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Marshall_W

RocketRaid 2720SGL vs Software Raid 5

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Marshall_W

I am trying to decide if the $200 investment for a 2720SGL is worth it on a home server primarily used for media streaming and (non-critical) pc backups.

 

Can someone help me understand the key benefits of going hardware vs software? Thanks!

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ikon

Hardware RAID is well proven and time-tested technology. Software RAID, particularly the Drive Extender replacements like Stablebit DrivePool and DriveBender are newer and less proven (but so far they seem to be reliable).

 

Hardware RAID is portable in that you can usually move the RAID card and drives to another system and the array(s) will stay intact. That's not true for most BIOS RAID arrays. I understand it is true for DrivePool arrays. I don't know about DriveBender arrays.

 

Hardware RAID can often allow for more drives in an array. Eight port RAID cards can be bought for less than $200. There aren't many mother boards with 8 SATA ports, especially on micro ATX and mini ITX mobos. Also, using a RAID card leaves the mobo SATA ports free for other uses.

 

Hardware RAID will usually have higher performance than sofware.

 

At this point DrivePool and DriveBender offer features that hardware RAID doesn't. For example you can combine drives of different sizes and still use the equivalent of RAID-5; IOW, parity. DrivePool offers the ability to read files off any drive from an array even if the array is broken or the drive is removed from the system (the files are stored on the drives in normal NTFS format so any Windows system can read them).

 

That's a few things I can think of. I'm sure others can offer many other ideas.

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oj88

There are now three types of 'RAID' implementations. Hardware RAID, software RAID, and drive pooling.

 

Hardware RAID and software RAID are almost implemented the same way but with obvious difference as to whether it is done using a dedicated chipset or by software or the OS. One thing to remember is that, data is stored on the disks using proprietary methods and in most cases can't be read when the individual disks are removed from the array.

 

Drive pooling is relatively new and seemed to bave been popularized by WHS v1's Drive Extender. There are a few advantages to using drive pooling:

 

1. Individual drives can be natively read by almost any OS that can understand NTFS

2. You have the option to selectively enable folder duplication to protect only those irreplaceable data

3. You just put in additional drives when you run out of space. Drives can be a mix of SATA/eSATA, USB, Firewire, etc.

Edited by oj88

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jmwills

Hardware RAID is transportable to a new server without regards to the MOBO. Spend the extra money and sleep easy at night.

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ikon

There are now three types of 'RAID' implementations. Hardware RAID, software RAID, and drive pooling.

 

Hardware RAID and software RAID are almost implemented the same way but with obvious difference as to whether it is done using a dedicated chipset or by software or the OS. One thing to remember is that, data is stored on the disks using proprietary methods and in most cases can't be read when the individual disks are removed from the array.

 

Drive pooling is relatively new and seemed to bave been popularized by WHS v1's Drive Extender. There are a few advantages to using drive pooling:

 

1. Individual drives can be natively read by almost any OS that can understand NTFS

2. You have the option to selectively enable folder duplication to protect only those irreplaceable data

3. You just put in additional drives when you run out of space. Drives can be a mix of SATA/eSATA, USB, Firewire, etc.

 

Interesting idea to classify programs like DrivePool and DriveBender as a new form of 'RAID'. I'm not sure whether I agree or not; I'll have to think about it some more. One issue I have is that RAID cards and software RAID do Striping, Spanning, and JBOD, all forms drive pooling. On the other hand, they don't do selective folder duplication. And I agree it is easier to add new drives, although some hardware and software forms of RAID also permit it.

 

I also agree that DrivePool and DriveBender, in particular, offer new and interesting features. I think they're showing the way ahead for RAID.

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oj88

 

 

Interesting idea to classify programs like DrivePool and DriveBender as a new form of 'RAID'. I'm not sure whether I agree or not; I'll have to think about it some more. One issue I have is that RAID cards and software RAID do Striping, Spanning, and JBOD, all forms drive pooling. On the other hand, they don't do selective folder duplication. And I agree it is easier to add new drives, although some hardware and software forms of RAID also permit it.

 

I also agree that DrivePool and DriveBender, in particular, offer new and interesting features. I think they're showing the way ahead for RAID.

 

Yeah, I agree that they're all essentially RAID and does drive pooling. However, if you look at the underlying technologies, they're each very different enough to warrant their own category. There may be overlapping similarities like how hardware RAID and software RAID stripes data on the disks. And then there are those software utilities like DE, DP and DB that qualifies as a form of software RAID but instead, writes data on the disks in native NTFS.

 

If any, I guess software RAID should be sub-categorized to take into account these new 3rd party software drive pooling technologies that does not do striping. Plus, these also do not require having identical drives and can be connected to the host in any way; SATA, USB, FW. The disks can even be moved to different ports and the software would pick up the pool anyway.

Edited by oj88

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ikon

I'm sure you know this, but I just want to make it clear for those who may not know that hardware and software RAID do NOT require identical sized drives; it's just that the array(s) will only use space on each drive that's equal to the size of the smallest drive in the array. Most people don't recommend it because of the 'wasted' space, but it's certainly do-able.

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oj88

I'm sure you know this, but I just want to make it clear for those who may not know that hardware and software RAID do NOT require identical sized drives; it's just that the array(s) will only use space on each drive that's equal to the size of the smallest drive in the array. Most people don't recommend it because of the 'wasted' space, but it's certainly do-able.

 

True. But probably only good (and practical, if you will) as an interim solution. People building homeservers typically have limited budget and every bit and byte of space counts.

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ikon

True. But probably only good (and practical, if you will) as an interim solution. People building homeservers typically have limited budget and every bit and byte of space counts.

 

Yeah. It's a good way to use drives you have on hand.

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ImTheTypeOfGuy
Hardware RAID is transportable to a new server without regards to the MOBO. Spend the extra money and sleep easy at night.

 

...and that is all you need to know. Thistles or worth every penny. Software raid doesn't give you this option.

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