Data Backup & Recovery

Regular backups are a necessary part of having a computer. Personal computer or business computer, it is important to be sure your data doesn’t disappear in the event of a virus or hard drive failure. Though making sure your hard drive is in good working condition is good, they are known to sometimes die without warning leaving you without your files unless you have backups. If you have an up-to-date backup of your data, Green Light Software Solutions can often get you back in working order the very same day you bring your PC in. Without backups, hard drive failure can mean days before getting your data and a large bill, in some cases the loss of all your data permanently. We recommend, as well as almost any technically savvy person will, using some kind of software to backup your data onto an external hard drive (storage device you plug in via USB or FireWire) and/or using RAID.

Programs like Norton Ghost™ make a copy of your hard drive at a scheduled time(s) during the day onto an external hard drive, secondary internal hard drive, or network location. For the average user, setting up scheduled backups can be daunting. Green Light Software Solutions is ready and highly experienced in installing and configuring scheduled backup software.

RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks)

RAID is a technology that makes constant, seamless backups of your data onto a secondary internal hard drive while you work. When one hard drive dies, the other takes over full force without you losing any data or having any down time. Green Light Software Solutions has been implementing RAID for over 7 years and will provide you with a RAID solution the best suits your situation.

For most small- to midsize-business purposes, RAID 0, 1, 5 and in some cases 10 suffice for good fault tolerance and performance. For most home users, RAID 5 may be overkill, but RAID 1 mirroring provides decent fault tolerance. It's important to remember that RAID is not backup, nor does it replace a backup strategy—preferably an automated one. Backing up to a RAID device might well be a part of such a strategy. Owning a RAID-enabled device, which you use as your primary server or storage device, is not. RAID can be a great way to optimize NAS and server performance and quickly recover from hardware failure, but it's only part of an overall disaster-recovery solution.

RAID Level Description
RAID 0 RAID 0 is used to boost a server's performance. It's also known as "disk striping." With RAID 0, data is written across multiple disks. This means the work that the computer is doing is handled by multiple disks rather than just one, increasing performance because multiple drives are reading and writing data, improving disk I/O. A minimum of two disks is required. Both software and hardware RAID support RAID 0, as do most controllers. The downside is that there is no fault tolerance. If one disk fails, then that affects the entire array and the chances for data loss or corruption increases.
RAID 1 RAID 1 is a fault-tolerance configuration known as "disk mirroring." With RAID 1, data is copied seamlessly and simultaneously, from one disk to another, creating a replica, or mirror. If one disk gets fried, the other can keep working. It's the simplest way to implement fault tolerance and it's relatively low cost. The downside is that RAID 1 causes a slight drag on performance. RAID 1 can be implemented through either software or hardware. A minimum of two disks is required for RAID 1 hardware implementations. With software RAID 1, instead of two physical disks, data can be mirrored between volumes on a single disk. One additional point to remember is that RAID 1 cuts total disk capacity in half: If a server with two 1TB drives is configured with RAID 1, then total storage capacity will be 1TB not 2TB.
RAID 2 RAID 2 is similar to RAID 5, but instead of disk striping using parity, striping occurs at the bit-level. RAID 2 is seldom deployed because costs to implement are usually prohibitive (a typical setup requires 10 disks) and gives poor performance with some disk I/O operations.
RAID 3 RAID 3 is also similar to RAID 5, except this solution requires a dedicated parity drive. RAID 3 is seldom used except in the most specialized database or processing environments, which can benefit from it.
RAID 4 RAID 4 is a configuration in which disk striping happens at the byte level, rather than at the bit-level as in RAID 3.
RAID 5 RAID 5 is by far the most common RAID configuration for business servers and enterprise NAS devices. This RAID level provides better performance than mirroring as well as fault tolerance. With RAID 5, data and parity (which is additional data used for recovery) are striped across three or more disks. If a disk gets an error or starts to fail, data is recreated from this distributed data and parity block— seamlessly and automatically. Essentially, the system is still operational even when one disk kicks the bucket and until you can replace the failed drive. Another benefit of RAID 5 is that it allows many NAS and server drives to be "hot-swappable" meaning in case a drive in the array fails, that drive can be swapped with a new drive without shutting down the server or NAS and without having to interrupt users who may be accessing the server or NAS. It's a great solution for fault tolerance because as drives fail (and they eventually will), the data can be rebuilt to new disks as failing disks are replaced. The downside to RAID 5 is the performance hit to servers that perform a lot of write operations. For example, with RAID 5 on a server that has a database that many employees access in a workday, there could be noticeable lag.
RAID 6 RAID 6 is also used frequently in enterprises. It's identical to RAID 5, except it's an even more robust solution because it uses one more parity block than RAID 5. You can have two disks die and still have a system be operational.
RAID 7 RAID 7 is a proprietary level of RAID owned by the now-defunct Storage Computer Corporation.
RAID 1+0 RAID 10 is a combination of RAID 1 and 0 and is often denoted as RAID 1+0. It combines the mirroring of RAID 1 with the striping of RAID 0. It's the RAID level that gives the best performance, but it is also costly, requiring twice as many disks as other RAID levels, for a minimum of four. This is the RAID level ideal for highly utilized database servers or any server that's performing many write operations. RAID 10 can be implemented as hardware or software, but the general consensus is that many of the performance advantages are lost when you use software RAID 10.
RAID 0+1 RAID 0+1 is often interchanged for RAID 10 (which is RAID 1+0), but the two are not same. RAID 0+1 is a mirrored array with segments that are RAID 0 arrays. It's implemented in specific infrastructures requiring high performance but not a high level of scalability.