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  1. Since posting the above, I discovered that trying to use my external USB enclosure to stripe data in a RAID-0 array isn’t worth the effort. I’ve also done a little more research.

    While FlexRAID seems to be a good and stable option (I spent a few days testing it, and it seems to work fine), I’m concerned that the developer is often unreachable, and there is no option for other support if needed. There are also some technical things which make it less than simple to use, and there’s not a lot of good documentation available. I certainly wouldn’t want to update the software, find that it doesn’t work right, and then not be able to ask for help.

    So, I looked for similar options (by doing an online search for “alternatives to flexraid” — without the quotes) and found DrivePool, which also looks interesting. Seems to be more stable, and in some ways more flexible, although it does not use any type of RAID parity for data recovery, apparently due to speed of use, as well as simplicity of operation. DrivePool does support file duplication on multiple hard drives, which is a type of backup. There are many people who use DrivePool and FlexRAID together in a single system, so it’s possible to get the best of both.

    When I consider that my current backup process is essentially creating an extra copy of my data, using a system like DrivePool that creates duplicate files isn’t that different. Duplication is quicker, but the backup CAN provide more than 1 copy of data that changes more often, allowing me to access a version before the most recent edits were done. With a duplication system, I’d have to save newly edited files with a new name in order to have access to previous versions. Not a big problem when you have enough drive space, but would add to the time involved in cleaning up older, and unneeded, versions.

    DrivePool also has an option to create as many copies of certain folders/files as you define, so I could easily set up my commercial work to be better protected than the rest of my data. Kind of like having a backup of your backup, which I’ve been doing with some of my data. The other advantage of this is that when I need to access a duplicated file, DrivePool can read all copies simultaneously for faster access. I’m sure this will come in handy sometime.

    Overall, it has been many years since I’ve needed to recover any data from a backup. Since my primary goal in this project has been to establish a “set and forget” system, I think DrivePool may be the best choice for me.

    I’ll test this out for a few days and see how it performs.

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