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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Arlington, TX
you can use many harddrives. Current motherboards usually have 4 SATA2 connections, and 2 E-SATA2 connections - all of which can be used with a separate drive. So, you can effectively have 6 drives on most new motherboards. RAID has several different configurations - if you are concerned about loosing shit, then you need to set up a RAID 1 array - but remember you need to buy 2 of every drive you can utilize. So, your 2 300GB would effectively be 1 300GB that has a backup.
RAID 0: striped set (minimum 2 disks) without parity. Provides improved performance and additional storage but no fault tolerance. Any disk failure destroys the array, which becomes more likely with more disks in the array. A single disk failure destroys the entire array because when data is written to a RAID 0 drive, the data is broken into fragments. The number of fragments is dictated by the number of disks in the drive. The fragments are written to their respective disks simultaneously on the same sector. This allows smaller sections of the entire chunk of data to be read off the drive in parallel, giving this type of arrangement huge bandwidth. When one sector on one of the disks fails, however, the corresponding sector on every other disk is rendered useless because part of the data is now corrupted. RAID 0 does not implement error checking so any error is unrecoverable. More disks in the array means higher bandwidth, but greater risk of data loss.
RAID 1: mirrored set (minimum 2 disks) without parity. Provides fault tolerance from disk errors and single disk failure. Increased read performance occurs when using a multi-threaded operating system that supports split seeks, very small performance reduction when writing. Array continues to operate so long as at least one drive is functioning.
RAID 3 and RAID 4: striped set (minimum 3 disks) with dedicated parity. This mechanism provides an improved performance and fault tolerance similar to RAID 5, but with a dedicated parity disk rather than rotated parity stripes. The single disk is a bottle-neck for writing since every write requires updating the parity data. One minor benefit is the dedicated parity disk allows the parity drive to fail and operation will continue without parity or performance penalty.
RAID 5: striped set (minimum 3 disks) with distributed parity. Distributed parity requires all but one drive to be present to operate; drive failure requires replacement, but the array is not destroyed by a single drive failure. Upon drive failure, any subsequent reads can be calculated from the distributed parity such that the drive failure is masked from the end user. The array will have data loss in the event of a second drive failure and is vulnerable until the data that was on the failed drive is rebuilt onto a replacement drive.
RAID 6: striped set (minimum 4 disks) with dual distributed parity. Provides fault tolerance from two drive failures; array continues to operate with up to two failed drives. This makes larger RAID groups more practical, especially for high availability systems. As drives grow in size, they become more prone to error. This becomes increasingly important because large-capacity drives lengthen the time needed to recover from the failure of a single drive. Single parity RAID levels are vulnerable to data loss until the failed drive is rebuilt: the larger the drive, the longer the rebuild will take. With dual parity, it gives time to rebuild the array by recreating a failed drive with the ability to sustain failure on another drive in the same array.