RAID and Security+ (RAID-6, 10)

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I’ve recently received a barrage of queries about RAID and Security+, so decided to write two posts to answer some of these questions to more people. This post covers RAID-6 and RAID-10. The previous post covers RAID-0, RAID-1, and RAID-5.

This is a continuation of the previous post and covers RAID-6 and Security+, along with RAID-10. The previous post discusses RAID-0, RAID-1, and RAID-5. This post covers RAID-6 and RAID-10. As a reminder, the following table summarizes the primary RAID types.

Type DisksFault ToleranceReadWrite
 RAID 0 Minimum 2 None High High
 RAID 1 2 only RAID-0 continues to operate even if one drive fails Medium Medium
 RAID 5 Minimum 3 RAID-5 continues to operate even if one drive fails High Medium
 RAID 6 Minimum 4 RAID-6 continues to operate even if two drives fail High Low
 RAID 10 Minimum 4 RAID-10 continues to operate even if two drives fail High High

RAID-6

RAID-6 is an extension of RAID-5, and it includes an additional parity block.

If you have four 500 GB drives used in a RAID-6, you have 1000 GB of usable storage space. The other 1000 GB of storage space is used for parity.

RAID-6 and Security+

A huge benefit is that the RAID-6 disk subsystem will continue to operate even if any two disk drives fail. RAID-6 requires a minimum of four disks.

Failure RAID-6 and Security+

RAID-6 is good for most servers that are used regularly and need increased performance along with fault tolerance. The exception is database servers that handle frequent data transactions. RAID-10 is a better choice for these database servers.

Remember this

RAID-6 (striping with dual parity) provides fault tolerance and will continue to operate even if two drives fail. It provides an increase in read performance. However, because it needs to calculate and write parity on two separate drives, it is slower with writes. It requires a minimum of four disks. The equivalent of two drives are used for parity instead of data storage space.

RAID-10

RAID-10 combines a striped volume (RAID-0) with a mirrored volume (RAID-1). It requires a minimum of four disks.

If you have four 500 GB drives used in a RAID-10, you have 1000 GB of usable storage space. The other 1000 GB of storage space is used for mirroring the data.

RAID-10 and Security+

A primary benefit of a RAID-10 is that provides high read and write performance. It is especially useful with online transaction processing (OLTP) databases, or any system that performs a high volume of small reads and writes.

Another benefit is that the RAID-10 disk subsystem will continue to operate even if a single disk in any mirror fails.

Failure RAID-10 and Security+

However, these two drives must must be in different mirrors. The data is lost if two drives in the same mirror fail.

Failure RAID-10 and Security+ Data Lost

RAID-10 is the best choice for most database servers handling online transactions. These transactions typically perform small data reads and writes.

When adding disks to a RAID-10, you need to add disks in multiples of two. As an example, the following graphic shows how you add an additional mirror volume to a RAID-10.
RAID-10 and Security+ Adding Drives

 

This RAID-10 can continue to operate even if three drives fail (as long as the failed drives are not in the same mirror.

Failure RAID-10 and Security+ 2

 

For example, if two drives fail in the mirror as shown in the following graphic, all data is lost.

Failure RAID-10 and Security+ Data Lost 2

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Remember this

RAID-10 (mirroring with striping) provides fault tolerance and will continue to operate even if multiple drives fail (as long as both drives in any given mirror don’t fail). It provides an increase in both read and write performance and is ideal for many database server applications. It requires a minimum of four disks. The equivalent of half of the drives are used for mirroring data, so they do not provide additional data storage space.

Software Versus Hardware RAID

Hardware RAID configurations are significantly better than software RAID. In hardware RAID, dedicated hardware manages the disks in the RAID, removing the load from the operating system. In contrast, the operating system manages the disks in the RAID array in software RAID. Hardware RAID systems provide better overall performance and often include extra features.

For example, a hardware RAID may include six physical disks using four in an active RAID-6 configuration and two as online spares. If one of the active disks in the RAID-6 fails, the RAID will continue to operate because a RAID-6 can tolerate the failure.

However, a hardware RAID can logically take the failed disk out of the configuration, add one of the online spares into the configuration, and rebuild the array. All of this happens without any administrator intervention. Hardware RAID systems are often hot swappable, allowing administrators to swap out the failed drive without powering the system down.

You can read about RAID-0, RAID-5, and RAID-6 here.

Practice test questions available on this site include many simulated performance-based questions, including a group of performance-based questions on RAID.

You might also like to view the post about Adding Redundancy.

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