Trying to create a home server. 5 tb

By LinkedKube
Jul 10, 2009
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  1. I recently setup a network at home for 7 computers between me and my brothers. I've been given the task to setup a server. My questions are?

    Would it be easier/better to just setup an old pc to be accessible by the whole network to hold files, or do something different?

    I've been reading about NAS setups. Are they worth the money being as though this is just for simple mp3 and various movie format storage.

    Comparing redundancy and speed, which one is better for a pc, raid 1+0 or raid 5?

    Thx for the help
  2. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,304   +52 Staff Member

    While I recommend RAID for redundancy reasons, performance is less of a concern since your typical 100Mbps network doesn't really saturate disk throughput. If you have a 1Gbps network and a decent file server, then it might be more of a concern.

    NAS is an elegant, simplified solution. But if you have a computer laying around, you can easily turn it into an inexpensive file server that will honestly be *better* than any NAS you'll purchase in terms of speed and options. For 5TB of data though, you'll be looking at a HUGE and expensive NAS (or two of them) if you want to keep a backup.

    RAID 10 would be superior to RAID 5 in that is more dependable to use as an actual "backup", but know that RAID is intended for redundancy only, not for backups. Of course, we all know it isn't realistic for most people to buy 3 x 1.5TB drives for storage, 3 x 1.5TB drives for redundancy and another 3 x 1.5TB drives for a backup. :) It really comes down to how important your data is to you.

    * Below, I use 1.5TB drives as an example. You can also use 2TB drives.

    RAID 0 + 0:
    What will be practical for most people is RAID 0 + 0. It has good performance and can be recovered from any software or hardware failure (on a single array)
    • Data array: 1.5TB + 1.5TB + 1.5TB
    • Backup array: 1.5TB + 1.5TB + 1.5TB
    • 6 Disks, total. 7 is recommended if your going to fill your first array up to the brim so you can keep incremental backups or for file version.
    You'll have two RAID 0 arrays. One will be for your data and the other will be for a software-based backup. This ensures you can recover from any drive failures in a single array. The drawbacks are the number of disks required and the potential complexity of having a periodic software backup.

    RAID 5
    If you want the lowest possible cost, good performance and the ability to recover from a single drive failure, then RAID 5 is a good choice.
    • Redundant data array: 1.5TB + 1.5TB + 1.5TB + 1.5TB
    • 4 disks total
    The drawbacks are there is no backup, so if any software problems occur (file system corruption), you're out of luck. Also, not every controller can do RAID 5, although you can achieve this through software means as well.

    RAID 10:
    If you want good performance and the ability to recover from most single drive failures on a single array, then RAID 10 is going to be a good choice.
    • Data array: 1.5TB + 1.5TB + 1.5TB
    • Mirror array: 1.5TB + 1.5TB + 1.5TB
    • 6 disks total
    The drawbacks are cost and the number of drives you may need. This also does not have a *real* backup, but it should keep a copy of your data.

    RAID 5 + 0
    If you want good performance, the ability to recover from any drive failures on a single array and a way to keep real backups, then this is a good choice.
    • Data array: 1.5TB + 1.5TB + 1.5TB + 1.5TB
    • Backup array: 1.5TB + 1.5TB + 1.5TB
    • 7 disks total, an eight might be recommended if you are going to keep your first array really full and would like to keep incremental/versioned backups
    The drawbacks are the cost, number of disks involved and limited RAID 5 controller availability.
  3. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Topic Starter Posts: 4,262   +41

    Thanks rick, your response was very clear and helpful.
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,275   +280

    Raid w/o a backup plan is asking for a disaster -- even RAID1 needs backups!

    How did you arrive at the 5tb sizing? There are large webservers that don't use that much storage!
  5. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Topic Starter Posts: 4,262   +41

    Well Jobeard, between the 5 pc's and 4 laptops in this house, 4 of us being in college, and doing the bulk of our homework and movie watching on our pc's it seems like a good choice, We also share notes and spreadsheets, so to make it easier we would like to put up a network to share information and put our movie collections together. After getting ahold of my brothers between us we have about 3Tb's of movies, files, mp3s, and pictures, not to mention we all play pc games.
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