Differences Between RAID Configurations, Explained

Utilizing RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) technology is one of the most important considerations when purchasing a server for your company’s online operations. A RAID configuration is responsible for minimizing faults found in hardware as well as helping improve performance.
When choosing to implement RAID technology, the big question is what level of RAID configuration you should use. The rate of speed and amount of fault tolerance you get depends on the RAID level you choose to implement. To help you to make an educated decision on what you need for your business, we’ve summarized the advantages and disadvantage of the most popular RAID configurations:

RAID-0 splits up system data into two blocks in which data is written across all drives. This means that all storage space is used on each drive in the array. By using multiple disks, you can increase the input and output performance of the data which can be further enhanced by using multiple controllers. RAID-0 technology is also easy to implement and offers exceptional performance but it’s not fault-tolerant. If one drive in the array fails all data is lost.

In the RAID-1 Configuration, data is stored on two separate drive arrays. In case one drive array fails, data can be used from the other drive to recover it and carry on operations. It offers comparable speed to RAID-0 but offers more fault tolerance. It’s also easy to use and implement but can only use half the total space of the drives since data is being written twice.

RAID-5 is the most commonly used type of RAID configuration simply due to the acceptable performance speeds and high fault tolerance. Data isn’t written to a specific drive but rather are spread across the drives with a minimum of 3 being required to use it. In case a drive fails, the data can be reconstructed from other drives even while the failed drive is being replaced or fixed to ensure things keep running at all times. The downside is that the larger the data needs to be restored the longer it takes. Data worth up to 4TB can take up to a day to be fully restored.

RAID-6 is one of the safest configurations. It requires four drives with pairs of two. In case of RAID-5, if 2 out of the 3 drives die, all data will be lost (although this is very rare). RAID-6 can withstand two drives dying and can be easily swapped without effective access to the data. The input/output speeds are just as fast as RAID-5.

RAID-10 is a combination of RAID-1 and RAID-0 Configurations which combines the advantages and disadvantages of them both as well. There are 4 drive arrays involved, two to store data and two to mirror it. It’s fast and in case of a drive failure, it can copy data to restore in short periods of time to restore it since all it has to do is copy a set of data from one drive to another. But this also means that only half the storage will be used while the remaining half will act as a back-up.

Choosing a RAID configuration is an important decision and depends largely on what type of business you are running and what your requirements for speed and fault-tolerance are. Remember, you can always contact us at Tier.Net with help on setting up a fast, secure, and fault-tolerant dedicated server.

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