RAID technology in and of itself is an extremely complicated set of programming algorithms that allow for multiple drives to be presented as one entity. This technology has catapulted the information technology storage capabilities to include the bleeding edge cloud offsite data housing. With that being said, it is clear that a dedicated hardware setup must be used in order to help ensure the integrity of the RAID as well as safeguarding a client’s data. However, there are those who try and circumvent the obvious by introducing methodology that, although less expensive, leaves great chasms between prudent data safety and outright irresponsible data loss.
One such ‘technological advance’ is the ‘software RAID’. In essence a software RAID does not use separate hardware, separate firmware or even a separate handler. A software RAID allows the operating system to negotiate any and all transactions between the configured RAID and the drives in the RAID. In other words, along with all the responsibilities of the operating system it also handles the configuration, integrity and data disposition of the RAID. What this basically means is, anything wrong that can happen to the operating system now has an avenue for affecting the RAID. A software RAID by virtue of the fact that it is under control of the operating system is susceptible to all things that can cause problems for the operating system.
As an example, all viruses, malware, and outside invaders which take control of the operating system now have access to the low level RAID handlers of the operating system. This can in effect render a RAID useless and corrupt data being written to the RAID, or data currently being stored on the RAID.
All operating system updates are not necessarily in tune with the current RAID drivers and can cause an incompatibility with the current RAID handler, causing data loss to occur, and then a need for RAID data recovery would arise.
New software installations wreak havoc on an operating system’s set of RAID drivers and causes irreversible data loss. In addition, ‘rollback’ technology, or ‘uninstall’ functions can remove vital data necessary for proper functioning of a software RAID.
It is clear that software RAIDs offer a unique set of problems to safeguarding ones data. It is always better to have one tool for one job. The phrase ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’, has a valid meaning when dealing with a dual purposed RAID handler.