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Advice for backup


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#1 bigjohnsull

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 05:49 AM

Hi all,

First post here having browsed the answers on the forums for quite a while. Always a great knowledge base! 

 

I have the following setup, and would like advice on best backup strategy, using Windows 7 to create the volumes: 

  • 6 x 3 TB drives for storage = 18 TB total 
  • 2 x 8 TB Seagate Archive drives + 2 x 1 TB drives for backup =18 TB total 

I plan to use either FreeFileSync or SyncToy to periodically do a file-for-file copy from storage to backup. Basically, I've had non-backed-up drives fail in the past resulting in lost data, so I just want the backup to be cold storage so I can retrieve my files in the event that storage fails.

I'm thinking of striping the 6 storage drives for performance/ease of having all data on a single volume, but don't think doing the same for backup drives is a good idea. 

 

My options (as far as I can see, but am open to suggestions):

  • I could stripe the 4 backup drives to have an 18 TB volume for storage with 18 TB for backup, but this isn't a good idea because with 4 drives, the backup volume will be 4 times more likely to fail.
  • Would spanning the 4 backup drives be advisable so that I can have a 1:1 storage to backup relationship of 18 TB storage to 18 TB backup, or would having the 4 backup drives as simple volumes be better?
  • The problem I see with simple volumes is that I would need to manually split the 18 TB of storage into chunks of 8+8+1+1 for the backup. 

 

Also, if I do go with striped for storage and spanned for backup, is this still risky if, for example, there's a problem with the raid controller - would I lose storage AND backup in that case? Basically, I'm OK with storage using striping/RAID 0 as long as the backup is reliable in the event storage fails. What I don't want is potential for storage AND backup to fail.

Would appreciate any advice, thanks in advance.



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#2 bigjohnsull

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 10:54 AM

Anyone with some advice?



#3 hamluis

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 12:45 PM

Well...I'll gve my thoughts on your thoughts :).

 

First...I would never consider RAID (any RAID) as a backup strategy in today's world...or for any other purpose, really.  IMO (an uneducated one), the days of RAID are long past.  The current state of technology and software development...have made the use of RAIDS strictly an "enthusiast" enterprise, one of those "I want to do this even if there's no logical reason for doing it" items.

 

Backup programs do a safer, better job...than any RAID setup, pure and simple.  Whether a free program or a paid, the results of using an established backup program are likely to exceed those of any other technique other than cloning the drive contents and storing the results anywhere but on the running system.

 

The other thing that I will point out...is that forces are converging (IMO) that are going to make the classic hard drive...a thing of the past.  SSDs grow cheaper, hard drive prices have fallen to try to entice more buying/use...then there is the presence of online storage/use of files which grows more each day.  I see these factors (and perhaps others) as forcing the decline of hard drive use, while SSD use and use of online/"cloud" storage continues to increase.

 

All things considered, I would never suggest a RAID to anyone as a way of doing business on her/his system...unless it's done from the perspective of "just doing it for the sake of doing it."

 

Mind you...I have no technical knowledge, I'm not an IT person or a "tech"...just a computer-user who has been playing with systems since late 1996.  My experiences and knowledge are limited...but I feel free to try to exercise my brain on various topics relating to computing.

 

If you hang on, the voices of experience will hopefully provide you with their perspectives on your ideas.

 

Louis



#4 RolandJS

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 01:22 PM

Following Louis' excellent reply, I recommend full OS and full data partition backups onto at least 2 separate external HDs. I have at least 2 OS partition images for each computer, and just one data partition image [because all three computers carry 99% the same data files on their respective D-partition]. Recommend full images at least once if not twice monthly for the OS partitions. I have never done differential or incremental backups, so I cannot advise there. using Acronis or any similar boot DVD/backup is great. I just recently purchased Macrium Reflect Pro, so I have not tried to restore a Macrium image yet. I did clone my "traveling" laptop's C & D partition onto an external HD -- haven't yet restored a clone yet. Macrium and some other programs backup from within an active Windows session -- I recommend user-doing as little as possible in the background and foreground during any such backup process.

"Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee."  -- Ben Franklin revisited.

http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forums/45/Computer-Technologies/

Backup, backup, backup! -- Lady Fitzgerald (w7forums)

Clone or Image often! Backup... -- RockE (WSL)


#5 bigjohnsull

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 02:05 PM

Louis/Roland,

Thanks for the replies. So you both seem to be recommending using RAID 0 for the storage volume, but not using RAID at all on the backup, and to just go with regular backups/clones to external drives that use single volumes?

 

I agree HDDs will eventually become obsolete with the rising popularity of cloud storage and SSDs, but given the price of cloud storage for the size of data I'm talking about, it's not quite there yet. SSDs also are nowhere near the capacity I need, so traditional mechanical drives seem to have the best value/storage ratio.

 

OS backup also doesn't worry me as I have Windows running on a separate SSD and the OS is backed up separately. I'm more worried about losing data files on the data drive than having to reinstall Windows/programs on the SSD if the OS fails.

 

I was hoping for a solution that would allow me to perform a 1:1 file comparison between 2 equal-size data/backup volumes, and just sync over anything new on the data drive to the backup drive, rather than having to manually manage syncing certain folders on the large volume to Backup Drive 1, syncing other folders to Backup Drive 2, etc. 


Edited by bigjohnsull, 18 September 2015 - 02:10 PM.


#6 RolandJS

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 02:10 PM

If I understood correctly what you want, Acronis True Image 2015 or Macrium Reflect Pro v6 will probably be all you need. Personally, I have never used RAID [except on insects], so I cannot comment either way.

"Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee."  -- Ben Franklin revisited.

http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forums/45/Computer-Technologies/

Backup, backup, backup! -- Lady Fitzgerald (w7forums)

Clone or Image often! Backup... -- RockE (WSL)


#7 bigjohnsull

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 02:29 PM

Thanks Roland, will take a look at Acronis as I've heard good things about it. Should probably have looked at it earlier only I got distracted by 'syncing' files from one drive to another rather than looking at traditional proper backup solutions.

Is there a difference between syncing file for file and using a backup solution like Acronis?


Edited by bigjohnsull, 18 September 2015 - 03:38 PM.


#8 RolandJS

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 09:30 PM

If you are not going to use the cloud, get either Acronis TI 2015 [w/o cloud support] or Macrium Reflect version 6.

File by file syncing versus Acronis or Macrium?  Well, if you clone a partition [which copies folders & files without creating an image], or unless you simply folder & file copy onto external media -- a 1:1 comparison will be easier.  If you image a partition, 1:1 comparison might be a little HoooBoy!, but doable.


"Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee."  -- Ben Franklin revisited.

http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forums/45/Computer-Technologies/

Backup, backup, backup! -- Lady Fitzgerald (w7forums)

Clone or Image often! Backup... -- RockE (WSL)





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