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by Parm Mann on 14 June 2008, 00:00

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In this guide we will be examining a popular method used for increasing the performance and reliability of your hard drives and data storage.

RAID stands for Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks. RAID, which can be implemented through hardware, software, or a combination of the two, takes multiple physical disks and combines them into a single, 'virtual' disk. The way in which RAID is implemented affects the benefits that RAID provides.

How it works

There are a great many implementations of RAID, the most common of which are discussed in this guide. For the desktop user several of these types will not apply, so most users should concentrate on RAID 0+1/1+0 or RAID 5; the others are included for background information or as an aside.

A general rule of any RAID setup is that drives in the array should be identical. If different sized drives are used, you may find all the drives will be considered to be size of the smallest drive present. Speed is determined in a similar fashion; if three 7,200rpm drives are used along with one 5,400rpm drive, the array will be limited by the slowest device.