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Drobo's "Beyond RAID"?

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Bob Cole
Drobo's "Beyond RAID"?
on Jun 11, 2012 at 9:31:40 pm

Great discussions in this forum. Many thanks to all who participate and share their knowledge of this important, somewhat onerous, but necessary topic.

This is about backup, not archiving. I need to be able to backup my CalDigit HDOne 8tb RAID5 on a regular basis, so I can reformat the drive. (For archiving, I have an LTO3 drive attached to a PC on my network, so I can archive, somewhat laboriously. I'd love to buy a Cache-A, which would solve both my backup and archiving issues, but price is an issue.)

For backup, I'm looking at the DroboPro 8-bay. But I don't really understand their "Beyond RAID" system. Is it trustworthy? Cost-effective? Would I be better off just buying a bunch more external hard drives in nice large sizes, and making multiple backups for redundancy's sake when I do a backup/reformat on the HDOne?

Alternatively, if I were to buy a Cache-A, is there a "sweet spot" for the one-person editing suite? This is a rough approximation, but I edit about three short-form (5-10 minute) finished videos a month, running through about 2 tb of storage in that time.

Thanks for your ideas.

Bob C


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Andrew Richards
Re: Drobo's "Beyond RAID"?
on Jun 19, 2012 at 12:48:17 pm

[Bob Cole] "But I don't really understand their "Beyond RAID" system. Is it trustworthy? Cost-effective?"

"BeyondRAID" is Drobo's proprietary software implementation of a few RAID-like approaches to striping and parity that permits the use of differently-sized disks without resorting to lowest common capacity like you get with conventional RAID. It is cost effective because it doesn't require you to buy all your drives at once, and at the same capacity. There are some similar open-source alternatives like FreeNAS, but then you are building your own hardware and on the hook for your own support. I can't vouch for trustworthiness since I've never used one, maybe others can chime in and endorse it (or not).

[Bob Cole] "Would I be better off just buying a bunch more external hard drives in nice large sizes, and making multiple backups for redundancy's sake when I do a backup/reformat on the HDOne?"

Since this is backup and not archive, all you need to have is capacity equal to or greater than your primary storage (your HDOne). A pile of individual drives probably isn't a huge savings over a storage appliance like a Drobo Pro, and they would be more of a hassle to backup to. You can also look at similar products from Synology and Qnap. They all are essentially little Linux servers with a bunch of drive bays.

[Bob Cole] "Alternatively, if I were to buy a Cache-A, is there a "sweet spot" for the one-person editing suite? This is a rough approximation, but I edit about three short-form (5-10 minute) finished videos a month, running through about 2 tb of storage in that time."

The price breaks in the Cache-A line seem to be along the LTO generation fault lines, at least as the single drive units go. If you want to make use of LTFS, you need to be on the newest and thus most expensive LTO-5. The default format Cache-A writes is tar, so even if you aren't getting LTO-5, you are getting an open format written to tape.

If you backup to tape via a Cache-A, then your backup can just become your archive since the data is already on LTO. If you maintain a live backup with a Drobo or similar NAS, you are still left to archive your data when you're done with it. As long as you don't need rapid restore of your entire HDOne, merging your backup and archive with a Cache-A can create some real efficiency in your protection routine compared to a NAS and your existing manually operated LTO-3 setup.

Best,
Andy


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