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Newbie - RAID 1 like setup home server storage


donquixo
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I've been pouring over most of the posts on this forum, avid fan of Joe_Miner, Diehard, Ikon and many others... so my hat is off to you all!

 

I'm planning to purchase a Microserver N40L or N54L soon to start my home/work storage server. I have a pretty solid idea of what I want to accomplish but have hit a couple of stumbling blocks with understanding of RAID-1 and what it can do for me. I plan to install Windows 8 Pro on the Microserver.

 

I have a set of 3 @ 2TB drives where I will store stuff:

 

drive 1 - computer backups in the house;

drive 2 - videos and pictures;

drive 3 - work related files.

 

I would like to create a setup where each of these drives is mirrored in real time to another set of 3 @ 2TB drives for a total of 6 drives. I'd like to have hot-swap capability for these so I can remove the mirror copies daily and put away in a safe and rotate with another 3 drive set. I've read recent posts that the BIOS mod can unlock the 3.5" drive tray and allow the hot-swap functionality. Also, a 5.25" caddy would allow me to add the extra 2 drives (or more).

 

But, here's the catch, I want to be able to read any of the mirrored drives from any computer or external storage device once it's removed for safe keeping. My intent being that if the hardware fails or "walks" I don't have to wait for a Microserver replacement to have access to my data. And the catch being that I hear it's not possible to effectively work with RAID 1 mirrors without the controller that created them. Even if I use a "real" controller like the P410 or Windows 8 storage spaces.

 

So, I'm kind of stuck about the purchase without knowing how to achieve the hot-swap mirroring, with multiple drives (logical volumes) to boot. What are my options guys? I really need to be able to read that data on any other device.

 

donquixo

 

p.s. to add some icing on the cake, I'm thinking of using Win 8 Bitlocker on all of them, in case it matters

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Thanks for the compliment donquixo.

 

As to your question. I don't think what you want is actually mirroring; more like real time data replication, or at least very nearly real time.

 

I was thinking about Acronis True Image Home's NonStop Backup, but the backup files are proprietary and can only be read by TIH.

 

I'm not sure how close to real time it can get, but Allway Sync may suit your needs. There are some avid supporters in these forums so I'm sure they can give you the lowdown.

 

EDIT: just for giggles, I downloaded the free version of Allway Sync. After creating New Job 1, I was able to alter the settings so it constantly monitors for file changes and then syncs up. It seems it can sychronize as often as 1 minute after it detects a change.

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I'm not sure how close to real time it can get, but Allway Sync may suit your needs. There are some avid supporters in these forums so I'm sure they can give you the lowdown.

 

EDIT: just for giggles, I downloaded the free version of Allway Sync. After creating New Job 1, I was able to alter the settings so it constantly monitors for file changes and then syncs up. It seems it can sychronize as often as 1 minute after it detects a change.

 

Thanks Ikon. I think you nailed it, data duplication is what I'm after.

 

I was afraid the software path was the only way. I wonder what kind of impact that would have on the little machine, especially if I'm running other services on it, maybe streaming video, etc. Somehow a shame not to be able to use a dedicated hardware component for the duplication task, especially with all the RAID options out there.

 

Not having thought too hard about it DFS might work for you too. Data replication wise. :)

 

A15457, I'm afraid I'm not too familiar with DFS.

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It's a Service on Microsoft servers after 2008. there are a couple of different ways to set it up, obviously you want it for its data replication, you can do this across the same machine or to multiple machines across the LAN / WAN. Also its free. I'm not sure how it would go though if you are planning on swapping drives out on a rotational basis.

 

Here's the first 2 google results for your reading pleasure ... ("configuring dfs replication")

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc732863(v=ws.10).aspx

 

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc771058.aspx

 

Cheers,

 

Dave.

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DFS Replication is going to be very hard to configure with so much drive swapping going on. DFSR was meant for fixed storage. Not a bad idea however.

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Thanks for the compliment donquixo.

 

As to your question. I don't think what you want is actually mirroring; more like real time data replication, or at least very nearly real time.

 

I was thinking about Acronis True Image Home's NonStop Backup, but the backup files are proprietary and can only be read by TIH.

 

I'm not sure how close to real time it can get, but Allway Sync may suit your needs. There are some avid supporters in these forums so I'm sure they can give you the lowdown.

 

EDIT: just for giggles, I downloaded the free version of Allway Sync. After creating New Job 1, I was able to alter the settings so it constantly monitors for file changes and then syncs up. It seems it can sychronize as often as 1 minute after it detects a change.

I was thinking of Allway Sync as well. I have had very good luck using it as a data sync tool and there should be no issue reading the data drives on other machines. I have also used ClickFree software for this type of situation. It will be a performance hit every time you swap drives as they sync up.

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