How does software RAID work and react to reinstalling OS/changing computers?

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware' started by Bunford, May 22, 2024.

  1. Bunford

    Bunford Audiosexual

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    I'm in the market for a RAID solution, and notice that hardware RAID devices are a bit of a dying breed for local/home and non-enterprise solutions, being replaced by software RAID solutions in many cases.

    How to these work? Is it software RAID on the device, e.g. an external RAID enclosure? Or does it get controlled by software on the computer?

    If on the computer, it then begs the question of what happens when you reinstall OS or change the computer the device is connected to?

    Doing some research, and trying to get my head around it, but everything find goes way too deep like you already have an IT degree :rofl:
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2024
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  3. xorome

    xorome Audiosexual

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    Software on the RAID device that can be set up and controlled from desktops and in some cases from phones too.

    Alternatively, you can just grab a bunch of disks and set up a software RAID in your OS (Windows, Linux, probably MacOS too). For Windows, you can take those same disks and hook them up to a different PC and Windows will recognise your previous Storage Spaces setup ...usually anyway...

    Opinion: For myself, I'd avoid RAID and just mount the disks in some convenient place. Or if I absolutely had to, I'd set up a software JBOD-SPAN.

    I don't want to put myself in a place where my disks turn into paperweights unless I buy the exact same piece of hardware again to replace the one that died. Same for software RAIDs and wanting to change operating systems somewhen down the line. Or updates introducing potentially fatal bugs.
     
  4. Bunford

    Bunford Audiosexual

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    Hmmmm. This is kinda my concern. I am planning a DAS and was planning on RAID5 across 4+ disks (probably of about 16TB+ each). That was then going to be my storage solution for life, hopefully, with ample future expansion. The DAS is only going to be for local backups, serving as a data repository for things I don't want on the internal drives or that aren't daily use kinda stuff, plus backups of things. The internal NVMe (2 x 2TB and 1 x 4TB) and SSDs (2 x 4TB) would host my daily driver kind of stuff for ease of use and speed.

    I was planning on RAID5 so that I can fix easily without losing data if there's a failure, i.e. redundancy. However, if on the cloud, I could theoretically re-download a disks content if it fails and replace with whatever disk is appropriate I guess, and then not lose capacity to RAID.

    How to JBOD-SPAN work? And how do yo control/know what is stored on which disk if, for example, you have 4 x 16TB disks in an enclosure and one disk fails?
     
  5. xorome

    xorome Audiosexual

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    Depends on the implementation. Every manufacturer and OS is 100% free to decide how much they let you control and know. In other words: time to read reviews, followed by many many forum posts of user experiences.

    Depends on the implementation. If it's an operating system JBOD-SPAN, the OS may offer a setting to never split your files between disks. So you'd be down 16tb of FILES. If it's a hardware RAID, the hardware may not know the difference between FILES and DATA (may depend on the file system you pick). So you'd not only be down 16tb of data, but also a whole lot more than that in terms of FILES.

    If you decide on a piece of hardware, I'd try to pick something up that doesn't do proprietary shenanigans to the data on the disks. If your XYZ-AS dies 7 years from now, I wouldn't want to be in a position where I'd need an exact replacement for a discontinued product or face total data loss. The disks 110% need to work in Windows and Linux without modifications or 3rd party software.
     
  6. Bunford

    Bunford Audiosexual

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    Thanks for these useful steers!

    DO you have an thoughts on any sort of 4+ bay enclosures you would start looking at to achieve what you are saying? Just so I can at least sart from a narrower point of forum/review-digging :rofl:
     
  7. xorome

    xorome Audiosexual

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    I don't. You'd have to threaten my dog before I'd go back to hardware solutions.
     
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