What is a raid drive/unit?

April 14, 2019 at 08:17:36
Specs: Windows 10
I need extra storage for my photographs/videos as I do a lot of photography and video editing.

I have a 5TB external drive that plugs into one of my USB sockets nearly full.

Don't know what a RAID is. Am I right in thinking that it is an external unit that houses many drives (I want to now only use SSD) and plugs into ONLY one USB socket on my computer? Can you buy unit and add SSD drives as and when I have the cash?

How is this displayed on my computer?

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April 14, 2019 at 08:48:26
A little light reading:




The minimum to go with is RAID 1 - mirrored drives... If one drive fails,and you replace it, the new drive rebuilds the mirror using contents from the other (still working) drive.

I have a QNAPS NAS (mirrored/RAID-1) system and it's excellent. (NAS = Network Attached Storage):

This link explains more fully what NAS is...


NAS can usually be either ethernet or wifi accessible, depending a little on the make/model; and/or how you prefer to connect it to your router. My QNAP is ethernet to the lan (my network) and can be accessed via the router's wifi. My iPad etc. can also access it.

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April 14, 2019 at 12:31:28
Many thanks for all this info. As RAID is all new to me it may take a while to get to grips. Can all the drives in a RAID be SSD with same advantages as I think they last longer... am I right about ssd lasting longer?

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April 14, 2019 at 16:41:08
Do you have a backup of that 5TB external drive somewhere?
This article sums up the differences with HDD and SSD. Also the reliability and recovery. Read it till the end!

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Related Solutions

April 14, 2019 at 22:16:09
RAID is generally internal in the computer or server.
NAS (Network Attached Storage) is a self contained unit, can be RAID I believe, and is connected through your home network or router/Wifi router. The drives can be conventional or SSD but SSD drive of 1TB or larger are expensive and very large will be very expensive if available at all.
RAID 5 and 10 offer the best as far as speed and protection because files are distributed over multiple drives to increase speed on large saves and are copied to multiple drives so if one drive dies you continue working, replace the drive, and the RAID system rebuilds the drive from info across the multiple drives. Back up is still necessary but less often accessed because it takes a more catastrophic failure to bring it down completely.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

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April 15, 2019 at 00:05:38
Unless you are really concerned about performance you probably don't need SSDs in a RAID array. And, unless you are particularly concerned about performance and/or security, you probably don't need a RAID setup (either internal or external).

From your description of your requirements I would say that you just need another large external drive, or probably a couple to allow you to keep multiple copies of important data. This will be a cheaper solution than a RAID array, and it's easy to upgrade to larger drives.

Unless you want to connect several devices to the storage, simple external hard drives are best suited to your purposes, rather than RAID or NAS. Even cheaper, if your computer is a tower with spare drive bays, would be to install some additional internal drives.

message edited by ijack

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April 15, 2019 at 00:35:02
Sadly no. the external 5tb is a copy of my internal drive that is going to die on me at any minute

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April 15, 2019 at 02:45:10
Definitely get another external drive (perhaps two) and copy the failing drive contents to the new drive(s). Do that ASAP...!

message edited by trvlr

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April 15, 2019 at 03:01:24
And this is a link to an explanation re’ the Western Digital colour system used on their drives.


Following that info, and advice/confirmation from pholks here (I think it was rider or sluc?), I recently bought a WD blue drive for use as an external drive. Amazon often has deals, as does Egghead.

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April 17, 2019 at 14:28:52
If the data is important you may want multiple backups including offsite or cloud backup. You could have a fire or break in and lose it all.

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April 19, 2019 at 03:06:50
Hi Major,

ijack and Othehill's advice is good.

What is often overlooked is test restoring from Backups.
This needs be done occasionally to prove Backups are working.

Have experienced Horror Stories where this was not done and when the Backup was required it did not exist.

Also, depending on workload, decide on frequency of Backing up.

Good Luck - Keep us posted.

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April 21, 2019 at 21:33:34
My take on the question: Depending on your setup:
Do you need Portability using a laptop with external drive(s)?
- external SDD would be less susceptible to physical handing than HDD
- external SDD performance will depend on your USB ports (USB 2.x or USB 3.x)
Lifetime of SDD is comparable with HDD these days but (catastrophic) failures can occur anytime!
Backup your data on multiple (external) devices.

Do you have a stationary setup (office) with a desktop?
- RAID + SSD in your desktop provides high data-reliability with best performance.
- If you need storage for your data, internal/external HDD drives for high capacity.
- If you want to access your data from anywhere, use a NAS (with or without RAID) as explained in #1

message edited by sluc

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September 3, 2019 at 06:28:06
RAID is a system to control disks, it's an option you can enable if using a NAS or a DAS, because these systems are based on usage of multiple disks (not one disk).

See NAS versus DAS:


These systems are great because they (in general) allow any kind of storage device to be plugged in, including SSD

DAS is simplier and cheaper than NAS, but that is logical since one is a local storage device, the other is a network device. If you use only 1 computer, and always in a local environment, DAS is the solution

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