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Is RAID safe for archival purposes?

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Jaanus Henno
Is RAID safe for archival purposes?
on Nov 2, 2012 at 6:42:20 am

Hi!
The title says it all. I need a solution for backing up 4-6 tb of videos. I'm looking for a NAS Raid box but heard many people say that RAID is not safe for different reasons (controllers fail, accidentaly deleted files, one drive fail and the whole array failed, even in Raid 1).
And I would like to keep it portable since I'm traveling a lot.

Since it's not a big archive (although yearly growing about one 1 tb), I thought maybe safest would be to simply get some 3-4 tb external drives and do manual backup (or software triggered) from one drive to another.

Is that the easiest way to go?

I need a NAS anyway for publishing the materials, but should I have separate drives with all the materials backed up or is Raid 1 (I'm new to raid, that seems the simplest option to go, also safest) inside one NAS box safe to go?

I want to be sure of not losing my archive, that's the main consideration.


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Bob Zelin
Re: Is RAID safe for archival purposes?
on Nov 3, 2012 at 10:55:02 pm

Ricardo Reyes of Tekram said it best, and it is absolutely accurate -
RAID 5 is not archive (and neither is RAID 6). Drives suck. Drives fail - ALL of them will fail. You need multiple sources of redundant backup to be absolutely safe. The current safest method (which is slow and expensive) is LTO tape. Most people who archive simply use cheap multiple SATA drives. You need RAID, you need backup (nearline NAS, or individual SATA drives) and you ultimately need LTO. Trust nothing. Most people get lucky, and RAID works for them - but an absolute percentage of users get screwed with catostrophic failures. Does all of this take time and money - you bet it does. When will this all get resolved - never with rotating platter drives. MAYBE solid state drives will be the answer, but even then, until its proven for 10 years, you must continue to archive or you will eventually get screwed.

Bob Zelin



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Jaanus Henno
Re: Is RAID safe for archival purposes?
on Nov 4, 2012 at 4:26:10 am

Thank you Bob, that's the confirmation I needed.


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Tim Jones
Re: Is RAID safe for archival purposes?
on Nov 8, 2012 at 1:47:14 am

I agree with Bob on this. RAID 1/5/6 is good for "oops" protection, but it's not good for "Oh S**T" protection. Drives fail and that's why people perform backups. Plus, if you plan on keeping things around for longer that a few months, disk of any sort is not the best solution.

Also, as Bob mentions, LTO is really the safest, long term recoverable solution for backup and archival of the data that we generate on a daily basis. He's also correct that it's more expensive in the short term, but it adds infinite expansion and the costs per GB drop very quickly after your first few tapes of data. LTO-4 tapes are below $30 now (800GB/tape) and LTO-5 tape are right under $50 (1.5TB/tape). Both offer a shelf life in the 30-50 year range (conservatively) and require no maintenance to keep your data safe - just a stable storage location.

Tim
--
Tim Jones
CTO - TOLIS Group, Inc.
http://www.productionbackup.com
BRU ... because it's the RESTORE that matters!


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Jaanus Henno
Re: Is RAID safe for archival purposes?
on Nov 8, 2012 at 4:58:32 am

LTO-5 is big enough to consider using tapes, but since the price is still a little too high for me at the moment, I'm better off getting some SATA drives for now and looking into LTO realm again after 2-3 years when the price has dropped.

One question. The vendors offer 2:1 average compression. How much in practice can audio/video data be compressed? How much can actually fit onto a LTO-5 tape?


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Tim Jones
Re: Is RAID safe for archival purposes?
on Nov 8, 2012 at 5:28:02 am

Compression for us is a myth. You will get 1.5TB/tape for LTO-5, 800GB/tape for LTO-4.

Tim
--
Tim Jones
CTO - TOLIS Group, Inc.
http://www.productionbackup.com
BRU ... because it's the RESTORE that matters!


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