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Soft RAID 5 to Offer RAID-5 and RAID 1+0 Fault Tolerance via Software for Any Multi-Drive Setup

See the quick primer on fault tolerance below the graph.

Formerly the province of hardware solutions, SoftRAID 5 is an impressive achievement in bringing RAID-5 (and and RAID 1+0) to the desktop with high performance, and using modest CPU resources.

SoftRAID 5 is in beta test. Users interested in a beta test should send an email to:

Contact info for SoftRAID 5 beta testing


Faster speeds for writes known to occur with faster drives (e.g., 500+ MB/sec for writes). This graph for a 2TB volume generated from mismatched drives (two pairs of two drives) of different capacity and type, yet one could hardly complain about the speed.

With five fast drives (one parity drive), the performance quite possibly could reach 650 MB/sec, which is approaching the real-world limits of Thunderbolt v1 performance.

RAID-5 performance with 2 X OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual Thunderbolt

Quick primer on fault tolerance

Fault tolerance means that a part (e.g. drive) can fail without loss of data or functionality (replace the failed part ASAP).

The simplest fault-tolerance solution is a hardware or software RAID-1 mirror. For example, the OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual Thunderbolt/USB3 solution can be configured as a RAID-1 mirror. One of the two drives can fail with no loss of data or functionality.

RAID 1 + 0 is a striped pair of mirrors, e.g., striping dual OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual units. SoftRAID 5 can do this in software.

RAID-5 is striping (high performance) with one parity drive. For example, 4 X 4TB drives (16TB), yielding 12TB of usable capacity, with 4TB used as parity information (one drive failure can be tolerated).

RAID-6 (not supported by SoftRAID) is striping (high performance) with two or more parity drives. For example, 6 X 4TB drives (24TB), yielding 16TB of usable capacity with 8TB used for parity information (two drive failures can be tolerated).

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