i was planning to buy a SAS system made of two 15k RPM disks in Raid 0 configuration to give a boost to my s.o. and my apps... but after i saw that article on Coding Horror, i've started to thinking if a new 2nd generation SSD could do the same job, or even better...

Does anybody have any information to help me decide?

  • More detail on what you will be running would be helpful. Is this going to be heavy on writes, reads, about even? Will it be a web server, database server, mail server, all of the above? – ManiacZX Oct 26 '09 at 20:24
  • i'm a sigle user that does everything (videos, photos, 3d, programming, gaming). I have 2 monitors, so this means plenty of windows opened for multitasking anytime. – Stefano Oct 26 '09 at 20:30

A good primer for SSDs is to read this anandtech article.

For regular desktop use (gaming, office, productivity, what have you) SSD will kick 15krpm SAS drives around easily, since there's a lot of random reads and writes involved. You do have to be careful in choosing the correct SSD though, choosing one of the older models won't give you that much of a performance difference.

If, on the other hand, you're doing a lot of sequential read/write, like for instance editing videos and working with large data sets (moving large VM images around, etc), the SAS drives will be very fast. On the other hand, the SAS drives are just as fast at it as fast SATA 7200rpm drives.

So, it all depends on what your use case is. If you're planning for normal desktop use, SSD is the way to go. For big chunks of sequential r/w you'll be better off with a pair of spinning drives.

  • Was just about to post similar on sequential vs random being a big part of if SSD is the way to go. – ManiacZX Oct 26 '09 at 20:26

RAID-0 is a pretty bad idea, as one of the drives crashing will mean lost data. The only good SSDs as of this post when it comes to price and performance are Intel X25-M(step above very good 15000RPM drives) and X25-E(phenomenal I/O).

  • yeah i was thinking the same... and i presume that an ssd works better for an end-user behaviour than a SAS drive optimized for servers... now i must find if there is a nice european seller – Stefano Oct 26 '09 at 20:22
  • Actually an X25-E will outperform an SAS RAID on a MySQL server. – gekkz Oct 26 '09 at 20:28
  • 1
    RAID-0 is not always a bad idea as long as you have backup implemented, don't care about downtime, and want to maximize performance. – Matias Nino Oct 27 '09 at 18:01

See e.g. page 6 and page 8 of the Anandtech article The SSD Improv: Intel & Indilinx get TRIM, Kingston Brings Intel Down to $115 (released today) to see how the latest SSDs revisions (with firmwares supporting the TRIM command) smash one of the fastest hdisks (Western Digitals VelociRaptor) in seek-intensive workloads.


For your use, which sounds like high IO, the SSD is going to provide much better performance.

Not to mention SSD has a much better mean time to fail, and RAID0 doubles your risk of failure.

  • I agree with this totally. I had a 3Ware hardware PCI-E raid mirror going for a while (which doubled my read speeds) and then i got a cheap Intel X-25 SSD drive and performance is a bit better with the SSD. If I had a higher performance SSD , it would probably kill the raid-1 config. – djangofan Nov 10 '10 at 23:45

What's your budget? If you can afford the SSD drives and specs show that they will push the data faster than the specs on your traditional disks, go for it. RAID 0 will definitely be cheaper though.

If you had tons of cash for the project get SSD's to create a RAID mirror and see how that works. If anything you could have great info to get posted to a blog for others who wish they had the budget to do it :-)

Also, measure your needs. If you have something that's lightning fast but the people using it are hardly pushing performance limits, is it worth the money and time spent? Or are you overengineering it?

  • wandering around internet, i have seen that i need something like 350-400€ to buy a nice SAS controller and two SAS 15K rpm disks. I've seen $ priced SSDs and they are all under 300€, but i don't know if i can make a simple conversion or i will find any surprise on european sellers. I'm searching for any comparative review between a Raid 0 SAS and a SSD disk like "Crucial CT128M225" or "Intel X25-M SSDSA2MH080G2C1". I'm thinking also that maybe SAS disks are optimized for Server behaviour, and i'm a sigle user that does everything (video, 3d, programming, gaming) – Stefano Oct 26 '09 at 20:18
  • You might want to take a look at this earlier question - serverfault.com/questions/78009/… . Flash SSD's can be awesome but tread with care. – Helvick Oct 26 '09 at 20:24

"RAID-0 is a pretty bad idea, as one of the drives crashing will mean lost data."

Honestly, as many times as I hear that, I still think that's rediculous. Think about it: If you only had 1 drive by itself, and that drive failed, you'll loose ALL your data too! Having 2 drives RAID0 only gives you a marginal gain in risk of failure.

If it's important, then backup your data, regardless if you have 1 drive or 2 drive RAID0.

  • Agreed that the best thing is to back up often, however the argument against N drives is pretty sound and it goes like this: say that you have a 0.9 chance (out of 1) that your drive will survive for 2 years (these number are purely fictitious of course). Now if you have two identical drives, you will have only a 0.81 (0.9*0.9) chance that both drives survice for two years. – Grey Panther Apr 8 '10 at 18:25
  • This is very dependant on your controller or software. If one of your RAID 0 drives goes offline in the middle of your work, there are data corruption issues that can occur. I really can't think of too many situations for work that I can afford to lose a day's worth of work. I guess some people don't mind losing their data and time... – tegbains Apr 8 '10 at 20:16
  • Professionals are fond of saying "RAID-0 is very a bad idea" because we've gone into the field and found clients that are running their database servers, Microsoft Exchange servers, call recording servers, etc. on RAID-0 arrays without even beginning to understand the risk. Enough people simply don't get it. – Skyhawk Oct 12 '11 at 17:22

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