When is the image file of the entire RAID array useful?
Creating an image might be useful if one of these conditions are met
- The drives are connected via USB and power failures occur often. ReclaiMe + RAID recovery pair operates using "disk paths", and paths for USB drives may change on reboot. So you will need to redo the RAID part every reboot.
- One of the RAID member disks has a bad sector, or is otherwise damaged. In this case, it is best to create an image of the suspect disk first, even before you start with RAID recovery.
- The filesystem on the array is damaged, and you want to try some other data recovery tool on it.
Other than that, the image of the whole array is a waste of disk space. With a large array, you have to be careful what you are placing the image file onto. You should be acutely aware of the image file size. While most filesystem specifications say 12TB single file is acceptable, you will find that in practice, there is a limited set of configurations which accept files that big. By the way, this is where ReFS comes in handy even though it is still in beta.