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Storage Spaces - Software vs hardware raid?

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  • Storage Spaces - Software vs hardware raid?

    Is Microsoft Storage Spaces production quality yet or is it better to stick with hardware raid still?

    Just putting together a strategy for a new 2012 R2 server, single domain controller running over hyper-v, and the question of hardware vs software raid has arisen.

    With Server 2012 it is now possible to do software Raid 10, use Storage Spaces to create the two mirrored virtual disks, then use disk management to strip those two virtual disks into one volume. Now it is not possible to boot from them so I would also have to add a mirrored pair of SATA drives just for the hyper-V partition. The Raid 1+0 would be on four SAS drives.

    But... I am still trying to establish whether this software raid solution is going to be reliable or should I just stick with a hardware OBR10 solution, that would avoid having the extra pair or SATA drives but in the event of disaster recovery ties us into that particular Raid controller.

  • #2
    Re: Storage Spaces - Software vs hardware raid?

    FWIW, I have always assumed that you will get better performance with HW RAID as this is using a RAID controller rather than processor power. I know some cheaper RAID setups do not have a separate controller, but even then I assume the BIOS controlled RAID will be more efficient than Windows can do it.

    So unless you need the flexibility of managing storage "on the fly" that Storage Spaces offers, IMHO stick with old fashioned, but reliable, RAID

    For perhaps a different opinion, see https://blogs.technet.com/b/askpfepl...-could-be.aspx
    Tom Jones
    MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
    PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
    IT Trainer / Consultant
    Ossian Ltd
    Scotland

    ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

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    • #3
      Re: Storage Spaces - Software vs hardware raid?

      Not sure the CPU load is relevant with modern hardware, I think most CPUs have so much power in reserve that running a raid array is hardly noticeable.

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      • #4
        Re: Storage Spaces - Software vs hardware raid?

        Originally posted by Nick_C View Post
        Not sure the CPU load is relevant with modern hardware, I think most CPUs have so much power in reserve that running a raid array is hardly noticeable.
        On a RAID 1 or 5 array you may not notice the extra CPU load, but you will probably notice the bus overhead on write operations, as parity data has to be generated in RAM and sent across the PCIe bus as opposed to being generated by the disk controller. The overhead on a software RAID 1 array is 100% (twice as much data has to be sent across the bus).

        Parity computation on a RAID 6 array is non-trivial, so you may actually notice the extra load it imposes on the CPU during heavy write operations.

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