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Whether you’re looking to improve your disk I/O performance or provide yourself with disk redundancy, RAID cards are an easy way to make this work. Hardware RAID and software RAID are both options and depending on your use case, one may be better than the other.

There are many options with RAID and depending on the number of disks, you can have several RAID modes. See our RAID calculator here.

RAID 0 splits data across drives, resulting in higher data throughput. The performance of this configuration is extremely high, but a loss of any drive in the array will result in data loss. This level is commonly referred to as striping.

  • Minimum number of drives required: 2
  • Performance: High
  • Redundancy: Low
  • Efficiency: High

RAID 1 writes all data to two or more drives for 100% redundancy: if either drive fails, no data is lost. Compared to a single drive, this mode tends to be faster on reads, slower on writes. This is a good entry-level redundant configuration. However, since an entire drive is a duplicate, the cost per megabyte is high. This is commonly referred to as mirroring. 

  • Minimum number of drives required: 2
  • Performance: Average
  • Redundancy: High
  • Efficiency: Low

RAID 5 stripes data at a block level across several drives, with parity equality distributed among the drives. The parity information allows recovery from the failure of any single drive. Write performance is rather quick, but because parity data must be skipped on each drive during reads, reads are slower. The low ratio of parity to data means low redundancy overhead.

  • Minimum number of drives required: 3
  • Performance: Average
  • Redundancy: High
  • Efficiency: High 

RAID 6 is an upgrade from 5: data is striped at a block level across several drives with double parity distributed among the drives. Parity information allows recovery from the failure of any single drive. The double parity gives this RAID mode additional redundancy at the cost of lower write performance (read performance is the same), and redundancy overhead remains low.

  • Minimum number of drives required: 4
  • Performance: Average
  • Redundancy: High
  • Efficiency: High

RAID 1+0 is a striped (RAID 0) array whose segments are mirrored (RAID 1). This mode is a popular configuration for environments where high performance and security are required. In terms of performance, it is similar to RAID 0+1. However, it has superior fault tolerance and rebuilds performance.

  • Minimum number of drives required: 4
  • Performance: Very High
  • Redundancy: Very High
  • Efficiency: Low

RAID 5+0 combines parity of 5 and stripes it as in a 0 configuration. Although high in cost and complexity, performance and fault tolerance are superior to 5.

  • Minimum number of drives required: 6
  • Performance: High
  • Redundancy: High
  • Efficiency: Average

RAID 6+0 combines double parity of 6 and stripes it as in a 0 configuration. Although high in cost and complexity, performance and fault tolerance are superior to 6.

  • Minimum number of drives required: 8
  • Performance: High
  • Redundancy: High
  • Efficiency: Average

There is lots of options for RAID cards, we’re happy to help with your RAID questions  – fill out the form below and we will assist you in figuring out the best options for your requirements. Or, you can use our RAID Calculator tool.

 

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