10 , which would lose 2 drives of space for protection


don't know that I would tear down my existing array and rebuild as a Raid 10    But  does it make sense that for these larger drives we are all using -  a home user like myself should go with RAID 10 ?



I know this wouldn't replace backup -   I backup the NAS fully about every month and critical data is also kept in OneDrive


( for very critical data, such as photos and docs,  I also burn a M-Disk archive media every year and send it to my brother in another state)




Edited by Al_Borges
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You raise good points. I'm in a similar boat (all drives purchased at the same time, etc.). However, it seems to me that if you have backup you are comfortable with then, other than the hassle of restoration and so forth, losing the whole array would not be a disaster otherwise. In which case why not minimize your cost and maximize your storage space?


And if that statement gives you the heebie-jeebies then you should probably question your backup first, not your RAID structure.


That's my mental process. A RAID is a RAID is a RAID. You can never eliminate the possibility of total failure, from fire or flood or lightning strike, or multiple simultaneous hard drive failures. So for me, backup is higher priority than RAID specifics. I keep multiple complete copies at home, critical items daily to the cloud, one copy in a safe deposit box, refreshed semi-annually. I only protect about 8TB of data though (~1.5TB considered "critical"). If you have a lot more than that to deal with then multiple copies gets expensive. But I'd still worry about backup before spending more on local RAID. 


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That's a great answer @jsox  Question your backups.  I like it!


I don't recall how I worded that part about cheapening out but I can't help but think I've done some crazy stuff before and even the cheapest, fastest option.  I do prefer a two drive fault tolerant array now but I've had a few RAID 5 arrays before.  My backups and 3,2,1 have always been solid though.  I never had any issues with those arrays either.  The only time I lost data was due to human error.

Sounds like your data plan is solid right now Al.

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This is a good topic to discuss. 

First and foremost, nothing beats a well executed 3-2-1 backup strategy. RAID5 was my favorite for many years, good performance, good useable capacity, acceptable rebuild times. That was before we hit 3-4TB drives. Now the time and duty cycle applied to drives during rebuild is very hard on drives. So people moved to RAID6 to withstand two drive failures, but rebuilds still are rough and time consuming. RAID10 or 0+1 50% useable capacity and very low impact on rebuilds. Anything is possible, but I believe a RAID10 array is less likely to fail during rebuild than RAID 5 or 6.

I am moving to unRAID as a test and I have a renewed interest in drive pooling technology.

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It does bring many things in to question, I have gone cheap on some things, others not so much. my DVD/BR Rips that make up probably 90-95% of the data usage I do not want to have to replace but I can consequently I have a RAID 6 array, the critical data is on RAID1


as for losing a RAID on rebuild, its an old fear mongering article but it gets the point across is this one below. it explains the math behind what happens




Obviously it did not/does not stop working but the efficacy of it as data protection becomes a greater and greater issue as storage devices increase in size

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to sorta close my end on this -    after reading these comments and what I've learned elsewhere.    


From a NAS standpoint,  I think  RAID 10 is the way to go, at least for those of us with a QNAP    Something like  Synology's  SHR2 or a unraid type solution  may also be suitable.  QNAP does not offer this feature.    


Basically   I dont want to risk losing the entire array at once if I lose a single drive.   Especially as my cohort of drives ages together. 

When I ran a W10 server using drivepool,    I basically  swapped a new drive  into the pool every year or so.  Will consider going back to a Windows Server when I do replace my QNAP at some point . so that I can go back to drivepool.   


As I have been reminded -  Raid is not backup      My serious stuff,  I am keeping on onedrive as well as the NAS.   Other than that , Will continue to do a routine server backup.  

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