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Performance Support

Storage: RAID Levels

Our topic for this discussion is disk related, more specifically we'll be covering disk array configurations implemented using RAID. RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks though it originally meant Redundant Array of Ine pensive Disks. RAID is a storage technology that combines multiple disk drives into a !ogical "nit, or !", or more simply into a logical drive. #hat e actly does that mean$ #ell think of it as taking multiple disk drives and creating a single drive out of it and presenting it to the operating system as one disk drive. "sing hardware RAID the operating system doesn%t even reali&e that the single disk drive that it sees is actually spread across two or more physical drives and have been combined into an array. 'ow is RAID actually implemented though$ #ell first a RAID (ontroller is needed and this controller is physically installed into the computer, typically a server, and disk drives are connected to the RAID (ontroller either internal to the computer or sometimes through an e ternal disk cage. Once the RAID (ontroller is installed and sees the individual disks you use a management application for the RAID (ontroller to create a disk array, which is then seen by the operating system as a single disk. #hy use RAID$ RAID is used to achieve certain goals when delivering storage to a computer system, and these goals are namely reliability and availability, performance and capacity. )here are several RAID levels to choose from and for our discussions we'll cover some of the most popular ones, RAID *, RAID +, RAID ,, and RAID +*. -ost provide some balance of all of the goals mentioned, but there is one that provides no reliability or availability benefits and that is RAID *. All RAID levels above RAID * provide some degree of reliability and data protection against disk drive failure. After all disk drives are mechanical devices with moving parts and they are prone to fail. !et%s cover the RAID levels now. RAID *, disk striping . this is good for performance but offers no protection. Data is divided e/ually before being written to disk so that each disk in the RAID * group gets an e/ual portion of the write. All data is written simultaneously which provides high performance and all drive capacity is usable. RAID +, disk mirroring . this is good for redundancy but offers no additional performance, it is a simple concept to understand as well. )he drives in the array are simply divided into pairs and when data is written to the RAID + array identical data is written to both sides of the pair. If a drive fails in this configuration the identical data e its and remains available from the other disk in the pair. Only half of the drive capacity is usable. RAID , . this is a fault tolerant RAID level providing a mi of performance and protection. Data is striped across the drives much like it is in RAID * but now there is an added drive in the array that provides parity so we lose the full capacity of one drive for the added protection. 0arity provides the RAID (ontroller a way to rebuild the data if one drive should happen to fail. )otal drive capacity available is e/ual to the total storage of all disks minus the capacity of one full disk. RAID +* . also RAID +1* is called a nested RAID or RAID + and RAID *. !ike two mirrors that we stripe across. )his provides e cellent performance and protection, however it also uses half of the overall capacity for the protection so only half of your disk capacity is usable.
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)his has been an overview of storage, specifically RAID levels. )hank you for watching.

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