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I'm thinking in getting a RPi+USB HDD to make a server in my office, it would be working 24/7 and the primary usage would be to storage backups which would be automatically uploaded from different VPSs.

As far as I known, USB2.0 supports a maximum current of 500mA, and RPi can handle up to 2A, so there shouldn't be any problem, but I think it would be convenient to supply the HDD with a powered USB Hub to avoid RPi to handle that current, which a long term, it may damage RPi (?), or am I being overprotective?

So... Which would be the best way to increase the RPi storage? (talking in terabytes)

  • It is theoretically possible to draw up to 1.2A from Pi USB ports Raspberry Pi Power Limitations. However I would suggest a powered hub - the Pi struggles to supply 5V to USB, it works with some portable drives, but not others, depending on the drive. – Milliways Dec 7 '16 at 22:19
  • It is safest the use a powered HUB. I mean it is for your backups.. you wouldnt want a brown out to cause corruption because you skimped on a $10 or less USB hub? Does not sound like a great idea to me anyway. I wouldnt trust that solution for long term peace of mind.. You want something good, build a small FreeNAS server using ZFS - I dont know how serious you take your data but I do. How much is your data worth? – Piotr Kula Jan 10 '17 at 9:58
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You are not being overly cautious. There are many questions regarding external hard drives and insufficient power on this site - which can lead to disk writing and corruption issues. A powered USB hub sounds like cheap protection to me in this case.

As for increasing storage and backups, hard drives would seem to be your only option when looking at terabytes of storage. However, you may also want to consider cloud storage (Amazon S3 and glacier for instance), either alone or in conjunction with your internally stored backups. This has the additional benefit of moving the backup offsite - so in the case of a natural disaster, fire or theft you still have the data to restore/reconstruct your system and data.

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