There are many reasons why you may wish to use a raid storage enclosure to attach to your computer. The main uses of a raid storage enclosure would be to back up your data in the safest possible way.
The difference between a RAID storage enclosure and a normal storage enclosure is the fact that with a raid storage enclosure there will be at least two physical hard drives in the enclosure and they will be configured in some sort of RAID array.
What is RAID?
RAID stands for redundant array of inexpensive disks. The idea behind RAID is that the data is spread in various ways across multiple disks. The primary reason for this would traditionally be for data redundancy – ie if one disk fails, you don’t lose all of your data because its spread across the other disks.
Aside from redundancy RAID can also be used for other purposes such as increased speed and creating larger storage areas from several small disks.
Different Types of RAID
There are many different types of RAID configurations, but the most popular and those that help to describe most common scenarios are:
- RAID0 – This configuration creates a single volume with multiple disks. The data is stored across all of the disks in the array. If you have a raid storage enclosure configured with raid0 you will have very fast read and write times because data can be written and read from several disks at once. There is no redundancy with RAID0 because the data is not duplicated at all within the array.
- RAID1 – This configuration mirrors the information on one disk to the other. If you have a raid storage enclosure with a RAID1 configuration data transfer is likely to be slower than normal. Writing is slower because the computer needs to effectively write the same data to both disks. Reading can sometimes be faster as the data can be read from both disks at once, however in reality there is often only marginal performance increase from this fact.
- RAID5 – RAID5 is a combination of the previous RAID types. Data is spread across the drives but there is also space reserved on each drive for parity information which can be used in the case of drive failure. If you have a raid storage enclosure with raid5 you will need at least 3 disks in the array. You can afford to lose only a single drive with RAID5. This sounds safe, but once a single drive fails it puts increased pressure on the remaining drives and if another one fails before the drive is replaced you will lose everything.
- RAID6 – This is similar to RAID5 except that it uses doulbe distributed parity so up to two drives can fail before the the data is lost. If you have a raid storage enclosure with RAID5 then your data will be very safe. The minimum hard drive count for RAID5 is 3 disks.
RAID Storage Enclosure
There are many types of raid storage enclosure on the market today. Some of the main differences in the raid storage enclosure that is right for your situation will be:
- Physical size – this is important depending where you want to situate the enclosure
- Disk capacity – this is important depending what type of RAID array you want to configure, and how much storage space you need
- Access method(s) – Access methods include USB, Ethernet and wireless. Important depdning how you want to access your data
- Other features such as additional USB drive backup etc
Benefits of using a RAID storage Enclosure
the main benefits of a raid storage enclosure are data safety – in particular RAID1, RAID 5 and RAID 6 offer varying levels of data safety.
Speed of access – in particular RAID0, RAID5 and RAID6 offer an increase in performance.
RAID5 and in particular RAID6 offer a combination of both performance increase and data safety and will therefor be the best option in a raid storage enclosure. However, these options do come at a cost because you are using more disks for these extra features.
RAID Storage Enclosure Reviews
Synology 2 bay raid storage enclosure
This raid storage enclosure available from ebuyer.com has a 2 drive capacity and can be configured as RAID0 or RAID1 depending on whether you are after performance or redundancy.
This raid storage enclosure does not come with disks fitted.
The raid storage enclosure has teh ability to connect via LAN or wireless making access of your data extremely easy and efficient.
The raid storage enclosure is great for home users with an affordable price of £179.99 inc VAT.
Synology 4 bay raid storage enclosure
If you want a raid storage enclosure that packs a little more punch (and a few more disks) then this 4 bay raid storage enclosure will be ideal.
It comes pre fitted with 4x3TB hard drives and supports RAID0,RAID1,RAID5,RAID6 and RAID10.
This raid storage enclosure comes from ebuyer.com and the price is £866.00 inc VAT. a pretty hefty sum, but when you consider teh 4x3TB drives that come with this device, and the various RAID configuration options, its actually a very good price.