RAID Tip 6 of 10 - Software RAID

Do not underestimate a software RAID.

  • Software RAID would typically provide the same, if not better reliability than an entry-level server hardware RAID controller. Certainly, a software RAID implemented over motherboard's ATA ports would be noticeably more reliable than a setup involving a $20 FakeRAID card from a corner store.
  • Software RAID is easier to move around from server to server. It does not require an identical replacement controller in case of a controller failure, which is sometimes a hindrance with server hardware. Just remember to always move the disks together.
  • In RAID 0, RAID 1, and RAID 10, the hardware RAID controller does not provide any computational power benefit because there is nothing to offload.
  • Most modern SOHO and small business NAS devices, like Synology, QNAP, or NetGear, use a software RAID (Linux/mdadm).

The significant side effect is that you cannot reliably boot from a software RAID.

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