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Question for the experts about RAID 1/5

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Question for the experts about RAID 1/5

Old 11-13-09, 04:54 PM
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Question for the experts about RAID 1/5

A hypothetical situation

I've got two small, consumer-level storage devices. One is RAID 1 and the other is RAID 5. They are both made by some small company that went out of business a long time ago and doesn't exist anymore.

A power surge kills both devices but the hard drives themselves are fine.

I assume with the RAID 1 device I can just take one or both drives and put them in another RAID 1 device as long as the new device can read the same file format NTFS, FAT32, EXT, etc. I could even throw one of the drives in an external hard drive case lying around. This is because there is no parity information involved.

But what about the RAID 5 disks? Can I just take the disks and put them into another RAID 5 device made by another company? I assume I just couldn't take one of the hard drives and throw it in an external hard drive case because a file could be spread across all the disks and I would need data from all the disks. Is the information written on RAID 5 disks can only be seen by that particular storage device itself?

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The reason I ask is that I have too many external hard drives floating around and I finally need to buy a NAS. This way any computer can access it as well as my Popcorn Hour. When discussing RAID they talk about how the data is safe if one of the drives fails, but they never discuss what happens if the storage device itself fails.
Old 11-13-09, 09:46 PM
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Re: Question for the experts about RAID 1/5

probably depends

i use hardware RAID on servers and we always have HP RAID controllers. i don't remember if the RAID is stored on the controller or the drives. probably depends on the manufacturer
Old 11-13-09, 10:53 PM
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Re: Question for the experts about RAID 1/5

I sure wouldn't count on being able to move them to another company's controller. I don't know of any standard of the way RAID 5 data is written and no matter where the RAID info is stored there's no assurance that it could be used by another brand.
Old 11-13-09, 11:02 PM
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Re: Question for the experts about RAID 1/5

Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post
probably depends

i use hardware RAID on servers and we always have HP RAID controllers. i don't remember if the RAID is stored on the controller or the drives. probably depends on the manufacturer
HP Smart Array keeps the info in the HDD and controller from my experience. If you take the drives off and pop it into another Proliant, it should see it.

As for the OP, highly doubt brand A RAID 5 would be portable to brand B. I know with Windows software RAID 5, you can do it though.
Old 11-14-09, 06:30 AM
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Re: Question for the experts about RAID 1/5

And all the major brands like Hp, Dell, and apple have their own custom firmware and drivers in the hardware so drives from one of these may not work with any other brand
Old 11-14-09, 09:53 AM
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Re: Question for the experts about RAID 1/5

typically with the raid sets.. the raid db is stored both locally on the harddrives and on the device's nvram

in theory, you should be able to move the drives to another device.. then go into the device's config and have it copy the db from the drives.

of course, this isnt a supported method and its odds or working arent great.. but in theory it should.
Old 11-17-09, 03:18 PM
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Re: Question for the experts about RAID 1/5

I guess I'll just stick with RAID 1 then. I'm waiting to see if Synology will release the DS210 soon.
Old 11-17-09, 03:36 PM
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Re: Question for the experts about RAID 1/5

You are correct abou the RAID 1, just about anything that can read the file system will be able to read from either of the drives.

As for RAID 5, as others have said, it is a bit of a crap shoot what will work and what won't. Companies like Ontrack can rebuild RAID 5 info, but it will cost you

I would have to ask if you really need RAID protection. Most folks are ok with nightly backups, RAID level redundancy tends to fit a more specific need and many people waste time with it that don't need to
Old 11-18-09, 02:18 PM
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Re: Question for the experts about RAID 1/5

This passage from the Wikipedia article on RAID just makes things murkier for me:

Equipment compatibility

The disk formats on different RAID controllers are not necessarily compatible, so that it may not be possible to read a RAID on different hardware. Consequently a non-disk hardware failure may require using identical hardware, or a data backup, to recover the data. Software RAID however, such as implemented in the Linux kernel, alleviates this concern, as the setup is not hardware dependent, but runs on ordinary disk controllers. Additionally, Software RAID1 disks (and some hardware RAID1 disks, for example Silicon Image 5744) can be read like normal disks, so no RAID system is required to retrieve the data. Data recovery firms typically have a very hard time recovering data from RAID drives, with the exception of RAID1 drives with conventional data structure.
Old 11-18-09, 02:28 PM
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Re: Question for the experts about RAID 1/5

It's pretty simple.

Drives using software-based RAID (they're talking about striped-type RAID, like RAID 0 or RAID 5) are often able to be read on different hardware as long as the software installed in the OS (which does the RAID) is the same.

Software or hardware RAID 1, which just mirrors the drives, often gives you the ability to use one of the drives as a regular drive since nothing non-standard is written on either drive. They're just copies of each other and perfectly able to be used as standalone drives.

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