A better solution than raid?

HnyBear

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I've been using raid 5 for years but it has it's shortcomings and I'm looking to find something better. My current hardware is as follows.

Asus Sabertooth z77 Motherboard
i7-3770 with the boost OC'd to 4300mhz
16GB ram
Asus ROG Strix GTX 1080
OCZ Agility 4 256GB 2.5" Solid State Drive
4 x Seagate Barracuda 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
Windows 10 Pro 64bit

My OS and main programs are on the SSD and my games and media is run from the Raid 5 on the 4 HDD's. I know I'm not using NAS drives but it's what I could afford.

I need something that with my current hardware setup will give me as fast if not faster reads/writes and data redundancy. Also if a drive fails, as with the Raid 5, I'd like to be able to just hot swap a new drive in and have it rebuild the data.

I'm not sure if there is anything like that out there and trying to search for info has just left me more confused. I've read about ReFS, Storage Spaces, ZFS, UnRaid and on and on and on....

I can't afford to buy new hardware of any kind. I need to make it work with what I've got. I just need speed, because of gaming and massive media files being used regularly and I need redundancy to protect all my data, on my current raid from failure. Any help is appreciated.
 

Rogue Leader

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Without spending money (and building a massive array of SSD's backed up daily or more) there is nothing faster using the equipment you have. StorageSpaces is essentially software raid, ReFS was supposed to be the file system that underpins it, but its not, UnRAID has no speed benefits. Using hardware based RAID 5 with those drives is literally as fast as you're going to go.
 
+1 above two answers. Raid 1 or Raid 10 will give you better write performance (which is a yawn given you likely have write caching turned on) at the expense of lowering effective storage from 9B to 6GB from the 4X3TB drives.

Not for you, but for others reading this thread, Intel RST drivers have been dropping chipsets so if (like me) you use older hardware to build your media server the old RAID array based on RST drivers is going to stop working. I use win10 storage spaces on my q6600 media server because the RST drivers are no longer supported. I have not had it up long enough to know if it's good. OP has such modern equipment that's likely not an issue.

Aside: @Rogue Leader: I was assuming OP was using intel RST drivers to get RAID 5. I'm not sure how much of that raid support is done in HW and how much is SW raid in the driver that is only enabled when the driver sees the right chipset. Compare Intel RST raid with an external Sans Digital enclosure: no driver needed for Sans Digital, the eSata enclosure looks like a single drive. With RST you need the driver so I'm guessing the RAID processing is at least partially software.
 

HnyBear

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I have accepted your solution even though it makes me :'( I need to get better drives but I can't afford them. My goal is to replace these horrible Seagate drives with WD Red Pros
 

Rogue Leader

Titan
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I don't see how those will go faster (they are more reliable).

If you want to go faster you need a RAID array with like SAS drives (if you want to stick with hard drives and big storage space). Even then though the cost/benefit... not so much....
 

HnyBear

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Yes, reliability is a factor. The seagates last about 1 year or less. I've been through 7 of them already. All covered under warranty except the last 2. Only other alternative is going SSD but for the size of space I need $3000 for 2 4TB SSD's is expensive....
 

Rogue Leader

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God the thought of spending that made me have a mild heart attack....
 

Lapsio

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I may sound silly saying that on this forum but have you heard about Z-RAID or btrfs RAID? They're much more advanced than conventional RAID as they're filesystem aware. Linux / Solaris only tho. But iirc ReFS might have some equivalent

Also SSD writethrough cache.

With btrfs RAID6 (5 SG NAS 2TB drives) and 60gb SSD cache partition I'm getting around 300-400 MB/s sequential read and decent random i/o of frequently used data. In case you're not aware of SSD cache mechanisms they're not storing full data. So having 60gb cache doesn't mean it'll actuallly store 60gb file no more. it'll store only randomly accessed parts of those files - for example in my case cache stored about 5 seconds of all songs and movies because that's time RAID needs to keep up with it's slower random i/o (not literally 5 sec but amount of data that contains 5 seconds of song is amount that is enough to be fetched from ssd so hdd doesn't have that noticeable "launch penalty". There's 500 gb of music but 60gb cache can speed up all of this as it saves only small fraction of data - only segments that are accessed randomly.

And why write through? Yes - it doesn't speed up writes like write back does, so is slower but remember it's RAID - you don't want your data to be <MOD EDIT: LANGUAGE> when SSD fails.

For sure there are some SSD cache mechanisms for Windows idk if they're compatible with RAID tho.
 

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