get two hard drives ( EQUAL SIZE, VERY IMPORTANT! ).
pick your flavor of RAID.
then people will seek you out
because you know how to set up RAID
With two drives you have limited options....
One does an "interleave" -- i.e. bonds the drives == and that is no backup --DAMHIKT.
You can also do a mirror. RAID1? Never used it.
Other than that you need a minimum of three drives to do a RAID 5 -- but if you lose more than one drive you are cooked anyway.
Better to use Acronis or one of the other recommendations and do at least semi-regular backups. If you leave your machine on all the time you can schedule backups. Try to get a USB-3 enclosure. Then when you upgrade your Motherboard you get another speed boost.
I am sitting beside a 6TB RAID 5 array with a Adaptec Dual Core Controller that we use for our mapping and CAD server (Novell Linux) -- so I have had a little experience with them.
I am going to add a couple of notes here rather than get into a long discussion... If people do want to contemplate RAID (at any level) read this first. The explanation is quite simplistic, but it is good enough for all but the computer engineers...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_RAID_levels
On HARDWARE RAID -- just because you turn it on in BIOS does not make a system a HARDWARE RAID system. When we use that term we are referring to the ability to compute the math in dedicated hardware.A RAID 5 uses block-level striping with parity data distributed across all member disks
A RAID 1 is a MIRROR -- more than adequate for people who do not run a business.
The decision to indulge in RAID 5 or RAID 1 vs backup is not a reasonable debate. They have nothing to do with each other....
It is not that unusual to have a two drives fail in quick succession. I had two drives sent here since one failed -- the second was for a "Hot SWAP" to occur automatically... the next drive failed within six days -- no HOT SWAP -- and that coincided with the Thailand flooding -- now I cannot find a third drive for the hot swap -- at least not at a reasonable price.
RAID is not a guarantee -- it is simply one more tool in the arsenal to keep your systems running.
A backup copy kept on site is not a backup... it's a copy of your files. Especially if you have not guaranteed that you have an off-site copy of the software required to restore to a new system.
BACKUP is a philosophy carried out to provide a viable way to resume operation after a disaster. It is not a program. It is not a copy of the data. And RAID is very useful if you can afford it -- you can keep running with ONE dead drive.
RAID also has penalties of speed for read and write -- calculation time for the XOR circuitry -- it's true! it's not instant!Call me:
Just another computer/electronics engineer.... (really!)
who has been designing this type of equipment -- including the security and data algorithms for CRC and parity and striping for over forty years -- but what do I know?
Hope that helps for all who tune in...