Softraid or a physical card?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by beaudamore, Jan 12, 2015.

  1. beaudamore macrumors newbie

    beaudamore

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2015
    #1
    I've been up-a-creek since my Apple Raid card died...
    anyone use Softraid? (http://www.softraid.com)
    does it compare?
    I know a hardware RAID card is almost always faster and more reliable.. just wondering if anyone has had success with this software?
    (at $179 it's a cheap alternative if I get the speed I want...
    I'm already doing TimeMachine with a 3TB drive so striping 4 drives is an option. Trying it now, seems quick using 4 WD Red 2TB drives)
     
  2. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2003
    Location:
    The Peninsula
    #2
    Quote: I know a hardware RAID card is almost always faster and more reliable.

    Did you just answer your own question? ;)

    If you're doing RAID-0 striping, the only advantages to a hardware RAID are that the controller probably has a nice, big cache - and if you have battery/flash backup you can cache writes. (If you use the Seagate hybrid SSHD drives you can also safely cache writes.)

    For RAID-1, performance between the two will be similar (except for the cache issue) but the software RAID will need to rebuild the mirror whenever the OS doesn't do a clean shutdown. Usually hardware RAID-1 (even the simple Intel chipset RAID) doesn't lose the mirror on a system crash or hang.

    For parity RAID (RAID-5/RAID-6/RAID-50/RAID-60) hardware RAID with battery/flash backup is by far the better choice unless you really don't care how slow writes and rebuilds will be.

    I have no information or opinion on Softraid - but even a bug-free software implementation of RAID has the problems that I describe. (That is, unless it cuts corners that will put your data at risk.)
     
  3. ScottishCaptain macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    #3
    Software RAID isn't hardware RAID.

    You're limited to RAID0 or RAID1, both of which come with a hefty set of caveats. You can smash them together as SoftRAID suggests, but I wouldn't recommend that- RAID10 setups tend to be tweaky as hell and are still prone to failure.

    The only way you're going to get true redundancy (lose any one disk) and speed is if you're running RAID5/RAID6 through a hardware RAID controller. Unless you have a REALLY good backup system, I wouldn't even go near RAID0, and while RAID1 somewhat accelerates read operations it's not that great due to the hit you take writing data to disk.

    PS: Apple has built-in software RAID that does what SoftRAID claims to do. It's possible SoftRAID is a bit faster since I'm sure there's a reason why they're still around, but I've never tried them so I can't say for sure.

    -SC
     
  4. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2003
    Location:
    The Peninsula
    #4
    Not true....

    Windows software RAID has done RAID-5 since the NT days last century.

    "while RAID1 somewhat accelerates read operations it's not that great due to the hit you take writing data to disk"

    No hit with Seagate hybrid SSHD drives....
     
  5. beaudamore thread starter macrumors newbie

    beaudamore

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2015
    #5
    yea, I'm going back to an Apple RAID. My other one I got for $100 on ebay... must have been bad.
    I realize now that if I have an OS issue, I could be out of luck getting my array back or at the minimum forever for a rebuild...
    As money permits I'll get an external cage and a newer MP.
    Thanks all
     
  6. Macshroomer macrumors 65816

    Macshroomer

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    #6
    I'm using Softraid with 4 x 4TB internals for storage in RAID-5, seems great thus far, it is also backed up per event, nightly + offsite, OS on SDD in PCIe card, pretty low risk overall. I thought about a raid card but I just don't know how much more I can tax my power supply with all I have going on.

    So far so good....and fast as hell too.
     
  7. Loa macrumors 65816

    Loa

    Joined:
    May 5, 2003
    Location:
    Québec
    #7
    Hello,

    I've been using at least one RAID0 set in my Mac Pros since I discovered them years and years ago. All of them using nothing more than Apple's disk utility. Never had a single problem. Tried softraid once, hated it, and went back to simple disk utility.

    Depends on your usage, and since you don't specify which raid you want, all the replies will be theoretical.

    Loa
     
  8. Macshroomer macrumors 65816

    Macshroomer

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    #8
    For RAID-0, absolutely use disk utility, no need to place your drives "Under Arrest" with software if you don't need to.
     

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