SAN School Answer #6
This is a way of storing the same data in different places (redundantly) on multiple hard disks.
The correct answer is:
RAID (redundant array of independent disks; originally redundant array of inexpensive disks) is a way of storing the same data in different places (thus, redundantly) on multiple hard disks. By placing data on multiple disks, I/O operations can overlap in a balanced way, improving performance. Since multiple disks increases the mean time between failure (MTBF), storing data redundantly also increases fault-tolerance.
A RAID appears to the operating system to be a single logical hard disk. RAID employs the technique of striping, which involves partitioning each drive's storage space into units ranging from a sector (512 bytes) up to several megabytes. The stripes of all the disks are interleaved and addressed in order.
In a single-user system where large records, such as medical or other scientific images, are stored, the stripes are typically set up to be small (perhaps 512 bytes) so that a single record spans all disks and can be accessed quickly by reading all disks at the same time.
In a multi-user system, better performance requires establishing a stripe wide enough to hold the typical or maximum size record. This allows overlapped disk I/O across drives.
For more on RAID, see also:
This was first published in August 2003