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Gambling with RAID

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If you work with digital media files, you’ve seen their sizes decrease with the help of compression codecs but increase due to expanded resolutions/formatting–and those resolutions keep growing, first SD, then HD, 2K, 4K, 8K.  In today’s world it’s important to get the most value (and security/peace of mind) for your money when purchasing expanded storage for those files.  This post won’t recommend one manufacturer over another but it will help you to understand some basic principles so you are armed with knowledge that’ll make you a smarter consumer.

 

RAID 0 = max storage space but you have no protection from data corruption/loss if a drive fails since there is no redundancy across the drives with how the information is stored.

 

Take these 2 configs and you’ll see where the difference really becomes apparent when the results of some various setup options are offered below:

 

Option 1: 24TB as (8) 3TB drives for $3,100 using Thunderbolt 2 connection (250W power consumption)

 

Option 2: 24TB as (4) 6TB drives for $1,915 using Thunderbolt 2 connection (250W power consumption)

 

RESULTS: Setup for RAID 5 where you can have a failure tolerance of 1 drive:

 
Option 1 = 21TB total working space once configured, 7x read speed gain, 1 drive can fail without data loss

 
Option 2 = 18TB total working space once configured, 3x read speed gain, 1 drive can fail without data loss

 

RESULTS:  Setup for RAID 6 where you can have a failure tolerance of 2 drives:

 

Option 1 = 18TB total working space once configured, 6x read speed gain, 2 drives can fail without data loss

 

Option 2 = 12TB total working space once configured, 2x read speed gain, 2 drives can fail without data loss

 

RESULTS: Setup for RAID 10 where you can have a failure tolerance of at least 1 drive:

 

Option 1 = 12TB total working space once configured, 8x read speed gain, 4x write speed gain, at least 1 drive can fail without data loss

 
Option 2 = 12TB total working space once configured, 4x read speed gain, 2x write speed gain, at least 1 drive can fail without data loss

 
Why do you lose so much storage space with option 2?  That is because (for example in RAID 6, the configuration recommended for anything over 10TB) you are giving up 2 drives.  Since option 2 uses less physical drives and instead relies upon disk capacity to make up the difference, you lose more space.  Take note of the read speed gain; that’s based on the configuration type, too.  In this case it makes sense to have more physical drives so you can keep the capacity of those drives down knowing you’ll lose at least one or more.  Of course you pay for that with the cost of the enclosure and then the additional drive costs.

 

Keep in mind that you should have 15% free at all times and between 20-30% free for optimal performance.  That means that in the 24TB example above, if you have 18TB to work with you want to keep your available free space above 4.5TB.  In the case of 12TB that figure becomes 3TB.  

 

Want to calculate different configurations in your RAID?  Try it here

Bottom line, what’s the best option for video editing?  Sareesh Sudhakaran does a nice job analyzing this topic in much more detail on his blog here.