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Backing up your DATA and different types of RAID

As a consultant, I have constantly seen small Australian businesses without backups, let alone off-site backup whatsoever. Reliance on the Desktop/laptop computer itself, luck, god or chance.

When equipment fails or needs servicing then only backup comes to mind.

There is no excuse to no backup, even if only once a quarter or year.

Seagate Business NAS backup sticker

The product packaging is all 'business' keeping any unnecessarily graphical marketing to a minimum and only stating basic features (as earlier stated) and specifications. Packaging is not wasted.

It is easy to configure Windows backup , Windows 8 File History or Apple Time Machine to perform a scheduled backup to USB or Network drives. Most branded drives will bundle a backup solution from a number of vendors with optional 'cloud' support for off-site backups.

However, this approach is not practical to backup entire disks or multiple terabytes 'to the cloud' at current broadband speeds and cloud storage costs especially in Australia.

Managing your off-site backup is not hard at all. I recommend using Two disk drives as backup drives, rotated (swapped) on a weekly or regular basis, Microsoft also recommends this to IT Administrators. One drive should be stored off-site from the system being backed up.

Some backup software such as Windows Backup in Windows Server 2008 will perform a regular full backup every few weeks regardless of the daily backup, so that if a drive is lost or data is corrupted, there is a very recent full set of data.

For this Seagate NAS, the inclusion of a USM drive bay and USB 3.0 is for encouraging off-site backup incase the NAS is lost. For the smaller sizes, using a USM 2.5" Drive up to 2TB can be practical but for 16TB it is not very practical, but still doable. For this, a NAS to NAS backup feature is included to take care of the larger capacity array.

Off-Site backup and redundant disks are not the same thing. Off-site backup protects your data from total loss, Redundant disks protect your data from a chance failure of a disk drive, it is not a foolproof data protection mechanism. The higher he fault tolerance, the more resilient a drive array is from data loss.

However this does not prevent the array from being zapped by data corruption or physical failure such as short circuit or faults, hence the off-site backup.

Business NAS ships in RAID-5 by default. Out of the box you will NOT have 16TB space.

RAID ModeVolume TypeMax Usable Space
4x 4TB disks
Read SpeedWrite SpeedFault Tolerance
JBOD Spanned 16 TB 1x 1x None
RAID 0 Stripe Set 16 TB 4x 4x None
RAID 1 Mirror 4 TB 4x 1x 3 disks
RAID 5 Stripe set with parity 12 TB 3x Hardware
1 disk
RAID 10 Mirror of stripe sets 8 TB 4x 2x 1 disk

For simplicity, we have ignored any array overheads, reserved space and unit conversions, for example the 16TB Array is 15TB, 8TB array 7.3TB and the 4TB array is 3.7TB

RAID 5 offers a balance between optimal space, speed and Fault Tolerance.