RAID 1 or single hdd for photo storage + which HDD to pick?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by henrik_lauridsen, Dec 16, 2014.

  1. Hi,
    My primary data disk (that holds my photos and lightroom catalogue) failed yesterday. The partition table was lost, the drive showed up as RAW, but I was able to recover all the files. I have online backup through Crashplan, so I was never that worried, but it got me thinking what to do when replacing the faulty drive.
    The drive is a data drive, and as mentiond, online backup is performed. Would I be better of with a single HDD, or should I invest in two, so that I can set-up a RAID 1 (mirroring) and have fault tolerance? Or, to put it differently, will a RAID 1 be overkill, considering that I have online backup as well, and have a NAS where I can also do local back-ups to?
    If I go for a RAID set-up, I will get a couple of Western Digital Red HDDs. For the single drive set-up I am considering a large (3 or 4 Tb) WD Green instead. How well does the WD Green work with Lightroom?
     
  2. There are various ways to make RAID1 happen, and there is downsides to all of them.
    The hardware RAID1 implementations (using a RAID capable SATA chipset, or a dedicated RAID controller) often render the disks only readable on an identical chipset only; so in case of emergency, getting data from those drives when your controller fails can be a pain.
    Software RAID1 implementations (mirroring a drive in Windows, Linux etc) avoid this issue, but at the cost of performance; plus on a whole, the stripeset seems more vulnerable (rebuilding the RAID costs a lot of time). I tried this option, and after rebuilding three times because the RAID got out of sync while shutting down, I was fed up with it. Luckily, you can split up the set without loss of data on any drive.
    Since you've got your bases covered well online and with a NAS, I would just go with a single drive, or two seperate drives where the second one is used only during the import of photos as a backup location (I'm doing this, giving me a second set of never-touched raw files).
    I'm using a pair of 2TB WD Green drives, and so far so good. Quite fast (~90MB/s with large files), silent and doesn't run too hot. I'm not using Lightroom, but a similar application with a catalog on one of these drives - it all works just fine. I am considering adding a SSD for the catalog itself, though; having the files on a slow(er) drive isn't an issue at all.
    And despite many Internet anecdotes, both WD and Seagate are dependable choices (there are wild claims contrary to this statements on many forums, but few people have access to real failure figures, so take all of those "they all fail!" claims with huge grains of salt).
     
  3. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    and have a NAS where I can also do local back-ups to?​
    I just built a 5 bay Synology NAS and love it. It was super simple to set up and all my files are now available on a network. I'd get a 3 bay Synology and put in 4tb or 6tb Red drives and do them raid 5.

    For the single drive set-up I am considering a large (3 or 4 Tb) WD Green instead. How well does the WD Green work with Lightroom?​

    They work perfect. They are a bit slow and I only used them as archive storage that I rarely accessed, but they work fine. I'd go for the new 6tb Red drive. They say they are for NAS systems but they work fine as a normal hdd
     
  4. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    And despite many Internet anecdotes, both WD and Seagate are dependable choices (there are wild claims contrary to this statements on many forums, but few people have access to real failure figures, so take all of those "they all fail!" claims with huge grains of salt).​

    Backblaze, the cloud storage company, posted data and that counters this statement. https://www.backblaze.com/blog/what-hard-drive-should-i-buy/
    I've had horrible luck with Seagate and noting but great experiences with WD and Hitachi.
     
  5. I've got a couple of terabyte hard drives, C: and D:, nothing fancy. Periodically run Robocopy (built into Windows 7) in a batch file, to mirror folders I care about. No problems.
     
  6. Not totally relevant to the question, but I decided this is the year I start stockpiling flash drives right from out of the camera--use them once and file them, just like film. If I have the originals of everything, I'll be OK, and camera drives just aren't that expensive these days. That will be in addition to my usual hard-drive archiving, which has shifted mainly to the cloud.
     
  7. Spend $1k and get a netgear readynas. The commercial 6 disk one.
     
  8. Thank you for your input. As Wouter pointed out, I am probably well covered, so I will opt for a single drive. I read the backblaze statistics as well, and decided to stick with Western Digital. Hitachi (HGST these days) does look even better, but the are also the most expensive option.
     
  9. +1 on the Netgear ReadyNAS for photo storage. Consider using an SSD for the workstation's boot and application drive.
     
  10. And despite many Internet anecdotes, both WD and Seagate are dependable choices (there are wild claims contrary to this statements on many forums, but few people have access to real failure figures, so take all of those "they all fail!" claims with huge grains of salt).​
    Well, are you going to share the 'real failure figures' with us or just keep us in the dark?
     

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