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Windows 7: Hard Drive Parity System

01 Jul 2012   #1

Windows 7 - 64 bit
 
 
Hard Drive Parity System

I am a photographer and I am always growing my storage. I have 8 slots in my computer, and I basically want to fill it up with extra HDs. I already have my OS setup finished. But I have random hard drives lying around. I would like to set them up as one drive with a parity... and then replace them as I get bigger better hard drives. Can someone point me in the right way?

Again, I might have 3 hard drives and then add a 4th into the parity setup, and then add a 5th hard drive later... and I just keep growing.

Windows 7

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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01 Jul 2012   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, XP Mode, W8.1 Preview VM - 7 Pro x64 second remote tower
 
 

I can easily point you at one reference regarding recovery to consider before deciding on whether or not you would want to risk spanning a single volume across multiple drives. RAID Data Recovery

Personally when outgrowing the two storage drives here I would opt to replace them individually as separate logical drives. The second serves to backup the first at the present time. If one fails the other takes over.

With regards to your livelihood being involved you have to weigh the risk factors u; against having a continuous array usually most often seen with server set ups. For long term and growing storage concerns of the unreplaceable backing up the backups! would be the idea of not being in favor of arrays which can be too fragile at times.

Note the first paragraph at the link there as it cautions.

Quote:
RAID Rebuilding

With their built-in redundancy, RAID systems are able to continue functioning even if a hard drive fails. When this happens however, performance is negatively affected, and the RAID is said to be operating in a degraded, or critical state. This occurs because the lost information must be regenerated "on the fly" from the parity data.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jul 2012   #3

Windows 7 - 64 bit
 
 

Okay, I understand there's risks. But I am a photographer, and I am up to 2.5TB of photos. I just need to know a system that allows me to grow a set of hard drives across one volume. I looked into DROBO, but I want it built-in since I will need access to these photos immediately. (Instead of networked or externally...)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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02 Jul 2012   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, XP Mode, W8.1 Preview VM - 7 Pro x64 second remote tower
 
 

When adding on a new drive to an existing array that would be referred to as "Dynamic Disk Resizing". This is the main term to use when looking into that further.

First off you would need to convert the Dynamic volume to Basic before you can expand anything more then just the volume itself. If going to see this done in the Disk Management the items that are otherwise impossible to see done are expanding the boot volume, any mirror volume, increase a stripped volume, extending a Raid 5 volume, or extend anything converted from Basic to Dynamic.

With tons of photos filling up one drive and the need to add another on or go for a larger capacity you can actually see more done with fewer drives by selective measures. 2.5tb fits on a 3 or 4tb model drives still leaving some room for adding more on just one drive alone.

Compressed archives would take up even less drive space and can serve as a means of backup on a separate drive. When your first 3 or 4tb drive fills you then add the next on while the backup drive still has plenty of room left for archives for the second drive depending on the compression as well as backup method used.

To backup the first backup drive you then add in the 4th to back up the first as a separate logical drive. By having each drive separate from the others you can also separate groups of photos depending on what you are working on.

With an array on the other hand you have no backup plan inplace as well as everything on a single volume being extended across several drives. You might want to consider a home server type set up where you can continue to expand capacity without running into various limitations. Like MS pulling the Drive Extender function out of the 2008 R2 and Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials. Microsoft pulls Drive Extender functionality from Windows Home Server “Vail” | WinRumors

That was one tool available for extending file storage over multiple larger capacity drives being removed by MS there over security concerns mainly. As far as having one spanned volume or simply having several drives installed that's all still local internal access.

Main directories on each drive can easily hold countless sub folders to catagorise each set or sets of photos. But besides the risk factor with arrays to begin with not having a disaster recovery plan inplace especially since this is your livelihood should be unthinkable. What would you do if all 2.5tb of photos were suddenly gone?

This is why arrays always seem to best served on servers. A server setup for the ever increasing amount of storage needed could also have a backup plan at work. On a desktop being able to create and store images of storage drives also takes capacity needed for the destination drive where an image would be stored.

The concept for the home server would not only cover the growing storage need but also allow for file sharing if you have more then one local machine. Note the Window Home Server is a separate Windows from Windows 7. Windows Home Server gets Windows 7 support - Computerworld

The Raid controller used will also make a difference as far as allowing any additional drives to be added. Arrays are created across identical drives however as another item to mention here. You wouldn't be able to simply add a 4tb drive as one example onto an existing array using 2, 4, or more 1tb drives.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Hard Drive Parity System




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