Probably depends on what RAID level you are wanting to use.
But if it's just striping and mirroring, software RAID is easier. Hardware MIGHT be better, but I'm not sure if the cost involved in using the RAID controller really offsets the performance you would get in software RAID.
Hello @Dr. McKay,
Software RAID is handled by your Operating system when Hardware RAID use a dedicated controller.
Hardware RAID should in most of case be better than software RAID, because it will not use your server resources to handle data storage on the disks but it highly depend on the RAID controller used.
RAID 1 (mirroring) require more resources on the server's CPU than RAID 0 (striping) in case of software RAID.
There are differences between Software RAID and Hardware RAID. Although most hosting companies would lean towards Hardware RAID, there are reasons that we chose to opt for Software RAID. Let me explain.
RAID performs read and write function that allows data to be stored in the components.
1. Software RAID has a faster read and write speed.
The saying that says Hardware RAID is better because it performs independently off the CPU is only a part of the story. Although it is known that Software RAID utilizes the CPU to maximize read and write speeds, however it performs so only for microseconds. This doesn't impact other running applications. 2. Software RAID keeps your data safer.
In any case that any part of the Hardware RAID system fails, you can lose your data easily. Software RAID splits your data across different enclosures for complete redundancy. You can also move disks from a failed enclosure to a new one easily, making sure that all your data is preserved. 3. Software RAID is always up-to-date.
Just as it sounds, Hardware RAID is a physical component that requires the buyer to manage. Hardware RAID can be updated to its most recent firmware, but the process might be long and winding. Software RAID on the other hand doesn't use fixed, proprietary firmware, and components can be moved and upgraded anytime. 4. Software RAID costs significantly less.
There are different tiers to Hardware RAID. The higher the tier, the better it performs, also the more costlier it gets. Software RAID is a lot more affordable. But we must remember the cost doesn't necessarily reflect performance. With a lesser cost and a more secure performance, we choose Software RAID over Hardware RAID.
That being said, all our dedicated servers are equipped with Software RAID. And if you're not convinced of how Software RAID might outperform Hardware RAID, you can try our dedicated server for one month, FOC, providing that you switch your host to VPS Malaysia.
Software RAID (should be) free because it does not depend on any additional hardware.
With Hardware RAID you are paying for the use of the hardware RAID controller.
To echo what @VPSMalaysia is saying... people tend to believe that hardware RAID is better because it's what they have been told. They don't actually test things to come to their own conclusion. We've used hardware RAID in the past - and maybe we just had poor hardware RAID controllers - but I'd much rather deal with software RAID than hardware RAID.
To add another point, if you have multiple servers with different providers, one might be using one type of hardware RAID controller another might be using something else. Having to keep up with which tools do what with each RAID controller is a hassle. With software RAID, everything is uniform across all servers.
While there are some benefits to using software raid, such as lower cost due to lack of hardware required, hardware RAID is strongly recommended from a reliability standpoint. Any enterprise requirements should be fulfilled by hardware RAID as the hardware disk controller provides significantly greater reliability. I've never found any evidence to the contrary in my experience. Software RAID also may not be compatible with certain softwares, while hardware RAID will mirror and stripe the disks at the hardware level.