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raid ssd

Posted on 2013-01-20
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Last Modified: 2016-12-08
do i need a special controller to raid ssd or can i just use a standard raid controller? if so, what is the reason for it and what kind of benefits can i expect?
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Question by:Kylo Ren
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8 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:joelsplace
ID: 38799537
Yes if you want to keep TRIM available.  If the drives have good garbage collection it isn't that much of a problem (supposedly).  Without TRIM your drives will slow down a lot over time.
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Expert Comment

by:David
ID: 38799580
RAID controllers that support SSDs with TRIM are very expensive. Thousands of dollars, and they also require certain SSDS, which make them even higher.

If you have low budget then just use a downtime window to remove the SSDs, do a secure erase or manual trim when attached to a native SATA or SAS connector, then restore, and you are good to go.  Enterprise class SSDs have 20+% free space for housekeeping and the necessity of doing the TRIM isn't nearly what it was even 2 years ago.
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Assisted Solution

by:tyson-edwards
tyson-edwards earned 250 total points
ID: 38799881
An effective answer to your question ultimately comes down to what you are looking to accomplish and what your budget is.

Many conventional RAID Controllers will hit their own bottlenecks well before the SSD reaches throughput saturation, however they can still provide data resiliency.

There are RAID Controllers designed to operate with High IOPS configurations, such as SSDs that can be quite expensive (700+) however do not have the same throughput limitations.

Another thing to look into is that Software RAID has come a long way and in many cases can provide lower latency and higher throughputs than what you would see through a conventional RAID Controller. Additionally, with Software RAID, you would still keep all of your conventional disk access capabilities, including TRIM and the ability to apply firmware updates to drives.

The times to use a RAID Controller really comes down to whether invisibility to the OS matters. That can come into play in a variety of ways, including disk hot-swaps or not impacting CPU or Memory utilization.
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Expert Comment

by:joelsplace
ID: 38799919
Many software RAID drivers do not support TRIM.  You need to make sure it does when you choose one.
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Author Comment

by:Kylo Ren
ID: 38807461
ok what if is use windows 8 or windows server 2012 for example the os is able to trim the ssd but im not sure if raided ssd's are supported.
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Expert Comment

by:tyson-edwards
ID: 38807484
The LSI Megaraid 9266 is a great controller that could meet your needs. It has full Windows support, works with SSDs without bottlenecks, and supports TRIM.

However, you do have the option of using Software RAID as well under Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012, which would give you higher throughput than what you would see with the LSI and still support TRIM.

All comes down to where you want to put your trust: On windows or on a hardware controller.
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joelsplace earned 250 total points
ID: 38807889
Window7 and newer support TRIM in the OS.  That means that TRIM is supported by the OS in RAID only if the hardware vendor's driver supports it.
It take 3 things for TRIM to work.
1) TRIM capable drive
2) TRIM capable OS
3) TRIM capable driver
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Expert Comment

by:David
ID: 38807942
The megaraid only works with TRIM on a short list of rather expensive (but quality server-class SSDs).  

Don't worry about TRIM and get enterprise class SSDs with long usage.  You can do a TRIM yourself by erasing them and restoring the data during a downtime window every 6-months to a year depending on usage patterns.
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