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Chapter 14. PROTECTING NETWORK DATA > Understanding the RAID Flavors

Understanding the RAID Flavors

RAID comes in eight different flavors, numbered from 0 to 7. The actual types of RAID available with a RAID hardware device or with a network operating system that offers RAID software support will vary. For example, Windows 2000 supports RAID 0, 1, and 5. Before we actually take a look at the different types of RAID, I need to define what a volume is. A volume, which in some cases is exactly the same as a partition, is a portion of a hard drive that can function as a separate and discrete drive. In the case of RAID, a volume (which appears to the computer as one drive) is actually spread over two or more drives.

Another piece of information you need before we look at the different types of RAID involves the role parity bits play in RAID arrays. Parity information is extra bits of information included with data that is striped across the drives in a RAID array. These extra bits provide enough information about the data striped across the drives that it can actually be used to reconstruct the data on any one of the drives if one happens to fail. Network operating systems such as Windows NT and Windows 2000 that support RAID sets that use parity bits all have utilities you can use to regenerate any data that is seemingly lost when one of the drives in a RAID array fails (you just put in a new drive and regenerate the entire data library of the RAID set).


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