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Frequently Asked Questions About Using Intel® RAID Controllers with Intel® Solid State Drives


Last Reviewed: 09-Jan-2017
Article ID: 000007511

Click on the questions to expand the content:

What are the benefits of using Intel® Solid-State Drives (Intel® SSDs) with Intel® RAID Controllers?

Performance:

  • Intel® SSDs provide much higher random I/O performance compared to regular hard drives. Performance can be up to 100 times faster on reads, and up to 10 times faster on writes.
  • You can replace multiple hard drives with a much smaller number of Intel SSDs in many server or workstation applications.
  • Using RAID gives you the ability to scale the SSD performance.

Availability and Data Protection:

Because there are no mechanical parts, SSDs provide significantly higher reliability compared to hard drives. But, the flash memory and the controller electronics are still vulnerable to failures.

  • Using mirrored (RAID 1/10) or parity (RAID 5) configurations reduces risk of data loss due to SSD failure and provides higher system availability.
  • Intel SSDs make RAID rebuilds much faster, even for large workloads, compared to hard drives. Faster rebuild times increase the efficiency of the protection provided by RAID.

Capacity:

If an application requires more capacity than one SSD can provide, several SSDs can be used in a RAID configuration. Intel® RAID Controllers allow online capacity expansion by adding more SSDs to an existing RAID array without disrupting software applications that are running.

Are Intel SSDs validated with Intel® RAID Controllers?

For the most up-to-date compatibility information, see the Tested Hardware and Operating Systems list for the Intel RAID Controller.

Which RAID levels are optimal with Intel SSDs?

RAID 5 is the best choice for most server applications, providing a well-balanced combination of performance, capacity, data availability, and cost.

Other RAID levels:

  • RAID-10: Can be used in business-critical applications that require the highest data availability and the highest write performance. RAID-10 can tolerate more than one drive failure. But, benefits with SSDs are substantially smaller than with hard drives.
  • RAID-1: Can be used when capacity of one SSD is sufficient, and when higher data availability and/or double the read performance are needed.
  • RAID-0: Can be used with workstation-type applications when potential data loss is not critical. Provides the highest performance and the highest capacity per dollar.
  • RAID-6: Not likely to be used with SSDs. Designed primarily for use with high-capacity HDDs that have long rebuild times.
What RAID settings are recommended with Intel SSDs?

Optimal RAID settings are nearly the same as with hard drives:

  • Disk Cache Policy: Enabling disk cache substantially improves write performance with SSDs for some applications. Using UPS and redundant power supply is highly recommended when disk cache is enabled due to risk of data loss.
  • Write Policy: Write Back mode is recommended in most cases, especially with RAID-5. Using battery protection or UPS is highly recommended when Write Back is enabled to eliminate the risk of data loss in case of power failure.
  • Read Policy: The No Read Ahead mode is recommended for the highest performance with multi-threaded applications. The Always Read Ahead mode can be used for single-threaded sequential read workloads, such as backing up a database.
  • Cache Policy: Direct I/O mode is recommended in most cases.

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