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  #1  
Old June 3rd, 2007, 11:30 AM
Michael Seltzer Michael Seltzer is offline
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Default Thoughts on a hard drive for a mirrored raid...

Hello,

I just had a hard drive go down. It was a LaCie d2 Extreme, and LaCie replaced it--no problem there. However, I want to get another hard drive and set up a mirrored raid for security. Any suggestions as to make/models that are particularly good? Also, can I use another manufacturer's drive with the LaCie in a raid set-up?

Some of the things I like about the LaCie: it's nicely stackable, and they even have a (relatively) inexpensive rack to stack four drives in; the one I got was a triple interface , so I could use firewire 800 (my laptop has no eSata); the drives can be daisy-chained.

Things I don't like about LaCie: well, it just failed. And since the failure, I've run across several people who don't like LaCie, think they're prone to failure, which makes me a bit nervous. Of course, mine was a LaCie, so I may simply not have heard from the anti-whateverotherdrive--I will never get another Seagate! or Western Digital!--crowd.

Anyway, I'm curious to know what other's experiences have been, and if any drive seems to have a particularly good reputation.

Thanks,
Michael
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Old June 3rd, 2007, 12:11 PM
Nicolas Claris Nicolas Claris is offline
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Hi Michael
what OS are you running? on what machine?

I have 3 Lacie external 250 Gb daisy-chained thru Firewire 800 and linked to an Intel Mac, previously I had them on a dual G5 and one of them was also, a long time ago running on a G4.
Never had a problem, but I regularly run disk utility and sometimes it has some minor repairs to achieve in the so called "header blocks". Doing so I've never lost a file.

However these are working HD no back-up!

For Back-up I have DVDs, stored in a bank safe.

Another back-up of important files is ran thru an Raid mirroring 2 x ATA 500 Gb HD
They are connected thru an SCSI card inside an old G4 running Mac OS X 10.4.9
This raid disk is connected to our network Ethernet 1000T so anyone may upload download easily the files needed.

Hope it helps
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Old June 3rd, 2007, 12:45 PM
Michael Seltzer Michael Seltzer is offline
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Hmmm. Forgot to mention my machine. I have an Intel MacBook Pro with OS X Tiger. I also use DVD backup, and these drives will be working drives as well, though I intend moving the files I am working on currently to the laptop's drive. So, I want the external drives to power down when not being accessed.

Thanks for the info, Nicolas. Nice to hear there are happy LaCie users.
Michael
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Old June 3rd, 2007, 12:51 PM
Nicolas Claris Nicolas Claris is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Seltzer View Post
So, I want the external drives to power down when not being accessed.
I am not sure this is a good idea, would be nice to have a tech point of view on that. I wonder if stop and go aren't worth for mechanisms...
This anyway can be controlled in the preferences panel/energy saver.
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Old June 3rd, 2007, 12:57 PM
Nicolas Claris Nicolas Claris is offline
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[QUOTE=Michael Seltzer;27341I want to get another hard drive and set up a mirrored raid for security. Any suggestions as to make/models that are particularly good? Also, can I use another manufacturer's drive with the LaCie in a raid set-up?[/QUOTE]

I would use same brand, same driver, same capacity, same speed... same disks.

The advantage of mirrored raid is that if one disk fails, you have the other one still running. so no loss.

BTW, I store my Lacie external drives vertically with a few inches between them to avoid to much heat...
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Old June 3rd, 2007, 02:17 PM
Edward Bussa Edward Bussa is offline
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Hey Michael,

I just ordered several hundred dollars worth of hard drive equipment because I filled up the setup that I thought I would never fill!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Seltzer View Post
However, I want to get another hard drive and set up a mirrored raid for security.
You mean "safety", not "security", right?

I discussed RAID with a colleague (I work in the computer field). He has more experience with hardware and his comment was "Do you want to hear a conclusion that only comes from years of experience?" -- Oh, but of course I said! -- "RAID is not for data safety."

Now, you use a MacBook, so internal hard drives won't work for you, so much of the following doesn't apply directly, unless you look into setting up an external RAID array...

My colleague only uses raid to blob hard drives together into ultra large volumes. Also, he uses RAID 5 because with regards to the overall system, statistically the hard drive is the weakest point. So, if one hard drive fails, RAID 5 can limp along until you can replace the drive.

Plus you only lose, at most, 1/3 of your overall storage space to redundancy (compared to 1/2 with mirroring). Now, you have to use a minimum of 3 drives though!

I assume you are using a SOFTWARE RAID Mirror setup. You can do RAID with hardware too, and internal controllers can be fairly cheap. However, for an external RAID array enclosure, the controller would be built-in.

SOFTWARE RAID
Advantages: No controller means less cost and one less failure point.
Disadvantage: Combinations of striping and mirroring are the only practical setups.

HARDWARE RAID
Advantages: RAID 5 (more efficient data redundancy), streamlined disaster recovery
Disadvantages: Cost, failure point.

Yes, a hard drive controller can fail, but so can your software raid setup! Therefore, you must NOT rely on RAID to keep your data SAFE! Always backup everything to another device/media!

I am building my own external hard drive this week from parts ordered online. I will use the external drive to backup my RAID array. Therefore, if any piece of my RAID array fails, my data is safe on the external drive. In addition, I back up everything to DVD once a month as well!

MY SETUP

1 - Promise FastTrax 4-port Serial ATA controller (running RAID 5)
3 - 250gb Seagate 7200.10 hard drives (for 500gb capacity, single hd failure redundant via RAID 5)

1 - homemade external hard drive - 500gb (cheap Seagate) USB 2.0/eSATA

Whew! I hope the length of information doesn't overwhelm you, but since I just made this decision for myself I thought I'd share.

Three things will kill a hard drive - 1) overheating, 2) turning them off and on, 3) lightning. I plan on turning on my external drive only a few times a week and maybe even keeping it disconnected (lightning).

Also, hard drives are a commodity. Yes, sometimes a particular model from a particular mfg. will get a bad reputation, but I don't think that taints the mfg.

That said, I am fascinated by the perpendicular recording technology - it theoretically improves reliability AND density - I love elegant solutions! Also, good bearings are a must for keeping things quiet AND reliable. The Seagates I ordered seem to fulfill both requirements for me.

One last thing, statistically speaking, if a hard drive doesn't fail early, it will most likely not fail at all. In other words, if a drive is going to fail, it fails sooner than later, so be prepared!

Hope this helps you (or someone)!
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  #7  
Old June 3rd, 2007, 03:08 PM
Michael Seltzer Michael Seltzer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicolas Claris View Post
I am not sure this is a good idea,
The LaCie d2 seems to do this automatically. You can hear it spin down and go silent, and then when you try to access it, it spins back up. Not sure I can do anything about that. Anyway, I've heard that running them all the time (the ones without built in fans, anyway) can overheat them.
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Old June 3rd, 2007, 03:17 PM
Michael Seltzer Michael Seltzer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Bussa View Post
I just ordered several hundred dollars worth of hard drive equipment because I filled up the setup that I thought I would never fill!
Ah, yes. I remember when I built myself a PC (a hot new 286 machine!), and I splurged for the 10GB drive that I new I'd never fill up! The universe may be expanding, but space in computers always fills up. (Hey, maybe that's where the universe is expanding to!)

By "security" I mostly meant that I'd feel secure that if one drive failed I'd still have all the data and still be able to continue to work while sorting out the failed drive. RAID 5 sounds great, but not an option for me right now.

I'll be using my drive more than a few times a week, and, as I said in an earlier post, the drive I have seems to power down if not accessed (presumably to keep from overheating). I'm not sure there's anything I can do about that. So I guess "2) turning them off and on" will be my biggest wear on the drive.

Thanks for the info.
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Old June 3rd, 2007, 03:40 PM
Edward Bussa Edward Bussa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Seltzer View Post
I'll be using my drive more than a few times a week, and, as I said in an earlier post, the drive I have seems to power down if not accessed (presumably to keep from overheating). I'm not sure there's anything I can do about that. So I guess "2) turning them off and on" will be my biggest wear on the drive.
I don't know much about the Lacie drives, but if they don't have a fan in the case or the case isn't made of aluminum, then heat is a problem and could be the reason it is set to spin down.

Since the OS probably sees the drive as a generic mass storage device, the only way to possibly change a setting like this would be a utility from the mfg. or freeware on the web.
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