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I had a drive fail in a RAID5 array and I'm working on finding a replacement. It's an older drive that's fairly hard to find, and most of them out there are used. How close of a drive do I need to the failed one? Can it just be the same size/speed or should I try to get the same model as the old one? Thanks!

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Ideally, you want the exact same model, with the same firmware, size, speed, etc.

However, you should be able to get away with any drive as long as it is at least the same size, or bigger. Obviously, if it was smaller, the RAID would not have enough space. I have seen RAID controllers complain about "non-RAID compatible firmware", but the ones I have seen allow you to use the drive anyway - and it works fine. Another thing of note would be slower drives can cause bottlenecks and reduce the performance of the array. Personally, I cant recall a RAID array rejecting a drive for use, even on high performance RAID arrays.

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Just make sure to use drives that are designed for raids. No green WD drives for example or your going to end up having more issues IMHO. –  Jeff F. May 17 '13 at 18:42
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Ideally a drive of the same size and manufacturer is best, but generally a larger drive will work fine, but the array will only use the amount of storage that matches the other drives in the array.

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