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External HDs with large capacity?


UstadKhanAli
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The main problem with external drives for backup that go above 2-3TB is that you start getting enclosures that 1) have more than one drive "joined" by a custom controller and 2) aren't user replaceable. So what ends up happening, eventually, is that one of the drives dies (or the controller dies) and you're SOL on the backups.

 

If you're really serious about backups in the sense that losing them could cost you in a real way, there's something to be said for spending the money to do it right the first time and get an actual decent RAID-5 or RAID-1 setup, maybe even NAS'd.

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Oh really, so just getting 2 4TB drives is actually better than RAID? I didn't know that RAID was *less* reliable.

 

Is it pretty easy to back up to two drives simultaneously using something like Super Duper Clone or things of that nature? Just curious. Thanks.

G-Technology G-Drive 4TB $189

http://www.amazon.com/G-Technology-G-DRIVE-GDREU3G1PB40001BDB-External-Drive/dp/B00ND4DV9M/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1416015841&sr=1-3&keywords=g-technology+4TB+-RAID

G-Technology G-Drive Professional Strength 4TB $269

http://www.amazon.com/G-Technology-G-DRIVE-Professional-Strength-External-0G02537/dp/B009AP6X0C/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1416015841&sr=1-1&keywords=g-technology+4TB+-RAID

Glyph 4TB $365

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/StuPro4TB?adpos=1o1&creative=55226102161&device=c&matchtype=&network=g&gclid=CIrmo7a8-8ECFQlgfgod3i4ADg (same price on Amazon)

 

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Oh really, so just getting 2 4TB drives is actually better than RAID? I didn't know that RAID was *less* reliable.

 

Is it pretty easy to back up to two drives simultaneously using something like Super Duper Clone or things of that nature? Just curious. Thanks.

G-Technology G-Drive 4TB $189

http://www.amazon.com/G-Technology-G-DRIVE-GDREU3G1PB40001BDB-External-Drive/dp/B00ND4DV9M/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1416015841&sr=1-3&keywords=g-technology+4TB+-RAID

G-Technology G-Drive Professional Strength 4TB $269

http://www.amazon.com/G-Technology-G-DRIVE-Professional-Strength-External-0G02537/dp/B009AP6X0C/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1416015841&sr=1-1&keywords=g-technology+4TB+-RAID

Glyph 4TB $365

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/StuPro4TB?adpos=1o1&creative=55226102161&device=c&matchtype=&network=g&gclid=CIrmo7a8-8ECFQlgfgod3i4ADg (same price on Amazon)

 

While it's true that you probably want backups (offsite) in addition to RAID, the advantage of having RAID is that you can lose discs in your local backup and not lose data.

 

In the case of RAID-0, or mirroring, whole discs are duplicated. So, if you have 4 discs, you really only have 50% of that total storage space, because, if we assume the discs are labeled A, B, C, D, you'd have it set up so that B was a mirror of A and D was a mirror of C -- that way, if A or C die, you swap B or D respectively (or the RAID array fails over automatically) for the failed drive, then destroy the bad drive and replace it with a new one. The downside of that sort of system, aside from it only having 50% of the total drive space implied by the number of drives you're using (because, remember, half of that disc total is duplication) you have to be careful about using the same size of disks, etc. The upside is that, in theory, you can lose multiple drives and the set will stay online.

 

There's other types of RAID like RAID-5 where instead of duplicating all the data, the array maintains parity bits that it can reconstruct into actual valid data if a drive fails. The advantage is usually that you "give away" less data space in the process (i.e. it takes less than a 50% overhead to maintain the parity bit set), but the disadvantage is that the recovery process can take many, many hours to rebuild your data.

 

Ideally, what you'd want to is have some sort of local RAID/NAS setup (e.g. The Drobo NAS mentioned earlier; while not all NAS units are implemented with RAID setups, Drobo has a "RAID-like" system that functions kinda-sorta like RAID-6), and then also have some sort of cloud backup for offsite storage (RAID is nice, but it handles floods and fires very poorly!). That way you have offsite backups that protect against catastrophic loss, but you don't have to wait a long time to pull down a set of files from the web backup, either.

 

The trick is, of course, that not all RAID controllers are the same. You're going to want one that has good support from the manuf and good reviews from its users. In this case, you can somewhat narrow down the issue in that you want it for backup, not increased performance. As such, you don't really need a dedicated RAID controller card, just something (again, like the Drobo) that isn't just a bunch of drives hanging off your computer, but, rather, something that you attach to your network that you can (ideally) automate backups into.

 

In general, the larger the individual drive, the less reliable they are in terms of their Mean Time Before Failure (MTBF), *especially* on the consumer end. That's why disk arrays are preferable when you get to large data stores.

 

So, in summation: Some sort of NAS box that sits in your office, and then that NAS box itself also gets backed up into some sort of cloud backup service.

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Oh really' date=' so just getting 2 4TB drives is actually better than RAID? I didn't know that RAID was *less* reliable.[/quote']

 

It's not that RAID is "less reliable", it's just that, assuming the data only resides on one RAID unit, that data isn't really backed up, despite the ability to rebuild it in the event of a single drive failure. Take worst case scenarios: what if you had more than one drive fail at a time? Or what if the controller board failed?

 

If you only need 4TB of storage I would suggest two 4TB units rather than one 8TB in RAID 1. It may be more cumbersome, perhaps even more expensive, but your data will be more secure. Depending on your setup and your preferences, you could get two NAS units and use automatic NAS-to-NAS backup.

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It's not that RAID is "less reliable", it's just that, assuming the data only resides on one RAID unit, that data isn't really backed up, despite the ability to rebuild it in the event of a single drive failure. Take worst case scenarios: what if you had more than one drive fail at a time? Or what if the controller board failed?

 

If you only need 4TB of storage I would suggest two 4TB units rather than one 8TB in RAID 1. It may be more cumbersome, perhaps even more expensive, but your data will be more secure. Depending on your setup and your preferences, you could get two NAS units and use automatic NAS-to-NAS backup.

 

 

Thanks for the clarification. I probably will need at least twice that much for back-up.

 

I am thinking about either going with some sort of Drobo-like setup or with a Glyph Triplicator setup. The latter gives me more transportability, I think. But I'm still thinking about this as I go.

 

I appreciate the help immensely.

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Do you want back up storage or a work drive? I have a 3TB ROKSTOR that failed after 4 months. They replaced the internal drive but it was a slow process and I had to buy another large drive to keep working. The second drive is a 4TB G-Drive.

For Storage, I use a Synology 4 drive unit. I run RAID 5 for security and storage which takes apron 1 entire drive space for redundancy. Replace the drives every 5 years or sooner.

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Do you want back up storage or a work drive? I have a 3TB ROKSTOR that failed after 4 months. They replaced the internal drive but it was a slow process and I had to buy another large drive to keep working. The second drive is a 4TB G-Drive.

For Storage, I use a Synology 4 drive unit. I run RAID 5 for security and storage which takes apron 1 entire drive space for redundancy. Replace the drives every 5 years or sooner.

 

Thanks. I am looking for a storage drives for backup, so probably either something like a Synology/Drobo sort of setup, or Glyph Triplicator, which allows you to copy/back-up to as many as three external HDs simultaneously.

 

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I think of backup and storage as two different things. Backup is if some problem happens with a project or computer, I can get the data back. Storage is when the project is finished, but I may want to get that data back at some point.

 

For storage, I'm into Blu-Ray. 50 GB discs are about $2 and from everything I've read, Blu-Ray discs are inherently more robust than writable DVDs. You're also spreading your storage over more media, so if one disc dies, you're in better shape than if a 4 TB drive dies.

 

I've been using optical media for storage for literally decades with no mishaps. I do "refresh" the data as higher capacities appear; for example, I moved my CD-Rs over to DVD-Rs but kept the CD-Rs so now I have two sets of backup for older data.

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Thanks. I don't know very much about Blu-Ray. Okay, I know almost nothing. I have a Mac Pro 1,1 running OS 10.6.8 with the usual DVD burner that is built in to the tower. Can I use whatever appropriate software there is, such as DVDFab or IMGBURN or Roxio Creator and that DVD burner, or do I need something that specifically for Blu-Ray? I'm a little confused by this. Thanks.

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Blu-Ray was the next step after DVD. It started off with 25 GB storage and now dual-layer 50 GB discs are common. Storage goes up even higher to 128 GB with the BDXL format, but price goes up exponentially for the blank media. 50 GB is the sweet spot. The media is thicker and more robust than the DVD. Estimated shelf life for writable discs is at least 30 years.

 

FWIW Panasonic and Sony are working on an archival storage disc format for Blu-Ray with 300 GB capacity, and they expect the technology can scale upward to 500 GB and even 1 TB. However I assume this will require a new type of drive.

 

Blu-Ray is more of a "Windows thing" because from what I understand, Jobs didn't want to deal with licensing fees for Blu-Ray movie playback or some such thing. However Toast 12 Titanium works back to OS X 10.5. You will need an external drive or open up your Mac and install an internal drive. This is a very informative thread about getting Blu-Ray happening with Macs: http://blog.macsales.com/10779-blu-ray-and-macs-with-owc-yes

 

I paid $120 well over a year ago for an LG USB 3.0 Blu-Ray burner to use with my Windows machine. They're under $100 now. It also works on USB 2.0; the only squirrely element is that I need to turn it on after the computer boots for USB 3.0 to recognize it.

 

Some people say Blu-Ray is obsolete, what with big internal hard drives and cloud storage. I trust Blu-Rays more than either of those options for storage over 10+ years.

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I found this article on 300G and 1TB discs, which would be extreeeeeeeeeeeeemely helpful to me, and presumably to many others:

 

http://www.extremetech.com/gaming/178166-1tb-per-disc-sony-and-panasonic-team-up-on-next-gen-blu-ray

"The single-write 300GB discs are set to launch sometime in 2015, and Sonysonic plans to expand the recording capacity from 300GB, to 500GB and eventually 1TB each. At the moment, the discs are doubled-sided with three layers per side. The same laser wavelength as Blu-ray (405nm) will be used.

Pana-Sony are both experienced in the field of high-capacity optical media, as they both have an extensive history developing and using Blu-ray technology. Though Blu-ray isn’t as popular as DVD once was — mostly thanks to streaming and cloud services — the duo appears to be treating Archival Discs as the Blu-ray’s follow-up. "

 

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Didnt they say that about CDs and CDRs?

 

 

Dan

 

 

CDs were supposed to be "perfect sound forever"

 

But seriously, CDs and CD-Rs use different technology, and of course, lifetime assumes proper manufacturing and proper storage. What I heard was minimum 30 years for CD, minimum 10 years for CD-Rs although I have several 20 year old CD-Rs that still read.

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People still use tape storage. Many needs that optical used to fill are now covered by other media, like flash drives and the cloud. But hard drives don't last as long and cloud storage is, well, the cloud. I still can't think of anything better for archival storage than optical.

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Perhaps there's some concern about Blu-Ray drives not existing in 5 or 10 years, not so much the media it's stored on.

 

And yes, I know that if it comes a time in which this happens, you transfer the data to another media.

 

 

The ports are a concern, too. Got any SCSI hard drives sitting around? But one of the nice things about optical is that newer generations tend to read older generations. My Blu-Ray drive can handle CDs, DVDs, etc. No Magneto-Optical disks or Zip Drives, though :)

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I'm still interested in that uber-large Blu-Ray solution if it ever comes to pass. In the mean time, I think I may have found something a little more wallet-friendly:

 

I've found what appears to be a fairly "budget" sort of way to do this all the same while still being reliable and expandable, I think, for about $846 total. I have some pretty bad expenses come up lately, but I still really need to get a better back-up system in place soon.

 

$146.48 + about $20 shipping: StarTech.com 4-Bay USB 3.0 Hard Drive Docking Station with UASP and Dual Fans (SDOCK4U33)

http://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-...UTF8&qid=1423160322&sr=1-1&keywords=SDOCK4U33

 

$169 Amazon - Seagate SSD Hybrid Drive - ($42 per terabyte):

http://www.amazon.com/Seagate-Deskt.../ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top/179-7463182-6764613

 

$680 for four Seagate SSD Hybrid 4TB drives (16T) = $166 startech dock including shipping = $846 total.

 

My possibly misguided thoughts at this point:

1.) cloud-based solutions will not work because I have a lot of stuff to back up. I have TBs and TBs of WAV and TIFF files that take up a lot of room, and that's already after chucking a lot of unneeded stuff.

2.) If there is a Qnap/Synology/Drobo sort of thing that would work for me, please let me know. They seem a little confusing and expensive.

3.) I am backing up only one computer and do not require NAS.

4.) I am using an old Mac Pro 1,1 running OS 10.6.8 and has firewire and USB connectivity.

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