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Is unRAID right for me?


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At the moment I have about 5TB storage in my main desktop. I keep 1 backup of everything via USB external hard-drives. So when I buy a new 2TB drive for my desktop, I also buy a 2TB external drive, and then sync those two drives.


It is simple, but as you can imagine, it's getting pretty unweidly, lots of external drives and PSUs. I update my backups once a month and it takes quite a while, especially over USB and with several different external drives.


So ideally what I want is just one big storage repository that I can connect to my computer once a month and update any new files. Then I can put it away somewhere safe until the next month.


I don't need permanent network storage, it is really just for a backup.


I need something that is expandable, so there is always enough storage in it to match what I have in my desktop.


Also I would want to connect it directly to my desktop, because my router/network is too slow for massive file copying. So maybe I would connect via crossover cable?


So what do you think? Would building an unRAID system be suitable for this type of use? Or is there some other solution I should look at?


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Does all your desktop data really need to be have a backup?


I only backup my personal data (pictures, home movies, documents) and let unRAID give me the redundancy I need for everything else (music, movies) that can be replaced.


I keep everything on the unRAID and do backups to my desktop of my personal data.


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You should read and understand unRaid's parity protection scheme. It has a significant impact on write performance. Most users with modern HW are getting 25-35 MB/sec to the protected array. If you are routinely running full backups, you might be disappointed. If it is purely a backup solution, however, you could run an unprotected array. It would be about twice ad fast.


As others have hinted, though, unRaid could change the way you store your data. Although not truly a backup, many users nonetheless rely on unRaid's parity protection to suffice for most files, and backing up only irreplacable critical files.

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I'd say it would work, but I would go beyond how you are thinking to use it.


As a start, the easiest would be building the server and getting Crashplan running on it. Then, also use Crashplan on the PC and let it keep the files synchronized automatically. Just set it to synchronized overnight or something similar.


However, personally, I would recommend you set-up a server to store all this data, removing the data and drives from the PC. Then, if you want a complete and relatively secure backup, you would build a second server, get a friend or relative to host it and setup crashplan on both so they stay synchronized. Then, you are never doing that massive backup work manually and it will all just work in the background.


You could also put the backup server in the garage or backyard storage shed on your network and setup an automated (cron) job to run periodically which simply uses rsync to syncronize this backup server.




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I'm not sure about most, but on my machines I could easily get away with having the bare minimum spaced hard drives because I save almost everything on my unRAID server. I do that simply because I can reach all my data from all my machines on my network. Of course I have mine setup that way on purpose just so I can centralize everything.


In the old days I would copy things from one machine to another via flash drive or share folders on machines so I could access each other. With unRAID its a matter of having a protected array, data centralized, tons of space, its running linux so you can create scripts to do things for you and totally expandable as long as you have case space and connections on your motherboard.

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As others have hinted, though, unRaid could change the way you store your data. Although not truly a backup, many users nonetheless rely on unRaid's parity protection to suffice for most files, and backing up only irreplacable critical files.


It did change the way I store data. I centralized all my larger data repositories and then moved the extra data spindles from each machine into the unRAID server. My other servers and desktops now only house an OS drive and all data is accessed via the network.


The only data that is duplicated is my music store which is also rsynced onto the HTPC/XBMC so I still  have music if the unRAID server is in administration mode.

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While everyone here is going to be a bit unRAID biased on this server, I'll toss in my 2 cents.


unRAID is great for a solid, "low electricity usage" storage server. It is also very simple to build and install if you have some basic computer skills.

It does have a downside of speed due to way it keeps your data safe via parity, it can be slow.


I would recommend you move your storage to a server, unRAID, WHS or even something else like freeNAS (ugh). All these solutions would work for you, it is just a General Preference of your skill set and personal comfort.


If you wish to keep using your desktop as a file server (not recommended), you can use pretty much any network attached server solution (unRAID, WHS, Nas like stuff). then use any backup program available including the one built into windows for automated backups.

You can also use task scheduler to run automated scripted backups that would wake the server and copy files with robocopy (or something else) and shut it back down.


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