FAQ About RAID Controllers
What is a RAID controller card?
A RAID controller card allows you to connect multiple hard drives, or solid state drives, to your computer's motherboard. This RAID card (redundant array of inexpensive disks - or, more recently - redundant array of independent disks) essentially allows multiple drives to be recognized as one by your operating system and software applications.
When is a RAID controller useful?
Since a RAID card enables your system to read and write data over multiple drives in more intelligent ways, it can improve performance or better protect data in the event of a drive failure. There are different levels of RAID, offering distinct benefits, the most common being RAID 0, RAID 1, and RAID 5.
Stripping -- improves input/output performance by writing some data to one drive, and some simultaneously to another, effectively reducing read and write times.
Mirroring -- reduces the risk of data loss if a single drive fails by copying information from one drive to another automatically.
Advanced methods are used to achieve a combination of stripping and mirroring, allowing input/output (I/O) to multiple drives for better performance, but also duplicating vital pieces of information to help reconstruct data if necessary. This configuration requires at least 3 drives to work.
What features should I consider in a RAID controller?
Ensure the card supports the level of RAID functionality that best suits your needs. Additionally, consider the number of ports it includes, the types of hard drives or solid state drives it's compatible with, and the data transfer speeds supported.