RAID Arrays Explained, What is it and do you need one?

RAID Arrays Explained, What is it and do you need one?

RAID arrays or Redundant Array of Independent Disks is a type of storage configuration where your data is saved across multiple hard drives or SSDs. There are a number of benefits to doing this including increased performance and data redundancy. Because your data is saved across multiple drives you have better protection in the event of a drive failure.

Basically, if one of the drives in your RAID array fails your drives will then go into “rebuild mode” which will allow the remaining drives to recover the data, the failed drive can then be replaced with little downtime for you. A RAID array is not always necessary, we wouldn’t suggest one for regular employee use for example as SSDs are very reliable (especially compared to hard drives with mechanical parts that can fail). You also have the option of cloud storage for devices that don’t have much data to save on a daily basis.

However, for servers or other systems where data protection is critical, a RAID array is a necessary option to keep that data intact. They are also beneficial for systems that work with very large files as the computer can pull pieces of the file in unison and load them much quicker than a single drive. There are many different configurations for RAID arrays such as:

  1. RAID 0: In the world of data two is one and one is zero, and such is the case with RAID arrays. The first RAID array configuration involves breaking up your data into “stripes” across one or more drives, however it does not provide redundancy like other RAID arrays do. If a drive fails under RAID 0 the data is lost. However, it does improve speeds and can allow you to gain more space on your drives.
  2. RAID 1 provides an exact mirror of your data across multiple drives, which does allow for data redundancy. In the case of a drive failure as long as one drive is functional you will still have access to your data. The pitfall to this is your data storage can only be as big as the largest drive in the array, so if you have a 1 TB drive paired with a 4 TB drive only 1 TB would be usable. This RAID array type also doesn’t really provide a system performance boost, it’s purely a data redundancy setup.
  3. RAID 5 provides good redundancy coverage and improves performance. A RAID 5 array consists of 3 or more drives, this RAID array type splits your data consistently across the board and improves your system performance at the same time. However, for most clients we would suggest the next setup.
  4. RAID 10 combines two RAID 1 arrays with two RAID 0 arrays to provide both greatly improving performance (that falls in line with the RAID 0 benefit) and greatly increasing redundancy (as you get with a traditional RAID 1 set up) for not much more than you would spend to have a RAID 5 installed. For systems that run software in addition to storing data this is the setup we highly recommend.

Here are some other benefits of having a RAID 10 setup for your server or systems where data is a high priority:

RAID 10 Benefits ExplainedThere are still other questions that need to be answered beyond just RAID type, like what drive capacity should you be looking for? Would a HDD (Hard Drive Disk) work in this case to have more inexpensive but higher capacity or should you be looking for SDDs (Solid State Drives)?

These are questions that can be answered by our professional sales team, they’re experts in technical equipment procurement and can help make suggestions and offer buying advice specifically tailored to your business. Learn more today by scheduling a consultation with our sales manager.

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