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RAID Technology Continued




RAID [Redundant Array of Independent (Inexpensive) Disk]

After reading couple of Blogs from last week regarding RAID Technology from StorageSearch and StorageIO, decided to elaborate more about the technology behind RAID and its functionality across Storage Platforms.

After I almost finished writing this blog, I ran into a Wikipedia article explaining RAID TECHNOLOGY at a much length, covering different types of RAID technologies like RAID 2, RAID 4, RAID 10, RAID 50, etc.

For example purposes, let’s say we need 5 TB of Space; each disk in this example is 1 TB each.

RAID 0

Technology: Striping Data with No Data Protection.

Performance: Highest

Overhead: None

Minimum Number of Drives: 2 since striping

Data Loss: Upon one drive failure

Example: 5TB of usable space can be achieved through 5 x 1TB of disk.

Advantages:
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High Performance

Disadvantages: Guaranteed Data loss

Hot Spare: Upon a drive failure, a hot spare can be invoked, but there will be no data to copy over. Hot Spare is not a good option for this RAID type.

Supported: Clariion, Symmetrix, Symmetrix DMX (Meta BCV’s or DRV’s)

In RAID 0, the data is written / stripped across all of the disks. This is great for performance, but if one disk fails, the data will be lost because since there is no protection of that data.

RAID 1

Technology: Mirroring and Duplexing

Performance: Highest

Overhead: 50%

Minimum Number of Drives: 2

Data Loss: 1 Drive failure will cause no data loss. 2 drive failures, all the data is lost.

Example: 5TB of usable space can be achieved through 10 x 1TB of disk.

Advantages: Highest Performance, One of the safest.

Disadvantages: High Overhead, Additional overhead on the storage subsystem. Upon a drive failure it becomes RAID 0.
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Hot Spare: A Hot Spare can be invoked and data can be copied over from the surviving paired drive using Disk copy.

Supported: Clariion, Symmetrix, Symmetrix DMX

The exact data is written to two disks at the same time. Upon a single drive failure, no data is lost, no degradation, performance or data integrity issues. One of the safest forms of RAID, but with high overhead. In the old days, all the Symmetrix supported RAID 1 and RAID S. Highly recommended for high end business critical applications.

The controller must be able to perform two concurrent separate Reads per mirrored pair or two duplicate Writes per mirrored pair. One Write or two Reads are possible per mirrored pair. Upon a drive failure only the failed disk needs to be replaced.


RAID 1+0

Technology: Mirroring and Striping Data

Performance: High

Overhead: 50%

Minimum Number of Drives: 4

Data Loss: Upon 1 drive failure (M1) device, no issues. With multiple drive failures in the stripe (M1) device, no issues. With failure of both the M1 and M2 data loss is certain.

Example: 5TB of usable space can be achieved through 10 x 1TB of disk.

Advantages: Similar Fault Tolerance to RAID 5, Because of striping high I/O is achievable.

Disadvantages: Upon a drive failure, it becomes RAID 0.

Hot Spare: Hot Spare is a good option with this RAID type, since with a failure the data can be copied over from the surviving paired device.

Supported: Clariion, Symmetrix, Symmetrix DMX

RAID 1+0 is implemented as a mirrored array whose segments are RAID 0 arrays.


RAID 3

Technology: Striping Data with dedicated Parity Drive.

Performance: High

Overhead: 33% Overhead with Parity (in the example above), more drives in Raid 3 configuration will bring overhead down.

Minimum Number of Drives: 3

Data Loss: Upon 1 drive failure, Parity will be used to rebuild data. Two drive failures in the same Raid group will cause data loss.

Example: 5TB of usable space would be achieved through 9 1TB disk.

Advantages: Very high Read data transfer rate. Very high Write data transfer rate. Disk failure has an insignificant impact on throughput. Low ratio of ECC (Parity) disks to data disks which converts to high efficiency.

Disadvantages: Transaction rate will be equal to the single Spindle speed

Hot Spare: A Hot Spare can be configured and invoked upon a drive failure which can be built from parity device. Upon drive replacement, hot spare can be used to rebuild the replaced drive.

Supported: Clariion

RAID 5

Technology: Striping Data with Distributed Parity, Block Interleaved Distributed Parity

Performance: Medium

Overhead: 20% in our example, with additional drives in the Raid group you can substantially bring down the overhead.

Minimum Number of Drives: 3

Data Loss: With one drive failure, no data loss, with multiple drive failures in the Raid group data loss will occur.

Example: For 5TB of usable space, we might need 6 x 1 TB drives

Advantages: It has the highest Read data transaction rate and with a medium write data transaction rate. A low ratio of ECC (Parity) disks to data disks which converts to high efficiency along with a good aggregate transfer rate.

Disadvantages: Disk failure has medium impact on throughput. It also has most complex controller design. Often difficult to rebuild in the event of a disk failure (as compared to RAID level 1) and individual block data transfer rate same as single disk. Ask the PSE’s about RAID 5 issues and data loss?

Hot Spare: Similar to RAID 3, where a Hot Spare can be configured and invoked upon a drive failure which can be built from parity device. Upon drive replacement, hot spare can be used to rebuild the replaced drive.

Supported: Clariion, Symmetrix DMX code 71

RAID Level 5 also relies on parity information to provide redundancy and fault tolerance using independent data disks with distributed parity blocks. Each entire data block is written onto a data disk; parity for blocks in the same rank is generated on Writes, recorded in a distributed location and checked on Reads.

This would classify to be the most favorite RAID Technology used today.



RAID 6

Technology: Striping Data with Double Parity, Independent Data Disk with Double Parity

Performance: Medium

Overhead: 28% in our example, with additional drives you can bring down the overhead.

Minimum Number of Drives: 4

Data Loss: With one drive failure and two drive failures in the same Raid Group no data loss. Very reliable.

Example: For 5 TB of usable space, we might need 7 x 1TB drives

Advantages: RAID 6 is essentially an extension of RAID level 5 which allows for additional fault tolerance by using a second independent distributed parity scheme (two-dimensional parity). Data is striped on a block level across a set of drives, just like in RAID 5, and a second set of parity is calculated and written across all the drives; RAID 6 provides for an extremely high data fault tolerance and can sustain multiple simultaneous drive failures which typically makes it a perfect solution for mission critical applications.

Disadvantages: Very poor Write performance in addition to requiring N+2 drives to implement because of two-dimensional parity scheme.

Hot Spare: Hot Spare can be invoked against a drive failure, built it from parity or data drives and then upon drive replacement use that hot spare to build the replaced drive.

Supported: Clariion Flare 26, 28, Symmetrix DMX Code 72, 73

Clariion Flare Code 26 supports RAID 6. It is also being implemented with the 72 code on the Symmetrix DMX. The simplest explanation of RAID 6 is double the parity. This allows a RAID 6 RAID Groups to be able to have two drive failures in the RAID Group, while maintaining access to the data.

RAID S (3+1)

Technology: RAID Symmetrix

Performance:
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High

Overhead: 25%

Minimum Number of Drives: 4

Data Loss: Upon two drive failures in the same Raid Group

Example: For 5 TB of usable space, 8 x 1 TB drives

Advantages: High Performance on Symmetrix Environment

Disadvantages: Proprietary to EMC. RAID S can be implemented on Symmetrix 8000, 5000 and 3000 Series. Known to have backend issues with director replacements, SCSI Chip replacements and backend DA replacements causing DU or offline procedures.

Hot Spare: Hot Spare can be invoked against a failed drive, data can be built from the parity or the data drives and upon a successful drive replacement, the hot spare can be used to rebuild the replaced drive.

Supported: Symmetrix 8000, 5000, 3000. With the DMX platform it is just called RAID (3+1)

EMC Symmetrix / DMX disk arrays use an alternate, proprietary method for parity RAID that they call RAID-S. Three Data Drives (X) along with One Parity device. RAID-S is proprietary to EMC but seems to be similar to RAID-5 with some performance enhancements as well as the enhancements that come from having a high-speed disk cache on the disk array.

The data protection feature is based on a Parity RAID (3+1) volume configuration (three data volumes to one parity volume).

RAID (7+1)

Technology: RAID Symmetrix

Performance: High

Overhead: 12.5%

Minimum Number of Drives: 8

Data Loss: Upon two drive failures in the same Raid Group

Example: For 5 TB of usable space, 8 x 1 TB drives (rather you will get 7 TB)

Advantages: High Performance on Symmetrix Environment

Disadvantages: Proprietary to EMC. Available only on Symmetrix DMX Series. Known to have a lot of backend issues with director replacements, backend DA replacements since you have to verify the spindle locations. Cause of concern with DU.

Hot Spare: Hot Spare can be invoked against a failed drive, data can be built from the parity or the data drives and upon a successful drive replacement, the hot spare can be used to rebuild the replaced drive.

Supported: With the DMX platform it is just called RAID (7+1). Not supported on the Symms.

EMC DMX disk arrays use an alternate, proprietary method for parity RAID that is called RAID. Seven Data Drives (X) along with One Parity device. RAID is proprietary to EMC but seems to be similar to RAID-S or RAID5 with some performance enhancements as well as the enhancements that come from having a high-speed disk cache on the disk array.

The data protection feature is based on a Parity RAID (7+1) volume configuration (seven data volumes to one parity volume).