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How to Determine What Storage System to Use in a RAID

DAS, NAS, and SAN are three of the main types of storage within a RAID array.


2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created each day. This information can be a fun TikTok video, photos downloaded to your computer, or corporate documents and presentations. With the COVID-19 pandemic, more people than ever before are working from home, and that means a vast amount of corporate data is being stored on home computers. 

This change in work format may have people considering whether or not to purchase expanded data storage in a RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) format. We have broken down the types of disk storage that are found in a RAID and how each type is beneficial to a different user. Hopefully, this will help you in determining which array is best for your evolving data storage needs.

Criteria to Consider Before Purchasing Storage for a RAID

When purchasing a new data storage system, some key points need to be a part of the decision-making process. These are:

  • What capacity do you need to store your files?
  • How much are you willing to spend on your storage?
  • How often will you need to access the files?
  • Do you have an IT staff dedicated to helping manage the system?

The amount of data you have is directly related to how much storage you need. In most cases, the redundancy of a RAID array means some of the capacity will be used to store a copy of the files or a portion of what you wrote to the disks. Cost also becomes an issue as some configurations may be more expensive than others based on drive size. Overall, the environment in which you utilize the storage system is most important.

Some arrays are built for archiving and it is more difficult to read from and write to the drives. Other arrays are designed for high volumes of users who will read and write on a regular basis. Tech reviewers and experts in RAID configurations test a variety of functions to determine the quality of the storage system such as read and write head speeds, type of internal hardware, and topology, which is how the system writes and stores data. 

Types of Internal RAID Storage

There are three main types of storage that are used in a RAID. They are Direct Attached Storage (DAS), Network Attached Storage (NAS), and Storage Attached Network (SAN). 

DAS–this storage is low cost and a generally basic form of storage. It is essentially one external hard drive or a group of hard drives that are connected to a host device via USB cable, or in some instances a stronger cable-like. It is not the best for sharing data among many co-workers and is not a great option if you think your business may grow. It is, however, the fastest in operation than either of the other two forms of storage.

  • Best for small businesses that share data locally.

NAS–in this storage format, there is one centralized shared storage system that provides file sharing through a network. Companies that need to be able to send large amounts of data may find it difficult to work with this system. It utilizes an ethernet connection and requires a processor, RAM, and operating system just like a SAN. It provides RAID redundancy to a mass amount of users, but performance may be affected by network status.

  • Best for small businesses and groups that need a flexible and reliable system that can accommodate growth.

SAN–this is the largest of the systems and can handle the complex transfer of critical files. SAN can transfer block-level data between servers and storage devices and is used in enterprise settings. It is the most expensive type of storage and needs a dedicated IT staff to ensure it operates efficiently. SANs provide entire virtual drives over the network and users can boot their computers from the network partitions. One computer’s disk activity will affect other devices on the network, leading to a higher risk for logical failures.

  • Best for data centers and companies with large scale computing needs.

Securing Your Data in Any RAID Storage

There are many types of storage that make up a RAID, but generally a consumer will purchase a NAS because it is more accessible than a DAS and does not have to be directly connected to a computer. When purchasing a NAS, a consumer should look for hardware that is a recognized brand with tech support, reliable HDD models, and a low amount of power consumption. Additionally, a consumer should look for the following in their NAS purchase:

  • Good cooling system
  • User-friendly web-management features
  • Notification system about potential drive failure
  • Ability to support RAID 5, 6, or 10
  • Encryption

No matter what format you decide to use for your system, Secure Data Recovery will be there when your RAID fails. Our experienced engineers have worked with all RAID types and have a 96% success rate in retrieving files from storage systems that have experienced:

  • Logical damage
  • Fire or water damage
  • Failed controllers
  • And more

Call us at 1-800-388-1266 to recover critical files from your device storage today.

See the other posts in our RAID series:

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