What is RAID & What is The Optimal RAID For my Use Case?


What is RAID?

RAID, which stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks, is a technology that combines multiple Storage drives into a single logical disk. This Offers many basic benefits Including Performance Gains, Data Redundancy, and many other Advanced Features. There Are many different types of RAID Levels, but this Article is only going to cover the basic ones and what RAID Level may be optimal for you! 

Understanding RAID Levels

What is RAID 0? (Striping)

In a RAID 0 data is distributed between Multiple disks this can give the added benefit of giving the MAX Performance of READ and Write speeds on your disk but offers NO REDUNDANCY so if one disk goes bad you lose all your DATA. 

Minimum required disks for RAID 0: 2

Maximum supported disks for RAID 0: None, but performance gains may diminish beyond a certain number of disks.

Best for: RAID 0 is best for High-performance environments where speed is crucial, and data loss is not a concern, such as video editing or gaming.


  • RAID 0 Offers Maximum Performance for Read and Write Speeds.
  • RAID 0 Offers the Greatest amount of Disk Capacity.


  • RAID 0 Offers No Redundancy, if one disk dies you lose all your data.


What is RAID 1? (Mirroring) 

In RAID 1, data is mirrored across two or more disks which in turn provides redundancy. If one disk fails, the machine can continue to operate until a replacement disk is added. Once the replacement disk is added the RAID will start repairing the mirror to its prior state. This setup offers increased reliability but at the cost of reduced storage capacity as the total amount of storage space is cut in half. 

Minimum required disks for RAID 1: 2

Maximum supported disks for RAID 1: Usually 2 for basic mirroring, but some controllers support multi-mirror configurations.

Best for: RAID 1 is best for Environments where data redundancy is critical, such as file shares or systems storing important documents. 


  • RAID 1 Offers High redundancy, data is safe if one disk fails.
  • RAID 1 is Easy to Implement.


  • Using RAID 1 will cut the total disk space in half.
  • RAID 1 Performance Can be limited to the speed of the slowest disk.


What is RAID 5? (Striping with Parity) 


In RAID 5 Data is striped across multiple disks while also storing Parity information. RAID 5 can offer increased performance as well as data redundancy, it is kind of like a combination of both RAID 0 and RAID 1. If one disk fails the, the data can be reconstructed using the parity information. 

Minimum required disks for RAID 5: 3

Maximum supported disks for RAID 5: No Maximum, But Performance can be degraded after a certain number of disks.

Best for: RAID 5 is best for Environments where a balance between performance and redundancy is required, such as database servers or medium-sized file shares.


  • RAID 5 Provides a Good balance of Performance as well as redundancy.
  • RAID 5 Offers Good Efficient Use of Disk Capacity (only one disk's worth of space is used for parity).


  • RAID 5 Write Performance is reduced due to parity calculation.
  • Recovery from a disk failure in a RAID 5 can be complex and time-consuming. 


What is RAID 6? (Striping with Double Parity) 

A RAID 6 shares Similarities with a RAID 5 but also adds an extra layer of redundancy by using two parity blocks instead of just one. This means that you can lose 2 Disks in a RAID 6 and still not lose all your data. This unfortunately comes at the cost of reduced storage capacity and slightly lower write performance compared to a RAID 5.

Minimum required disks for RAID 6: 4

Maximum supported disks for RAID 6: No maximum, RAID 6 is similar RAID 5, but with additional disks required for extra parity.


  • RAID 6 Offers Higher Redundancy than a RAID 5 (Can withstand two disk Failures)
  • RAID 6 More Suitable for Large Storage Arrays where Critical Data is housed.


  • RAID 6 Write Performance is even slower than RAID 5 due to double parity.
  • More disk space is used in a RAID 6, reducing total capacity.

Best for: RAID 6 is best for Environments where data protection is the most important thing and where critical data is going to be stored.


What is RAID 10? (Striped Mirrors) 

In a RAID 10 (Also known as RAID 1+0), is a combination of RAID 1 and RAID 0 which will create a striped array of mirrored disks. This will offer high performance and redundancy when using RAID 10, because data is both striped for speed and mirrored for redundancy. 

Minimum required disks for RAID 10: 4 (since it's a combination of RAID 1 and RAID 0, you need at least two mirrors, each with two disks)

Maximum supported disks for RAID 10: No specific maximum, but the RAID 10 needs to be an even number of disks since they are mirrored in pairs. 


  • RAID 10 Offers High performance and redundancy and combines the best aspects of RAID 0 and RAID 1.
  • RAID 10 Offers Fast recovery from a disk failure.


  • RAID 10 Requires at least four disks, making it more expensive.
  • Only 50% of total disk capacity is usable in a RAID 10 due to mirroring.

Best for: RAID 10 is best for Environments requiring maximum performance and redundancy, such as critical database servers or high-traffic web servers. 


Choosing the Optimal RAID Level

The optimal RAID level for your use case depends on your priorities. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Performance: If speed is your primary concern and data loss is not a major issue, RAID 0 is the way to go.
  • Redundancy: For critical data that needs to be protected against disk failures, RAID 1 or RAID 10 are recommended.
  • Balance: If you need a good balance between performance and redundancy, RAID 6 is an optimal choice
  • Cost: Keep in mind that higher RAID levels require more disks, which can increase costs.

It's important to assess your specific needs and choose a RAID level that meets your requirements for performance, redundancy, and budget.


Using RAID offers various ways to configure your storage devices for improved performance, redundancy, or a combination of both. By understanding the different RAID levels and their capabilities, you can make an informed decision about what optimal RAID is best for your use case. The most important thing to always remember is to back up your data regularly as RAID alone is not a good solution for a long-term backup strategy.