Cheap Terabyte RAID on Network

Background: We need storage space. And we are not that good with keeping backups. And it is always a good idea to be a little cheap. I knew I was never going to afford a RAID 5, but I figured it was just a matter before RAID 1 became more accessible.

Ingredients:

  • 1x Cavalry Dual Bay Hard Drive Dock (EN-CAHDD2B-D)
  • 2x WD Caviar Black 1TB SATA Drives with 32MB Cache at 7200 RPM (WD10000LSRTL)

Buying instructions: Buy the Cavalry Dock for $19.99 (including $10 mail-in rebate) from Buy.com. Get the two terabyte drives from Best Buy during their Black Friday sale for $59.99 a piece.

Assembly and physical setup: Tear open boxes and covers. Try not to make much of a mess. Setup the jumper configuration into 0-1-0 per provided instructions. Slide the two Terabyte drives into the two slots provided on the Cavalry Dock Bay.

Configure and Format: The Cavalry drive is a classic plug, crash and play USB device. In the RAID 1 configuration, the device shows up under Windows XP as a JMB352 RAID-1 USB device. The two drives are not shipped formatted, so while you can see the plugged in USB hardware, it will not show up as a drive. So you will need to create a partition and format the drive.

Go to Start > Run, type diskmgmt.msc and hit enter. Here is what I saw.

Disk 1 is what I added, and it had not been initialized yet (in other words the space has not been allocated to a drive yet). Right click, select New Partition, and go through the defaults. Assuming you want to keep the Terabyte to just a single drive, you want to format a Primary partition. And I chose to not do the Quick Format, as I had other designs for the drive and wanted to make sure it was really good to go.

Network it: This was going to be the trickiest part. My router is a Netgear WNR3500L Wireless Router.

The great thing about this router, among many others, is that it provides a USB port that you can use to plug a USB drive in and have it visible on the wireless network. The tricky part was going to be compatibility - I wasn't sure if the USB chipset was going to play nice with the router. Fortunately, they did decide to play well with each other and as a result I now have a network accessible RAID 1 storage of a Terabyte at an additional cost of about $139.97 (plus tax).

December 03, 2010

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