A guide on RAID storage devices for beginners

In our guide on RAID storage devices, learn how to chose the best RAID storage system, download our chart on RAID levels and take our RAID data storage quiz.

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Redundant array of independent disks (RAID), which was first created more than 20 years ago as a better way to safely store data, is still alive and well in data storage environments, and is being used in many small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Although RAID storage devices are popular, choosing the right RAID level for your organization can be confusing. "Choosing the right RAID level for your SMB depends on performance, availability, capacity, economics and quality of service, or other service requirements," writes Greg Schulz, founder and senior analyst of the StorageIO Group.

"For an SMB environment, multiple RAID levels -- similar to having multiple tiers or types of storage -- may be applicable. You need to look at your specific environment to find out what RAID level is right for you," Schulz added.

In this guide on RAID storage devices, we've gathered our best content on RAID for beginners. Learn about how to choose a RAID storage system in our RAID primer. Next, read our tip on RAID levels and download our free RAID level comparison chart. Then take our quiz on RAID and see how much you learned.


RAID DATA STORAGE GUIDE FOR BEGINNERS

How RAID storage systems protect your application data

RAID has become a ubiquitous feature in storage systems. But because RAID is everywhere, it's no longer considered a cutting-edge technology. But this doesn't mean RAID isn't as important as it once was, storage pundits say. RAID remains relevant in the sophisticated storage market because as we gather, save, and rely on more and more data, the risk and consequences of losing that data increases as well. RAID has continued to evolve with new storage technologies. Some vendors have even moved in a different direction and are developing "post-RAID" products. For more information on RAID disk arrays and how to choose the right one for your needs, read our article on  RAID storage systems.

RAID level comparison chart: A free download

RAID performance is just one of the factors to be considered when evaluating RAID for your business. There are six basic RAID levels, and many more combinations available from most storage array vendors. Choosing the right RAID level depends on the application data type, the criticality of that data and the number of users. For example, for applications that need a good read performance, little write activity, and where there is a need to reduce costs, RAID 5 (stripe with rotating parity) is a good fit. But you might find RAID 6 works for your business.

Having trouble keeping track what type of data protection each RAID level offers? Read this article and then download our chart. This free chart defines the basic RAID levels, along with information about their performance, what applications are best for each RAID level, and the pros and cons of each. Click here to read the article and download our chart comparing RAID levels.

RAID data storage quiz

While industry experts say the shape of RAID data storage has evolved and is handled differently than when it first appeared 20 years ago, the main concept of combining drives to protect data lives on regardless of the methods used. There are many definitions and terms that you need to know when it comes to RAID data storage. Confused about striping vs. parity? Do you know what double-parity RAID is? What is a post-RAID product, and do you need one? Click here to get these answers to these questions and take our quiz on RAID data storage.

For even more information on RAID storage devices, bookmark our special section on RAID and small business storage hardware.

This was first published in September 2010

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