RAID is a data storage solution that uses multiple physical disk drives for improved performance, improved data storage security, or both. It stands for Redundant Array of Inexpensive/Independent Disks, and is essentially an alternative to using singular disk drives for data storage.
Why use RAID? Not only does it allow a massive amount of data to be reliably stored, but also the redundancy of multiple disks means that the failure of one does not mean you lose your data.
There are two metrics of performance that should be looked at when choosing any kind of storage method: read and write speeds. When it comes to RAID, what’s important to know is that, in terms of necessary computing power, reading is a fairly simple task, while writing is a more intensive and demanding operation.
Put simply, writing refers to the changing of values, or alteration of information, on the disk. Reading refers to accessing any of this information. Depending on the needs of the RAID user, the array will be set up to accommodate their specific requirements, and find a balance between the read/write speed and the reliability, or redundancy, of the stored data. In general, the term “redundancy” in RAID means the number of drives that can fail, without it affecting the integrity of the data and the operation of the raid. All three of these parameters are important when it comes to choosing a RAID system.
Although the exact specifications of a RAID array are flexible depending on an organization’s needs, the kinds we see the most often are:
RAID 0, otherwise known as a striped set or striped volume, stripes, or splits, your stored data across two or more disks. This setup has one major advantage: speed. For this reason, it can be a very useful tool for anything that requires rapid reading, such as live streaming with high quality video, scientific computing, online gaming, working with large databases, or other functions where speed and performance are the foremost concerns. The major downside of a RAID 0 setup is the redundancy. What this means is that when one of the disks in your RAID 0 array fails, the entire array’s data will no longer be accessible. In order to recover the lost data and get the array up and running again, the failed drive will have to be restored by a data recovery team.
This setup operates with two or more disks containing an exact copy of another disk. Because the data is redundantly mirrored across each of the disks in the array, this is a much more reliable option than RAID 0. It’s also a great option for scenarios where read performance is a priority, and when data reliability and redundancy is the utmost concern. However, there are downsides. For one, it’s a less efficient RAID financially, since you’re paying for two or more drives just to get the storage capacity of a single disk. You also need to monitor them more closely than other setups. Because each disk contains the same information as the others, it’s possible for your disks to fail without any alert to the user, leading to a major problem when your final drive fails and you realize you’ve lost your data.
RAID 5 is one of the most popular setups we see in the course of our work. Consisting of at least three drives, a RAID 5 array’s algorithm uses a specialized block called ‘parity’ to equally divide your data amongst your operating drives. This way, a single one of your RAID 5 drives can fail, and be replaced, without any loss of data. The parity algorithm will ensure a complete copy of the data is maintained on the remaining disks, and redistribute it when it detects that the failed drive has been replaced. In a way, a RAID 5 setup has the ability to rebuild itself, making it a great option for those needing a good balance between performance (speed) and redundancy (reliability).
RAID 6 is very similar to RAID 5, with the notable difference that two of your drives can fail without any data loss and the system will keep working normally, rather than a single one as in RAID 5. The added parity block makes this RAID setup even more reliable than its predecessor and compensates for the slower read/write speed of the array.
No matter how failsafe your RAID array may be, there’s always a chance of unexpected failure or data loss. At TeraDrive, we’ve successfully diagnosed and restored failed RAID drives after all manner of physical and logical corruptions, helping to get RAID systems of all shapes, sizes, and specifications up and running again.
If you’ve experienced a data loss in your RAID array, don’t panic! When you choose TeraDrive for your RAID data recovery, you’re employing not only our extensive experience of recovering data all across Canada, but also our CLASS 100-compliant clean room, proprietary recovery software, and the most sophisticated data recovery lab in BC’s Lower Mainland. We also offer a complimentary courier to retrieve your malfunctioning device for you. Once a quote for the data recovery service needed for your RAID array has been approved, we get started on restoring the failed drive(s) and work tirelessly to get you up and running as soon as possible.
If the recovery is unsuccessful, we don’t charge you a thing. That’s how confidently we stand by our motto: “Nothing is lost forever.”
If you’re experiencing a RAID array malfunction, don’t settle for downtime. Contact TeraDrive today!
TeraDrive’s recovery service encompasses all kinds of hard disk damage.