RAID, or Redundant Array of Independent Disks, is a method of data storage using multiple hard drives connected together via software.
There are several different versions of raid storage, but for now we’ll focus on RAID 1.
RAID 1 is direct mirroring of data. With two drives, this would mean that any data copied to the first drive would be identically copied to the second drive. This gives you an automatic, software-managed backup.
There are several ways to accomplish RAID 1 storage. The simplest way, for those who don’t want to get too technical, would be something like this. The WD 12 TBMy Book can be changed from RAID 0 to RAID 1, giving you 6 TB of mirrored storage.
If a drive in the My Book fails, the other drive will continue to work and maintain all of the data that would have been lost from the first drive.
Another solution is something like the Synology DS218+. The DS218+ does not come with drives, but you can put in two (of the same) drives of any capacity and use the built-in software to configure them in RAID 1. The advantage here comes from the ease of switching drives in and out. If one of the RAID 1 drives fails, it can be pulled out and replaced with another drive of the same capacity and the data from the surviving drive will be copied over.
Most Synology cases can be used as Network Attached Storage, or NAS’s.. This means that while you can plug the synology directly to your computer via USB, you can also connect it to your home network and access the files externally and on any computer on the same network. This is especially useful when doing remote work, so that you can back up your photos or videos while still on the road.
Synology also sells storage solutions with more drive bays, including the DS1819+, which allows you to insert eight hard drives. Eight hard drives get expensive though, with 8Tb Barracuda drives coming in at $185. Using the DS1819+ that puts your total at ~$2500 with eight full drive bays.
That’s where my favorite drives come in handy – the 8Tb Western Digital – with a process called “drive shucking.”