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Using 4 or 5 8TB Hard Drives: Singly or RAID and How?

Last updated 2015-11-11 - Send Feedback
Related: how-to, Storage, storage, RAID

Get HGST 8TB Ultrastar He8 Hard Drive at OWC.
Also utilized in the 32TB OWC Thunderbay 4 RAID-5 edition.

This page and the pages that follow discusses overall considerations for putting 4 or 5 high-capacity hard drives to use in the most appropriate way.

Questions? One-on-one consulting is available with Lloyd.

The pages that follow show various topologies, including single drives as single volumes, one large fault-tolerant volume, or multiple fault-tolerant volumes.

Four drives or five?

Some topologies discussed here require dual OWC Thunderbay 4 units, since one unit houses four drives, and there are five drives involved in some of the configs. The use of five 8TB drives instead of four drives for a RAID-4 or RAID-5 has benefits:

  • Reduces the parity overhead to 20%, down from 25% for a 4-drive config.
  • Increases performance substantially: 5 drives in RAID-4/RAID-5 is roughly the speed of a 4-drive RAID-0 stripe. With a 4-drive setup RAID-4/5 setup, the speed is roughly the speed of a 3-drive stripe. So the performance is about 1/3 faster just by using one more drive.
  • Allows creation of three 10TB partitions from five 8TB drives (10TB is a forward-looking capacity for mid 2016, allowing for several years growth in capacity needs).

Approaches follow on subsequent pages.

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