In what was originally termed hybrid RAID, many storage controllers allow RAID levels to be nested. The elements of a RAID may be either individual disks or RAIDs themselves. Nesting more than two deep is unusual.
As there is no basic RAID level numbered larger than 9, nested RAIDs are usually unambiguously described by concatenating the numbers indicating the RAID levels, sometimes with a "+" in between. For example, RAID 10 (or RAID 1+0) consists of several level 1 arrays of physical drives, each of which is one of the "drives" of a level 0 array striped over the level 1 arrays. It is not called RAID 01, to avoid confusion with RAID 1, or indeed, RAID 01. When the top array is a RAID 0 (such as in RAID 10 and RAID 50) most vendors omit the "+", though RAID 5+0 is clearer.
- RAID 0+1: striped sets in a mirrored set (minimum four disks; even number of disks) provides fault tolerance and improved performance but increases complexity. The key difference from RAID 1+0 is that RAID 0+1 creates a second striped set to mirror a primary striped set. The array continues to operate with one or more drives failed in the same mirror set, but if drives fail on both sides of the mirror the data on the RAID system is lost.
- RAID 1+0: mirrored sets in a striped set (minimum two disks but more commonly four disks to take advantage of speed benefits; even number of disks) provides fault tolerance and improved performance but increases complexity.
- The key difference from RAID 0+1 is that RAID 1+0 creates a striped set from a series of mirrored drives. In a failed disk situation, RAID 1+0 performs better because all the remaining disks continue to be used. The array can sustain multiple drive losses so long as no mirror loses all its drives.
- RAID 5+1: mirror striped set with distributed parity (some manufacturers label this as RAID 53).