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I've got a server running windows 2008R2. The hardware controller can only do Raid 1 or 0 and it's hotswappable. I have 4 drives (hot swappable hardware), each pair is mirrored (raid 1). I'd like to do raid 10 but the hardware can't.

So, I'm wondering if stripe (raid 0) in software across the 2 mirrored pairs (in hardware) would give me a disk io performance increase. Our big issue is disk IO, we have extra CPU clock cycles to spare, but would like to not have 2 virtual drives but instead one striped volume.

Would there be a performance increase using software striping? Can this be configured during install?

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You can't have a Windows startup/boot partition on a striped (RAID 0) volume, but other than that you would be able to create a stripeset over your 2 mirrorsets. Since this (RAID 0+1) is exactly how RAID 10 is typically implemented and striping does not incur any significant CPU overhead, you will see appropriate performance figures for sequential I/O.

For random I/O workloads, especially when writes are involved, RAID controllers which completely implement RAID 10 in hardware would typically have better performance as they could utilize their large caches to buffer some of the randomness out and reduce the number of head seeks per second.

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