Is Storage Spaces reliable?

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I have thought about taking a couple USB hard drives and building a RAID but I hear some people saying it’s not reliable.  Is it?  Is it a safe as a NAS?

Comments (4)

4 responses to “Is Storage Spaces reliable?”

  1. 3944

    I've been using it for a few years without any issues whatsoever.

  2. 5038

    It's reliable, but no storage system is 100% reliable and so like with anything else you should still have a secondary offline, offsite, or cloud backup.  What you have to remember with any RAID or RAID-like system, is that while it will protect you against individual HDD failures (multiple depending on the specific setup), if something goes wrong with the RAID controller, all the data stored across all the HDD's will probably be unreadable due to the way data is spanned across drives.  Such failure are rare, but they do and have happened, to every RAID system out there, NAS or otherwise.   Search on Drobo or other NAS/RAID failures and you'll quickly see the folly of not having a second backup in place.  

    That said, Storage Spaces really is an excellent system.  If you already have a PC why not let it do double duty as your NAS?  You'll save a bundle as a good quality RAID capable NAS is not cheap.  And with Storage Spaces you can use that motley collection of old HDD's and put them to good use. If you desktop has extra internal drive bays, throw in all those old internal HDD's, add on all your extra USB drives, and then you have one huge pool of storage. 

  3. 5625

    Aidan Finn and others spend quite a bit of time talking and writing (aidanfinn.com) about the enterprise-level storage systems he and others build on Storage Spaces. You can build enough redundancy into the system to account for almost any kind of failure. I just read about a colleague's issue with a failed capacitor taking out an HA pair of NetApp filers (both!), and you can pretty easily--and relatively inexpensively--build or buy a Storage Spaces system that would not be shaken by that issue.

    So... reliable? Yes, it can be exceptionally reliable. I think the bad reputation is likely linked to Windows Home Server's Drive Extender product, which is long gone. Storage Spaces has some similar functionality, but it's different tech. The performance with Storage Spaces can be good, too, if you use mirror spaces (like RAID 10) or simple spaces (if you don't care about redundancy; like RAID 0). Performance of parity spaces is pretty awful for writes, though--other than for archive purposes, I'd just avoid parity spaces.

    However... while you can use USB hard drives with Storage Spaces, I'm not sure I would recommend that setup. You'd definitely want USB 3 if you do, though, and I'd just leave them connected all the time (don't try to connect them to another computer).

    Hope this helps....

  4. 313

    I have a machine with storage spaces enabled in a thin provisioned setup, and it works well.  One thing I like about it is that you can mix and match disk sizes, and change out drives, which is much harder or impossible to do on traditional hardware RAID setups.

     

    when I first built the storoage spaces I had a mix of 500GB and 1TB drives (array is 4 drives) and over time I've upgraded it so right now I have a 6TB drive and 3x 2TB drives.  If I ever fill that up I'll start replacing the 2TB drives with 6TB drives.

    As others have said though, it doesn't matter how much redundancy you have in one device, if you have only one copy of a file (copy defined as it lives on one "thing"), than you do not have redundancy on it.  RAID1, or two copies of a file sitting at home does you no good if your house burns down.  If a piece of data is that important to you, it absolutely needs to live somwhere with physical separation from the other copies.

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