RAID and Fault Tolerance

Windows 2000, like Windows NT 4.0, still supports what is commonly referred to as software RAID, or Redundant Array of Independent Disks. In software RAID, the OS handles all RAID functions, and the system does not require a separate RAID controller card. Although the software method is less expensive, it is certainly slower and less reliable than traditional hardware RAID. Windows 2000 supports three types of RAID as described below. Note that all RAID configuration is handled via the Disk Management MMC tool.


Now referred to as a ‘striped volume’, this is usually used to speed up access to data. In this configuration, which supports between 2 and 32 physical disks, data is striped evenly across the disks, which act as a single logical volume. Although the name suggests redundancy, there is in fact no redundancy in a RAID 0 configuration. Should a single volume in the striped volume fail, access to data on that volume will be lost. In Windows 2000, new striped volumes can only be created on dynamic disks, although existing stripe sets from NT 4.0 can continue to exist on basic disks in the case of an upgrade. Essentially that means you can have stripe sets if you upgraded, but cannot create new RAID 0 until you upgrade all hard disks that you wish to be part of the new configuration to dynamic disks. Note that neither the system nor boot partitions can reside on RAID 0 volumes.


Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.