If you work in multimedia or simply like to edit videos in your spare time, RAID can help. But what is the best RAID level for video editing, or are there several? In this article we go over these questions and look at the advantages and disadvantages of various RAID levels.
RAID, which stands for redundant array of independent disks, combines multiple drives to provide fault tolerance, improved performance, or increased capacity; and sometimes a combination of all three. RAID can be hardware or software based. The difference between the two is negligible for the most part, but there is a clear winner when it comes to choosing the right RAID level for video editing.
Hardware RAID comes with its own built-in RAID controller, that has a CPU that manages the RAID level independent from the host machine. Software RAID is less common, and as the name suggests, uses software to configure the RAID level. The downside is that with the configuration being done by the system, you’re losing out on speed. For this reason, we’d recommend choosing a hardware RAID solution for your video editing needs.
With video editing, you kind of want a combination of storage capacity, speed and fault tolerance. With the rise of ultra-high definition 4K video, you’re probably going to be eating through the terabytes, so a high storage capacity would be useful. Because your video might be made up of loads of large files edited together, you also want a super-fast drive that is able to render files with some degree of speed. Finally, the last thing you want is for your RAID system to fail, taking all of your data with it. Therefore you also need to find a RAID solution that offers fault tolerance.
If we start at the basic RAID level, RAID 0, it appears that this may be beneficial to some video editors. RAID 0 is also known as striping, because data is striped across two disks. Because none of the storage capacity is used for parity, all of the total storage capacity is available to write data to. For example, if you have.a RAID 0 array with two 2TB disks, you have a total usable storage capacity of 4TB. RAID 0 is also incredibly fast due to multiple sets of read/write heads in use. The downside of not having parity data is that the failure of any drive in the array means the loss of all data that is striped across the disks. RAID 1, or mirroring, is ideal if you want to store critical data, and you will get higher read speeds, but write speeds will be slower. Additionally, you also only have 50% of the total storage capacity, so two 2TB drives only gives you 2TB of storage.
RAID 10 offers the benefits of RAID 0 and RAID 1, but arguably the best choice for video editors is RAID 5. RAID 5 is considered a good all-round RAID level, offering efficiency, performance and inexpensive data redundancy and fault tolerance. You need three or more disks, with striping and parity used to increase speed, storage capacity and data protection, making it ideal for video editors.