I'm wanting to setup a back up system for all computers on my network and a computer in my office using possibly a RAID5 w/ 3 disk. The system doing the backup will be running Gentoo linux, AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core, A8N32-SLI Deluxe, and 3 Seagate Barracuda SATA 3.0 250GB. I'm only needing to back up business docs, templates, email, and a subversion server so it's nothing heavy like movies, games, and music. I plan on using rsync to sync all the computers and I do have a VPN already into the office.
Here is the part I'm really not sure on. I've never set up any sort of RAID what-so-ever so I've made a few assumptions. Any help from an experienced voice would be much appreciated.
Assumption 1: I can add 3 more disk into my already running Gentoo box and set only those disk up as a RAID array. I don't want my operating system on the array or have to reinstall and even more painfully setup everything again. I can't afford the downtime on this machine since it serves as a web development server. Can RAIDs really be set up like this? Without affecting the current installed system?
Assumption 2: Raids are mainly setup inside of BIOS. I do have a NVRAID which from what I understand is a software RAID and is setup under the BIOS. Is this correct? I did read a Gentoo howto and the guy had setup his boot partition is the first partition on the raid. I don't want to do this.
Assumption 3: My previous simple backup systems have always been nothing more than adding an extra disk into the system and saving everything important to that disk and everyone so often writing extremely important data to a DVD. If the OS screws up I just reinstall and have all my files there waiting for me 30 minutes later. This has worked great since I've never had than many extra disk fail to-date. However that's is what I'm trying to prevent with the RAID. So .... let say I set up a RAID, I later decide to reinstall my OS, will the files and the RAID be waiting on me when I reboot into the fresh install?
I guess what I'm really wanting to know is will a RAID be a lot like my old backup system except protect me from disk failures too. Thanks for any input and/or suggestions regarding this.