Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Upgrade from 2TB to 4TB, or time to go RAID?

  1. #11


    Hafnarfjörđur IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10


    Hi there

    Storage spaces CAN be implemented on external USB drives - but remember if you use this on a portable machine then you have to take BOTH HDD's with you on the road.

    Parity mode essentially "mirrors" data so if an HDD fails in the array you don't lose all the data. It does it in a way that doesn't actually require half the hdd space to be used as "backup". Probably in real situations uses about 25% of the space.

    On a HOME machine it's not really worth setting up the system for maximum optimisation of HDD's - unless you are running robust servers that's HUGELY overkill. The performance increase doesn't warrant the effort or lost HDD space in setting it up.

    If you want maximum performance for the OS and programs install these on a separate SSD - that will buy the fastest performance for these days a small amount of money -- SSD's are reasonably priced these days - if you've got other storage then even a 128GB SSD is more than enough for the OS + programs - a 256GB one probably just a bit more comfortable. They are very reliable too.

    You can set up more than ONE storage space so you could test say a couple of older external USB's -- I tested with some old LAPTOP drives - connected to the machine via a SATA==>USB cable. It worked fine.

    This article should get you started. Note you'll have to back up any data that exists on the HDD's you want to use first.

    Windows 8 Storage Spaces: a how-to guide | Features | PC Pro

    As for projects on the road -- I've found a small external USB3 2TB HDD more than enough "portable" storage. Of course if you can access your HOME computer remotely then that's also a possibility.

    You could for some projects even use "The dreaded Cloud" but I don't particularly like that solution -- YMMV though.

    The Ms storage spaces idea just suits me fine -- No more RAID for me on a home machine.

    (BTW if you decide to upgrade to W10 in the future - Storage spaces are implemented there too).

    Incidentally a LINUX machine can access the storage pool as can any other machines on your LAN including any XP machines too.

    When the "Storage space" which windows sees as a large physical volume is accessed over a Network Windows networking handles the protocol so even though the file system of the storage space is the new Ms ReFs system windows does the I/O and converts it to normal NFS or standard networking.

    Cheers
    jimbo
    Last edited by jimbo45; 21 Oct 2014 at 05:43.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #12


    Personally, I am not a fan of external storage devices used for permanent data storage that rely on the USB interface. USB is great for things like the mouse and keyboard, but there are just too many reports of losing connection or mappings to external drives - or failing to reconnect/remap after reboots. Mappings can be especially troublesome if these drives are regularly disconnected and reconnected. All these issues were supposed to be fixed with USB 3.0, but problems still persist.

    Another problem, at least with the budget enclosures and external drives may be the use of hard drives that are not really suited (ruggedized) for portable applications. Plus (at least on budget models) the tiny, flimsy, external cases just don't provide enough protection from physical abuse, as a full size notebook case might.

    Most PC cases these days are "mid" towers that typically support 6 drives or more. And even many motherboards support that many or more drives. But if they don't, you can typically add more internal drive support by adding a PCIe to SATA adapter card.

    What I did for my mass storage needs is repurpose an old XP system and basically turned it into a file server to act as my backup server and to stream music and videos over my network. But because XP is now obsolete and insecure and should NOT have Internet access, I just made sure I blocked Internet access to that system in my router so it does not become compromised by badguys. This keeps my old, but perfectly capable hardware still humming and out of the landfills, but does the right thing by not exposing XP to badguys on the Internet and becoming a threat to others.

    I also am not a fan of "The dreaded Cloud". For one, considering big banks, Target, Home Depot, and government networks with staffs of highly qualified, professional IT security personnel, and sophisticated security protocols in place are being hacked on a regular basis. I just don't trust ANY cloud storage service provider can keep my personal data and information secure - or from simply being lost. I might put a picture of my dog in cloud storage, but nothing important - at least not for any type of long-term storage. If I need a file when on the road, I will put it on a thumb drive and stuff it in my pocket. Or maybe email it to myself.

    If an external drive is your only option, I would consider using eSATA, if your motherboard and enclosure supports it. And BTW, I have one of these eSATA docking stations that, so far, has been trouble free and is much easier to use than enclosures - IMO anyway.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #13


    Hafnarfjörđur IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10


    Hi there.
    Thanks !!

    Actually for ROBUST portable systems old laptop drives are EXCELLENT !!! you can get them up to 1 TB in size and with a proper SATA==>USB2 (or better SATA==>USB3 if your laptop has USB3) cable that should provide plenty of quite stable HDD's. Old laptop drives I find much stronger than typical external HDD's - especially those plasticy My Passport drives -- fine for normal use but not very rugged.

    My DOGS have even attempted to CHEW a couple of old laptop HDD's I've left on the floor -- apart from having to wash off doggy saliva the HDD's continued to work. These HDD's are RUGGED !!! - I have two mature Dobermann's with quite healthy teeth that would make the average dentist insanely jealous. !!!!

    The only thing (The laptop ,HDD's - not the dogs !!) is they aren't the fastest around but if it's simply project type data you are storing on them they should be more than "fit for purpose".

    Here's a pic of the cable you need -- this is a USB3/SATA but similar for USB2 SATA. About 3 - 6 USD a piece. !!!

    Simply plug the laptop (2.5 inch HDD) into the SATA connector and the USB into the USB3/2 port on the machine. You don't need any extra power. I don't bother either with any extra enclosures for the external laptop drives either - they work fine just as is connected to the SATA==>USB cable. Far more rugged than any other system I can think of and very portable too.

    Cheers
    jimbo
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails usb3sata.PNG  
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #14


    Wow, so Itaregid's suggested docking stations and Jimbo's suggested SATA-->USB cable solution both imply using a hard drive designed for internal use but using it externally without any protection such as an enclosure?? Isnt that a little risky? Isn't the circuitry exposed?

    For myself, I still have plenty of room in my tower for internal drives, and I prefer doing so. But I think my Asus Z77 MB has a limit of 2 or 3 ports that support SATA Rev 3. So the way it looks is I'll have my C: on 240 SSD, plus a 7200RPM 4TB and a 7200RPM 2TB. I'll have an old 250GB 7200RPM dedicated as an Adobe Scratch disk.

    Jimbo, the only thing I dont like about mirroring is that if ever I make changes to a file and accidentally save it, it will automatically save that new version in both places yes? That means if later I want to go back to an earlier version I wont be able to. Thats why I prefer MANUALLY mirroring my drives every week.

    Just so I understand... if I combine my 4TB and my 2TB in a storage space that is set to mirror, does that mean it will chop it up equally in 3TB for storage and 3TB for backup? Also, what if the performance on the drives differ? How will I know that its using my fastest one say for music/audio recording if they are just pooled together?

    Finally, Jimbo you mentioned you use an external drive for taking projects with you. Do you just load on it whatever you need or is it a full backup of your internal projects drive?

    Lastly, Jimbo, what mode are you using in your storage space setup?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #15


    Isnt that a little risky? Isn't the circuitry exposed?
    A little and no - kinda. I would not let my 3 year-old grandson swap drives in and out, but I do it all the time with no problem. The docking station's circuitry is not exposed when no drive is inserted. Yes, some of the drive's controller board is exposed, but that allows for the heat generated to quickly radiate away, and NOT build up in a case.

    What I like about a docking station instead of an enclosure is installing or removing a drive is a simple as inserting and ejecting a DVD from a DVD drive. No tools and no connecting/disconnecting cables. An enclosure typically requires disassembling the enclosure case by removing 4 screws, then fumbling with the data and power connectors within.

    With that docking station, I need just one docking station, regardless the number of drives (unless I need access to more than two external drives at once). With enclosures, you need an enclosure for each drive - or keep a screwdriver handy and swap out every time.

    IF you are a road warrior and need these extra drives when traveling, then a docking station is NOT a good idea. But no where have said portability is a requirement - and the fact you have a tower suggests it is not.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #16


    One more question, based on the article you sent me, which I read, you assign ONE drive letter per storage space. So would you advise I set up TWO drive letters as I currently have on my regular non storage space setup (D: Main, and M: Studio)? Or just pool them all under a single drive letter?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #17


    [QUOTE=Itaregid;441646]
    With that docking station, I need just one docking station, regardless the number of drives (unless I need access to more than two external drives at once). With enclosures, you need an enclosure for each drive - or keep a screwdriver handy and swap out every time.

    IF you are a road warrior and need these extra drives when traveling, then a docking station is NOT a good idea. But no where have said portability is a requirement - and the fact you have a tower suggests it is not.
    Im not a road warrior by any means, but there may come a time down the road when i will have to take as much of my desktop stuff with me. That day isnt here yet but its good to know about options... am i understanding correctly when I say the docking station WOULD be a great thing to bring on the road if you want to add massive amount of storage to a laptop? Lets say I go away for 6 months and I decide to pull out the 4TB and the 2TB from my desktop and bring them along - then I could just pop them into the docking station and connect the station to my laptop's USB 3 and I'd have access to the same storage space as I had on my desktop, yes?

    (clearly I would only do this for VERY EXTENDED time away from home, and I also realize I would not get the same speeds as if they were connected internally via SATA Rev 3, but would be limited to the USB specs.)
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #18


    am i understanding correctly when I say the docking station WOULD be a great thing to bring on the road if you want to add massive amount of storage to a laptop? Lets say I go away for 6 months and I decide to pull out the 4TB and the 2TB from my desktop and bring them along - then I could just pop them into the docking station and connect the station to my laptop's USB 3 and I'd have access to the same storage space as I had on my desktop, yes?
    Yes.

    The ONLY reason I say docking stations are not good for road warriors is because you would still need to transport the actual drives in some sort of protective packaging or risk physical damage during transport. An enclosure already provides physical protection from being knocked about.

    As far as "going away for 6 months" - you did not define that good enough. Will you be "on the road" during that time? Or will you be packing every thing up and temporarily "move" to "a" new and "fixed" location?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #19


    [QUOTE=Itaregid;441674]
    As far as "going away for 6 months" - you did not define that good enough. Will you be "on the road" during that time? Or will you be packing every thing up and temporarily "move" to "a" new and "fixed" location?
    I see where you're going with this. Obviously a better solution only if Im setting up shop maybe one time remotely, not in a new hotel room every night. lol. thanks for sharing your solution.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #20


    Obviously a better solution only if Im setting up shop maybe one time remotely, not in a new hotel room every night.
    Exactly.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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