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RAID -- software vs hardware ?

Need to purchase a Windows 2012 Standard
"Archive" readOnly fileserver for 100 users
with LIGHT usage on data that NEVER changes.

 1.  What is "RAID type" is better ?
          Option #1 = software
          Option #2 = hardware

 2.  What is "RAID type" is cheaper ?
          Option #1 = software
          Option #2 = hardware

 3.  What is "RAID level" do you recommend ?
          ** RAID1E, RAID10, etc
6 Solutions
Dan CraciunIT ConsultantCommented:
1. hardware, if done right (meaning controller with own processor, memory and battery). If not, software raid is better than "fake" raid - onboard raid included with consumer motherboards.
2. software. It's free, as in included with the OS.
3. RAID 10 for performance, albeit expensive. RAID Z1/Z2 is popular, as you don't loose half the disks, as in RAID10.

Second vote for hardware RAID. Your questions should be not "cheaper" but "which is reliable".
1. Hardware Raid ( supports more RAID types 1,5,6,10 ) typically outperforms Software Raid (limited options for types 1,5, etc)

2. Software raid is typically less expensive than hardware raid due to access speeds and configuration options.

3. See wikipedia on RAID:
(most common types used:)
RAID 0 = striping, no parity or mirroring
RAID 1 = mirroring
RAID 5 = striping with parity, supports drive failures, access speed depends on controller cache
RAID 6 = striping with double parity, supports faster access than RAID 5 (best price point and speed/redundancy)
RAID 10 = is a hybrid nested RAID configuration, has the fastest speeds and best redundancy but requires more drives
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MASTechnical Department HeadCommented:
Software Raid works within OS, i.e. extra load for OS
Whereas Hardware RAID will be controlled by Raid controller.

Regarding Raid1E and 10
The main difference between 1E and 10 is that 1E uses an odd number of disk for providing protection, where as 10 uses an even number of disk. i.e. Raid 1E requires min of 3 disk, and Raid 10 requires a min of 4 disk. Please check these
The right software RAID is better, like Solaris ZFS. I know ISPs that have thousands of systems running ZFS giving people petabytes of storage that runs 24x7 and never any issues.

But you can't do that on windows.  So the "Best" is either an external RAID subsystem, or a decent hardware RAID controller.
Tony GiangrecoCommented:
Hardware raid is normally the best. Raid 5 is very safe, raid 10 is safer if you have the budget.

I never, never never use raid 0. It provides no protection from data loss.
P.S. as for RAID levels, mix and match.  I'll go out on a limb and say you are doing database.  So take 2 disks make it a RAID1. Put the O/S there, swap, tempdb, and scratch table space.      Then go with RAID10 (speed), RAID5 (horrible write speed but lowest $/MB), RAID6 (pretty much same as RAID5 but much higher protection).
Tony GiangrecoCommented:
Hi finance_teacher , have we answered your question?

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