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RAID’s roots run deep and the technology does a decent job of data protection, but a little math and an open mind might lead you to some better alternatives.

Recently, in preparation for a talk I’m delivering this year at Storage Decisions (SD), I’ve been reacquainting myself with the latest technologies and methodologies for data protection. Naturally, this included rereading the many articles and blogs that, for the past few years, have constituted a debate framed as the “death of RAID.”

I find “death of” articles amusing. We’ve repeatedly been told that tape was dead (Gartner killed it in 1999, SANs killed it in 2000, deduplicating VTLs stuck a fork in it in 2005 and so on). We’ve been hearing since the 1980s that mainframes were dead (despite the hockey stick revenues that CA Technologies, IBM and others have generated from big iron over the past few years) and more recently that PCs are dead (replaced by tablets and smartphones or VDI technology that never quite seems to catch on). Application service providers and storage service providers (the same beasties as contemporary “clouds”) were to have killed off data centers and/or shrink-wrapped software -- until all the ASPs and SSPs went belly up in 2001, that is. The list of examples goes on and on.

So, excuse me if I have déjà vu when it comes to all the talk about the death of RAID. Not because the arguments are poorly made or the science is inaccurate, but because people are people.

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This was first published in July 2012

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