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Performance, Quality and Reliability | Redundant Arrays of
Inexpensive Disks (RAID) | Why Use RAID? Benefits and Costs,
Tradeoffs and Limitations ]
Should You Use RAID?
I don't know. You tell me. :^)
How easy it is to answer this question depends on who you are and what you are trying
to do. The only way to answer the question is to fully explore the issue, weigh the costs
against the benefits, compare the costs to your budget and decide what your priorities
are. Do this honestly and the question will answer itself.
That said, I won't cop out completely. :^) Here are some very broad guidelines:
- Business Servers: In this author's opinion, all but the smallest
businesses should be running their critical data on some sort of RAID system. Data is so
important, and interruptions can be so crippling to most businesses, that the costs are
usually worth it. Even an inexpensive, small RAID setup is better than nothing, and if
budget is very tight, not all of the company's data has to reside on the array.
- Workstations: For those individuals who are doing intensive work such
as video file editing, graphical design, CAD/CAM, and the like should consider a RAID
array. RAID 0 will provide the improved performance
needed in many of these applications. (RAID 10 is
superior due to its redundancy, but the requirement for four drives makes it expensive and
space-consuming; if the RAID 0 array is backed up each night then that's usually quite
acceptable for a workstation.)
- Regular PCs: Most "regular PC users" do not need RAID, and
the extra cost of one or more additional hard drives is usually not justified. Most
individuals who set up RAID on regular PCs cannot afford hardware RAID and SCSI drives, so
they use software RAID or inexpensive IDE/ATA RAID controllers. They are typically setting
up RAID solely for performance reasons, and choose RAID 0. Unfortunately, RAID 0 just
doesn't improve performance all that much for the way typical PCs are used; I often see
gamers setting up RAID 0 systems when most games will take little advantage of it.
Meanwhile, the RAID 0 array puts all of the user's data in jeopardy.
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