Set up a RAID 5 array on the Interweb

December 24, 2007 // 8:20 a.m.

Tags: #freenas #ftp #hackaday #netdrive #raid #storage #virtual

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.

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