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I have seen a few similar questions here but they are all years old and since the technology landscape is so volatile I thought it best to start afresh. Plus, few of them speak specifically to raid 5.

I am building a home media server. I have four 2 TB HDs that I want to use in a raid 5 configuration. I'm planning on using Ubuntu but could use Windows 7 Professional if needed.

I'm wondering how people feel on using software RAID 5 over hardware RAID 5.

I was thinking we could buy a PCI 4 port SATA III RAID 5 card but many articles I read say hardware RAID cards are not compatible with each other so if our card goes bad we can't replace it with a different brand/type and all of our data will be gone.

But then some of the articles I read, all from 4+ years ago, say software RAID 5 is no good.

Our motherboard does have 6 SATA slots so if we do software RAID then we could later on add 2 more HDs.

I was wondering whats everyone's thought on the matter for today?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Steven, Moab, fixer1234, Scott, JakeGould Oct 2 '15 at 0:18

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • See this page – Moab Sep 30 '15 at 15:46
  • As far as Windows vs Linux for software raid – Moab Sep 30 '15 at 15:47
  • @Moab: Thanks. I read the first link but not seeing a lot of specific information on RAID 5 software vs hardware. I only ask because numerous other articles I read say things like "software RAID is fine EXCEPT for RAID 5"... – IMTheNachoMan Sep 30 '15 at 15:57
  • Problem is this question will only draw opinions more than facts, a question which usually gets closed here. You should have at least one backup of your Data in case of raid failure, then Software raid is the way to go since it costs less to implement. Good raid 5 hardware is not cheap. You need to read a lot and form your own opinion. – Moab Sep 30 '15 at 16:07
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Software and Hardware RAID are both fine and viable for different scenarios. You don't really spend time worrying about whether to use software OR hardware RAID; instead you look at what software and hardware RAID implementations are available to you specifically and compare those options.

Hardware RAID is not generic and cannot simply be replaced with "something else." But then again, neither can software RAID. So that's neither here nor there.

If you are worried about losing data, RAID 5 should be completely out of the question. Read the data in the RAID Link Blast. It will take a bit but will walk you through understanding all of this and will make it clear why RAID 5 is unthinkable and help you to decide which way to go for your needs.

The fact that RAID 5 is no good has nothing to do with software RAID. In fact, software RAID is better for RAID 5 than hardware simply because the best implementation of RAID 5 is in software (via ZFS.) The issue is not with software RAID but with RAID 5 itself.

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