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Thinking of RAID in Windows or Using FreeNAS?

The Penguin

Chilly Willy The Penguin
Have anyone used software RAID 1 in Windows? I'm currently doing hardware RAID 1 for my computer that built in my motherboard. One of the 2 TB drives started to make lots of noise so I know it needs replacing. I decided to order two 4 TB drives and set them up as RAID 1. Next I will copy the data from the 2 TB drive to the 4 TB RAID 1.

I might consider using FreeNAS instead as I feel it might be an better options for me. I mean the current Windows machine I'm using like an NAS anyways since the computer is very old and my laptop is more powerful than this desktop. Yet I'm lucky it haves 8 GB of RAM as this is what FreeNAS recommends. Have anyone used FreeNAS and what is your thoughts? I decided I'm going to try it on a VM.

I find it pretty sad my laptop haves double the RAM than my desktop. Bear in mind the max the desktop can support is 8 GB vs my laptop can support 32 GB. But this is another topic here.
 
I have FreeNAS installed on a VM. I had no clue how to setup a network share but this video below been very helpful. It shows you how to setup for Windows, MAC, Linux, and mobile devices.

 
First question is why do you want raid?

I've never used it in a desktop, and I'm not too sure why you would.

You still need to back up, and the only advantages are that you can switch a disk if it dies with out reinstalling the OS. The mean time before failure for a spinning disk is over 50 years.

On a desktop you don't have the high availability problems you have on servers, so if you lose the disk, just reinstall the OS, restore the data and off you go.

The other advantage is speed of IO, but I'd be amazed if anyone on the planet could tell the difference for IO on a desktop.

I'd only use RAID on servers and NAS devices personally, and then only hardware. I always used RAID 1 or RAID 5, or 10.
 
First question is why do you want raid?
I have 1.5 TB of photos and videos that I taken and scanned. Want to ensure I don't loss these content.

You still need to back up, and the only advantages are that you can switch a disk if it dies with out reinstalling the OS. The mean time before failure for a spinning disk is over 50 years.
I already using SpiderOak and I have 5TB storage of remote backup.

To add, this computer is connected to an UPS as I did lost an 1.5TB hard drive once during an power outage. What pissed me off the warranty of the drive expired a few months prior.

The other advantage is speed of IO, but I'd be amazed if anyone on the planet could tell the difference for IO on a desktop.
IO speed is a huge deal for me since I do video editing. I do all my rendering on a SSD drive on my laptop. This is an gaming laptop with 16 GB RAM and does a good job rendering 1080P videos. Though I store all my files on a file share the fact I have 1.5 TB of content as noted above.

My laptop does have gigabit card so I will get a good transfer rate over the NAS. It won't be as fast as my SSD drive, but mind you the NAS is just to store files and don't need the fast speed for it.
 
What I would do if I were you, is install an SSD for your OS, Apps and rendering.

Use a spinning disk for all your data, and back that up to a NAS with RAID 1 or 5, and either cloud back up the NAS, or backup the data directly to cloud.

RAID is huge over kill for desktops in my opinion.

RAID is not backup it's hardware redundancy and there is a huge difference. You would need RAID 5, 6 or 10 (I think) for increased IO, and you'd want at least three disks. The more disks you add the faster it will get, but again I think you be much better off with a fast SSD.

The more disks you have the greater you chance of failure.
 
What I would do if I were you, is install an SSD for your OS, Apps and rendering.
I already did this. My laptop came with two HDD. I remove one and replaced it with an SSD.

Use a spinning disk for all your data, and back that up to a NAS with RAID 1 or 5, and either cloud back up the NAS, or backup the data directly to cloud.
I already did this as noted in my comments for my previous replies for this post. I'm using hardware RAID 1, I'm accessing those drives over the network would be be like a NAS, and the machine haves the RAID 1 does already have cloud backup.

RAID is not backup it's hardware redundancy and there is a huge difference.
I know RAID is not a backup.

The purpose of this post asking if someone used software RAID. That why I wrote my very first sentence "Have anyone used software RAID 1 in Windows" as I'm thinking of changing to software RAID over hardware RAID. In some sense, I don't have much of a choice since my existing RAID controller can't see drivers greater than 2 TB.
 
I have spent the last few hours exploring FreeNAS on an VM. I do find it is a very interesting product. After done testing, I decided I will not install FreeNAS on my desktop. Instead, I will keep Windows on and install my new 4 TB hard drives as software RAID as my hardware RAID controller can't see drives greater than 2 TB.
 
Sorry, I still go into consultant mode sometimes.

Find what people are really trying to do and propose the simplest solution.

You did say the motivation was to save photos though, indicating a mix up of backup and redundancy.
 
I finally got my two 4 TB hard drives. The fun part now is moving 1.6 T.B of data from one drive to another. Window say it will take 5 hrs
 
I see the hard drive that died is 7 years old and never been off. RAID investment did paid off. As for the mirror drive that still work, will retire the working drive after I'm done migrating to the 4 TB drive.
 
I finished the migration and here are the things I learned.
  1. I need to disable the hard RAID so the computer see the new drives as a regular drive.
  2. For software RAID, I learned I can't have one drive off my motherboard and the other off my SATA card from the expansion slot. So decided to have both drives use SATA ports form the motherboard.
  3. I learned for the old drive that died, it been powered on for 6.25 yrs. I have another hardware RAID using the same brand drives I bought at the same time. So I will be replacing them very soon.
  4. For the new software RAID, I map the drive letter as the same as the old hardware RAID drives that I replaced. I kept the folder structure to ensure my backup software can recognize the change.
 
Software RAID is not the way to go; it uses too many resources and can actually slow your system down, and you'd be better off simply backing up your data: I cannot recommend BackBlaze highly enough; they will back up your entire system on secure servers for around five bucks a month and there is no size limit.

RAID is only really useful if you need a lot of fault-tolerance, so it's better suited for servers; and then a hardware RAID array is much more practical than a software one, for the aforementioned performance reasons. If you really want a RAID 1 array, I suppose you could rely on software, but IMHO the very limited payoff is not worth it.

EDIT: FWIW, if you're just using a standard HDD, you'd be better off simply replacing the disk every three years or so just as a preventative steps. MTBF has gotten much better these days, and I've been using the same HDD for 4.5 years, but I still back up my stuff just in case.
 
Software RAID is not the way to go; it uses too many resources and can actually slow your system down,
I haven't notice any slow downs yet. Note this setup is more being used as a file share for photos and videos I take with my camera. There would't be many writes going on the disk. So I say this is more for archiving. My main editing gets rendered on an SSD drive and the final product gets stored on the file share.

I cannot recommend BackBlaze highly enough; they will back up your entire system on secure servers for around five bucks a month and there is no size limit.
There really no such thing as no limit. Despite these providers claim this, at a certain point they will cut people off or change them more. I watched this happen with an old provider I use to use.

I'm paying $25/month for 5 TB of backup. I'm using 1.6 TB right now. I don't think BackBlaze would allow me to use 5 TB. I take lots of photos in camera RAW, capture full HD video and soon moving to 4K video. All of this uses a lot of data.

RAID is only really useful if you need a lot of fault-tolerance, so it's better suited for servers; and then a hardware RAID array is much more practical than a software one, for the aforementioned performance reasons. If you really want a RAID 1 array, I suppose you could rely on software, but IMHO the very limited payoff is not worth it.
I know lots of research people fell 50/50 on this. I do know if RAID fails, you need the same RAID controller. For my system is would be harder as the mother board is 10 years old. It would be hard to find a replacement board at this time. Because of this and since i'm still using this system, I'm using software RAID. My other hardware RAID1 that still active on this system I'm going to retire soon as these drives are the same age as the other RAID array that failed. I will upgrade to another pair of 4 TB drives.

EDIT: FWIW, if you're just using a standard HDD, you'd be better off simply replacing the disk every three years or so just as a preventative steps. MTBF has gotten much better these days, and I've been using the same HDD for 4.5 years, but I still back up my stuff just in case.
I'm going to keep using RAID in general. However, I will replace the drives sooner than me waiting for the drive to fail. My history of computers I can have a drive last between 5 to 7 years. So I might aim every 3 to 4 years to replace my drives that used for my photos and videos.

Anyhow, I'm using RAID in conjunction of remote backup. I will also have and 2nd source soon to backup the stuff from the RAID to another local system which is something my remote backup software can handle. I use to have this setup of setup but my external RAID failed. I will never buy a Drobo again.
 
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