RAID Haters have learned that the correct “technical” definition of a backup is 1. Redundant 2. Automatic and 3. Off-site. And can’t wait to tell people that whenever RAID 1/5 is mentioned. They JUST CAN’T WAIT, they are holding it in like little kids needing to go pee and they lurk and wait and and try to interject it at every single time someone mentions a RAID they pipe in “RAID’s not a backup!”
So yes, some flavors of RAID are automatic and redundant (other flavors), but yes, isn’t off -site, but it’s better than a backup and here’s why with a real world example and let’s see how both sides play out:
Today, a drive in my RAID 5 failed. (3TB X 4 = ~8.5TB useable space.)
And guess how much downtime I have? Zero, not one second. I’m still humming along zero problems. All data is here, I can work with it all. I’m writing this with it degraded.
What if I listened to the people who said RAID isn’t really a backup, and I needed to have my 8TB worth of data backed up “proper” instead? Let’s explore: So listened to them and got myself a nice big 8TB harddive instead, which I admit, it a lot nicer than four drives. Then I listened to them and got a 10TB cloud space for $99.99 a month with google drive. Cost as of Spring 2015: $1,200 a year. (new lowered pricing). Now I personally do have access to my files, because I have my OS/Apps on a SSD (other people may not, so they are down completely), but I can start to download a few of them, but I can’t get everything, because I don’t have anywhere to store 8TB. I am now starting to RMA the 8TB, that is going to take a week or two at best. I am loosing productivity, and work, and therefore money as well. I may even loose clients. But let’s say I get my drive in a week, and it’s back in my system: Time to start downloading from my precious backup. I download at close to 130mbits, but let’s use American average speeds to be fair:
Average Download in USA: 34.6 Mbps. This means it will take 515 hours or 21.5 days so I have 3 more weeks of downtime until I have everything. I’ve now lost 1 full month, at best. IF you have data caps, like Comcast/Xfinity does, I can only download 1TB/month. Overage chargers are $200. I better pay it. Not to mention how long it took to upload:
Average Upload USA: 10.5 Mbps – 1,700 hours.Yes, that’s 70 days, 24/7 minimum. That’s the BEST CASE SCENARIO. (Anyone who downloads or uploads a lot knows your ISP throttles you.)
So I listened to the raid haters, and my costs increased $1,200 a year for clouding, I had a month of downtime, which was a lot of lost productivity, lost work and maybe lost clients, A lot of head aches for sure too. And loads of hassle. But I saved the cost of having another hard drive or two ($100 – $200?). That’s having a backup.
RAID VS Backup:
*A backup can be unbelievably expensive and impractical for power users around the world. In the capital of New Zealand where I lived and bandwidth costs $50 for 20GB. Backing up 8,000GB? cost: $20,000 NZD. Backup restoration? $20,000, ongoing syncing? $$$$ do you get the point? Beyond idiotic. Ludicrous.
TL;DR = If you choose RAID you ensure zero downtime, at minimal cost. – If you choose BACKUP you ensure tons of downtime, at lots of ongoing outrageous costs and download/upload downtime.
Now I know what they are going to say about the huge problems that backups have: of downtime, bandwidth costs, extra outrageous costs, and lost opportunity costs:
“Well.. um… yeah but, you should have a RAID and a backup.” & “Some cloud companies will mail overnight you some external hard drives… for a fee.” Well sheeit. It’s nice that you turned around to seeing the light of how useful a RAID is, but if you all that have money to burn, why not just have RAID and a BACKUP, and a whole other computer, and live in a fireproof safe house, in a castle, with a moat, with alligators and sharks with lasers on their head? Do you know why? Because that’s stupid. And so are people who think BACKUP is better than RAID. A RAID beats a backup 99% of the time for 99% of the people no matter what way you cut in. People don’t have unlimited budgets, but if they did, you’d be right.
More whining from RAID Haters:
Q. What about data integrity?
A. These are literally ~20-30 year problems that hard drives used to have a lot of. They’ve made enormous leaps and bounds, so much so that bad sectors are almost unheard of now. When was the last time you had to mark bad sectors in a modern hard drive so the OS won’t use them? Most people don’t even know what I’m talking about. Present day probability? One in several trillion.
Q. But RAID doesn’t protect you against accidentally deleting something.
A. Good thing you put important files in the cloud huh? You can recover them there too.
Q. But I accidentally forgot to put them in the cloud, and I accidentally deleted them.
A. That’s what the recycle bin is for, restore it.
A2. That’s what externals/burned optical backs are for.
Q. But what I accidentally didn’t put them in the cloud, and accidentally didn’t back up to an external hard drive, accidentally forgot to burn to optical, and I accidentally deleted it and I accidentally emptied the recycle bin?
A. That’s what Undelete / Unerase programs are for.
Q. But what if I accidentally didn’t put them in the cloud, accidentally didn’t back up to an external hard drive, I accidentally deleted it and accidentally emptied the recycle bin and then I accidentally wrote over the place where the file was stored on the hard drive, how would your precious RAID 1/5 save you now?
A. OKAY! You got me, however you should probably wear diapers because you are so prone to having accidents I am sure you are going to have another “accident” at any second. That’s 5 deliberate “accidents” (deleted, emptied recycle bin, non-clouded, non-external backuped, wrote over them physically on the HDD) A.K.A.: You’re an adult now – you have to learn to stop having bathroom “accidents” and you also have to learn to stop deleting files, emptying the recycle bin, not putting critical files not in a cloud, not backing up to hard drives, and not writing over the files. If you are that accident prone, you won’t be living long so don’t worry about backing up.
How to budget “backup”:
1. Yes, I have a RAID 5. It’s awesome. It’s not the fastest write speed in the world, (That’s what SSDs and my RamDrive are for) but several times faster than upload speeds. And read speeds are plenty fast, and that’s most important for me and media. (And yes, as I upgrade all the time to the next chipset, you can move your RAID without any hassle, just move the drives to the new motherboard and it detects the raid and all is well.) I don’t like RAID 5, (or HDDs for that matter), I prefer RAID 1 and SSD, but what can you do? The solution does not exist to store 10TB of media cheaply and easily, yet. I will go to RAID 1 as soon as technically possible and financially feasible.
What drives to get? Since they are redundant, and speeds aren’t hugely important, it doesn’t matter: get the ones with the longest warranties at the lowest price per TB. Since I am following my philosophy for upgrades I am replacing my 4X3TB Seagates (just out of warranty, will sell the remaining good ones) with Toshiba 5TBX3 drives (3 year warranty). It will be slower, but media doesn’t need be break neck speed fast. I can always add another 5TB to increase speeds and space.
2. I cloud critical (Personal Docs, financial’s, other programs settings, etc. ) stuff. 15GB is free with Google Drive, as of the writing of this 100GB is $24/year. . Microsoft’s Onedrive is $70/year for 1TB and $24 for 100GB. the 1TB includes a subscription to Office 360. (EASILY the best deal) Dropbox is $100/year for 100GB. These are all about the costs of another 3TB which will last you a minimum of twice as long, per dollar (warranty) and could last for a few years longer. But it will fail, as all HDD do.
3. I have an external Backup, I store in a fire safe… sometimes. I backup other important docs, not important enough/ too big to be in the cloud. I also copy some of my media to friends on their RAID 1’s. (off site, they also like it)
4. Bluray every quarter or so critical docs, throw in fire safe. Optical is great and not subject to magnetic, electric, water, or impact from dropping like HDD are.
This is realistic, minimal cost, and zero downtime.
Conclusion – But let me tell you how I really feel….
Now I don’t doubt that one day, easily in my lifetime, that bandwidth will be cheap enough, and fast enough, and cloud prices will be low enough that all a computer will have is a nice amazingly fast SSD with OS and apps, and all media storage will be in a giant cheap cloud. I can watch a movie in 8K with a few seconds of buffering and all is well.
But that day is not today. So get yourself something better than a backup, Get a RAID 1/5 for your personal/small business needs and relax.