Bunch of old HDD's - how to use as NAS backup

  1.    26 Jan 2017 #1

    Bunch of old HDD's - how to use as NAS backup

    Hi there
    If you have a few old HDD's available why not use these for backing up NAS etc.

    To do this IMO the best way is as follows :

    1) Get say a 4 Bay (powered) HDD container with USB3 connector -- really cheap one with no built in RAID etc works really well. 2 Bay ones are also good if you only have 2 spare HDD's. Really cheap -- around 40 USD for 2 bay ones, a bit more for the 4 bay ones.

    2) If your NAS is a Linux system make sure package mdadm is installed - this is a RAID (software package) package - usually installed by default as RAID support is built into all Linux kernels these days.

    3) connect the bay to your Nas. You'll see 2 / 3 / 4 HDD's depending on how many bays you've populated/

    4) format each HDD -- use EXT4 as it's the fastest and most reliable --- as root mkfs.ext4 /dev/sdb for example where HDD's are /dev/sdx x anything.

    5) now create a RAID device -- once created the external HDD container can be moved between different systems with no probs at all.

    I would create a RAID 0 array here as it's not going to be online all the time --you are using this as backup so utilize maximum space and speed -- the chances of BOTH your backup device AND the NAS failing at the same time aren't at all likely so as root type : mdadm --create --verbose /dev/md0 --level=0 --raid-devices=2 /dev/sdb /dev/sdc

    The above creates an array of 2 HDD's -- you can create another one of another 2 HDD's or create a single array of all your HDD's

    6) now format the array -- in the example I've shown as root type : mkfs.ext4 /dev/md0 where md0 is the RAID device you created.

    7) simply mount the device to a mount point and you are good to go

    as root type mount /dev/md0 -t auto -o rw /mnt/DV1 (or whatever your mount point is).

    If you move the box to another NAS / Linux VM etc then simply mount /dev/md0 with the mount command as above.

    Works fine.

    In fact rather than mess around with Windows volume spanning / storage spaces etc I start up a Linux VM , mount the array and then have it as a networked shared drive to Windows. Works a treat and makes good use of older HDD's --why chuck them away.

    Note though if attaching a 4 bay array to a laptop via USB3 - even though the bay itself will be powered I'd still connect the bay to the laptop via a POWERED usb 3 Hub -- 4 X 4 TB HDD's working as a single RAID 0 device need a powered hub in most cases !!! --poor little laptops weren't really meant to have 16 TB of spinners attached to them !!!!!!


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  2. Golden's Avatar
    Posts : 767
    macOS High Sierra
       26 Jan 2017 #2

    If it's intended as a backup, wouldn't it be better as a JBOD instead of RAID0 Jimbo? Or do you want a bit of performance in it too?
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  3.    26 Jan 2017 #3

    Golden said: View Post
    If it's intended as a backup, wouldn't it be better as a JBOD instead of RAID0 Jimbo? Or do you want a bit of performance in it too?
    Hi there.


    Performance is the issue here if you are backing up a lot of stuff -- also the cheaper multi-bay HDD boxes don't have JBOD or RAID switches on them -- my solution was (IMO) the best bang for buck with the fastest performance --especially as one is likely to be using older slower HDD's - such as 5400 RPM spinners or those with only 64MB cache sizes (a small cache size makes a HUGE difference in HDD performance - run a lot slower -- that's why cheaper HDD's have small cache sizes !!!).

    Using RAID 0 you get parallel I/O streams which speeds the thing up even on slow HDD's. You don't need in this instance to worry about data loss --- there's more chance of all the atoms of air rushing to a corner of a room than BOTH NAS AND the RAID 0 array going defective at the same time.

    RAID 0 also uses all the HDD space efficiently - balancing I/O across the array evenly. With the Linux MDADM RAID facility you can also mix HDD sizes too.

    BTW you could use the HDD multi bay box as a cheap NAS itself -- or at least as a network share -- in this case you can use RAID 1, 10, 5 or whatever you like depending on how many HDD's you have available. The software RAID facility allows you to specify type / options etc --- simply google Linux software RAID or google for MDADM.

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  4. Golden's Avatar
    Posts : 767
    macOS High Sierra
       27 Jan 2017 #4

      My ComputersSystem Spec


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