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Is there any cheap or free software to set up a RAID 5?

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Noam Osband
Is there any cheap or free software to set up a RAID 5?
on Jun 29, 2015 at 2:25:50 pm

I just discovered what a RAID 5 is, and it seems the best solution to my particular needs. I want to set it up to work for the OWC Thunderbay enclosure I have. I bought this before they started bundling the SoftRAID software with it.

From my internet research, it seems like there is no way to set up a RAID 5 in Disc Utility. SoftRAID seems cool but is 179 bucks. Are there any other options that are cheaper or free?


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Nick Toth
Re: Is there any cheap or free software to set up a RAID 5?
on Jun 29, 2015 at 2:32:42 pm

Contact OWC. I'm pretty sure they were bundling SoftRAID from the beginning with Thunderbay enclosures although I think you could buy them without it also. Maybe they'll give you a break. I don't know of any other reliable RAID software for the Mac. SoftRAID has been around a while.


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Noam Osband
Re: Is there any cheap or free software to set up a RAID 5?
on Jun 29, 2015 at 2:33:40 pm

And that's really the only software to do a RAID 5? Is it the kind of thing you need once or do you need to run that software every time you use the RAID?


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Nick Toth
Re: Is there any cheap or free software to set up a RAID 5?
on Jun 29, 2015 at 5:27:00 pm

RAID 5 usually requires a hardware controller. SoftRAID is a software alternative. I don't know of any alternative to those two approaches. I use hardware RAID 5. From what I understand, software RAID 5 is not as fast.


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Noam Osband
Re: Is there any cheap or free software to set up a RAID 5?
on Jun 29, 2015 at 5:39:16 pm

The bottom line then is if i want to turn my OWC Thunderbay 4 (which I already own) into a RAID 5 I need to get SoftRAID?


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Nick Toth
Re: Is there any cheap or free software to set up a RAID 5?
on Jun 29, 2015 at 6:11:04 pm

If you can't go with hardware RAID 5 anything else is going to be a compromise and SoftRAID would be my next choice. Check out their website and download the free trial before you start using your Thunderbay for real work and see how you like it

http://www.softraid.com/

I would still contact OWC and explain the situation to them. Maybe they will cut you a break. Maybe not...


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Noam Osband
Re: Is there any cheap or free software to set up a RAID 5?
on Jun 29, 2015 at 6:17:32 pm

If I decide to maybe sell the OWC Thunderbay 4 and buy a hardware RAID 5, any recs?


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Bret Williams
Re: Is there any cheap or free software to set up a RAID 5?
on Jun 29, 2015 at 6:41:02 pm

Promise Pegasus is pretty much still the standard isn't it? Of course comes with it's own raid utility.


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Nick Toth
Re: Is there any cheap or free software to set up a RAID 5?
on Jun 30, 2015 at 12:48:14 pm

I use Promise. In general they are OK but some of my systems have had drives fail more than once. They were replaced under warranty.

Performance is not always what I expected. I have seen performance in the range of high 300 to mid 400 MB/sec read/write (which I think is slow) to speeds closer to 500 MB/sec read/write. Inconsistent performance with Promise is my main issue.

Support is OK but you have to keep after them. I don't know of anything better than Promise though. I was looking at Cal-Digit but ended up going with Promise for my most recent purchase.

I'm curious to see how it performs.


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Noam Osband
Re: Is there any cheap or free software to set up a RAID 5?
on Jun 30, 2015 at 6:13:25 pm

SoftRAID will offer the software at a discount. Given the price of hardware RAID's, I think I'm going to go for that option.


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Nick Toth
Re: Is there any cheap or free software to set up a RAID 5?
on Jun 30, 2015 at 7:13:23 pm

Depends on your needs. I still do some of my work on FW800 drives with no issues.


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Noam Osband
Re: Is there any cheap or free software to set up a RAID 5?
on Jun 30, 2015 at 9:51:37 pm

Isn't a SoftRAID going to be faster than FW800? I'll be working with lots of data so I figured I might as well do this now before I get too deep into the project. Do you know any good articles comparing their speed?


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Nick Toth
Re: Is there any cheap or free software to set up a RAID 5?
on Jul 1, 2015 at 1:21:58 pm

I'm not comparing FW800 to SoftRAID. According to the SoftRAID website they claim performance with a 4 drive RAID 5 of around 500 MB/sec read/write. The best you are going to get from FW800 is 50-75 MB/sec. My point was that for some of my less complex long-form 1080p projects FW800 has worked fine. The more speed the better of course.


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Jim Wiseman
Re: Is there any cheap or free software to set up a RAID 5?
on Jul 1, 2015 at 11:41:04 pm

I'm getting 450 to above 500MB/sec read and writes with 4 Toshiba 5TB drives in a Thunderbay 4 with SoftRaid. All from OWC. This is on the outer 30% or so of the drive bands. Reads are slightly faster than writes, of course. These are quick drives to begin with, but I doubt if hardware controllers would be much faster for the RAID 5. That is plenty fast for me doing 1080p HD. As I recall it ticks all the boxes but one, 1080 60P if my recollection is correct, on the Blackmagic disk test. Like any setup they will get slower as the drives fill, but still plenty fast for 1080p HD.

Jim Wiseman
Sony PMW-EX1, Pana AJ-D810 DVCPro, DVX-100, Nikon D7000, Final Cut Pro X 10.2.1, Final Cut Studio 2 and 3, Media 100 Suite 2.1.6, Premiere Pro CS 5.5 and 6.0, AJA ioHD, AJA Kona LHi, Blackmagic Ultrastudio 4K, Blackmagic Teranex, Avid MC, 2013 Mac Pro Hexacore, 1TB SSD, 64GB RAM, 2-D500, Helios 2 w 2-960GB SSDs: 2012 Hexacore MacPro 3.33 Ghz, 24Gb RAM, GTX-680, 960GB SSD: Macbook Pro 17" 2011 2.2 Ghz Quadcore i7 16GB RAM 250GB SSD


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John Rofrano
Re: Is there any cheap or free software to set up a RAID 5?
on Jul 2, 2015 at 11:27:41 am

[Noam Osband] "Is it the kind of thing you need once or do you need to run that software every time you use the RAID?"
I see no one answered this question. It's something you run all the time. You need to understand how a RAID 5 works. Every time you write a byte of data to the array, a checksum needs to be calculated and written to a stripe on a different drive. This is how it achieves redundancy. If a drive fails, you can rebuilt the data that was on it from the checksums on the other drives. Therefore, the software must be constantly running in the background making calculations and additional writes and these calculations do have CPU overhead so the performance will be gated by your CPU's ability to do these calculations while it doing all the other processing like FX on your videos, rendering, etc. at the same time.

I had a software RAID 5 and I was not happy with the performance. I now have an Apple RAID Card (hardware RAID) and the performance is much better because the card does all the calculations and buffers the additional writes leaving my CPU free for other things. I also have a CineRAID enclosure which is a hardware RAID 5 and that performs great as well. I guess software RAID is your only choice at this point since you purchased a non-RAID enclosure already but in the future, try and get a hardware RAID solution. They will always perform better.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Noam Osband
Re: Is there any cheap or free software to set up a RAID 5?
on Jul 2, 2015 at 12:11:29 pm

I"m doing some research. I have a 2013 retina MBP. Im gathering a Apple RAID card won't work for me. Am I right on this?

It seems like if I am going to convert my Thunderbay to RAID 5 I'll need to go the software route. Most of the editing I do is doc stuff that isn't too graphics or effects intensive. It leaves me optimistic it wont compromise performance too much.


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John Rofrano
Re: Is there any cheap or free software to set up a RAID 5?
on Jul 3, 2015 at 12:25:44 am

[Noam Osband] "Im gathering a Apple RAID card won't work for me. Am I right on this?"
Yea, it's a card for the 2008 - 2012 Mac Pro.
[Noam Osband] "It seems like if I am going to convert my Thunderbay to RAID 5 I'll need to go the software route."
Yea, that does sound like the best option for you at this point. Just remember for the future to get an enclosure that has hardware RAID for best performance.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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