For decades, RAID solutions have been a mainstay storage strategy for enterprises of all sizes, from small shops to large corporations. A relatively early example of storage virtualization, RAID systems cohere multiple disk drives into a single logical unit, thereby delivering redundancy for data protection as well as strong in/out performance. Like all successful technologies, RAID has evolved over the years to provide greater business and operational value.
Today’s leading RAID arrays can be provisioned with solid-state drives for still greater performance and offer such cost-reducing efficiencies as data deduplication and compression. Many next-generation systems also offer what is called unified storage (also known as network unified storage or NUS). A single RAID array can manage and deliver both applications and files by simultaneously handling file-based and block-based storage. These platforms support Fibre Channel storage area networks (SANs), IP SANs, also known as iSCSI SANs, and network attached storage (NAS).
As such, they provide extraordinary flexibility and investment protection. They can meet the needs of client-based applications that generate unstructured data as well as the workloads of server-based applications like databases that produce structured data. They reduce capital and operating costs by eliminating the need for separate platforms to store file- and block-based data. Additionally, one device can be dedicated to either kind of storage should the need arise.
A further benefit is a single unified storage solution can be simpler to manage than multiple systems. With enterprise data stores inexorably increasing, unified storage RAID arrays are formidable solutions for saving and processing data.