Using RAID drives is a great way to protect your data – but it is not one hundred percent foolproof. Despite the fact that RAID drives will duplicate and store your data across multiple hard drives, sometimes failures will still take place that could cause you to lose your data.
If you want to ensure that the data on your RAID drives is safe, here are several tips that should help out:
• Monitor hard drives and replace them quickly if one fails
Part of the advantage of using RAID drives is that if a single hard drive fails your data won’t be lost. Depending on the type of RAID, it may even be able to withstand 2 or 3 hard drives failing. However when a hard drive does fail in a RAID the workload of the remaining drives will increase – and they in turn will become more likely to fail too. As such, it is important to monitor the hard drives in your RAID and replace any that fail quickly so as not to increase the risk of subsequent failures that could affect your data.
• Backup data frequently
Many people often regard RAID drives as a substitute for the need to back up their data – which is a mistake. Ideally RAID drives should be used in conjunction with frequent backups to ensure that the data is always safe. If you backup your data frequently then should there be an issue with your RAID you can restore data from it, and at the same time if a backup is ever corrupted then you have your RAID as a safety net.
• Never force offline drives in the RAID online
One of the most common mistakes that people make with their RAID drives is attempting to force drives that are offline to go online. Odds are if one of the hard drives in your raid is offline it is because the RAID controller took if offline because it was failing – and by forcing it back online you could very well end up losing data that may even be impossible to recover afterwards.
• Use a surge protector
Often hard drives are damaged by electrical surges – which is the last thing that you want to happen if you’re running a RAID drive. Fortunately all that you really need is a surge protector, which is easy enough to find. Assuming you want to be really safe you may even want to consider using a UPS that will help ensure that power isn’t interrupted suddenly – which could cause issues too.
All in all RAID drives are great at helping to ensure that data is safe and protected at all times. However it does have its limitations – which is why these tips should help you to make sure that you cover all your bases. If you find that your data has been lost for whatever reason then there are raid recovery options that you could pursue to help you restore some (or all) of it.