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The Benefits of Software RAID - and why it beats out Hardware RAID in many situations

You're probably heard or read about the advantages of a hardware RAID setup. In many cases, a software RAID solution can be faster and safer than a hardware RAID solution and save you hundreds of $$$...*

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DATA SAFETY:

With hardware RAID, if any part of the system fails (such as the controller, enclosure or power supply) you can lose all your data. With cheaper hardware RAID you can also lose data if there’s a power outage.

With software RAID your data can be split across different enclosures for complete redundancy - one can completely stop working and your data is still ok. You can easily move disks from a failed enclosure to a new one, and all your data is preserved.

FAST DATA ACCESS:

Think hardware raid is always faster? SoftRAID provides super fast read and write speeds which can exceed more expensive hardware RAID solutions.

To maximize read/write speeds, SoftRAID harnesses the power of your computer’s powerful CPU, but only for mere microseconds at a time so other running applications aren’t impacted.

Even if your hardware RAID box controller chip was top of the line when you bought it, it can quickly become out of date as chip speeds improve, and you won’t be able to swap it out for a new one; with software RAID you can easily take advantage of improvements in chip technology by moving your RAID array to a new computer with a newer, faster CPU.

COST:

Many people wrongly view software RAID as a cheap solution that’s not powerful, even though it can compete on speed and outperform on safety when compared with hardware RAID.

In fact, expensive hardware RAID solutions are not automatically superior (especially since the chip in even fairly low end laptops is usually more powerful than the chip in an expensive hardware RAID controller).

A statistic that may well surprise you is that a majority of companies who spend over $10,000 on RAID solutions choose software RAID because of its flexibility and value. Those companies have already shown where their confidence lies.

OBSOLETION:

Hardware RAID systems don't keep pace with advances in technology

When you buy a hardware raid solution, the components in the hardware RAID box may be top of line when you buy them but as technology improves, you can be left with a system that quickly becomes obsolete.

Software RAID doesn't use proprietary firmware, and components can be upgraded to take advantage of advances in CPU and other technology.

YOUR DATA IS AT THE MANUFACTURER’S MERCY:

If your hardware RAID system dies and the manufacturer has stopped shipping, or supporting it, you could lose all your data.

The disk array formatting is proprietary, so moving your drives from a dead hardware RAID system into a new one could mean the loss of all your data if the new system is a different model, or from a different manufacturer, and uses a different array format.

Even if you can still get replacement parts you’ll spend time, energy and money getting them shipped to you. With software RAID, it’s the software that does the formatting so you can move drives from a failing enclosure to a new one that's a different model, or from a different manufacturer, and still be able to access all your data.

KEEPING YOUR SYSTEM CURRENT:

Upgrading firmware in a hardware raid box can be tricky and time-consuming—you may even be required to send your box back to the factory.

SoftRAID constantly improves its software, providing its users with upgrades, new features, and bug fixes. These updates can be easily downloaded and installed using the SoftRAID application.

With SoftRAID's software RAID system, you can be assured of always having the best and most current software controlling your RAID system. Online software updates allow you to take immediate advantage of all the improvements SoftRAID consistently makes.

USE YOUR COMPUTER’S SUPERIOR TECHNOLOGY:

Take advantage of the technology in your own computer!
SoftRAID uses the superior Intel chip in your Mac—generally way more powerful than the RAID controller in lower-end hardware RAID boxes.

With cheaper hardware RAID, manufacturers use a lot of RAM to make up for a less powerful chip. The increased RAM provides a large write buffer to hold “in transit” data, so the lower-powered controller chip doesn’t have to work so fast to write data to the disk.

A power loss in a cheaper hardware RAID solution (with no power-loss protected cache) means you lose everything in the write buffer—potentially a substantial amount of data. You can buy hardware RAID solutions with power-loss protected caches, but this pushes the price up dramatically.

Why spend all that extra money when you don’t need to? SoftRAID uses the power of your computer’s superior CPU, and a small write cache that holds data for less than 5 seconds—so data is much less likely to be lost in a power outage.

SOFTRAID DOESN’T DRAIN YOUR CPU:

You may hear people say that software RAID drains your computer’s processing power.
With SoftRAID, this isn’t true.

When SoftRAID does the calculations needed to write to a RAID volume, it uses all the cores in your CPU simultaneously, for mere microseconds. Reading from the volume takes even less time. The processing is broken up into the same number of chunks as there are cores in your Mac’s CPU to impact the machine as little as possible.

So rather than spending money on a box with an expensive RAID controller chip (that can quickly become obsolete) SoftRAID allows you to make use of the superior CPU you already have in your computer, and does it in a way that won’t impact any of your other applications.

WHY SOFTRAID IS THE BEST SOFTWARE RAID SOLUTION

SoftRAID has been designed to optimize speed, safety and versatility. It is constantly upgraded, has outstanding customer service, and gives you a 30-day completely free trial.

We are always looking for ways to improve SoftRAID which means always listening to our customers and taking their improvement suggestions seriously.

SoftRAID also partners with OWC to give you great deals on disk arrays packaged with SoftRAID. This provides an efficient, easy and affordable way to get started with RAID storage, especially compared to a hardware RAID solution that may not be any faster or safer and is likely to be a great deal more expensive.