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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | Hard Disk Drives | Hard Disk Performance, Quality and Reliability | Redundant Arrays of Inexpensive Disks (RAID) | Why Use RAID? Benefits and Costs, Tradeoffs and Limitations ]
The many benefits of RAID do not come without some costs. (This is self-evident simply by the fact that most PCs do not use RAID arrays.) Most of the attention when it comes to RAID costs is paid to the hardware, but there are other costs that can dwarf the dollars (pounds, lira, shekels) paid for hardware. It's impossible to say exactly what a RAID implementation will cost because they can vary from simple setups costing only a couple of hundred dollars, to enormous arrays that cost as much as a small house.
When considering if RAID is right for you, don't forget to add in the costs in all of these major categories, where relevant:
Obviously, the costs are highest for businesses implementing large arrays. For these companies, however, these costs must be compared to the costs of data loss, data recovery and interruption of availability that would result if RAID were not used. For many companies, the entire cost of a RAID setup pays for itself the first time it prevents their enterprise system from having to be taken down for half a day to deal with a hardware failure.
Next: RAID Tradeoffs