RAID, or Redundant Array of Independent Disks, is a form of storage technology that combines multiple disk drives into one logical storage unit. RAID can be implemented at the hardware or software level, and comes in a variety of RAID schemes based on the needs of the end user. The RAID hardware or software is what distinguishes the arrangement of disks from simply being a Jumble of Hard Disks (JOHD) arrangement. RAID specifically links each hard drive in the array together into some sort of scheme that either increases performance, data redundancy, or both in a manner that could not be achieved by simply adding more hard drives to a static system.
RAID is a compromise between cost, access speed, and data redundancy. RAID 1, for example, completely mirrors the data across all drives for excellent redundancy but at a the expense of extra hardware where as RAID 10 uses both mirroring and striping (segmenting logical data over different physical drives) to decrease the number of total drives needed while still maintaining redundancy and performance.
While historically RAID storage was the province of data centers and major corporations, consumer network storage and server devices as well as software-based RAID have made RAID storage more accessible to consumers. For more information about configuring and using RAID, check out How-To Geek articles on the topic including: How to Create a Software RAID Array in Windows 7 – How-To Geek and 9 Alternatives for Windows Home Server’s Drive Extender.
- By Jason Fitzpatrick on 01/15/13