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Data Storage: Backup VS Redundancy

Posted December 3rd, 2015

The most important thing any storage device can do is keep your information protected. For your data to be truly secure, however, you need a combination of redundancy and backup. This post will go over the important differences between these two techniques and how they complement one another.

 

Redundancy

Redundancy is essentially storing the same data in more than one place. While there are many ways to do this, the most popular way is RAID, or Redundant Array of Independent Disks. The most common RAID configurations are RAID 1 and RAID 5.

 

RAID 1

Raid 1 mirroring

RAID 1 uses two internal hard drives to store information. The two drives mirror each other, meaning that data is written identically to both drives simultaneously. This makes only half of the storage space available to the user, the other half being used for redundancy. A RAID 1 setup keeps your data safe and fully accessible if one of your hard drives fails.

The drawback of RAID 1 is that no matter how many drives you use, you still only get the capacity of one. RAID 1 also suffers from slower writing speeds.

 

RAID 5

raid 5A RAID 5 configuration uses at least 3 internal drives and distributes data across all of them while keeping the array safe against the failure of one. While losing a drive won’t cause any data to be lost, performance will notably dip until you replace the drive.

You also only lose the capacity of one drive with this configuration. Because it balances storage space, performance, and data safety, RAID 5 is the preferred setup.

It’s best to think of redundancy as a failsafe in case your hard drive fails. It is immediate data protection.

This means that if you’re working on a file and one of your drives crashes, you can continue to work on it as you would normally. If a crash were to happen, you would receive an alert notifying you of the failure, giving you a chance to back up important data and replace the failed drive.

 

Backup

While a regular home user may not need redundancy, everybody needs a backup. Backing up your data means keeping separate copies of it in multiple places. The more copies you have, the safer you are. The best way to back up your data is to use a cloud service or network attached storage (NAS).

 

Cloud Service

cloud servicesA cloud-based backup service allows you to store data off-site by uploading it via the internet to a remote server. These servers could be almost anywhere in the world. Your data is also more than likely hosted by multiple servers in multiple data centers.

While there are many online backup services, the most popular being Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft’s OneDrive, they generally all work the same. They all automatically sync local files with the remote server in real time or on a set schedule.

The convenience of online backup cannot be overstated. It’s fast, and you can back up and restore from anywhere with an internet connection. You also don’t need to invest in expensive equipment to house your data. Having your data stored remotely also keeps it safe from being destroyed by a natural disaster.

 

NAS

Network attached storageNetwork attached storage uses a server that connects to a network and makes its storage space available to every device connected to it. It essentially works as an external hard drive that is connected to a network instead of a computer.

The server connects to a router, or switch, and is controlled through a web interface. To access the server, you need to connect to it using a Gigabit wired connection.

Aside from providing storage, NAS servers can also stream digital content to network media players, host storage for remote users to access via the internet, and run NAS designed apps.

NAS offers a lot more features than regular external drives and allows multiple users to access files all at once. With it, you can also download large amounts of data from the internet without needing to have your computer on.

 

Automatic Redundancy

By getting your cloud service or NAS through PerformanceIT, you will have built-in, automatic redundancy so that copies of your data are kept across multiple servers. This means that even if an entire server crashes, your data will be kept safe and accessible.

Never having to stress about your data’s safety is a great thing, and allows you to keep your focus on running and growing your business.

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