Understanding RAID

I always try to share what I learn, and a few days back was looking for a single page short cut summary notes on various RAID level for the storage units. Found this article quite resourceful and exactly a single paged document that I was looking for.

Now sharing the content for the readers. Enjoy!

RAID 0 (STRIPE)

raid-0 (1)RAID 0 splits data across drives, resulting in higher data throughput. The performance of this configuration is extremely high, but a loss of any drive in the array will result in data loss. This level is commonly referred to as striping.

  • Minimum number of drives required: 2
  • Performance: High
  • Redundancy: Low
  • Efficiency: High

ADVANTAGES:

  • High performance
  • Easy to implement
  • Highly efficient (no parity overhead)

DISADVANTAGES:

  • No redundancy
  • Limited business use cases due to no fault tolerance

RAID 1 (MIRROR)

raid-1RAID 1 writes all data to two or more drives for 100% redundancy: if either drive fails, no data is lost. Compared to a single drive, RAID 1 tends to be faster on reads, slower on writes. This is a good entry-level redundant configuration. However, since an entire drive is a duplicate, the cost per megabyte is high. This is commonly referred to as mirroring.

  • Minimum number of drives required: 2
  • Performance: Average
  • Redundancy: High
  • Efficiency: Low

ADVANTAGES:

  • Fault tolerant
  • Easy to recover data in case of drive failure
  • Easy to implement

DISADVANTAGES:

  • Highly inefficient (100% parity overhead)
  • Not scalable (becomes very costly as number of  disks increase)

RAID 5 (DRIVES WITH PARITY)

raid-5RAID 5 stripes data at a block level across several drives, with parity equality distributed among the drives. The parity information allows recovery from the failure of any single drive. Write performance is rather quick, but because parity data must be skipped on each drive during reads, reads are slower. The low ratio of parity to data means low redundancy overhead.

  • Minimum number of drives required: 3
  • Performance: Average
  • Redundancy: High
  • Efficiency: High

ADVANTAGES:

  • Fault tolerant
  • High efficiency
  • Best choice in multi-user environments which are not write performance sensitive

DISADVANTAGES:

  • Disk failure has a medium impact on throughput
  • Complex controller design

RAID 6 (DRIVES WITH DOUBLE PARITY)

raid-6RAID 6 is an upgrade from RAID 5: data is striped at a block level across several drives with double parity distributed among the drives. As in RAID 5, parity information allows recovery from the failure of any single drive. The double parity gives RAID 6 additional redundancy at the cost of lower write performance (read performance is the same), and redundancy overhead remains low.

  • Minimum number of drives required: 4
  • Performance: Average
  • Redundancy: High
  • Efficiency: High

ADVANTAGES:

  • Fault tolerant – increased redundancy over RAID 5
  • High efficiency
  • Remains a great option in multi-user environments which are not write performance sensitive

DISADVANTAGES:

  • Write performance penalty over RAID 5
  • More expensive than RAID 5
  • Disk failure has a medium impact on throughput
  • -Complex controller design

RAID 0+1 (STRIPE+MIRROR)

raid-0-1RAID 0+1 is a mirror (RAID 1) array whose segments are striped (RAID 0) arrays. This configuration combines the security of RAID 1 with an extra performance boost from the RAID 0 striping.

  • Minimum number of drives required: 4
  • Performance: Very High
  • Redundancy: High
  • Efficiency: Low

ADVANTAGES:

  • Fault tolerant
  • Very high performance

DISADVANTAGES:

  • Expensive
  • High Overhead
  • Very limited scalability

RAID 10 (MIRROR + STRIPE)

raid-10RAID 10 is a striped (RAID 0) array whose segments are mirrored (RAID 1). RAID 10 is a popular configuration for environments where high performance and security are required. In terms of performance it is similar to RAID 0+1. However, it has superior fault tolerance and rebuild performance.

  • Minimum number of drives required: 4
  • Performance: Very High
  • Redundancy: Very High
  • Efficiency: Low

ADVANTAGES:

  • Extremely high fault tolerance
  •    – under certain circumstances, RAID 10 array can sustain multiple simultaneous drive failures
  • Very high performance
  • Faster rebuild performance than 0+1

DISADVANTAGES:

  • Very Expensive
  • High Overhead
  • Limited scalability

RAID 50 (PARITY + STRIPE)

raid-50RAID 50 combines RAID 5 parity and stripes it as in a RAID 0 configuration. Although high in cost and complexity, performance and fault tolerance are superior to RAID 5.

  • Minimum number of drives required: 6
  • Performance: High
  • Redundancy: High
  • Efficiency: Average

ADVANTAGES:

  • Higher fault tolerance than RAID 5
  • Higher performance than RAID 5
  • Higher efficiency than RAID 5

DISADVANTAGES:

  • Very Expensive
  • High Overhead
  • Limited scalability

RAID 60 (DOUBLE PARITY + STRIPE)

raid-60RAID 60 combines RAID 6 double parity and stripes it as in a RAID 0 configuration. Although high in cost and complexity, performance and fault tolerance are superior to RAID 6..

  • Minimum number of drives required: 8
  • Performance: High
  • Redundancy: High
  • Efficiency: Average

ADVANTAGES:

  • Higher fault tolerance than RAID 6
  • Higher performance than RAID 6
  • Higher efficiency than RAID 6

DISADVANTAGES:

  • Very Expensive
  • Very complex / difficult to implement

Src: http://www.icc-usa.com/raid-calculator.html

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