Redundant array of independent disks or RAID is a useful system that can improve storage and computing capabilities as well as security. On a very basic level, it is multiple hard disks that are connected in order to provide more functions. RAID can be configured in a variety of different ways to serve different purposes. There are seven different RAID levels beginning with RAID 0 and spanning until RAID 6.
Types of RAID
Here is a quick introduction to the types of RAID configurations. RAID 0 is known as stripes and it is designed to maximize computing speed. It uses multiple disks to split the data evenly. Although this configuration is great for speed, it is not full-proof: if one disk fails then the entire system will fail and data could be lost.
RAID 1 is different in that it makes a mirror copy of the data on multiple disks. This adds extra security and is used to create a reliable source of data.
RAID 2 is actually hardly used anymore because other systems were better at error correction.
RAID 3 utilizes byte level striping with a dedicated parity disk but this is also rarely used now. It was generally used for high volume data transfers.
RAID 4 incorporates block-level striping with one disk dedicated to parity. It is similar to RAID 3 but allows for better random performance reads.
RAID 5 is a much more widely used configuration that uses block striping in addition to distributed parity. It is more secure and less likely that data will be lost if a single disk fails.
Finally, RAID 6 took RAID 5 one step further and includes two distributed parity blocks on every disk instead of one, further adding to the stability and security.
If you are trying to determine the best solution to implement into your organization, this can get technical fast. We recommend starting your search here to gain an understanding of the RAID functions available.
Symptoms of RAID Failure
Even though many changes and advancements in RAID technology have been implemented over the years, it is still not a perfect system and is still occasionally prone to failures. Several reasons for potential system failures include:
- RAID partitions are missing
- RAID controller fails
- The server crashes
- Power surges.
- Power supply failure
- Disk media damage
- Accidentally deleted files
As you can see above, there may be many reasons a RAID disk may fail. It may be difficult to predict exact symptoms as there may be thousands of ways that your computer may show that it is not working correctly. As you work with your device frequently, keep a close eye on your system and see the section below for recommendations if your machine is functioning in an out-of-the-ordinary way.
What to Do if Your RAID Fails
One of the best things you can do to make sure your RAID stays in top condition is to closely monitor it and shut it down if anything is malfunctioning. Continuing to run a RAID system in a degraded mode can severely damage the entire system.
It is also important to not tamper with or try to fix the system yourself because doing so could allow dust and other impurities to enter the system and greatly damage its inner workings. It is much better to call a RAID recovery professional so that the issue can be resolved as quickly as possible with as little damage as possible. It is important to conduct routine data backups to mitigate the negative effects in the unlikely event that RAID does fail. This is often neglected because people are confident in the abilities of the RAID system to store data effectively.
While RAID is a very useful system that has a multitude of benefits it is also something that can lead to devastating amounts of data loss if not maintained properly. Professionals in the data recovery field know how to navigate this complex technology and should be contacted it you have any RAID recovery needs.