Is a spare Disk-on-a-Shelf just a waste of a disk?

Allocating disks for a new array.

I have 5 8TB disks.

I currently have about 10TB of data to move onto a this array. The important stuff is backed up elsewhere, the rest mostly media files that, while I don’t really want to lose it, could probably be re-downloaded again over time.

I am thinking of allocating 3 disks to data, 1 disk for parity, and 1 disk sitting on the shelf in case I need to replace a failed disk, or if that doesn’t happen eventually to add as a fresh data disk when I start to run out of space.

Is that a wasteful strategy? If I was really concerned about losing a disk I could add it as a 2nd parity disk and then convert it to a data disk later if I don’t end up losing any other disks. Alternately I could just assume that I will want more data at some point and just add it as a 4th data disk.

The advantage of keeping it as a spare I suppose it is doesn’t draw any power or wear down on the shelf, but if I really don’t need it in the array now I could potentially still return the 5th drive and buy another at a later date when I need it, probably for cheaper.

What do you all do? Do you keep spares on hand, or is every drive put to work whenever possible?

I have a 20-bay NAS sitting on a shelf as cold storage that I spin up 1-2x per year to do a massive backup.

One disk on a shelf is not wasteful

you’re basically talkin about a cold spare, vs a hot spare inside the server.

and that’s fine. I don’t purposely try to keep unused drives around (too cheap to pay for the redundancy), they are either in use or backups. But I have one now I’m trying to sell so it’s a cold spare I suppose.

Your proposed strategy of allocating 3 disks for data, 1 disk for parity, and 1 disk on the shelf is quite reasonable and will provide reliable data protection. However, if you want to save money, you can use 2 parity disks instead of 1 to provide better data protection. If you have the option to keep a fifth disk as a spare, this can be useful in case the other disks fail in the future. However, if you are on a tight budget, you can use the fifth disk for data now, and add a spare disk later when needed. Either way, it’s important to have spares on hand in the event of a hardware failure. If you plan to store important data on a new data array, it is best to have spares on hand to quickly replace faulty equipment and minimize data loss.

I’m not even that much into the whole home server life and it’s exactly what I did.

array one was 3- 4tb drives in - one on the shelf. since it lasted a while no issue then I added it as I planned to move over to 6tb drives I bought. then I later re-slivered as I moved up 6tb drives. and I bought 5 - and keep on on the shelf still.

So far (finds block of wood) haven’t had to use it yet.

Very good Question, one that I have had myself. Currently I have 1 No. TB Spare drive in a shelf with antistatic packaging…

Occasionally I just wonder whether the drive would be more useful in ths server…