My thoughts about... RAID

  • Nearly every day there are questions about RAID in this forum. Sometimes I feel, that "having a RAID" is important to nearly every new user.

    The first common misconception is, that RAID is giving you security. The second is, that RAID is a backup. Both is not true.

    The only important letter in the abbreviation 'RAID' is the first one - and it stands for "redundant". Redundancy is defined by Wikipedia as "the duplication of critical components or functions of a system with the intention of increasing reliability". Your typical RAID is only protecting you against hardware failures of the HDDs in the RAID-array. When one HDD fails, another HDD can keep your system up and running. This could be very useful, if you're running a business: It keeps you working!

    RAID is not helping, when you're NAS is infected by maleware, you're deleting accidentally files, you're burglary-victim, your house is hit by lighting or a flood.

    You're only investing money in availability. But is availability important to home-users? I don't think so. It doesn't matter if you can view photos now or later. The only important thing for all home-users is, that photos of their children, personal documents and other digital assets will be stored "forever". If you're not sure, what I'm talking about, I would highly recommend to see this TEDx-Talk about the "Lost Generation".

    RAID is complex. RAID could cause trouble (see in this section of our forum). Don't waste time and money for availability! Just invest both in a good, easy, reliable backup-strategy. It's cheaper, easier and it is really helpful. And you'll not be part of the "Lost Generation". ;)


    With "My thoughts about..." I've started a series on things, I've to write over and over again. These thoughts are total personally. They are not a general advice. They are my personal point of view. Given that, I'll close those threads after writing down my opinion.
    @ our other mods: Feel free to add you thoughts to this series. Just use the tag and open you're own thread.

  • I don't use RAID because I don't have the time to deal with it. I'm not going to wait x hours for a resync. I have a 2nd server and make backups of each data drive. It's good enough for me.

    People that like RAID, yeah, you go do that. :)

    @Dennis I think you should leave these open for discussion. That is your decision. If you want to leave it closed like this you can delete my post if you like.

  • I am using RAID.

    There are good reasons for it as well. It is my first line of defense against hardware related (yes redundancy) data loss.

    I am using RAIDs now for years and I never run into an issue affecting my data. It also was the enabler for me to grow my NAS from 6 TB Netto capacity to 12 TB netto capacity by simply exchanging the disks from 2TB disks to 4TB disks one by one.

    That is quite easy if you understand the concept.

    I agree that you should not use RAID if you do not understand the concept and I agree as well, that it has a very special benefit and if you do not understand the concept it most likely does not have the benefit you think of.

    Everything is possible, sometimes it requires Google to find out how.

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