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Hardware RAID Levels

RAID
Level

Minimum
Number
of Drives

Description

Strengths

Weaknesses

RAID 0

2

Data striping without  redundancy

Highest performance

No data protection; One drive fails, all data is lost

RAID 1

2

Disk mirroring

Very high performance; Very high data protection; Very minimal penalty on write performance

High redundancy cost overhead; Because  all data is duplicated, twice the storage capacity is required

RAID 2

Not used in LAN

No practical use

Previously used for RAM error  environments correction (known as Hamming Code ) and in disk drives before the use of embedded error correction

No practical use; Same performance can be achieved by RAID 3 at lower cost

RAID 3

3

Byte-level data striping with dedicated  parity drive

Excellent performance for large, sequential data requests

Not well-suited for transaction-oriented network applications; Single parity drive does not support multiple,  simultaneous read and write requests

RAID 4

3 (Not widely used)

Block-level data striping with dedicated  parity drive

Data striping supports multiple  simultaneous read requests

Write requests suffer from same single  parity-drive bottleneck as RAID 3; RAID 5 offers equal data protection and  better performance at same cost

RAID 5

3

Block-level data striping with  distributed parity

Best cost/performance for  transaction-oriented networks; Very high performance, very high data protection;  Supports multiple simultaneous reads and writes; Can also be optimized for  large, sequential requests

Write performance is slower than RAID 0  or RAID 1

RAID 0/1

4

Combination of RAID 0 (data striping) and  RAID 1 (mirroring)

Highest performance, highest data  protection (can tolerate multiple drive failures)

High redundancy cost overhead; Because  all data is duplicated, twice the storage capacity is required; Requires minimum of four drives

RAID 1/0

4

Combination of RAID 1 (mirroring) and  RAID 0 (data striping)

Shares the same fault tolerance as RAID 1 (the basic mirror), but compliments said fault tolerance with a striping mechanism that can yield very high read rates

High redundancy cost overhead; Because  all data is duplicated, twice the storage capacity is required; Requires minimum of four drives

RAID 0

RAID 1

 

RAID 5

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