We talked extensively about IDE and the technical aspects of RAID in the first two parts of this series. Only a few practical questions remain unanswered, such as: what is the performance like for each individual RAID Level? And, which levels are best for which applications?
The Levels 0 and 1 are as different as fire and water; Level 0 actually exposes your data to a higher risk, while Level 1 ensures maximum security. If you want both, you'll find yourself having to dig deep into your budget. RAID Levels 3 and 5 store parity information so that, in case a drive crashes, the entire data stock can be recovered once the culprit has been exchanged. However, it takes a rather powerful processor to calculate these checksums - the best choice would be an RISC model (Reduced Instruction Set Computing), because these chips have been optimized for their tasks. The appropriate controllers are expensive, and you'll need at least three hard drives.
Setting Up A RAID Array
Setting up a RAID array usually doesn't take much time. Especially for modes 0 and 1, it will suffice to select the drives to be included in the array in BIOS of the controller. Lastly, after the system has rebooted, the new drive must be formatted (it may be necessary to activate the RAID controller with its driver under Windows).
In RAID 3 or RAID 5 arrays, the controllers often run an initialization process that can take up to several hours.