Anyone who works with computers knows that there are two categories of computer owners: those who’ve had a computer failure and those who about to have a computer failure.

Imagine, if you will the following dreaded scenario:

You make it a rule to back-up your computers at the close of each business day… without fail. But suddenly just prior to the completion of the usual back-up, your computer or server hard drive fails?! The result would be the loss of all of all data saved to the computer that day, the time-consuming recovery from backup, and the delay in being able to utilize your computer.

ForeSight Computer Solutions offers a simple solution to this much feared scenario: RAID, the acronym for Redundant Array of Independent Disks.

A RAID disk drive, if configured to protect your computer from that inevitable and untimely hard drive failure, will save your invaluable business data on multiple hard drives.

Now, if that same hard drive failure mentioned above were to happen to your computer and you had a RAID configuration:

  1. A message would be received advising you of the hard drive failure
  2. You would arrange to have the failed drive replaced
  3. Your computer should continue to run without any loss of files and,
  4. Your files would be copied to the new drive providing redundancy.

Just think of it as flying an airplane with two engines instead of one OR driving with an additional tire mounted next to the tire that is about to fail. Why wait for a catastrophe to strike …only to find out it was a costly mistake to neglect basic IT services?

Keep in mind that not all RAID’s are “created equal;” RAID arrays perform various and distinct functions. Contact us to make sure that you have the redundancy that you require.

While data redundancy is an often used function of RAID, there are other benefits available as well. Generally these benefits can be achieved individually or in combination. Some RAID benefits include:

  • Data Striping – improves disk performance by storing a portion of a file on one drive and other portions on one or more additional drives
  • Mirroring – writes data to two or more disks for redundancy
  • Both Data Striping and Mirroring – These features can be combined providing the best of both worlds

There are additional considerations and options beyond those listed above. In fact there are numerous RAID Levels available. Each level has a unique combination of features providing its own advantages and disadvantages. Some of the Levels include Levels 0, 1, 5, and 10.

RAID is generally not available on notebook or netbook computers. It requires the space to install one or more additional hard drives and possibly an additional circuit card. RAID is most common on servers where their services are often provided to multiple people and or computers.

RAID is NOT a replacement for computer backups. There are many problems that make a backup invaluable including: accidental file deletion, theft, water damage, voltage surge, disgruntled employee, tornado, and malicious software.

Software vs. Hardware RAID: The most reliable and highest performance RAID systems tend to be hardware based. In a hardware RAID system a RAID circuit card is used. The hard drives plug into the RAID card instead of the computer mother board. The computer hardware presents a single hard drive even though there are two or more hard drives in the RAID array. In software RAID the management of the drives is controlled via software instead of via the additional circuit card. This tends to somewhat degrade performance and is not considered as reliable as hardware raid.

As you can see RAID can be a fairly complex subject. In fact there are entire books written on the subject of RAID. It is best to allow a computer professional to help select the most appropriate RAID configuration, perform the installation, and monitor the system for maximum performance and reliability.