There is a large number of things you should consider as you’re setting up a server. Storage is definitely one of those things. If you’re just starting out and your storage and performance needs are rather straightforward, you can get away by using a single disk to store your data so that you can retrieve it later. However, a better option is to use RAID.
So what exactly is RAID? The abbreviation stands for Redundant Arrays of Independent Disks. RAID is essentially a layer in between the raw drives or partitions and the filesystem layer. As a data storage virtualization technology, it combines drives in different patterns for better performance or redundancy compared to the collection of single drives operating individually, so data is distributed across the drives, referred to as RAID levels.
Is there more than one type of RAID?
There are three main types of RAID: hardware RAID, software RAID and hardware-assisted software RAID (basically a combination of the first two). Most web hosting companies will include either one of these types of RAID in their hosting packages. So if you see it listed as a feature of your web hosting package, you’ll know your complex storage and performance demands will be successfully met.
What are its benefits?
The two major benefits of using RAID are data redundancy and performance. Redundancy is very important in any online business, because it ensures the availability of your data in any circumstances. This essentially means that in case of a technical failure, your information will still be accessible while the error is being fixed. However, RAID does not act like a backup mechanism, but it is intended to minimize disruptions when they occur.
In point of performance, RAID can help you by allowing data to be accessed faster, as multiple disks can be consulted for each read operation. This obviously leads to increased performance and overall a better client experience.
What are its drawbacks?
Minor drawbacks of RAID include substantial costs derived from investments in specialized hardware, or in the case of configurations that focus on performance, the increased risk of total data loss in case of using RAID0, therefore we always recommend that you use RAID10.