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Set up a RAID 5 array on the Interweb

Set up a RAID 5 array on the Interweb

While a virtual RAID 5 array over the Internet is damn cool, it's somewhat impractical.

RAID 5 is arguably the most useful flavour of RAID: get a bunch of disks and keep a few aside for parity data, giving you a large amount of storage that doesn’t care when a duff drive visits the great data haven in the sky. But what if you didn’t need the disks?

Hack-A-Day has recently unveiled plans for a virtual RAID 5 array using free FTP servers as the ‘drives’. While the project is described as a ‘proof of concept’, it’s at first glance a promising idea: seamless storage to gigabytes of FTP space, and it doesn’t matter if one of the accounts get closed along the way.

The project certainly smells a bit Rube Goldberg at the moment, relying as it does on using NetDrive to mount the FTP accounts within Windows and then running FreeNAS in a VMWare virtual machine to create the fake RAID 5 array. That said, there’s nothing to stop the makers of FreeNAS duplicating the NetDrive idea should the concept take off.

The idea is pretty novel, but somewhat impractical. For the time and effort put into creating the fake RAID 5 system you could just have bought a bigger hard drive. As much as I like the idea of a virtual RAID system running over the Internet (and what self-respecting geek wouldn't?), I can’t see the concept taking off unless free FTP servers suddenly start offering a lot more space.

If you’re particularly bored over the Christmas holiday (and you haven’t drunk enough to mean operating the keyboard is a no-no) then feel free to give it a go. The original site is currently out of bandwidth, but there’s a mirror here. Let us know how you get on in the forums.

4 Comments

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badders 24th December 2007, 09:59 Quote
This would be fine if my internet speed was greater than 300Kilobits/sec!
There's the bottleneck!
nakchak 24th December 2007, 15:38 Quote
just a few fairly hefty flaws with the plan....

free ftp accounts tend to have transfer limits, i would imagine that the majority of your available bandwidth will be used to sync and send parity data

response times will be horrible, as will file searches.

i mean proof of concept is fine, but they could juat have easily built a raid5 array from 40 floppy drives and say the same things,
but i mean having a convoluted software raid setup just seems dumb to me, we all know software raid doesnt work very well, compared to the full fat server raid cards

unless you have a syncronus connection (same speed up and down, which you wont have in the UK unless you have a forked out serious £££ for an SDSL line) then the system is a non starter, never mind that using your net connection like that would probably classify you as a server, which is against the the T&C's of most domestic ISP's in the UK.

frankly if you want cheap serious distributed storage consider using amazons S3 services, or just follow the how to build a linux server guide on bit, will get something far more usefull, and you can run games servers off it as well :-)
Starfighter 24th December 2007, 20:53 Quote
*FREE*, reliable, secure offsite backup solution? yes Please!
DeX 26th December 2007, 19:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Starfighter
*FREE*, reliable, secure offsite backup solution? yes Please!

Haven't you tried mozy yet?
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