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  1. #1
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    Apr 2011
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    RAID: Software or Hardware - how much difference? what do you recommend?

    OK, I'm pretty clueless about RAIDS. I am configuring a dedicated server and am getting different opinions on this...

    My guys say they want a RAID 1.

    Two of the three providers we are looking at are offering us Software based RAIDs and the other is telling me that we really want a hardware based RAID as they are "better"...

    What really is the difference?

    What are your opinions/experiences/suggestions regarding this choice?

    Thanks for any/all feedback regarding this!

    Craig

  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    Hardware RAID usually involves a read/write cache for extra performance, with RAID1 you're not looking at that much of a performance difference.

    However you should check with all providers which of the servers are "hot swap." Typically hardware RAID machines are hot swap, but people offering software RAID are typically using non-hotswap chassis, but it needs to be clarified with each provider. I'd go with whichever machine is "hot swap" so that a drive failure need not result in any downtime.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert vd Boorn View Post
    Wow, that's really comprehensive!! Unfortunately, much of it's over my head too

    But it looks like overall a hardware RAID is "better" for higher performance.

    So now I'm wondering at what price point is it worth upgrading to a hardware RAID...

  5. #5
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    Apr 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by gordonrp View Post
    Hardware RAID usually involves a read/write cache for extra performance, with RAID1 you're not looking at that much of a performance difference.

    However you should check with all providers which of the servers are "hot swap." Typically hardware RAID machines are hot swap, but people offering software RAID are typically using non-hotswap chassis, but it needs to be clarified with each provider. I'd go with whichever machine is "hot swap" so that a drive failure need not result in any downtime.
    yes, I for sure would like hot swap capabilities! Interesting though, because (if I read it correctly) in the link from the post previous to yours, it said that the software version doesn't offer hot swap capabilities...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by craiger33 View Post
    yes, I for sure would like hot swap capabilities! Interesting though, because (if I read it correctly) in the link from the post previous to yours, it said that the software version doesn't offer hot swap capabilities...
    You can certainly do hotswap on software RAID if your mobo / chassis supports it.

  7. #7
    I personally prefer software raid. You don't have to deal with odd drivers, it's easier to get the raid status from the operating system and rebuild arrays, and with raid 0, 1, or 10, the performance is almost identical. And then of course it saves money. Some people have had bad experiences with s/w raid, I've had bad experiences with hardware raid, so to an extent, it comes down to preference as well.
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  8. #8
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    If you have a true hardware RAID setup with a good controller and write cache, it is going to be the most optimal. Otherwise, software RAID is worth considering. Of course, the true hardware RAID setup is going to be more costly, so you also need to evaluate whether that is worth it for your application.

  9. #9
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    Apr 2011
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    OK... after doing a bit of research, they are offering me the software RAID for free, but the hardware RAID (normally $50/mo) for $25/mo. I think that's a worthy upgrade.

    Decision made.

    Thanks everyone for your input!

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