A Brief Overview of NAS and RAID Systems

NAS systems are defined as Network Attached Storage devices and are increasingly popular arrangements that provide a central storage point—almost like a private cloud—where small businesses can backup critical files and data. Comprised of an external storage device that connects to a network, NAS facilitates data storage and retrieval from a centralized location. Data storage and protection is critical for companies to maintain effective operations. Absent the ability to retrieve important data, lost sales, team miscommunication, reduced efficiency, and poor customer service can ensue—all potentially leading to income loss.

Benefits of NAS

NAS systems provide numerous advantages:

  • Easy to use, even for the non-tech-savvy person
  • Promote peace of mind through regular backup and data storage
  • Facilitate remote access
  • Impressive value and cost-effectiveness
  • Reliable and accessible in case of power or internal drive failure
  • Are flexible and scale-out to grow along with companies’ storage needs
  • Reduce out-of-sync, non-centralized data 
  • Offer RAID technology in case of hard drive failure when hosting more than one internal drive

What is RAID?

Western Digital posted an excellent description of how a RAID works (in layman's terms)

RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks and works to combine multiple drives’ storage capacities into a single volume. To successfully use RAID, a business must have at least two internal drives. RAID offers faster speeds and/or greater storage capacity. While somewhat complicated, RAID-capable devices come preconfigured to reduce time and headaches.

RAID is available in various configurations:

  • RAID 1—also known as “mirroring”—in which data is written identically and simultaneously to both drives. This protects functioning if one drive fails. Primary disadvantages are that regardless of the number of drives, the capacity is only for one, and it has slower writing speeds.
  • RAID 0—combines each drive’s capacity into a single volume to maximize volume and bandwidth. However, if one drive fails, then all information is lost if another backup is not used.
  • RAID 10—an amalgamation of RAID 1 and RAID 0 used primarily with four internal drives to improve data safety and performance.
  • RAID 5—requires three internal drives and distributes data throughout all drives while ensuring data safety if one should fail. This is the most preferred configuration.
  • RAID 6—similar to RAID 5 but can protect data if two internal drives fail simultaneously. It is used primarily for devices with at least five internal drives.

NAS versus RAID

RAID-enabled systems utilize two or more hard drives to improve performance and fault tolerance. Fault tolerance is a safety net of sorts in case of a failed internal drive. For organizations that require high fault tolerance and optimized performance, RAID is the way to go. 

It is crucial to remember that RAID is neither a backup nor should it replace a backup strategy. Whereas backing up data to a RAID device would be part of such a strategy, using a RAID device as a primary server or storage option is not. RAID is a great option for optimizing NAS performance and to quickly rebound in case of hardware failure, but should not be considered a panacea for a data catastrophe. 

For more information, or to find out whether you can benefit more from a NAS and/or RAID system, please contact us.


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Client Reviews

“Carolina Data Recovery saved the day! I had an external hard drive that contained all of my personal information and pictures over the last 3 years. This hard drive had crashed leaving me in a world of panic. Carolina Data Recovery specialists were able to fully recover my lost information, keeping me updated throughout the entire process. I highly recommend Carolina Data Recovery for all your data needs! ”
– J. Hawk
“The short: Calling Ron and his team was the best decision I could have made. Words like kind, respectful, prompt, and attentive come to mind. The long: My NAS crashed. I thought I lost my entire digital life. Forget about the files and documents one accumulates and all the music, I had 30 years of family pictures, some of who are no longer with us. I was in tears. I took my NAS to a big box store where I was given very robotic service by their "geeks" and was told it could cost me thousands of dollars, it would take at least a month (but I could leap to the front of the line for an extra $100) to even find out IF it was recoverable. I decided to look for someone local and thank God I found Carolina Data Recovery. Ron was able to confirm that the data was recoverable within 48 hours and had my data back to me within 72 hours. Beyond that, Ron took time to walk me though the process and listen to my concerns. Realizing I was a mess, Ron spent an hour on the phone with me explaining what I need to do going forward to ensure that this never happens again. Backing up your data IS important - hard lesson learned. I hope to never be in this situation again, but have comfort in knowing that Carolina Data Recovery has my back. ”
– M. Patel
“These guys/gals are really great. Ron was very professional and stayed in communication thru the entire process of our clients Data Recovery.”
– David P.

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