Build a RAID serverTurn your old PC into the ultimate data vault.
>> At some point in your life you're going to have an old PC lying around not doing much, let me show you my insider's secret on how to turn that old box into a server that will protect and automatically duplicate the files on it without you ever thinking about it, it's called a Raid Server, let's make one. ^M00:00:19 [ Sound effects ] ^M00:00:26 >> Raid is for Redundant Array of Inexpensive Discs, it's a pretty old computer system's term, but what it means is we're going to add a pair of additional matched hard drives that are going to be dedicated to not just storing data but always copying each other. This is how banks, airlines, and other mission critical operations store their data. Here's what we need, an old PC, a Raid controller, it's a card like this that goes into a slot, I got this one from eBay I think, it was like $9.00, you know it's cheap because there's a typo on the box, it's supposed to say Ultra ATA but because I didn't pay for all of the contents, I got a Uytra ATA and we need to matched hard drives they should be the same make model and capacity, I've got those two guys right here. Now, Raid cards can be had in a variety of specs but the key is that you want one that supports Raid 1, also known as mirroring and it has the right connection here to fit into a free slot on your computer and it also has to have the same kind of interface as the drives you're attaching to it. Oh, and before you start jot down the exact make and model of the chip on your Raid card, this will be handy when you go to chase down the latest driver for this guy later. Okay, we've got all of our parts assembled; let's do surgery on our donor PC. Lay it on its side, take off the lid, disconnect all the cables, especially the power, and now we want to put the Raid card in and it goes in like any other expansion card, a graphics card or whatever. Next, attach the ribbon cables that go from the card to your drives, you put one on each of the header connectors right there on the card. Next, attach the far connector on each ribbon cable to each of your drives, so in this case I take the far end, I go to drive number 1 and that just plugs in, again, standard hard drive stuff. Oh, by the way, note what I'm doing during the setup I'm not gonna install the drives yet but I'm gonna lay them on a piece of cardboard so we don't get any static or electrical shorts between the drive and the chassis of the machine. Now, check the manual or software that came with your Raid card to see where these jumpers need to be, ya know, this is the master slave cable select thing, most importantly the drives need to be set on the same jumper setting. Now we got to add power to our drives, that's simple enough, find two power connectors, now power up your machine and when you do look for a new boot-up message that'll tell you how to enter Raid Setup at the Bios level, in that setup area verify that your two drives show up and put them together as mirrored. Okay, and then continue booting into Windows and let that go on its way. Next thing we're going to do is install the driver for the Raid card, now remember when I told you to write down the model of the chip on the Raid card, this is where it gets useful, I'm gonna go on-line and get the latest one from the manufacturer. Now check under your Device Manager which is My Computer, Properties, Hardware, Device Manager, you'll find it down here under Skuzzy and Raid controllers, and there it is and everything looks fine. Okay, now you want to go to what's called the Disc Management Panel in Windows, you go down to Start, Run and then type in the relatively arcane Comp, MGMT dot MSC, Computer Management Console, and then go to Storage from there go to the Disc Management and here's your master world of all your hard drives; this is where you'll partition and format your two new Raid drives and make them useable to Windows. I'm gonna right click there and do a new partition and this is making it useable to Windows, setup Primary Partition, use all your disc space, let it assign whatever drive letter it wants, format it and let her rip. Okay now, as you can see our partitioning and formatting went fine, it shows the amount of space we have, I use small drives in this case, and it says it's healthy, I love that word in Windows. Now, let's head over to My Computer and that's where we're gonna look for the real proof which is in the pudding, does our drive array show up as a drive, and sure enough, there it is, it's called New Volume. Let's give it a name we always know, I'm just gonna call that Raid, and if you look at the Properties there it is. Two drives showing up as one, there's your free space and they are mirroring each other as a single drive, it's like magic folks. Now you're ready to start loading data and it behaves like any other drive, open it up, drag files there, point to applications to store there, run your backup utility to send files there. Oh, by the way, the last thing I want you to do is to set your Raid Application, that's the one that came with the Raid card, to notify you if one of the drives goes out, you won't lose your data but you need to replace the dead drive to keep your redundancy. In here it's on the Configuration screen and the tab called Email, I would enter my email address. Bottom line is if you get a failure the system will let you know and you've got some time to replace the other drive. When you do by the way, the new drive will automatically be propagated with data from the other one so your mirroring happens automatically. Well, that's it, that's how you build a Raid Server, corporate class data security out of an old discarded PC that you just upgraded from, it doesn't cost much and it gives you tremendous peace of mind, enjoy it. ^E00:05:47