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As the title says.

Basically, I have two small home NASes, one that backs the other up.
Each has a bunch (5) of 2TB drives in RAID5.

I'd like to turn the backup NAS off, but I run daily syncing.

Therefore, is it better, from a hardware-longevity standpoint (primarily the hard drives), to power cycle a computer one a day, if it's off for at least 20 of those hours, or leave it on.
If it's not, at what point does it cross the threshold? Once every three days? Longer? Where is the threshold?

Note: I'm not interested in power savings, or other stuff, just what will let my hardware last as long as possible.
Also, I'm not sure if this should be SuperUser or ServerFault...
It's a home project, but they are basically servers.

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closed as not constructive by Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, random Oct 2 '11 at 4:53

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possible duplicate of Is it better to leave your computer on all the time? – Gnoupi Jul 9 '10 at 8:14
I think I'm a bit more specific. This is less a general thing, and more exactly what point does powercycling cause more wear then leaving it on. – Fake Name Jul 9 '10 at 8:56

From my experience, there is no real threshold which would significantly prolong your disk's life. Stopping & starting once a day should make no difference.

However, stopping/starting every couple of minutes or so is somewhat stressing the engines of the HDD.

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You shouldn't have much trouble leaving your NASs on 24/7. After all, the hard drive and the fans are the only moving parts in either device.

After a set period of inactivity hard drives spin down which just leaves fans. Fans are at most $20 and usually not too hard to replace. Fans can easily last 5 or more years with no problem running all the time.

There is no "resting phase" for a computer. Turning it off occasionally doesn't help. Its like ceiling fan, the overall time that it is on is what causes the wear.

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What if they don't spin down (power management in linux? ugh.)? And if they do, how many times a day does causing them to spin up supercede the wear induced by leaving them on? – Fake Name Jul 9 '10 at 8:11
To a certain extent they're similar to lightbulbs too, in that overall time on does cause wear, but the switching on is also the most stressful time. This is down to both the spinning up of mechanical parts as well as heat (change) stresses. – GAThrawn Jul 9 '10 at 13:43

Interesting question!
"Not interested in power savings or other stuff" - does that other stuff include money savings for replacement of failed disks?

I'd say that there is no fixed measurable threshold for this, and it will be even less of an issue as physical harddrives with moving parts will be more and more obsoleted by SSD.

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Another point to consider is if they are on a UPS. Power failures, dirty power, surges, etc. are probably a bigger deal than running or stopping/starting. Having them hooked up to a decent UPS should take care of most of this.

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