A RAID is not a backup! Here we explain why.

A RAID mirrors data on different disks, but it must not replace data backup.

The acronym RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks, which is a redundant array of independent hard drives. In plain language, it means that instead of running a single hard drive, you run several similar disks in a cluster. Depending on the design of the system, this can increase data security because identical files may be distributed across different hard disks. In addition to the aspect of better protection against data loss, this primarily brings speed advantages when accessing data, which is why RAID is also primarily interesting for fast networks. In this context, people also like to talk about NAS, i.e. a Network Attached Storage (network storage), which can be accessed by all computers in the connected network. However, not every NAS is automatically a RAID system.

 Why multiple hard drives at all?

 You can use hard drives in different configurations in a network or even in individual computers. For example, a single drive may not be a RAID system at all. The risk of data loss is very high, because if the hard disk should be defective, data is lost without regular backup . Partitioning into different drives is possible, but does not protect against a hardware failure of the single disk. In a JBOD array, there are at least two disks that are combined into one large drive. The problem is that if one drive fails, the other drives are also affected and reading the data can become difficult or impossible. Therefore, a regular data backup is important in all systems.

 Different variants make RAID interesting for networks

 RAID exists in different arrangements, starting with two hard drives in RAID 0. By storing data in parallel on the different disks, they can be accessed much faster because parallel working becomes possible. However, this effect can be nullified within a network due to the limits of the network speed. In terms of data security, RAID 0 is not much use, since the data is lost if one disk fails in the entire array. If it is less about the working speed and more about the data security, it becomes interesting from RAID 1. Here all data is stored twice on the different drives. This means that you always have a duplicate of the files on another disk, but naturally lose half of the effective storage space. This is also true for other RAID versions, where additional hard disks in different configurations are used for security. Here, the available storage space can then be used more intelligently. 

 A RAID can never replace the data backup

 But regardless of the number of hard drives and the RAID mode used, it is still true that data loss can still occur. If data is written incorrectly, a virus rages or a software error is present, these problems are also transferred to the copied data and are unusable despite multiple execution under certain circumstances. Furthermore, accidentally deleted files are not easy to recover. Therefore, despite RAID, regular backups should not be neglected. Only the regular backup can guarantee the recovery in case of an emergency. RAID ensures (especially in the higher configuration levels) rather the unbraked continuation of work in the network, if one (or even more) disks should fail. These can then be replaced during operation without necessarily having to stop working on the data. However, doing without a backup because of RAID is by no means recommended.

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About the Author , partner support
Sebastian Müller Sebastian Müller is partner and top customer support at Langmeier Software, making him the best person to talk to about Langmeier backup backup solutions.

Phone: +41 44 861 15 70
Email: sebastian@langmeier-software.com

Further lookup: RAID, Backup, Langmeier Backup, Data backup, NAS Backup, Data loss

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