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What On Earth Is RAID ?

We had an interesting on site repair the other day. A Dell XPS PC system which was refusing to boot properly. After having checked all the obvious stuff we realized that this had a 2Tb RAID hard drive array and this was where the problem was.

There are several varities of RAID array each have their advantages and disavantages. RAID 0 provides improved performance and additional storage but no fault tolerance. Any drive failure destroys the array, and the likelihood of failure increases with more drives in the array.

One of the hard drives in this particular situation had completely failed, to the point where the hard drive was not even spinning up.

Whilst Computer Solutions were able to rebuild the machine, with the remaining working hard drive and Windows 7, it was not possible to recover any of the customer data.

This highlights one of the disadvantages of this particular RAID (0) hard drive system. They will give great performance and data access times providing one of the hard drives does not fail. If one hard drive does fail as in this case, all of your data is probably NOT going to be recoverable.

RAID (1) would be a better choice as data is written identically to multiple drives, thereby producing a "mirrored set"; at least 2 drives are required to constitute such an array. This allows complete system recovery should one of the hard drives fail.

Computer Solutions would like to take this opportunity of wishing all their customers past, present and future a very happy and prosperous New Year 2012.

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