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Data Room

Should You Set Up A RAID 1 Or RAID 5 For Data Backup?

If your office or home doesn’t have a data backup system in place, you may have considered setting up a RAID array to get back on track. Depending on your resources, this can be a great choice.

Here are a couple of things to consider when looking to use a RAID system for data backup.

Levels of RAID

There are two main levels of RAID that you’ll want to consider before deciding.

 

A RAID 1 is what’s known as a mirrored set and typically has two hard drives; “mirroring” means that when information is written to one of the hard drives, it’s simultaneously written to the other drive. This is a great form of backup for homes and small offices, because you don’t have to deal with the complexity of RAID cards and the like and can still have a backup solution that’s unlikely to fail. Many commercial external hard drives provide RAID 1, such as several drives in LaCie’s line and a few of the Western Digital MyBook series. Since RAID 1 devices operate with two drives, you’re limited in size to the largest two drives you can find. Most of the commercially available RAID 1s have around 320-500GB of possible data storage.

RAID 5 arrays work by “striping” data over several disks. They vary in size from a couple of gigabytes all the way up to hundreds of terabytes. You can set up a RAID to fulfill whatever size requirement you want, but the more drives you have to add to your RAID, the better the controller card you’ll need and the more expensive the total setup will get. Companies like Adaptec sell RAID 5 systems; try to locate one that has about twice the storage potential of what you think you’ll need. That will cover you if you end up needing more storage and you won’t have to completely overhaul your system.

Consistency of Backup

If you go with a RAID 5, you’ll need to schedule in some sort of consistent backup method. Many commercial programs are available that are designed to automatically copy user files to a RAID server, which is great if you have a large office and many users. Your tech department will need to set this up, and while they’re at it, check that they know what to do when a RAID 5 has a failed drive (RAID 5 arrays have a parity, meaning one drive can go out without causing much of a problem, but it’s important to know how to properly rebuild the array).

A RAID 1 is its own backup, and any files stored on it should be safe. Just remember that if a drive goes down, it will be extremely important to back up all information on the remaining disk as quickly as possible.

Pricing

RAID 1 devices can be bought for a couple of hundred bucks, but RAID 5 arrays will likely cost into the thousands. If you have to back up a lot of data, however, it can definitely be worth it; as I’d said earlier, RAID 1s are somewhat limited in the amount of information they can store.

The most important thing is to develop a plan for what to do if and when a drive in your RAID goes down, and to always have all angles covered. You’ll be very glad that you did, and with the help of a striped or mirrored data set, you can make sure that you never have to deal with data loss again.

It is the cyber crime branch who get to decide when to conduct raids in datarooms in case of data breach and everyone has to adhere to the set rules and regulations.

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