There are a few major advantages to having a RAID array in your home, and with a RAID external hard drive, even a novice computer user can have a RAID 1 or RAID 0 up and running in no time. However, before you run to the store to pick up an external RAID, here are a few things that you should probably know.
First of all, there’s a big difference between RAID 0, RAID 5 and RAID 1. RAID 0 arrays are striped. That means that one bit of data is written to the first hard drive, then a bit is written to the second, and back and forth and back and forth. This gives you twice the data storage on a RAID 0 external hard drive, but if one hard drive fails, you’ll lose access to all of your data.
A RAID 1 is mirrored. When data is written to one hard drive, it’s written to the other hard drive. This makes a RAID 1 external hard drive a safe choice, but expensive, since you’re paying for both of the drives inside the external but only getting the storage capacity of one.
A RAID 5 is at least 3 drives, so it’s expensive. It uses striped data, but it also has a parity. This means that if one hard drive fails, it simply needs to be switched out. If you can afford it, a RAID 5 is the best way to go, as it combines low cost with safe data storage.
There are companies that offer external RAID arrays for home computer users, and they often offer all three of these options. Here’s the deal: you should get a RAID 0 if you need a lot of storage but you’re not storing anything important, and a RAID 1 if you don’t have much to store but you’re concerned about safe storage. The RAID 5, as I’ve said, is the best if you can afford it.
When you buy an external RAID array for your home computer, pay attention to the listed speed of the array and try to choose a fast one. Look at price, too, and always buy online. You’ll find a much better deal and a much wider selection than what you’ll get at a big box retail store.
Finally, think about size. A good rule of thumb is to buy about twenty five percent more space than what you think that you’ll use. You’ll avoid filling up your new external RAID array, but you won’t pay for space that you’re not using, either.
Do you have any tips for buying an external RAID array? Post your thoughts in the comments section below.