When building a computer, you need to have a way in which to store data. One of the ways you could do this is using RAID.
So what is RAID? Well, RAID stands for redundant array of inexpensive disks or redundant array of indexed disks.
It allows for many hard drives to be linked together so that they can, in effect, have one big hard drive amongst other things. So, to use RAID on your computer, you will need to have a motherboard that can handle RAID. You will also need to make sure that the hard drives you use are of the same size, brand, and model.
On the software side, most computers will have the software needed built into the computer. That being said, some companies(such as Drobo) have software that make the set up of RAID easy.
Now, hard drives are set up into what we call an array of two or more drives, and there are a lot of different ways in which you can set up a RAID array. So let’s take a look at a few of them.
For this situation, let us imagine that I am using a set of four Western Digital hard drives. They are two terabytes in size.
RAID 0 – This is also known as striped RAID. If I put my four Western Digital hard drives into a RAID 0 array, then the hard drive will basically blast the data in between the four hard drives. Essentially, your computer will see the four hard drives as a super huge 8-terabyte hard drive. In addition to the size of the hard drive, you will also get the combined speed of the hard drives, meaning that data transfers between different areas of the hard drive will be crazy fast. This can be especially useful if you are doing something like video editing or creating a really awesome and fun PC game. This is all well and good, but there is a great risk with this particular type of RAID. If one of the two hard drives were to fail, the data is pretty much gone. the chances of getting your data back after the data failing are very low.
Now, what if you don’t care about performance? What if you just care about backing up your data?
RAID 1(mirroring)- Now, let us imagine that I had recently purchased two more of the Western Digital 2TB hard drives. From here, I want to put them into my awesome computer. I would then tell my computer’s RAID software that these new hard drives should be part of the RAID array. Because of RAID 1, the RAID software will basically copy the data on one hard drive to all of the other hard drives in the array. So if I had 1TB of data on one hard drive, then it would copy the data to the other hard drives.
Now, there is also a hybrid type called RAID 0+1. This combines RAID 0 and RAID 1. It is so called because it splits the data across two hard drives and copies some of the data across the other two hard drives. That being said it may not be ideal as you only get half of the storage space, meaning that I would only have 4 terabytes out of the 8.
RAID 5- Now RAID 0 is good because it provides a massive amount of storage,plus increased performance. RAID 1 is good because it provides a way to duplicate the data from one hard drive onto the other drives in the array. But, what if you need the combined performance of both of them. Well, this is where RAID 5 comes in. If I were to put my four hard drives into into a RAID 5 configuration, then my data would be split and copied across 3 of the four hard drives. The fourth one would contain information, which would allow me to get my data back should one of my hard drives fail.
So let’s summarize what we have learned, RAID 0 provides storage space, RAID 1 provides mirroring for a good backup. RAID 0+1 splits the data across the hard drives then copies the data to the other two. Finally, RAID 5 splits and copies the data accr