RAID array data recovery

The RAID array data recovery service at Dave’s Computers in New Jersey is busier than it should be. RAID arrays are usually used by business or enterprise to provide robust storage solutions that prevent data loss or deliver fast storage. As any IT admin will tell you, RAID isn’t infallible and can still lose data despite every attempt to mitigate against it.

While RAID does offer fault tolerance, the main focus is performance and then data security, in that order. As you will see in a second, some RAID types have no fault tolerance at all and you will have to mitigate against data loss in the usual ways.

Fortunately, the data recovery team here at Dave’s Computers can help. We can help you configure the most suitable RAID array for your needs or help recover data should something happen to the one you have. Call us or come into the store and we can discuss your requirements.

RAID explained

RAID comes in several flavors, RAID 0, 1, 5, 6 and 10. RAID arrays can include many hard drives in many types of configuration. To explain how each works, imagine two hard drives connected to a single RAID controller. Many RAID arrays use multiple hard drives or even multiple arrays but the principle is the same.

RAID 0 uses striping which means data is stored alternately over the two disks. It offers performance advantages but does not prevent data loss as there is no fault tolerance. If something happens to one disk, only half the data remains.

RAID 1 uses mirroring which stores data on each drive. This does not improve performance that much but offers fault tolerance and can help prevent data loss. If a disk fails, you still have a complete copy of the data. The downside is that you use twice the storage media for the same amount of data.

RAID 5 requires a minimum of three hard drives to work properly and can include up to 16 drives in a single array. Information is striped similarly to RAID 0 but also includes a parity bit which is written across all drives. This parity bit can rebuild data should one drive fail. Performance is fast which is why it is the most popular RAID version and the parity bit offers fault tolerance. It can take a long time to rebuild data if a drive does fail though.

RAID 6 uses striping with double parity. RAID 6 uses the same principle as RAID 5 but with two parity bits. This means the array could theoretically survive the loss of two drives without data loss. The downside is that read/write is slower due to having to write two parity bits as well as the core data and rebuilding can take a while.

RAID 10 combines RAID 1 and RAID 0 and requires a minimum of four drives. It stripes data across a pair of drives like RAID 0 but then copies both of those drives in a mirror like RAID 1. This allows data to survive the loss of a drive and to be rebuilt quickly. The downside is that you use twice the storage media for the same amount of data.

RAID and data loss

As you can see from my brief description of what each RAID type does, there is an element of fault tolerance but it isn’t a get out of jail free card. RAID can help operations by keeping data stored and flowing but it is no substitute for good backups. It also doesn’t prevent data loss.

RAID 0 offers no fault tolerance and concentrates on performance over preventing data loss. RAID 1 and 5 can survive the loss of one drive but no more. RAID 6 can survive two drives going down but will slow down a lot while it rebuilds. RAID 10 can survive multiple drive losses but is very complicated to run and expensive to build.

You can still experience data loss with RAID through:

  • System crashes or critical errors
  • Power outages or improper shutdown
  • Hardware issues
  • Viruses and malware
  • Human error
  • Data corruption

How to prevent data loss when using RAID

If you are considering using a RAID array in your business, as well as deciding what level to use, you should introduce policies to help prevent data loss. These policies can form the backbone of your IT administration and create the kind of environment where data loss is the exception not the rule.

There are several things you can do to prevent data loss when using RAID:

Invest in UPS

Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) help prevent power surges, power outages and fluctuating current. They can be expensive but should be regarded as an essential part of any data center. They can drastically reduce the risk of data loss while keeping your systems running long enough to shut down properly in the event of power loss.

Enforce good IT practices

Good IT practices include proper shutdowns and reboots of RAID and storage devices, the 3-2-1 backup regimen and attention to detail whenever you are moving, deleting or changing stored data. Making sure everyone is on the ball before touching your data will also help reduce the risk of data loss.

Enforce good IT security

IT security comes in many forms. You will obviously need a good hardware firewall to protect your network and a good antivirus solution to keep malicious code out. Good IT security also includes responsible behavior from staff, sensible internet use, good email hygiene and awareness of risk.

Even if you implement a RAID 5, 6 or 10 solution, enforce good IT practice and take every precaution you can think of, Murphy’s Law still applies. If something can go wrong, it will go wrong. That’s where Dave’s Computers comes in. Our RAID array data recovery service can help rebuild your data and our expertise in business IT can help stop it happening again.

Contact Dave’s Computers in New Jersey for RAID array data recovery, consultation, repair and anything IT. We can help!

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