Is a RAID array on a mobile workstation worth it?

Benchmarks by Canadian mobile workstation maker Eurocom reveal the hard numbers behind RAID array performance.

Comments Off on Is a RAID array on a mobile workstation worth it? September 26, 2011
by Braden Taylor

Using RAID arrays to boost performance, protect against data loss or both is common on the desktop. However, it’s a fairly new concept in mobile workstations since it requires multiple hard drives.

For those unfamiliar with RAID, it stands for Redundant Array of Independent disks, which is a term for data storage strategies that can spread or multiply data across the storage drives. The different levels of RAID provide layers of data reliability and input/output performance. I’m not going to get into the long list of different RAID levels. That information is easy enough to find.

However, there is little information on how effective RAIDing hard drives can be on a mobile workstation. Eurocom has offered RAID 0/1/5/10 for some time now and has been testing Solid State Drive (SSD) performance in different RAID configurations.

(Check out our mobile workstation RAID benchmarks)

As the benchmarks clearly show, RAID contributes greatly to systems redundancy and performance. For example, two SSD’s in RAID 0 configuration nearly doubles overall read/write performance over a stand-alone drive. Three SSDs boost performance to more than two and a half times faster. For those who need redundancy as well as speed, a RAID 5 array can still significantly accelerate read times while providing comparable write operations to a standalone drive.

Like many other things, performance in mobile computing comes down to compromise. If you want a super powerful mobile system, one needs to compromise on weight and battery life. In terms of RAIDing storage drives, a user can configure for optimum file read/write speed but sacrifice redundancy. Alternately, users can keep redundancy but take a bit of a hit on write speed.

The bottom line is, if you need or desire improved overall performance or redundancy, RAID is the way to go.

Braden Taylor is the marketing manager at Eurocom Corporation. The Nepean, Ontario-based company specializes in long lifespan, fully upgradable notebooks, high performance mobile workstations and mobile servers.