Backup Concerns: Operating System, RAID and Giving Up

This is a continuation of my Backup Concerns series. Part one covered my choices and I decided to go with a Network Attached Storage box. Part two covered the equipment I decided to use, namely my old computer, and around $300 in parts to convert it into what I needed since I decided to build my own network attached storage device and unfortunately, putting it together wasn’t the last step.

So far, I have spent half a dozen hours trying to get this whole thing to work. After installing Ubuntu linux, I found that I couldn’t get RAID 1 to work for the life of me. You think it would be easy, but Ubuntu doesn’t support serial-ATA configurations out of the box. This was very frustrating to me, and after tinkering with it for a long time, I eventually gave up.

Most instructions I have found assume I am going to be installing the operating system on the RAID drives, rather than an independent hard drive. I thought it was smart of me to use a different hard drive for the operating system to reduce the reads and writes on the RAID drives. So far it has only created trouble for me.

I really didn’t think that setting this up would take me this much time, and after the time investment I have already put in, the Drobo is looking better and better.

I am also spending some time trying to figure out the best way to keep my information backed onto these drives, and creating a shared hard drive space that all the computers can access seems to be the best. I can then save data quickly and easily to the network attached storage computer.

I have decided instead to not use RAID, and just run a cron job twice a day to copy files from one drive to the other. I know it isn’t as cool as having a working RAID setup, but for my purposes currently, it will work just fine. I will have more details on the final setup, cost, and the time it took me as soon as I test everything to make sure it works.