You love your server dearly, but the truth is, you've been burned before. You still get nightmares about that time your hard drive failed and you lost crucial data.
Of course, you also want to have a system that can keep up with your performance demands. How do you win?
A popular option is RAID configurations, which offer you improved performance and reduced risk from hard drive failure. If that sounds like something you're interested in, keep reading to find out more.
What is RAID 0?
Before you know why you should get RAID 0, you should first understand what it is.
RAID (or Redundant Array of Independent Disks) is a series of configurations that use two or more hard disks to improve performance and provide a degree of fault tolerance (a safety net for failed hardware, ensuring that the machine can still operate even if a component fails).
There are five different RAID configurations:
- RAID 0
- RAID 1
- RAID 5
- RAID 10
- RAID 50
RAID 0 uses striping for data handling. It requires two drives to run and does not use redundancy--which means if one of the drives fails, your data is lost.
The goal here is performance. RAID 0 breaks down data into smaller blocks, with each block written to a separate physical disk drive. This distributes the workload more or less evenly across several drives, allowing the system to work more efficiently.
Unlike RAID 0, RAID 1 is designed for two functions: performance and protection.
Let's say you have two drives. That's the basic premise of RAID 0 and RAID 1. And let's say you want these two drives to give your refurbished server a boost.
RAID 1 works a lot like RAID 0, except for one key difference. Where RAID 0 uses both drives for data processing, RAID 1 uses one drive for processing and the other for data mirroring.
The primary function of data mirroring is redundancy. If one of your drives fails, or if your computer fails, the mirroring drive will ensure that you don't lose all of your data.
And once you replace a malfunctioning disk, data is copied over from the mirroring disk to rebuild your array.
What if you wanted to combine the protection of RAID 1 with the performance of RAID 0? You can do it with RAID 10.
RAID 10 requires twice as many drives as any other setup because it combines the data striping capacity of RAID 0 with the mirroring capacity of RAID 1.
Basically, RAID 10 stripes data across all drives to speed up data transfers while also mirroring all data on a secondary set of drives. Because of this, it comes with all the combined advantages (and disadvantages) of RAID 0 and 1.
While the performance is greatly improved, it is the most expensive RAID configuration out there because it requires so many disks. For this reason, it's most often used for large databases and serves.
The Popularity of RAID 50
Many people like to pair the performance aspects of RAID 0 with other RAID configurations to maximize data protection--without the number of disks required to run RAID 10.
One popular option is RAID 50, which combines RAID 0 and RAID 5.
RAID 5 combines disk striping and parity. Like RAID 0, RAID 5 stripes data across multiples blocks. But it also stores parity information, which is a smaller amount of data that can be used to accurately describe large amounts of data (like a book synopsis).
If one of your disks fails, this parity information is used to recover your data, granting you a great combination of speed and data protection.
RAID 50 combines the best traits of RAID 0 and RAID 5. It takes a standard RAID 0 set and stripes it across multiple RAID 5 sets. As long as no more than one disk fails in any of the individual RAID 5 groups, your system will be able to tolerate multiple disk failure before you begin to experience data loss.
Finding the Best RAID Configurations for You
Once you know about RAID, it's hard not to want to jump on board immediately. The key is knowing the right RAID configurations for your system and your data needs.