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RAID as Backup and DR tool?

Can You Use RAID as Disaster Recovery and Backup Protection?

Redundant Arrays of Independent Disks (RAID) are viewed by some as sufficient protection for the data – but is it?  This article reviews the different types of RAID configuration, how they work, and their primary purpose.  We’ll point out by example how RAID can help, and whether it alone is sufficient.  Read more.

Can You Use RAID as Disaster Recovery and Backup Protection? 

We don’t often get the question directly, but some feel a Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) provides sufficient protection for their data.  There are different types of RAID and while some arrangements provide for redundant data storage, it is not a substitute for a proper backup.  A redundant disk array does not provide any protection against malware, user-induced data loss, or physical damage to the hardware or hardware environment.

Redundant disk arrays initially served two purposes.  The first was to combine inexpensive disk drives with smaller capacities into a larger, faster volume.  The second was to provide a copy of data in the event of a single drive failure.  These two characteristics are not present in every instance of RAID, however, and it is important to know how the arrays are configured.

A RAID 0 configuration is designed for speed.  Blocks of data are written across the different drives, which means that multiple read/write disk functions can occur at the same time.  This process is sometimes referred to as “striping”.  RAID 0 is a configuration that does not provide any data protection; if one of the drives in the array fails, that data is not available – it is not redundant on any other drive – and your complete data set now has holes in it.

RAID 1 is built for redundancy and not for speed.  Data is simultaneously written to two drives (or pairs of drives).  Should one drive fail, there is a complete, failover data set on the other drive.  Read/write disk functions are more singular in nature, and therefore are not as fast as they are in a striping configuration.

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