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Western Digital "MyBook" as RAID?

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Joerg, Jun 16, 2007.

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  1. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Hello Folks,

    Looked up and down the web, called the mfg, read all the docs I could
    find. Still no idea. Maybe someone else is already using the Western
    Digital "My Book World Edition" as a LAN file server and has an idea.
    Here's the scoop:

    I just bought the 500MB version which contains one HD. They also have a
    1TB version with two HD in there but I do not like the idea to rely on
    RAID within one machine. Ok, it's Linux based but would share the
    motherboard and other stuff. Not so good IMHO, plus they didn't have it.

    Now the docs say you can configure even this 1 HD version for RAID
    although that only creates two mirrors on the same disk. Doesn't make
    too much sense to me. Additional HDs can be connected via a USB port but
    there seems to be no information whatsoever on how to use such an
    external HD as the second drive for RAID. Any experience?

    In a recent thread the Netgear SC101 was suggested. I studied that a bit
    and found too many posts on the net where the whole thing had fried up
    and none of the disks were readable, which would kind of defeat the
    whole purpose of RAID I guess. Anyhow, there aren't too many LAN drives
    out there and I want to avoid a big box. Also, there were some warnings
    in web discussions that one should decide on the configuration before
    actually doing it because it's supposedly hard to undo.
  2. Robert

    Robert Guest

    Software RAID like you're talking about just duplicates files so if one gets
    corrupt you have the other to recover from. Like synching files in two
    locations but without the benefit of the two locations.

    From what I hear from friends working in the IT World "Software RAID" should
    be avoided if possible from the many problems it seems to have.

    If you just like the idea of duplicate files why not get two Network
    attached HD and schedule a script (or tools that provide scheduled services)
    to copy files from the "working" drive to the backup drive on a
    nightly/weekly basis?

  3. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Yeah, and I've been through a few HDs that literally came to a grinding
    halt. One really screeched. All backed up so nothing was lost, but one
    still learns from that.

    That's what I will probably do if I can't get a HW RAID going between
    its internal HD and a USB disk. It would have been nice to have RAID
    though because there are days here in the consulting office where a
    layout is done and tons of intermediates are created. Those need to be
    backed up at least hourly.
  4. Robert

    Robert Guest

    No reason you can't have the tools do an hourly backup. The network
    background traffic wouldn't seem to be a problem for you. And it shouldn't
    be hard to set up a one-time task in most of the tools I've seen which would
    fire off a "backup now". You could have an icon set to that on your desktop
    but you would have to remember to hit that while working in-between your
    hourly backups.

  5. AZ Nomad

    AZ Nomad Guest


    Have you ever used a raid system in your life?

    If you get a corrupted file, software (and hardware raid) will pass the
    corruption to all drives in a mirrored array.

    The purpose of raid is to provide enough redundancy to recover from drive
    failures. If a drive in a mirrored volume fails, the other(s) can provide
    the data.
  6. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    No problem, although I am not quite the expert to set this stuff up.
    However, it would have to run in the background like RAID. I could
    imagine a backup to freeze on me when a file that is just being backed
    up is accessed. For example a huge CAD file. That would happen all the
    time here in the office, all day long. In fact, that is just the
    problem. Right now I back up during lunch and after hours. Kind of a
    pain because I have to come back and turn the machines off.
  7. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    I guess Robert meant corruption because of defects or failures in the
    platter itself. But yeah, if a corrupt file is written onto disk A and
    then mirrored it will of course be corrupt on disk B. However, that
    should (theoretically) not happen if the file hasn't been touched after
  8. AZ Nomad

    AZ Nomad Guest

    If either drive in a mirrored system get such soft errors, the file
    will be trashed. RAID isn't a backup mechanism. It is a mechanism for
    continueing after complete drive failures and to gain extra performance by
    using multiple drives.
  9. D from BC

    D from BC Guest

    I've tried some backup techniques..
    For awhile I was uploading backups to my ISPs FTP server...Encrypted
    of course. Nice if computers get stolen or there's a fire.
    I've tried rewriting a CDRW hourly.
    I've tried burning multisession CD's until it's full..
    I've tried backup software with an external USB drive and internal
    I think I tried
    + other similar software such as..
    Handy Backup

    D from BC
  10. I haven't really followed this thread, but the thing that's called "software
    RAID" does what you need, on physically different disks (at least in the
    Linux world).

    AFAIK "hardware RAID" doesn't just refer to physically separate disks but to
    an array that appears to the outside, by virtue of a special hardware
    controller, as a single disk. The advantage of HW RAID is that it takes the
    load of controlling the disks off the main processor, or it can cleverly
    interleave the files on the separate disks so that streaming access is much
    faster (useful in video editing applications).

    But if all you need is silent, transparent mirroring of files on two disks,
    SW RAID is for you. If one disk fails, the other one takes over and gets
    mirrored back as soon as you get a new disk.

    In Linux, all this is built into the standard kernel so you won't notice
    RAID at work except for a minor performance hit. I'm sure something similar
    exists for Windows as an add-on but I don't know shit about Windows.

  11. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Gets old with most DSL deals where upload is only 128k or so.

    BTDT. Gets old as well. Plus I am concerned about the amount of
    non-degradeable material the CD snippets will some day cause in a landfill.

    That's what I am thinking about. Should be ok as long as the USB drive
    gets taken out after leaving the office. The nice thing about this WD
    LAN drive is that it allows a connection of one (or possibly more than
    one) USB drives.

    Have to check all that out. So far I backed up manually. Copy the whole
    chebang from A to B. Works.
  12. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Yes, it looks like RAID may not be the answer here if it can't discern
    enough in terms of corruption. Maybe I just use the LAN drive and
    connect a USB drive to that for regular backups by hand or automatically.
  13. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    AFAIU, according to AZ Nomad RAID could override a good file with a
    corrupt one, essentially trashing both. But then again, so would a
    backup routine except there you'd still have the previous backup.

    This WD LAN drive essentially behaves like a small Linux PC on the LAN
    as far as I understand.
  14. AZ Nomad

    AZ Nomad Guest

    Do backups on any data you're not prepared to lose forever.
    And do regular backups to be taken off site! Unless, of course, you're
    willing to chance losing it forever.
  15. Nico Coesel

    Nico Coesel Guest

    Why? I've been using the Promise RAID cards in several machines for
    several years. Never had trouble with the cards.
    That's also a good option. Windows comes with its own backup software.
    It ain't exactly user friendly, but it does what it is supposed to do
    in the end. I use both RAID and backups.
  16. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Yep, that's the purpose of this whole exercise, to make that off-site
    backup easier. I was hoping that if this Western Digital could do RAID
    with a USB drive that is connected to its USB port I could just swap
    that in the evening, and it'll rebuild the one I plug back in. But I
    guess it won't be that easy. So it'll be the usual wait for the backup
    again :-(
  17. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    I was hoping to cut the backup wait at the end of the day. Ok, my office
    is right here where we live but I usually have to start backup in the
    evening, then come back after dinner to take it away and shut everything
    down. Not a good thing when we go out for dinner. However, theft or
    vandalism is not too likely since intruders would have to conquer some
    barriers. Such as a Shepherd and a Rottweiler barreling down the hallway.
  18. Robert

    Robert Guest

    Have you seen a $30 tool called "Second Copy"?

    From Site:

    Second Copy(r) is the perfect backup product designed for Windows
    9x/Me/NT4/2000/XP/2003 you have been looking for. It makes a backup of
    your data files to another directory, disk or computer across the
    network. It then monitors the source files and keeps the backup updated
    with new or changed files. It runs in the background with no user
    interaction. So, once it is set up you always have a backup of your data
    somewhere else.

  19. Robert

    Robert Guest

    Wouldn't that be an example of "Hardware RAID" not "Software RAID"?

  20. Can't you have the computer auto shut down after backup? That's how I do it
    in my office. But how much data do you have, anyway? Whenever I do a full
    backup it runs to about 3 GB and takes 20 minutes, but the incrementals
    typically are just a few hundred MB done in under 5 minutes.

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