What is the difference between hardware RAID and software RAID?

Hardware RAID vs. Software RAID

RAID stands for Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks. There are two possible RAID methods: Hardware RAID and Software RAID.

So Raid is kind of a method for improving the performance and reliability of your storage media by using multiple drives. So that the data is either divided between disks to distribute load, or duplicated to ensure that it can be recovered once a disk fails.

Hardware RAID was the initial type of RAID available, where a specially built RAID controller handles the drives so that the processes are almost transparent to the host computer. So Hardware RAID presents logical disks that are already configured to the system (or the SAN), mirrored and ready to go. Configuration is still required, but that configuration takes place outside the system. Under software RAID, that configuration is performed in the system. And operation is isolated from the host computer’s resources.

Software RAID is a newer type of RAID and its cheaper than hardware RAID,where no specialized hardware is needed, and the host computer is responsible for the drives. and the operation performed on behalf of the host server’s CPU which may result in poor performance. This is because it needs to process the data before it is written to disk, to determine where each piece of data should go. The performance hit taken by the system can vary a lot, depending on what type of RAID array you have in use. It could be very minimal, as with the case of a JBOD array.

As a Conclusion :

  • Software RAID is cheaper than hardware RAID.
  • Software RAID takes up a portion of the host processor.
  • Hardware RAID requires specialized hardware to handle the drives.
  • Hardware RAID is more reliable compared to software RAID.

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