Raid Data Recovery

Posted on May 18, 2010 by

An organization operating without a level of RAID (short for “redundant array of independent drives”) technology may risk data loss. In today’s business community, an organization views data as assets and establishes safeguards to protect its investment. An organization also takes proactive steps to ensure that data access is seamlessly maintained without user awareness. Therefore, RAID 5 is a popular disk drive technology for protecting data and its access.

From the inception of digital computers, organizations sought technology to store and protect data. RAID technology resulted from efforts to create large disk storage systems that utilized inexpensive small drives. The goals were to increase a computer’s storage capacity and to reduce computer response time when storing and retrieving data. The resulting technology was called RAID 0, which lacked data loss protection. Later, RAID 5 was developed to safeguard data.

RAID technology writes blocks of data to each disk drive contained in an array of drives, according to Seagate. If additional data exist after writing to the last drive in the array, writing starts over at the first drive. This wraparound process continues until the computer’s write operation is completed. This technique is called striping. Most configurations of RAID consist of combinations of RAID 0, RAID 1. Furthermore, RAID 1 duplicates data across all drives.

RAID 5 utilizes three or more disk drives to protect data contained on any one of the drives. Data is spread throughout the array of drives. Furthermore, a computer constantly executes parity checking, a calculation performed on data bits to check for data errors. Unique to RAID, parity information is also stored on each drive, according to Seagate. This facilitates reconstruction of data contained on a failed drive onto the remaining operational drives.

If a disk drive fails in a RAID environment, simply replace the failed drive while the computer system continues to access reconstructed data on the operational drives. This procedure is called a hot swap. Once a new drive is installed, RAID begins the process that reloads data and parity information onto the drive.

Additional levels of RAID exist. Review the data loss protection requirements of your organization to determine which RAID level is right for your environment. In addition, RAID 5 provides limited data loss protection. Therefore, off-site data backup storage is necessary to recover from a major disaster that destroys all disk drives.


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