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I need to store a backup of about 7TB of data. I could build a RAID5 array and just store everything on it, but I dont really need access to it unless its an emergency, so having those drives spinning 24/7 is pointless.

I was thinking about getting an external HD dock, and just store data on 2TB drives that I would just keep unplugged somewhere.

Are there any considerations for long term storage of large drives full of data? Naturally I wouldn't have anything RAIDed, it would just be split over the drives.

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No real problem. If the drives are disconnected, keep them in a cool dry place. I'm sure some of that data is extra-important, so make sure that data is backed up on at least 2 different drives. I have a couple of HDs I'm not actively using, and I keep them in their original anti-static wrappers.

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Not sure about failure rate and such with harddisks that have been lying around.

Having said the I have had drives that have sat for years and still work flawlessly. I've also had drives that were fairly used and swapped them out with newer drives and when the old drives are spun up much later on they have more whiny old harddisk noise than I am pretty sure they did before storing.

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If the disks are to be stored over several years and their contents are important, I would:

  1. Keep everything in duplicate, and on good quality hard disks (search for reviews).
  2. Every couple of years I would refresh the disks using a commercial product such as SpinRite or HDD Regenerator. SpinRite is recommended (although it's not evolved for quite a few years).
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