RAID Levels & Fault Tolerance

Before choosing a software solution for your business, it’s important that you first decide what exactly you want to receive from the product that you are paying for. Surely, in your search for a storage solution, you’ve come across the term “RAID” or a “Redundant Array of Independent Disks.” Basically, RAID is used when a company needs to improve performance or allow some expanded fault tolerance for a server or a network-attached storage device.

What is Fault Tolerance?

RAID Fault Tolerance - ACNC If you want to find a solution that allows some level of fault tolerance, you are looking for a storage solution that, in the event that something fails, in any operating system, the system can still run properly without failing completely. Fault tolerance in software or storage solutions usually utilizes mirroring. Mirroring means that the system performs operations on more than one system – so that in the event of a failure, the system doesn’t lose any information, and the user can continue working on a separate system.

How Does RAID Affect Fault Tolerance?

RAID storage solutions have different levels – most commonly used are:

  • RAID 0 – provides no fault tolerance, but it increases disk speed 2x or better.
  • RAID 1 – mirrors the data on multiple disks to provide fault tolerance, but requires more space for less data.
  • RAID 5 – strips the disks similar to RAID 0, but doesn’t provide the same amount of disk speed. Has fault tolerance without the loss of any data.
  • RAID 6 – minimum of four disks. Same as RAID 5, but the system can fail twice and not lose any data.
  • RAID 7.3 – This new RAID option answers the need for a triple-parity RAID. With RAID 5 and RAID 6 beginning to become inadequate, this option is beginning to take the steps necessary to provide a more reliable storage option that RAID 5 and RAID 6.
  • RAID 10 – this option is costly, but it combines RAID 0 and RAID 1. The RAID 10 option requires four disks, and can continue to operate without loss of any data so long as the failures occur in different subgroups.

Deciding on a software or hardware version of RAID is equally as important. The software version of a RAID solution supports fewer of the RAID levels you may need than the hardware RAID does.

What RAID Solution Is Best For Me?

Analyze your company. Do you value fault tolerance more than the speed and performance of your system? If so, RAID 1 or RAID 10 may be the best option. If you are more concerned with the performance of your system, RAID 0 and RAID 5 would be a good decision. If you value fault tolerance and system performance equally, spending the extra money for RAID 6 or RAID 10 – and ensuring that your system will not suffer in performance, and your data is safe from system failure – are the better options.

If you are unsure of what your company needs, contact AC&NC and use our live chat to speak with one of our experts today! We’ll help you find the right storage solutions for your business.