RAID is a short form for the phrase “redundant array of independent disks”. It involves having more than one hard drive and most often installing controller hardware on your server so that the operating system only “sees” one drive. Having RAID on your dedicated server is a good way to protect your data and can help make accessing any single file quicker than when only a single hard drive is used. There are many different levels of RAID you can choose to implement, among the most popular are the following:
RAID 0 – Technically, this level is not true RAID, as there is no redundancy. The disks in a RAID-0 array are partitioned into many sectors, and data is written onto each sector in a striping fashion. There is no redundancy, so if any one hard drive fails the data on it is lost.
RAID 1 – This is when your data is mirrored onto multiple hard drives. The information stored on each disk is identical, so this level of RAID can be thought of as a “real-time backup”. Data can be read from either hard drive, so it speeds up access times when there are multiple users. If any one disk fails it can be replaced and the array will rebuild itself.
RAID 5 – This level of RAID uses three or more hard drives, and provides a higher level of protection and redundancy for your data if any one disk fails.
RAID 10 – This is a combination of RAID-1 and RAID-0. It allows for quicker access times than RAID-1 alone, while protecting your data.
Server hard drives are mechanical, and as such they do sometimes fail. If your data is important RAID should be in your hardware budget, perhaps with secure backup space also (as another level of redundancy). RAID can be thought of as a form of insurance for your data: you may never have to take advantage of it, but it only takes one hard drive failure to make you wish you had it. It’s best that you order RAID on your new dedicated servers when you place the order. If you wait until after the operating system has been loaded a reformat would be needed in order to have the RAID card recognized by the server. RAID is an available option on most dedicated servers with PingPipe.