RAID is a technology that allows a volume (partition) uses together
the space on the multiple disks, in this way, disk's utilization and system performance
can be improved. There are a variety of different types and implementations of RAID,
each with its own advantages and disadvantages. In the IT world, hardware failure does
not occur often, but in the event, you run the server may lose large amounts of data and
important information. How to protect server data? Many users choose to use RAID to deal
with the risk of hardware failures. Usually RAID 1 and RAID 5 are widely used to solve
the risk problem of server data storage.
Hardware RAID can be implemented by requiring high hardware requirements, in the form
of special disk controllers, but also need the support of computer motherboards.
This means that it takes a high cost to set up hardware RAID. Software RAID is well
supported by operating system, which is implemented by OS kernel module, and no
required extraordinary hardware. It is a best choice for common personal users and
server users. Usually, Windows Professional Edition and Windows Server Edition
systems can support it. It is a trend, and you can flexible configure it by using
Windows Disk Manger.
Software RAID 1:
RAID 1 is usually implemented as mirroring, is a fault-tolerant volume that
duplicates data on two different physical disks. Software RAID 1 is supported on
dynamic disks, and provides data redundancy by using two identical copies (mirrors)
of the volume. If either drive fails, the other continues to work as a single drive
until the failed drive is replaced. Conceptually simple, RAID 1 is popular for those
who require fault tolerance and don't need top-notch read performance.
You can accomplish RAID 1 on Server 2000/2003/2008/2011/2012 and Windows 7/8 Ultimate
Edition, except for Windows 2000 Professional, XP and Vista. However, you can use a
computer that is running XP Professional to setup mirrored volumes on remote
computers that are running Windows 2000 Server, Windows 2000 Advanced Server, or
Windows 2008 Datacenter Server, or the equivalent versions of Windows Server
At the same time, the implementation of software RAID1 is based on two dynamic disks.
One stores the data which is being used, and another keep a copy of previous
You can see the two dynamic disks as follows. One disk contains Volume C: that is
system volume, and another is empty. If your disk is not dynamic, please see "Regarding Basic Disk convert to Dynamic Disk" for more information.
The above graph, The Drive C is a simple volume. How to add a mirror volume to
it? Please right click C:, and select the menu "Add Mirror" option as follows:
Then, open a window. Please check the Disk1 item, and click "Add Mirror" button:
After completing, you will see the following screen.
In software RAID 1, due to some reasons, you may need to convert
dynamic disk back to basic disk, how do the conversion without losing data? you can
see the relevant knowledge about Dynamic
Software RAID 5:
A RAID 5 requires three disks at least; it not only can enhance the efficiency of the
disk but also provide the best fault-tolerant. A RAID 5 is a fault-tolerant volume
whose data is striped across an array of three or more disks. Parity (a calculated
value that can be used to reconstruct data after a failure) is also striped across
the disk array. If a physical disk fails, the portion of the RAID 5 that was on that
failed disk can be recreated from the remaining data and the parity. The following
is a screenshot of software RAID5.
The following table describes the support case of software RAID in each Windows.
|Windows 9x/Me, DOS|
|Windows 2000 Professional|
|Windows 2000 Server|
|Windows 2000 Advanced Server|
|Windows XP Home|
|Windows XP Professional|
|Windows Server 2003 Standard|
|Windows Server 2003 Enterprise|
|Windows Vista Ultimate|
|Windows 2008 Server|
|Windows 2008 Web Server|
|Windows 7/8 Ultimate|