In computer storage, the standard RAID levels comprise a basic set of RAID (redundant array of independent disks) configurations that employ the techniques of striping, mirroring, or parity to create large reliable data stores from multiple general-purpose computer hard disk drives (HDDs). The most common types are RAID 0 (striping), RAID 1 and its variants (mirroring), RAID 5 (distributed parity), and RAID 6 (dual parity). RAID levels and their associated data formats are standardized by the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) in the Common RAID Disk Drive Format (DDF) standard.
RAID 0 (also known as a stripe set or striped volume) splits (“stripes”) data evenly across two or more disks, without parity information, redundancy, or fault tolerance. Since RAID 0 provides no fault tolerance or redundancy, the failure of one drive will cause the entire array to fail; as a result of having data striped across all disks, the failure will result in total data loss. This configuration is typically implemented having speed as the intended goal.] RAID 0 is normally used to increase performance, although it can also be used as a way to create a large logical volume out of two or more physical disks.
A RAID 0 setup can be created with disks of differing sizes, but the storage space added to the array by each disk is limited to the size of the smallest disk. For example, if a 120 GB disk is striped together with a 320 GB disk, the size of the array will be 120 GB × 2 = 240 GB. However, some RAID implementations allow the remaining 200 GB to be used for other purposes.
The diagram in this section shows how the data is distributed into Ax stripes on two disks, with A1:A2 as the first stripe, A3:A4 as the second one, etc. Once the stripe size is defined during the creation of a RAID 0 array, it needs to be maintained at all times. Since the stripes are accessed in parallel, an n-drive RAID 0 array appears as a single large disk with a data rate n times higher than the single-disk rate.
RAID 1 consists of an exact copy (or mirror) of a set of data on two or more disks; a classic RAID 1 mirrored pair contains two disks. This configuration offers no parity, striping, or spanning of disk space across multiple disks, since the data is mirrored on all disks belonging to the array, and the array can only be as big as the smallest member disk. This layout is useful when read performance or reliability is more important than write performance or the resulting data storage capacity.
The array will continue to operate so long as at least one member drive is operational.
RAID 2, which is rarely used in practice, stripes data at the bit (rather than block) level, and uses a Hamming code for error correction. The disks are synchronized by the controller to spin at the same angular orientation (they reach index at the same time[clarification needed]), so it generally cannot service multiple requests simultaneously. Extremely high data transfer rates are possible.
With all hard disk drives implementing internal error correction, the complexity of an external Hamming code offered little advantage over parity so RAID 2 has been rarely implemented; it is the only original level of RAID that is not currently used.
RAID 3, which is rarely used in practice, consists of byte-level striping with a dedicated parity disk. One of the characteristics of RAID 3 is that it generally cannot service multiple requests simultaneously, which happens because any single block of data will, by definition, be spread across all members of the set and will reside in the same location.[clarification needed] Therefore, any I/O operation requires activity on every disk and usually requires synchronized spindles.
RAID 4 consists of block-level striping with a dedicated parity disk. As a result of its layout, RAID 4 provides good performance of random reads, while the performance of random writes is low due to the need to write all parity data to a single disk.
In diagram 1, a read request for block A1 would be serviced by disk 0. A simultaneous read request for block B1 would have to wait, but a read request for B2 could be serviced concurrently by disk 1.
RAID 5 consists of block-level striping with distributed parity. Unlike in RAID 4, parity information is distributed among the drives. It requires that all drives but one be present to operate. Upon failure of a single drive, subsequent reads can be calculated from the distributed parity such that no data is lost. RAID 5 requires at least three disks.
RAID 6 extends RAID 5 by adding another parity block; thus, it uses block-level striping with two parity blocks distributed across all member disks.
According to the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), the definition of RAID 6 is: "Any form of RAID that can continue to execute read and write requests to all of a RAID array’s virtual disks in the presence of any two concurrent disk failures.
Source : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_RAID_levels