Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Giving RAID the thumbs up

Just read Robin Harris' post at his new blog location; and his comment on another blog discussing RAID. He quotes a VAR who has tracked disk failures and thinks RAID is an expensive luxury for desktops.

It's interesting to see the failure rates quoted, anywhere from 1-3%, which on the face of it, seems low. However when its *your* disk that has failed and the data is irretrievable, there's cold comfort to be had in failure rate statistics. I run RAID1 on my server; I have two 500GB SATA drives. Backing up that volume of data on a regular basis is a nightware without investing in a very expensive backup solution like LTO and it is a real disappointment to see tape hasn't kept pace with disk in terms of the capacity/cost ratio.

So, I'm sticking with RAID. I augment it with disk-to-disk backups because, yes, you do have to cater for the d'oh factor of user errors or even dodgy software which corrupts files too, but RAID works for me and that's all I need to worry about.


Cuyler said...

I think you missed the point of the article when you said "I use RAID on my server...". The point of the article is not that RAID doesn't work - it's just not worth the hassle work with the average desktop user who heard the word "RAID" and now wants it. The 'errors' that the original article quotes are not from RAID failures but from when users see a degraded RAID and don't know what to do. Of course, I use raid myself with my server holding a TB of data that wouldn't be easily backed up.

One thing the industry needs to deal with is the increased amount of data the common user is creating (iMovie projects, digital photos, etc...) and not having a user-free way of ensuring it's safety.

Chris M Evans said...

OK, I see your point, however I diagree that it's not worth the hassle to the average user. I suspect very few people actually back up their data on a regular basis and (excluding finger trouble etc) as drives are so large these days, people are committing a huge amount of valuable data they'd be heartbroken to lose should their HDD crash. I do agree that we need industry solutions to the backup issue; RAID solves the equipment failure part but not the corruption and user problems.