When you combine multiple hard drives for better performance and stability, it becomes RAID. “Redundant Array of Independent Drives” or RAID is a technology of uniting several physical hard drives that work simultaneously. Both HDD and SSD are applied to build a RAID. RAIDs have many benefits and utilizations. This is why people build diverse sorts of RAID levels based on working variation. We are going to discuss RAID level 5 so that you can evaluate its aptness
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What is RAID level 5?
RAID 5 is a secure grade of RAID that works based on striping with parity. Parity is the specialty of RAID 5 that renovates data in case of hard drive collapse. In this RAID, block-level striping is applied. That is why RAID 5 takes excess space. But, it is still a very low-cost solution.
At least three hard drives are required to implement RAID 5.
But, up to 16 drives can be added to enhance performance and spaces. Like other RAIDs, it is not an alternative to a data backup solution.
How does RAID 5 work?
RAID 5 is a particular type of RAID that offers high performance and protection. It matches both individual and business requirements. This RAID version uses RAID Parity in place of mirroring that provides safety.
When we write any data, RAID 5 segments them and stores them throughout multiple drives. But, RAID 5 uses parity along with striping. Parity can be explained as duplicate data. They are calculated as well and kept throughout all drives like written data. Parity helps to build the data if one drive of the array fails. This is why data can be restored from RAID 5 in most cases as it can tolerate a drive crash or replacement.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Why do people use RAID rather than data backup? Both of them are used for data protection. But, RAID is hassle-free in some ways. In the case of RAID, data is stored in multiple connected drives and they remain secure despite a disk failure. On the other hand, data is reserved in individual drives as a backup to defend permanent losing and corrupting.
RAID 5 is popular for fast performance. It segments data and stores them on multiple drives in parallel. Besides, the parity works as extra protection that assists in restructuring the data in case of an unexpected drive failure. One drive failure of the array does not impact the RAID at all. You can still access the data after the drive collapse and replace the controller’s damaged drive without any effect.
In addition to these facilities, let’s talk about the dark sides. RAID 5 requires a very complicated setup. Though it works fast, it can be slow as well due to parity calculation. Recovering data from RAID 5 is doable, but it may take a long while in the case of large files. The biggest disadvantage of this RAID is the risk of data loss. If more than one drive of the array fails, all data will be lost and almost impossible to recover.
RAID 5 for home use
Many individuals find out the best RAID for using at home. Is RAID 5 a better solution for home use? Well, it depends. RAID 5 should suit different purposes. But, it is the best choice for file and application servers. Keep in mind that RAID 5 can tolerate the fault of a single drive of the array. If more than one drive fails at a time, all data will be gone. You can use RAID 5 at home for sure. We discourage using it when your data are extremely important and losing them will be irreplaceable.
Can data be recovered from RAID 5?
RAID 5 can survive a single drive crash. If rest drives remain alive, RAID 5 data recovery is possible. Before restoring a RAID 5, measuring its configuration is crucial. This process involves finding out the following things.
- Number of disks in the RAID
- The suitability of disk order
- The volume of the block
- Type of parity model etc.
A data recovery expert will be able to find them out by both manual and automated processes. “ReclaiMe Free Raid Recovery” is a fantastic tool for RAID 5 recovery. It can restore data from a RAID 5 even if one disk is unable to work. Besides, it performs a deep scan to discover all data stored in drives. If you are skilled and have adequate knowledge about RAID, you can recover data from RAID 5 at home simply using this software. Otherwise, we recommend consulting with a professional who can handle the issues the best way.
Can RAID 5 have different size drives?
One of the most common queries about RAID 5 is that the hard drives with different sizes can be used in the RAID array. And the answer is, Yes. For instance, a RAID 5 array can be built using 36GB, 72GB, and 146GB physical drives. Though it generates no issue technically, the disk with the smallest space will be used. It seems a waste of huge space. This is why RAID experts suggest using drives with the same space and configuration.
RAID 5 is used for data safety as it uses both striping and parity. You need three hard drives at least to build a RAID array. These drives can be both HDD and SSD. HDD drives are widely used and cost-effective, but users tend to use SSD for extraordinary performance. Parity works as data duplication and assists in restructuring data. RAID 5 includes fault tolerance. But, it is able to tolerate only a single drive failure in the array. It means if two drives in the array collapse at the moment, they cannot be restored. In case of a single drive failure, you can recover data due to the RAID parity. You can recover them at home using RAID recovery software. Otherwise, meet an expert who can discover the issue and apply the required actions.