SATA SSD RAID1 with TRIM?

Nolan Mason
Nolan Mason used Ask the Experts™
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To no avail, I have done a ton of reading here and there over the last couple of years on how to get TRIM to work for SATA SSDs in a RAID1 configuration.  I believe TRIM would work fine if I switched to RAID0, but that's not what I want to do.

I'm aware of the pros and cons of simply foregoing RAID with SSDs.  I might go that route and I don't need further convincing.  To skip RAID1, I simply need to be convinced that I won't be able to get TRIM working.

I'm also aware that TRIM isn't completely necessary; I just need to expect that the drives won't perform quite as well over time and won't last as long, kind of defeating the purpose of fault tolerance.  Interestingly, the 1TB Samsung 840 EVO drives I'm currently using have been powered on for over 7 years and each have over 53TB of data written to them.  I guess the age of the drives is why I'm getting more anxious to find conclusive answers.

About a year ago, when I decided to be done with Win7, I destroyed the array, erased and TRIMed the drives, re-created the array, and installed Windows 10.  The temporary performance boost after a TRIM was immediately apparent.

I could accept that TRIM with RAID1 is impossible if not for the last statement at the URL below, which practically proves that it can be done with the right motherboard and possibly with the requirement of using a Xeon processor.

https://www.dell.com/support/article/us/en/04/sln301552/solid-state-drives-in-irst-raid-1-may-have-degraded-performance?lang=en

NOTE: TRIM is supported in IRST for RAID 0 (Striped Array), and also in RAID 1 in IRST for Enterprise on Dell Precision Workstations which support this IRST for Enterprise version.

So, if I could use Intel RST for Enterprise, it would work.  However, I don't believe that's compatible with my ASUS Prime Z370-A motherboard.  Also, I've searched high and low for a RAID controller card that can handle TRIM for SSDs in RAID1, but I've come up empty.

My two burning questions:

  1. Have I missed something that would make it possible for me to use Intel RST Enterprise with my existing hardware?
  2. Is there SOME PCIe hardware RAID controller out there that would allow me to use TRIM with SSDs setup in RAID1?
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Commented:
You just need to look at it again, but now with newer or more expensive hardware:
Ex.
http://www.highpoint-tech.com/USA_new/series-ssd7110-specification.htm

see note, it says RAID5, TRIM NOT SUPPORTED. Therefore, all the others (RAID 1/0/1+0/6) ARE supported.
Nolan MasonIT Professional

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Commented:
Expensive, but wow, this is awesome.  I see it supports TRIM for NVMe, but does it support RAID for SATA drives and, if so, TRIM?

Thanks!
Nolan MasonIT Professional

Author

Commented:
Oh my...The info you provided led me to another, much cheaper card that might be good enough.
The HighPoint RocketRAID 642L is only $99.
http://www.macnn.com/reviews/highpoint-rocketraid-642l-sataoresata-card.html

However, that page isn't working correctly right now, so I checked the one from archive.org.
https://web.archive.org/web/20170727011821/http://www.macnn.com/reviews/highpoint-rocketraid-642l-sataoresata-card.html

Additionally, the card supports TRIM for SSDs if implemented in the OS, even in a RAID configuration!

Whether that only means RAID0 and not RAID1, I still have to look into.

Thank you again for your help!
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Top Expert 2014

Commented:
Kimputer, bear in mind that using TRIM with RAID 6 will only tolerate a single disk failure. With RAID 5 if you TRIM a LBA then you wipe out the parity for the stripe that block is in so it is virtually impossible to implement, you cannot rebuild without punctured stripes.

With RAID 6 that TRIM command wipes out one parity block and leaves the other intact so just one disk can fail. But what if you TRIM another block in the same stripe, then you may have two disks in the stripe with unknown data on them so again a disk fault leads to a punctured rebuild.
Top Expert 2014

Commented:
I worded that a bit poorly, it is is the data block that gets TRIMmed of course but then you have to update the parity block which negates the usefulness of TRIM. You even have to read the data block again before rewriting parity and as you sent a TRIM command to it you don't even know if it will read the same each time until a write command is sent to that LBA.

Just short-stroke the SSDs so they have enough free space to do their own garbage collection in background. The enterprise ones are already short-stroked and some manufacturers have a tool to do the same on consumer grade ones.

Commented:
HighPoint RocketRAID are from an earlier series (early 2000), and with new SATA drives in mind. TRIM is therefore nowhere mentioned in all support documents. So sadly, you wanted something cheaper, but that's just not possible. It's the whole reason the NVMe series was made.
Top Expert 2014

Commented:
Far cheaper to use software RAID 1 under Windows or Linux, then TRIM is supported natively.

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