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I want a raid server, looking at Buffalo TeraStation Pro 1TB

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by Nephilim, Jul 18, 2007.

  1. Nephilim

    Nephilim Baby Face Off Lifetime Member

    Apr 13, 2002
    North West of Center
    I had a 250 gb backup drive die on me last week and while I didn't lose anything important (the client files and family pictures were backed up on two other drives, all I lost was some pirated software.) it reinforced my desire to get a basic raid system set up in my basement.

    I don't want to build a whole new system and have to set up the raid myself with a raid controller if I can help it... mainly to avoid the cost. From what I can tell it would run me at minimum around a grand to set up a decent DIY raid system.

    I can pick up a refurb Buffalo TeraStation Pro 1TB for $400ish with the drives already in there... I sent an email to their support to see if I can upgrade the drives in the future if I'd like (to say 4 500gb ones.) This seems like a much more economical way to go about it... although I suppose if you factor in the cost of the future upgrade, perhaps not.

    What would you suggest? I'd obviously like to be able to backup as much as possible as soon as possible to avoid any future data loss. I can build my own raid server if it cost effective.
  2. Deanster

    Deanster Cheese? Millennium Member CLM

    Feb 24, 1999
    That's a great price on a Terastation Pro! Sounds like a good bet. DIY is IMHO, not a great way to go - RAID arrays just screams for an integrated solution.

    Two quick notes - reviewers say that the newer Terastation Pro II is considerably faster (in many cases 2x) faster due to a much-improved controller, and the main beef with Terastations from day 1 has been that you can't hot-swap drives - you have to power down to replace a drive. Obviously, that doesn't happen much, and probably isn't a big deal for home users, but it's worth noting. Same story with the transfer speeds - big deal if you're using it for video editing, not such a big deal for general storage.

    I'll be interested to hear what they have to say about swapping the entire set of drives - it certainly ought to be possible, but it'd be nice to have that confirmed.

    Raid 5 is a good choice overall, but I'd caution that while it's a great tool for dealing with hard-drive failure, but it's actually quite vulnerable to failure of the hardware controller.

    It's often difficult or impossible to swap the HD's into even an identical enclosure and have the array come back up after the RAID box dies, especially if it wasn't stable before its demise.

    Same story with fire, theft, lightning, flooding, etc. RAID 5 addresses one specific risk very well, but it doesn't remove the need for offline (and preferably off-site!) backups of anything you'd miss. The Buffalo box has USB 2.0 connectors on the box to facilitate this process.

    So, long story short, this seems like a good choice at a very good price. It's just worth keeping in mind that it's not THE solution to the entire universe of reasons we back things up.

  3. srhoades


    Jul 14, 2000
    Does your motherboard support SATA II? 2 SATA II drives and a raid controller and you can setup a mirror. Pretty easy to do and cheaper (although not by much) than the terrastation.
  4. Nephilim

    Nephilim Baby Face Off Lifetime Member

    Apr 13, 2002
    North West of Center
    Argh! is sold out of the refurbs.

    To answer some of the questions...

    I contacted tech support and they told me this: Yes with the version I terastations you can swap out the drives up to 500gb per drive. You have to rebuild the array though... swapping one drive at a time and letting it rebuild each disk... then once the old array is copied to the new array... you can initialize a new array and dump the old array to access the new full disk size. So the 4 250s can be upgraded to 4 500s.

    I'd be using it entirely for deep storage with an occasional movie streamed off it to a media box elsewhere in the house. The smallest media center I have though has a 500gb hard drive so it isn't like I have to stream much. Really it would be for storage.

    As for the fire/protection thing... I do keep files offsite, I'd just like a safety net at home =)

    I guess DIY might be the way to go... my grandfather's estate is being sorted through at the moment, he was a huge computer nerd... I could pretty easily find a pentium 4 box with sata board support among all his computers. I might turn one into a raid server. I really wanted a smaller less power consuming device though.
  5. srhoades


    Jul 14, 2000
    About once a month has a Seagate 250GB or larger SATA II retail drive for $80 and free shipping. Can't go wrong with those.
  6. aaronrkelly


    Feb 27, 2005
    A simple file server doesnt require much in the way of computing power.

    I have ran a simple RAID array off a Pentium III 750MHz PC with 512MB of RAM running Windows 2K for years. I notice no difference between that and transferring files on our similar network at the office which is running a new Dell server. Perhaps if you were moving entire movies around there may be a difference, not sure.

    Either way a simple, low powered PC thats accessed via VNC across the network for maintenance (ie no need to power a monitor) shouldnt require THAT much more power then a stand-alone solution such as the Buffalo. It should give you far more upgrade paths, however.

    Again, I could be wrong....just tossing something out there.
  7. Nephilim

    Nephilim Baby Face Off Lifetime Member

    Apr 13, 2002
    North West of Center
    I'm pretty much looking at two possible venues right now...

    1. purchase a pre-made NAS... I've got a lead right now on a 2 tb stand alone raid 5 nas (1.5 available terabytes after the raid eats the rest up) for $500.

    2. Get my hands on an older PC and turn it into a RAID server... spending about $150ish on a raid card and as much as I want on the raid array (I'd probably wait for a $100 sale on 500gb and go for a 2tb array)

    I'm inclined to go with the second plan if I can get my hands on a decent pc... simply so I can have a computer in the basement in my workshop (where I'd put the raid) that I could do simple web browsing/file streaming on in addition to raid function if I so desire. I'd also be able to use a case with better cooling.
  8. Bushflyr

    Bushflyr ʇno uıƃuɐɥ ʇsnɾ Millennium Member

    Mar 17, 1999
    Western WA
    I just stumbled on this thread and am in the exact same situation. I've been bouncing between the Infrant ready NAS NV+ and an Apple Xserve RAID. I don't speak $oft and need to back up/ store 2+TB of music and movies. Any help from the network guru's would be great.
  9. Nephilim

    Nephilim Baby Face Off Lifetime Member

    Apr 13, 2002
    North West of Center
    I'm debating alot of points right now:

    1. Do I actually need raid?

    - I think at the max. I need a simple raid1 setup which I can do through my motherboard (it supports sata raid1) I buy two 500 gb drives, mirror them to each other and be done.

    - The only reason I'm even considering raid is the redundancy, which I can achieve cheaply with the above set up.

    2. Do I want to keep the disks in another part of the house/on a seperate circuit/removed from my actual office?

    - If so... I can plug a basic NAS device into my router in the basement and keep the backup disk in my workshop down there. Bonus points if I get one of the NAS devices from NetGear or Iomega that has Raid1 built in.

    3. I really only need multiple backups, not the on the fly redudancy of a raid array.

    - I have about 80 gb of critical data... client files, pictures and video of my daughter, etc. Obviously this will grow over time, but not exponentially really... it took me years to get 80gb of -critical- data that I'd actually break down and cry if I lost. I don't really -need- a 500gb or 750 gb raid array. Having a copy on my computer, a copy on the remote disk in the house, and usually a copy online on my remote server... seems pretty safe (and the remote server has a massive enterpise level raid array i couldn't even afford.)

    So to throw this out there for advice... what I'm thinking about doing is simply buying two decent size disks like a pair of 500gbs or a pair of 750s... and instead of raiding them together just using software to copy the files to the two drives every night with incremental backups... that way I have 3 onsite copies of my files (the main computer directory, plus the two backup disks) and I'm not using all that extra space for mirroring files that might not need to be mirrored... but that I do want to store... like ripped movies or music. I won't be upset if my downloaded copy of some 3 star movie gets erased, eh?
  10. Nephilim

    Nephilim Baby Face Off Lifetime Member

    Apr 13, 2002
    North West of Center
    The biggest thing to consider is cost... if you need a raid array for 2tb of actual storage, you'll actually need between 3-4 tb of real storage space to set up the array (there is anywhere between 25-50 percent "dead" space on a raid array for the data redudancy)

    You just have to ask yourself if the data is worth the extra cost =)
  11. breakwater


    Dec 11, 2006
    i just put a 500 gb hard drive in my pc and share it out... done.

    also, backup to an external hard drive. done...

    why raid for a home? i don't get it...
  12. Tennessee Slim

    Tennessee Slim Señor Member CLM

    Apr 14, 2004
    Mucus City, USA
    I’ve just ordered my fourth Infrant NAS (the latest is an NV+). You could do worse than give them a look.