Do you rely on RAID as your NAS backup?

It seems that using RAID architecture in your NAS is not the best backup strategy for various reasons.
Why even bother with RAID if that is the case?  Just use a single HD NAS and back it up periodically to another HD or the cloud.
Am I missing something?
RAID is NOT a backup. RAID protects against hard drive failures. That's all.

RAID (except RAID 1) also allows ganging multiple drives together for extra storage space, so that's another potential benefit, and maybe faster read times.  Most consumer-grade NAS's, however, will be more limited by network speed than drive speed. But to protect the data, I recommend both local and cloud-based backup systems (preferably automated). 


I just had a 3 Tb External Hardrive fail.

Luckily I had it backed up by another hardrive.

Now, I have a 3rd hardrive that is also a back up. Plus many 64-128 GB flash drives as back up.

When you down load HIRez tracks you need several backups in case of failure. Non hirez from Cd’s can always be copied to the hardrive again.

I keep wondering about adding a NAS but they seem to be quite expensive compared to external hardrives.

Not sure what a Raid is...

I agree with the comments above.  See the posts by me and by Kijanki in this thread regarding the shortcomings of RAID as a backup solution.  Also, regarding cloud backup, as I said in that thread...
... I would have to say it is not a desirable solution, at least as the primary backup solution for a large music collection. While incrementally uploading the files for backup purposes, over time, should be fine in most cases, consider what would happen if the entire library had to be downloaded due to failure of the local hard drive(s). Even making the optimistic assumptions that the user's interconnect connection is as fast as 100 mbps, and that the download speed is not limited by the responsiveness of the server at the other end or by any servers in the route through the Internet that is in between, downloading say 2 terabytes of music would require approximately 56 hours of non-stop downloading. And under less optimistic assumptions about the speed of the download process, that could conceivably stretch out to several weeks. 
-- Al
Ozzy, see this Wikipedia writeup re RAID.

-- Al
I use a Synology DS2125j with 2 WD 3GB Red drives as the primary drive for music and TimeMachine for my iMac. I don't keep the music file set on the iMac where I have a large file set of photographs. Had a very capable 5 year old ReadyNAS but swapped it out and enjoy the same fast performance and features but with a more intuitive interface. The configuration is their SHR - effectively RAID 1- a simple sync between the 2 drives. The Synology is wired to the router with my iMac which I use to download and rip music. Following this I use ChronoSync wirelessly to update my mac mini which hosts the music for my system. I also have 2 WD 1TB Passports, 1 for each computer,  which I configure as 'bootable' and update every 2 weeks for offsite storage (a friend's house) 'cause, as safestanil mentioned above, RAID is not failsafe. So effectively I have the original rips on the Synology with a hot copy, a copy on the mac mini and an off site copy.  It's rather a belt and suspenders arrangement but for around $500.00 will provide back-up for almost any local disaster. There are tempting cloud solutions and I may consider them but discovered that uploading large file sets can be verrrrrrrrry long - days, or months if it's the initial upload. And to perform an entire restore usually requires the provider send an expensive hard disk. 
Speed is not an issue in either importing new music or synchronizing between the 2 macs (other than the original load to the mac mini of 800 albums). Kept the hard copies and hope to never have to re-rip them again. 
As has been pointed out above, RAID is good for some things but not a complete disaster recovery solution.  I definitely agree with @almarg (not unusual) about the time to recover your backed-up data from the cloud.  RAID (not RAID 0) is good for recovery from things that don't cause you to lose the whole array.  It's not going to help you in case of fire, theft, tornadoes, etc.

A few years back I ran across an article from a company called Backblaze that offers cloud storage services.  Because they purchase large numbers of drives, know when they put them in service and (obviously) know when they fail, they are in a good position to comment on the reliability of different brands and sizes.  In the article I read, they commented on a high failure rate among 3 TB drives.  Because of that I have steered away from buying that size drive.  That's probably too general but your data is valuable even if it can be replaced so I don't take the chance.  If you're interested you can do an internet search on "backblaze hard drive reliability" and find plenty of references.  The most recent one I saw after a short search is here.

I use a western digital raid enabled NAS for all my digital music. It is in turn is backed up incrementally to the cloud via Crashplan, which offers unlimited backup, no-throttle, backups. Crashplan will also deliver via overnight delivery physical drives to you in the event that you need a full restore (i haven't needed that yet). Very happy with it and have been using it for around three years. western digital drives, in my experience, are very reliable.

no affiliation with either company. 

tortilladc, I also use Crashplan for my cloud-based backups, and highly recommend it.  I run all major operating systems (Linux, Mac, and Windows) in my house and Crashplan backs them all up.  The amount of data is around 4TB total backed up so far.  So it's good that Crashplan has unlimited storage for a fixed price.  Yes, it took a month to fully upload the data, but once that was done, it's been smooth sailing.  Crashplan can also backup to other computers on your local network (or even your friends' computers somewhere else, but this would require that the data travel over the Internet, where you likely have a slower connection).

And yes, they can ship hard drives with the full data in case of a need for full data recovery.

Ozzy, RAID is a system of stringing multiple hard drives together to get extra storage and/or redundancy (so if a hard drive fails you're OK).  There are different configurations of RAID (called levels); each RAID level has a different scheme for distributing the main data and redundant data.  Most of these can tolerate a single hard drive failure, and keep the system up and running without data loss or downtime.  That allows for replacing that failed drive and having the system rebuild the information that was on the old (failed) drive onto the new one.  RAID 6 will even tolerate two drives failing.  So if you're running a mission-critical system, such as processing thousands of financial transactions every second, then you need RAID to provide the assurance that your system won't crash with the loss of a hard drive.  For local audio storage, however, RAID is likely overkill unless your data exceeds that of the size of drives currently available (typically around 4-6TB), in which case you could take advantage of RAID to spread all that data across multiple drives seamlessly.  The audio storage local backup solution can be easily managed by built-in tools like Time Machine (Macintosh).  Then you'll need a cloud-based backup on top of that to handle such situations like a house fire, weather catastrophe, or theft.

Hope that helps.

Again, RAID is not a backup.  It can be destroyed by controller failure, virus, voltage spike, bug in OS or controller software etc.    If you use Crashplan you can use it with single drive as well.  Crashplan is your backup - not RAID.
In addition, as Al mentioned, recovery can take forever.  Also, companies have system problems, go out of business, change rules etc.  I would rather trust my plain backup drive.  Unpowered drives in storage tend not to fail.  In addition simple solutions are always the best  - read this link:
One other strike against RAID - you need to use "server grade" drives which are more expensive - the more affordable drives on the market will fail much quicker in a RAID configured NAS drive.

The company that I’ve purchased all my computers from over the past 30 years (and now good friends) recommends to all their customers contemplating RAID of any type to use server grade drive ONLY. They seen far to many standard drives fail within 12 months.

Having said that - I use a NAS drive configured as mirrored RAID to provide protection against hard disk failure of my music library. It works well, is really simple to recover (just pop in a new drive) and is extremely stable. I keep it in the basement where it is nice and cool, which it appreciates.

I first tried the NAS drive using a couple of standard drives (from a couple of redundant and hardly used USB drives) just to see how a serving music from a NAS drive would perform - perhaps thinking that the case for server grade drives had been "overstated"? - RESULT: one drive failed within 6 months. I replaced both drives with server grade drives and 4 years later - still not missing a beat :-)

Convenience, is perhaps the biggest selling point of RAID. If a drive fails there is minimal down-time - unless both drives fail (always a possibility, but quite rare according to my computer buddies)

Server grade drives are more robust and fail with much less frequency - since they are built to handle far more transfers that what is required from serving up music in a home environment.

I agree with other posters...
- RAID is NOT a backup!
- it may have some other "warts", but I have yet to experience them - perhaps due to my network configuration

BTW - I use a Dlink NAS drive - configured with two server grade drives - cost me around $450 - jeepers - I’ve got cables that cost more than that !!!

"Perfect Solution" maybe not - but it sure does reduce the need of having to restore from a backup - at least so far :-)


Thanks for the help. It was a Western Digital 3TB that failed. I need more education on the different back up options.

Quick question: My source is a Bryston BDP-2 usb player. I like to leave the player on all the time so its ready to play. I thought that the hardrive goes into sleep mode when not being used. But, since the hardrive had failed now I am wondering if it would be better to turn off the BDP-2 when not being used.

The external hardrive blinks and the BDP-2 screen goes dark after a period of inactivity.

Ozzy, I also keep my "source" drive ON but it goes into sleep mode. Check "Power Options".  In Windows 7 hard disk timeout is in "Advanced Settings".

Yes and No.

I use both Raid5 & Raid10 configurations all should be backed up.

As stated above Raid5 should be backed up and can fail in a number of ways. If you have 1 drive and only 1 drive fail in the Raid5 you can put a new drive and in most cases the Raid will rebuild. BUT if your drives are old you can have a catastrophic failure. The other drives may not be up to the task of working that long or as hard as required to rebuild the Raid and if any more drives fail while it is rebuilding, say by to all data.  The older the drives are the more likely that this could happen.

RAID 10/5 works by striping and mirroring your data across at least 4 drives and is the same as Mirroring, or RAID 1, means writing your data to 2 or more disks at the same time. Even if one disk fails completely, the mirror preserves the information. The chances of a drive failing in both is minimal but is still possible. This also reduces useable space by half plus some. 24TB = !!Tb. As said this is still not fool proof.

Make sure you have a UPS as a sudden loss of power can destroy all data and or may require your Raid to be verified and that can take days.

All this said you can buy WD 6tb My book for under $200, so backup your data. Most in this hobby have cables that cost more than $200.