Technology

An Executive’s Guide to RAID Arrays

Storage is among the things that matter when you want to set up a server. Note that a storage device will hold all the information that matters to you and your users. For straightforward needs, single disks will do. However, solutions such as RAID may come handy if you have complex performance and redundancy needs.

Why You Need RAID

RAID is an abbreviation for Redundant Arrays of Independent Disks. With RAID, you can combine drives in various patterns to achieve greater redundancy and performance as an administrator. Redundancy, in this case, enhances the accessibility of your data whether the storage system fails or not. In terms of performance, the independent disks can increase the total throughput by carrying out read operations.

Types of RAID

Several technologies are useful in the creation and management of RAID arrays. You can have hardware-assisted RAID, software RAID or hardware RAID depending on the technologies in use. Read on to learn about these RAID types.

  1. Hardware RAID

Hardware RAID takes the form of RAID cards or controllers, which have a dedicated processor for managing the independent disks. You can manage RAID controllers entirely outside the operating system. They also don’t compromise on performance. However, they can be fairly expensive to purchase.

  1. Software RAID

You can configure RAID from the operating system to define the relationship of the independent disks to each other. Software RAID implementations are open source and flexible in nature. Their downside is that they can add overhead to your CPU cycles.

  1. Hardware-Assisted RAID

You’ll find this type of RAID in inexpensive RAID cards or motherboards. It acts as an implementation that relies on the firmware of the card or controller to manage RAID. It allows multiple operating systems to use a similar array. Its downside is that it is hardware-specific and that it can cause performance overhead.

Conclusion

You should choose a suitable RAID type for your server depending on your goals. Your intended use case also matters here. Other factors to consider include constraints and costs that the RAID will impose on your hardware.

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