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How Are RAID Level Choices Made?

RAID levels not only apply the appropriate level of protection for data, they also have a tremendous effect on the performance of most applications. There are some effective practices guidelines, but each application in each organization must be analyzed to ensure adherence to business impact and performance metrics developed by the business and technical groups.

RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) is a standard method to add protection to data sets by adding redundancy in the underlying physical disks. Configured properly, any RAID set (except RAID 0) should be able to handle the loss of one disk without affecting users' ability to access data.

RAID 1 (mirroring) and RAID 5 (striped parity) are the most common implementations of RAID.

Each RAID implementation has different protection and performance properties. As storage administrators and application owners analyze the application data sets to determine the appropriate RAID level, the following should be considered:

  • Application criticality. Mission-critical applications should exist on RAID sets that maximize protection and reduce rebuild time in the event of failure.
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