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When dealing with information that needs to be readily available and even more even more secure than ever, it is important to understand what RAID can offer. RAID is an acronym which means Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks. The main purpose of using RAID is to connect multiple hard drives together in order to achieve data redundancy and more efficient access speeds.

There are several types of RAID arrays that can be setup, each with its own set of characteristics and uses. The following types of RAID arrays are the most common variants that are used:


  • RAID 0 (striped disks) distributes data across multiple disks. This gives the full storage space of all disks combined, and will greatly improve access speed. However, if one disk in the array fails, all information on all disks will be lost.
  • RAID 1 (mirrored settings/disks) is used when a backup solution is needed. In RAID 1, all disks in, which must be more than two, contain the exact same data. All data across all disks is updated in real time. In RAID 1, every disk can fail, but as long as one disk is operable, no data will be lost and the array can be rebuilt will new drives. In RAID 1, storage capacity of the array is that of the smallest disk in the array.
  • RAID 5 (striped disks with parity) combines three or more disks in the array. In RAID 5, the storage capacity of the array is equal to that of two disks (of equal size). In this type of RAID array, one drive can fail, and the array can still operate. A new drive can be added to the array without any downtime to the other drives.
  • RAID 6 (striped disks with dual parity) is much like RAID 5. However, RAID 6 will use four or more disks, can operate and recover if two of those drives fail.
  • RAID 10 (or 1+0) uses both striping and mirroring. In RAID 10, each disk has its own mirror disk. This can be thought of as teams of two, where both people in the team know exactly the same information. If one person in the team is taken out or fails, then that person is replaced, and gains all the knowledge of the remaining person.


RAID systems use different hardware that non-RAID systems. In most cases, a controller card is used, or multiple controller cards are used. In the past, it was common to use SCSI drives in the RAID arrays, however, progression in technology has opened up RAID technology to much cheaper SATA drives, which is also the standard format for today\'s home computers.

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