1) Should hard drives be replaced just because of their age?
I currently use two Samsung Spinpoint F1 HD103UJ 1TB drives, and they're more than five years old. If they are healthy (knock-on-wood), should I start to worry and think of a replace, simply because of their age?
2) Just a couple of days ago, I became a first-time RAID user.
Using the two aforementioned Samsung drives with Windows 8.1 Pro and its "Storage Spaces" feature, I set up a drive pool in a "Two-way Mirror" mode. It should provide a one-disk redundancy similar to RAID1, but it's completely software-based. I decided to go with it because it's easy to set up (apart from having to erase the drives before initializing), and it does not depend on hardware controllers or motherboards. Moreover, and correct me if I'm wrong, it should provide some kind of data integrity checking because of the ReFS file system. The pool is used purely for data storage and access.
Question is: is Storage Spaces recommended as a RAID1-like setup?
There are so many methods nowadays to employ RAID or RAID-like environments, whether hardware: on-board and 3rd party controllers, or software: Storage Spaces, SnapRAID, FlexRAID, DrivePool, Drive Bender (and most likely even more). In your opinion, what is the ultimate?
Please be advised that I'm a Windows user so solutions like Btrfs, ZFS, mdadm and similar are out of the question.
3) What's the best way to set up RAID6 or other two-disk redundancy environment? Storage Spaces for some odd reason requires five drives for such thing, instead of four drives like in the classic RAID6 setup. Plus, my onboard controller does not support RAID6, and it's a pretty advanced motherboard - Asus H97-Pro. So that leaves me with either purchasing a 3rd-party controller, or looking for another software solution.
What would you recommend? Again, we're dealing with a Windows environment.
Thanks in advance.