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Different types of RAID and RAID levels, advantages and disadvantages

One of the challenging tasks of every system administrator is to strike a balance between reliability and performance when choosing a dedicated server. Some might say choosing a rite Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) option and level is critical, but what is RAID and why is it so important?

Wikipedia defines RAID as “data storage virtualization technology that combines multiple physical disk drive components into one or more logical units for the purposes of data redundancy, performance improvement, or both. ”  RAID should be considered as part of a business continuity plan and it improves reliability by replicating the data on one or multiple disks. It also improves the performance by enhancing the read write function from/to one or multiple drives. There are two main component in every RAID setup RAID level and RAID control.

Table below shows some of the most common RAID levels.  

Level Minimum # disks Redundancy Disk space utilization Read speed Write Speed Ideal Application
RAID 0 2 None 100% Fast Fast Image & video editing
RAID 1 2 Yes – 1 disk 50% Fast Moderate DB & critical data
RAID 5 3 Yes – 1 disk ~80% Moderate Slow Archiving
RAID 6 4 Yes – 2 disks ~70% Moderate Slow App server
RAID 10 4 Yes – 1 disk 50% Fast Moderate Critical data

In a nutshell RAID controller task is to control the RAID array, to make sure drives are working as the logical unit and computer recognize it as such. There are mainly two types of RAID controller, software and hardware RAID controller. Software RAID relies on computer CPU to control the read / write process, although sever CPU is supper fast these days but still it creates computation overhead and utilises server resources depending on the RAID level. Hardware RAID controller on the other hand is equipped with internal processor like ARM or ASIC to control the array.

Comparison table below shows some the advantages and disadvantages of different RAID types.

RAID Controller Advantage Disadvantage
Software Low cost, easier to reconfigure the array Slow, changing the failed drive is not easy, not suitable for RAID 5 & 6
Hardware card Faster read / write, replacing failed disk is easy Requires additional hardware
Hardware card+ cache Improves I/O performance Cost , susceptible to loss of data in case of power failure

Automatic and Rebootless Linux Kernel Update – KernalCare

The main responsibility of every system administrator is maintaining software and security updates, this can be a daunting task if you are managing multiple servers, operating in different time zone and hosting your server / VPS in multiple locations. You need to schedule a task with your clients/stakeholders, take the servers offline and apply the patches manually. If you are running a Linux OS (CentOS, Redhat, Ubuntu, Debian,…) now you can apply security patches automatically to a running kernel thanks to Kernel Care.

 

KernelCare solution runs in the background, as soon as new patches and security updates are available (every 4 hours it checks for new patches) KernalCare will automatically applies the new patches without rebooting the server. This amazing service saves you time and money while ensuring your OS if up to date and secure.  Below are some of the KernelCare features and benefits:

  • Easy setup: It only takes 4 commands to install, register the key, check and apply the patches
  • Save time and money: You no longer need to spend the time to apply the patches or worry about keeping your Kernel up-to-date, run your servers for years without reboots and without compromising on security.
  • Fast rollout: KernelCare team engineers analyze new vulnerability and security list and will release patches in no time.
  • Rollback capability: You can rollback with a single command, without system reboot or any impact to your operation.
  • Supports most Linux flavours: CentOS/RHEL/CloudLinux OS 6 & 7, CentOS Plus 6 & 7, Amazon Linux, Oracle Linux RHEL-compatible 6 & 7, UEK 3, 4 & 6 R3, Debian 7, 8 & 9, Ubuntu LTS 14.04, 16.04 & 18.04, OpenVZ & Virtuozzo, Proxmox VE 3, 4 & 5, Xen4CentOS 6 & 7

 

KernalCare is an add-on service; we can set it up on your dedicated server or cloud VPS/VM. Call us at 1.877.624.7787 (1.905.881.3485 if you’re in the Toronto area) or email us at sales@cirrushosting.com for more information about these features in this list or if you have any questions in getting your new server. We will be happy to assist you.

 

5 Key Steps to Prepare Your Online Store, E-Commerce Store, For the Holiday Season

The holiday season is fast approaching and I am sure you are working hard to make more money this season!!! You have secured your suppliers, reviewed all your processes from order fulfillment to defining your shipping policy to promotions and advertising but what about your online store?

Can your site handle the traffic spike?
First thing first; take a look your historical data and with a simple analysis you should be able to identify when the website traffic spike could potentially occur; to stress test your site you can use performance-testing applications to simulate the traffic (please communicate with our hosting provider before stress testing your website site). If you are hosting your website on VPS or Cloud VM you should be able to scale up your resources for a month or two to handle extra higher demand.

Make it easy to order
Make sure your shopping cart page is optimized, simple to navigate and easy to make a payment. Well, optimized shopping card should load quickly, should contain all the important information about the product, shipping, and ToS. It should also be easy to read and displayed on a single page. It is vital in today’s competitive online business world to give your customers different payment options for instance Credit Card, PayPal and if you want to be adventures you can accept BitCoin.

Business continuity and Redundancy
It is a nightmare if your website goes offline during the holiday shopping season; you should start putting together a business continuity plan. Conduct a risk assessment of your operation and come up with strategies to safeguard your business against the preventable risks. Make sure all your plugins are up to date and you have applied all the security patches; make sure you are using strong passwords and you have the backup of your website on your local computer. If you are hosting your website on a cloud VM with a reputable hosting company like cirrus hosting your server should be immune from hardware failure, because your data is not tied to a single server and in event of hardware failure your VPS or VM will be loaded on new hardware in a matter of minutes. You can also consult with your hosting provider to explore load balancing option so that you can distribute traffic between multiple servers. Load balancing is a cool option but it requires advanced technical know-how and it is much more expensive.

Website load time
Speed matters!!! In average a well-optimized e-commerce site should load under 3 seconds. There are a few simple steps you can take to reach the load speed of 3 seconds or thereabouts. In my opinion, the most important step is you should choose a light theme and compress your images – you can use Google Page Speed toll to see if your site benefits from compression, consider enabling caching feature and reduce redirects.

Site security and customer trust
An important aspect of any business let alone e-commerce is earning customers trust. One way of achieving that is by securing your communication between your client computer and your server through SSL. You have the option to use a free, open source SSL certificate like Lets Encrypt or a commercial SSL certificate like Comodo. You can learn more about SSL certificates here