Hardware vs Software RAID: Which Is Better for You?

Hardware redundant array of inexpensive disks (RAID) and software RAID are two main ways for setting up RAID system. Many are confused about which is better. Actually, both have pros and cons. This article will guide you to make a good choice.

Nowadays, redundant array of inexpensive disks (RAID) has become a more and more popular data storage technology for both individuals and businesses. It can combine multiple physical disks into a single logical unit. Thereby, it can provide users with data redundancy, which can reduce the likelihood of data loss to some extent, such as damaged Outlook file. Also, it can improve devices’ performance.

Hardware vs Software RAID: Which Is Better for You?

Generally, there are two approaches to set up RAID. One is hardware. The other is software. When you intend to set up a RAID system, you will surely have to know a bit about the two setup means. In order to help you to make the most suitable selection between them, here we will reveal the advantages and disadvantages of hardware RAID and software RAID in detail.

Hardware RAID

Advantages:

  1. Hardware RAID is actually easy to set up. Most RAID controllers will come with a menu driven wizard, which can teach you to build your RAID array. At best, some are able to set up automatically and properly.
  2. In addition, it is also simple to replace the failed disk. Just plug it out and put in a new one.

Disadvantages:

  1. When your RAID controller fails, you have to find a compatible one to replace. The system can’t function without a suitable and effective RAID controller.
  2. Hardware RAID is far more expensive than software RAID. For instance, the high-end disk controllers can be very costly.
  3. In order to better monitor the health and performance of your RAID system, you have to rely on the specific software, which can be only provided by the vendor.
  4. Different RAID controller has their different permissions for users. That is to say, you cannot reshape, split or make other changes on the hardware RAID,

Software RAID

Advantages:

  1. Software RAID works relying on the operating system. That is to say, it is hardware independent without needs to be tied to hardware vendors.
  2. As the software for monitoring is standardized, you can use the same ways to monitor the health and performance of all your servers.
  3. Software RAID virtually belongs to operating system. Thus, it doesn’t demand additional costs. It is cheaper than software RAID.
  4. Plus, software RAID permits users to reconfigure your arrays without being restricted by the hardware RAID controller.

Disadvantages:

  1. Since software RAID is a part of operating system. Hence, its performance also depends on the CPU performance and the workload of your sever. Thus, it may have slower performance than a high end dedicated hardware RAID.
  2. Moreover, you need to incorporate your RAID build into operating system installation process.
  3. Replacing failed disk in the software RAID is a bit more complex. You have to firstly tell your system to stop using the disk and then replace the disk. So, it’s not as easy as replacing disk on hardware RAID.

Author Introduction:

Shirley Zhang is a data recovery expert in DataNumen, Inc., which is the world leader in data recovery technologies, including repair mdf and outlook repair software products. For more information visit www.datanumen.com

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