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How to Recover from a RAID 0 Failure

Data storage and retrieval are both vital to businesses of all kinds, and in all industries, yet the available options for data storage are abundant. Not all data storage methods are created equal: to efficiently meet their data storage needs, many businesses turn to a RAID 0 methodology. Utilizing a RAID 0 configuration can prove helpful, but before going down that path, it is vital to understand what RAID 0 is, what the potential pros and cons are, and, ultimately, how RAID 0 data recovery can be used in your IT infrastructure.

Understanding RAID 0
First and foremost, what is RAID 0, and why might an IT department or a tech-savvy home user choose to implement it? Basically, this configuration involves setting up multiple hard drives, which are combined and accessed together as a single volume. RAID 0 utilizes “data striping”—an efficient way to store data across the multiple disks. This means that RAID 0 offers one major benefit, which is that is allows information to be retrieved quickly, since there can be multiple read/write operations occurring at once.

For many companies where many users are accessing the same logical volume at once, this is reason enough to seriously consider a RAID 0 configuration. With that said, there is one big drawback: a RAID 0 setup does not protect against data loss or file corruption—and if one of the drives fails, then the information across all of the drives will become inaccessible. (This is in stark contrast to the related RAID 1 configuration; in this setup, a single drive can always be used, independently, should other drives in the group fail—but this brings its own set of pros and cons.)

Recovering from a RAID 0 Crash
Is it possible for data recovery, following a RAID 0 volume failing or becoming corrupted? Genereally speaking, it is usually possible to recover data. The quality and integrity of the data may vary, depending on how many of your hard drives have failed, and on how bad the damage is. Additionally, note that data recovery may prove a time-consuming process.

Why does it take so long to recover data lost in a RAID 0 failure? It is an involved process because you cannot attempt data recovery on the volume of disk drives, as a single entity. Instead, you must seek to recover the data on one disk drive at a time—something that will generally prove doable, but might also be laborious. Only after each individual hard drive is addressed can you look at the set, as a volume. The repaired disks or disk images can then be built virtually so the volume can be accessed again. This multi-step approach to recovery is less than ideal, for many companies and IT teams.

The Bottom Line
None of this is to suggest that a RAID 0 configuration is a poor idea. On the contrary, configuring your hard drives in this fashion can optimize your data retrieval capacities and lead to greater efficiencies. It is vital, however, to understand the very real risks that come with a RAID 0 configuration—and to consider ways in which you might back up all of your essential files.


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