Stands for "Redundant Array of Independent Disks." RAID is a method of storing data on multiple hard disks. When disks are arranged in a RAID configuration, the computer sees them all as one large disk. However, they operate much more efficiently than a single hard drive. Since the data is spread out over multiple disks, the reading and writing operations can take place on multiple disks at once. This can speed up hard drive access time significantly. Multiple hard drives may not improve hard disk performace as much as multiple processors may enhance the CPU performance, but it is based on a similar logic.
The benefits of RAID come from a technique called "striping," which splits up the stored data among the available drives. The "stripes" of data are usually a couple of megabytes large and are interleaved between the drives. The striping system also increases the mean time between failure (MTBF), when reading data. This allows more data to be read accurately in a short period of time. The benefits of the RAID system are especially noticeable when storing large amounts of data. Therefore, many Web hosting and Internet Service Providers use RAID to store data for their clients.
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