Data Storage Digest

Do-It-Yourself Windows File Recovery Software: A Comparison

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It is possible to put multiple hard disk drives in to a RAID array and use this as storage. Alternatively, you could buy a solid state drive. But which would get you better performance results?

RAID stands for Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks. Usually raid is implemented in dedicated file servers and network attached storage devices in large businesses, but there is nothing to stop it being used in a home environment either. Generally, RAID is used to protect against failure in individual disks and also to offer faster access to your data.

Where RAID shines is in its fault tolerance. If one drive fails then the system will still remain active with no loss to uptime. This is because all the data is mirrored across the drives. The failed drive can be removed and replaced for a functional one without affecting anything else.

A hard disk drive operates mechanically using a physical read/write head mechanism. It has to actually move around in order to access your data. As such, multiple drives can work simultaneously in order to give faster access. However, the issue here is that hard disk drives only go so fast. When compared to a solid state drive there is just no competition. It will always be a limit of the technology, no matter how many drives you have in a RAID array.

SSD stands for solid state drive. It is a newer technology than a HDD and is considered the superior storage device. This is because it uses a memory chip, similar to what is in a USB stick, which stores data without using any power. An SSD makes the data available straight away and is 30% faster when it comes to opening files than a HDD. This means that you will be able to boot your computer up in half the time. There is also a reduced chance of failure since a SSD has no moving parts.

Instead of just solely choosing a RAID or a SSD, a good option could be to use a combination of both. SSDs are usually faster than RAIDs when it comes to random reads, but slower when doing sequential writes. A simpler set up would be to have a standard HDD and an SSD. You could use the latter for the operating system and common storage to offer fast access. You could then use the HDD to store the bulk of the data. This is because SSDs are still very expensive when it comes to HDDs, so to buy a huge capacity SSD would be a steep order.

RAID arrays certainly have their place, but whether or not you want to implement one entirely depends on your needs. If you are a home user then the best choice would be to go for a SSD or a HDD and SSD combo. If, however, you need redundancy (although you should really have a backup solution in place to cover this) and huge amounts of storage space offered from multiple HDDs then using a RAID array may be the choice for you.


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