Use a bunch of USB Flash drives in a RAID array.

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Hello there! Welcome to another episode. I had this crazy idea the other day. I bought this 10-port USB hub from eBay for $8 I bought this to replace my server with Firewire port Because Firewire has been abandoned by the industry So I will insert all flash drives via USB, But I have a crazy idea to connect a bunch of pen drives to this thing See if I can set them up as RAID. My first experiment was just to connect two 8G flash drives to the USB ports on my monitor. I tried to copy a 900MB file to the first flash drive, and it took about 4 minutes and 17 seconds to write Then I ran a read test and it took 48 seconds So, what I have to do next is to enter the Disk Utility and configure the two flash drives as RAID. This method is successful. As far as my computer is concerned, I only have a 16GB flash drive. I tried the same test again and found that the speed was basically doubled.

My current writing time is 2 minutes and 6 seconds, and the reading time is 25 seconds. Now, I want to know how the system handles me disconnecting these devices and reconnecting them. Does the order in which I plug them back matter? As it turns out, no: as soon as I connect the second flash drive, it immediately remounts to my desktop. I even tried it on a completely different Mac. As long as I have two USB drives connected, they will be remounted immediately. I even tried it on the old G4 system and they were immediately mounted. Well, for large-scale testing I decided to use this laptop The reason is that this laptop is already equipped with SSD So when I connect all the flash drives here The main limiting factor for speed is the USB 2.0 port I use to connect it.

So, I think it’s time to increase it a bit. I took out a large USB hub and connected 8 identical 8GB flash drives. These 8 flash drives combined are only 64GB But I can only easily use four of these 256GB flash drives for this setting And I got 1TB capacity, which is a lot of storage space. Okay, so what I did was I first copied the file to the first flash drive and timed it Then I copied the files to the two flash drives in the RAID setup and timed again I did this for three pen drives, four pen drives, and eight pen drives. Therefore, from the point of view of writing speed, you can clearly see the huge advantages of one or two flash drives Then provide a smaller advantage for each additional pen drive.

On the other hand, reading speed does not seem to be severely affected This is strange, because on the first machine I tested the two pen drives on the side of the display, This is a considerable difference. So you may be wondering: Why make RAID faster? Many people assume in the RAID setup that a USB drive will be filled up first, then the next USB drive, and so on But this is not how RAID works.

Data is divided evenly and written to all flash drives at the same time. This will greatly increase the speed. So you may ask, “Is this setting practical?” Or, “Is it cost-effective?” At first I thought it was because I searched on eBay And found a lot of discounts on large-capacity USB flash drives, Like a 256GB flash drive, basically $20; However, after reading eBay’s own warning about fake USB flash drives, I quickly realized that those flash drives were almost certainly fake. Okay, so these fake flash drives mentioned just now are usually 16GB Their firmware has been tampered with, so they report to the computer Their size is 128G or 256G or higher capacity. In fact, they still only have 16GB, but they actually work very well.

They will not start deleting data until you enter more than 16GB of data So I think the idea is that users will buy them, they will try them, they seem to be available, It may be weeks or months before they are discovered to be fake By then, it will be too late to return the goods. So, it is clear that real transactions will eventually cost more money than I originally thought. Please also note that this is January 2015 So, if you are looking at this, you know, in the next few years, keep in mind that prices may be different. I decided to use 1TB as a benchmark. So, a traditional hard drive will cost you about $89; SSD will cost you about $399; Then using a RAID of 8 flash drives will cost you about $320. Interestingly, the RAID of 4 flash drives will still cost the same However, one advantage may not be obvious. Now, in my test, I just stripped these pen drives into RAID 0 But what if I want a little redundancy? Well, if I use a normal 1TB hard drive I need to add an additional 1TB hard drive to achieve redundancy, and this will double the cost; But if I use 8 pen drives I just need to add an identical pen drive.

This does bring at least some cost advantages to the pen drive. So, what are the benefits of using such a setting Compared with traditional hard drives? Most of the advantages are similar to using SSD: No noise and low energy consumption also means no heat accumulation These will be instant access-no need to wait for the disk to wake up from sleep They will be more reliable. Let’s face it: mechanical hard drives have a very limited lifespan. USB flash drives are more durable, then the RAID redundancy I talked about before. Okay, what’s the downside? First of all, the disadvantage of using a flash drive will be the cost -This is one thing we have already talked about- Another disadvantage is the number of writes. Now, in the case of long-term storage like me, I usually don’t write files to my server often; I write to the file, you know, several times-maybe once or twice a week-but most of the time I read it, So I think the number of writes will not affect me Of course, everyone’s approach is different.

So, I don’t want everyone to go out and buy a bunch of flash drives, I just think this is a concise experiment-kind of like “what happens if…” something that makes you think of the type. So, anyway, I hope you like it and see you next time. .

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