RAID 5 vs RAID 10: Which One Is Best For You?

A complete rundown of RAID 5 versus RAID 10. We answered 11 questions combined about RAID 10 vs RAID 5. Check out the RAID 5 and RAID 10 table comparison.

Table Of Content
Rundown and Comparison of RAID 5 and RAID 10
When to Use RAID 5 vs RAID 10 | TTR Data Recovery
Redundant Array of Independent Disks comparison is usually made by RAID users. As we know, RAID is used to enhance the write and read performance and reliability of your data storage. RAID 5 RAID 6 is the most commonly secure of all RAID levels
Compared to hard disks RAID 10, it has more usable storage.

Let’s start with the basics RAID 5 and RAID 10. 

  • it uses striping with disk parity like RAID 6.
  • it is a good storage system option with excellent security and decent read speed and write performance.
  • It on the other hand, combines the advantages of RAID 1 and RAID 0.
  • It groups each data into 2 drives.

Digging deeper…

  • Cheap and secure.
  • Balances write and read performance, and is currently one of the most commonly used RAID methods.
  • Provides read and write performance equivalent to RAID 0.
  • Offers more usable storage.
  • Only allows single drive to fail without losing important data.
  • Complex technology in terms of write and read performance 
  • Obsolete system/Deprecated.
  • Needed identical drives to minimize data recovery risks.
  • Not recommended to use in new arrays.
  • Not recommended for important operations.
  • Architecturally less flexible.
  • Correcting RAID 5 read and write performance problems are very costly.
  • Can handle simultaneous failures or during a software RAID rebuild another drive can fail and the system will still be operational.
  • Robust and fast.
  • Popular and reliable RAID level commonly used by businesses and home-users alike.
  • Data recovery is very convenient and requires little to no down-time.
  • Good for intensive applications.
  • Identical drive is not required.
  • Absolute data security.
  • Costly to build.
  • If two drives in the same mirrored pair fail, then data will be lost. 
  • Because data is mirrored, only 50% of the total storage capacity is usable. 
Comparing practicality and overall read speed and performance between the two RAID Arrays, RAID 10 is at an advantage. RAID 5 RAID 6 is an obsolete system that is only used by home-users and vulnerable to data loss.
RAID 10 is now a popular and reliable Array of Independent Disks level commonly used by businesses and home-users alike.
Let's probe further and discuss in depth to help you make the best decision for your data storage needs.
When to Use RAID 5 OR RAID 10?

RAID 6 and RAID 5 is recommended if you have five to six hard drives. If you have a small array, it should be okay to use. RAID data recovery, if ever needed, should be a relatively quick and easy process.

Hard disks RAID 10 mean while is recommended for intensive applications. It is recommended for businesses or individual-use. RAID 10 data recovery is very convenient and requires little to no down-time. It is perfect for databases, emails, web servers, and high-risk operations. If you have the budget for it, whether for individual use or bigger organizations, go for RAID 10.

RAID 5 VS RAID 10: Frequently Asked QUestions

Why is RAID 10 Better Than RAID 5?

RAID 5 vs RAID 10 Why is RAID 10 Better Than RAID 5 | TTR Data Recovery
RAID 10 is better than RAID 5 in many ways. Here are some good comparison points:
1. Storage Capacity
RAID 10 does not have a maximum limit on storage drives that can be set up for the hard disk drives RAID 10 array.
That means bigger storage capacity. Meanwhile, RAID 5 is a much smaller array. It requires a minimum of three storage drives and can only hold up to 16 drives.

2. Fault Tolerance
Fault tolerance groups data in pairs (groups). This means you can have data loss as many drives as possible as long as only there's only a single drive failure per pair. Fault tolerance is the advantage of not spreading data across all drives, like RAID 5 does.

3. Downtime
RAID 0 RAID 1 combination have no downtime during hdd failure. If one or more drives fail, it is business as usual while you are rebuilding or replacing the failed drive. RAID 5, on the other hand, takes a day to two to rebuild depending on the load of the array. This is a disadvantage and cannot work for high-risk operations.
How Safe Is RAID 5?

RAID 5 RAID 6 is has good fault tolerance. It allows one single drive to fail without losing important data. You can replace the first or second disk failed drive while still having access to the stored data. It is a preferred Redundant Array of Independent Disks array for most home and individual users. It is cheap and secure.

But comparing it to disk drives RAID 0 RAID 1 combined, a multiple disks , it offers the high fault tolerance.

Does RAID 5 Require Identical Drives?

Although not required, it is strongly recommended. Unlike other multiple disks hardware RAID levels, it does not require synchronized first or second disk spindles so it is strongly advised to use drives of the same model and firmware. This will minimize any RAID 5 data recovery risks.

In a RAID 5 array, the smallest drive defines the size of the array. So, using different sizes will not matter. Extra space and larger volume in the array are of no use.
Between the two RAIDs, only RAID 5 requires identical drives. Another win for RAID 10.
Why is RAID 5 Deprecated?

It is one of the oldest RAID levels. It is the most basic and the foundation of all modern parity RAID levels. It is no longer found in production systems and so it is not recommended to use in new arrays. We must understand how this RAID works but it probably is no longer compatible with your systems.

How Many Hard Drives Do You Need for RAID 5?

It is a relatively small RAID compared to a hard disk drives RAID 1 and RAID 0 combo. You only need at least three storage hard drive to set up one hard drive. You can have up to 16 storage drives if you need more storage space.  Information is converted into data blocks and is striped across all drives.

Compared to RAID 10, it is a small array. RAID 10 requires a minimum of 4 drives and has no maximum limits.
Why is RAID 5 not recommended?

It is generally not recommended today because of its obsolete design. And because it only allows room for one disk failure, so losing one or two disks, or multiple disks, puts the this RAID level at a higher risk. If you use 3 drives or more, you face a bigger chance of another drive failure. 

This can lead to losing all stored data for good. It is not recommended for important operations compared to a RAID 1+0 combo a.k.a RAID 10. With low fault tolerance the risk of losing data is too high and the hard drive storage capacity is limited.

How Many Disks Can Fail in a RAID 10 Array?

Top performance RAID 10 can lose as many as 3 drives as possible provided that only one disk drive per pair fails. Since RAID 10 is a combination of RAID 1+0 and it stores data into groups of two disks, the data is very secure less prone to disk failure. In comparison, RAID Array 5 spreads data across all drives which puts stored information at risk of being permanently lost when two or more drives fail.

It’s main purpose is redundancy. It may be costly when it comes to storage space, but it is worth the investment. It is the safest of all RAID array levels.

Does RAID 10 need identical drives?

No, RAID 10 array does not require the use of identical drives. Using drives with different read and write performance levels and capacity will not affect the performance of the array. What it requires, however, is the same hard drive architecture.

For example:
If you use one SAS drive, you have to use all SAS drives for the hard drives RAID 10 array. If you use a SATA drive for one, you have to use all SATA drives for this RAID level. Your 15,000 rpm drives cannot perform at their maximum level because your 10,000 rpm drives will slow everything down to its capacity.
Why is RAID 10 the Best Option?

RAID 0 RAID 1 combined is the best option out of all RAID levels because it took the best features of RAID 0 and RAID 1 and combined them to create a hybrid array. It offers excellent performance and performs the fastest out of all of them. It is also resilient because it uses mirroring RAID 1 and striping RAID 0.

By using mirroring  (RAID 1) and striping (RAID 0) on stored data, it provides the safest, most secure data storage system that RAID has to offer.

So Which is Better RAID 5 or RAID 10?

The answer is obvious…

high-performance RAID 10 is the better option compared to RAID 5. In fact, it is recommended for both business and home use. One can never be too careful when it comes to important data. Whether it is data for business or sentimental personal files, you can’t go wrong with it. It is a long-term investment that is worth every penny. It doesn’t hurt that it is a relatively inexpensive option.

We brought up the good and the bad of RAID 5 in our comparison just to highlight the advantages of RAID 1 and RAID 0 combination.  Because RAID 5 is an obsolete system, it is not recommended. But it is still important to understand its basics, how it behaves when a disk failure occurs,  since it is the foundation of most RAID levels.

We hope our discussion has helped make things clear and simple. Although, there is nothing wrong still using RAID 5 for home use, it will not hurt if you upgrade to a better, with high fault tolerance, and safer alternative. After all, the reason we use RAID is to improve storage performance and to keep our data safe from loss.

Remember that using top performing RAID, like the combination of RAID 0 and RAID 1 is an investment. Make sure that you get the most value of your investment by choosing the best performing RAID level available. If you have any more questions regarding this topic or about RAID in general, feel free to contact us.

Tommy Kh | Ttr Data Recovery

About the Author
Tommy Khamoushi, Data Recovery Expert

Tommy Khamoushi is an IACRB-certified Data Recovery Engineer and a Certified Forensic Computer Investigator. He has more than 20 years of experience in data recovery including providing technical support for the House of Representatives.

Tommy leads a team of data recovery engineers and experts at TTR Data Recovery to recover highly sensitive data for government agencies like the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and enterprise businesses using advanced and proprietary techniques and processes.

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