What is RAID?

RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks. It is a data storage technology that combines multiple disk drive components into a logical unit. RAID systems distribute data across multiple drives to provide increased data reliability, fault tolerance, and improved performance (Merriam-Webster, 2024).

The concept of RAID was first outlined in a paper published by researchers David Patterson, Garth Gibson, and Randy Katz at the University of California, Berkeley in 1987. They described various RAID levels or standardized architectures that provided specific combinations of performance, reliability, and efficiency. These original RAID levels, commonly known as RAID 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, became industry standards for RAID implementations (Britannica, 2024).

Key features that define a RAID system include:

  • Combining multiple physical disk drives into a single logical drive
  • Data distributed across drives for redundancy and/or performance
  • Automatic rebuilding or redeployment in case of drive failure

Common RAID levels each offer different blends of performance, capacity efficiency, and fault tolerance tailored to different use cases (Cambridge Dictionary, 2024).

Benefits of RAID

RAID offers several key benefits that make it a popular data storage solution:

Increased storage – By combining multiple disk drives into a RAID array, you can increase the total storage capacity beyond what is possible with a single disk. This is achieved through techniques like data striping, which splits data across multiple disks.

Faster performance – RAID can improve performance by distributing read and write operations across multiple disks, allowing them to operate in parallel. This is especially beneficial for bandwidth-intensive applications like video editing or databases.

Data redundancy – RAID provides fault tolerance by duplicating data across multiple disks. Popular RAID levels like 1, 5, 6, and 10 use parity or mirroring to reconstruct lost data in case of disk failures. This prevents data loss and minimizes downtime.

Overall, the increased storage capacity, faster speeds, and built-in redundancy make RAID a versatile and reliable storage technology for businesses and power users.

What is a SATA SSD?

A SATA SSD (Serial ATA Solid State Drive) is a type of solid-state drive that uses the SATA interface to connect to a computer’s motherboard or controller. SATA SSDs are a direct replacement for conventional hard disk drives (HDDs) and use NAND flash memory to store data rather than magnetic platters like HDDs. This provides several advantages over traditional HDDs:

  • Faster read/write speeds – SATA SSDs have no moving parts so can access data much quicker than HDDs. Typical speeds are 500-550MB/s read and 350-520MB/s write for SATA SSDs vs 80-160MB/s for HDDs.
  • Better reliability – With no moving parts, SATA SSDs are less prone to mechanical failure and can withstand shock/vibrations better than HDDs.
  • Lower power consumption – SATA SSDs use less energy than HDDs, increasing battery life in laptops.

The main disadvantages compared to HDDs are higher cost per GB of storage, smaller maximum capacities, and limited write endurance. However, prices have decreased substantially in recent years. The sequential access performance and reliability benefits make SATA SSDs ideal for typical consumer workloads like booting an OS, launching applications, transferring files, etc. They are commonly used in laptops, desktop PCs, and servers.

Challenges of RAIDing SSDs

There are a few key challenges associated with configuring SSDs in RAID arrays compared to using traditional hard disk drives (HDDs):

Cost – SSDs are generally more expensive per gigabyte than HDDs. As a result, building a RAID array with multiple SSDs can be prohibitively expensive for some use cases. The cost per gigabyte needs to be weighed against the performance benefits.

Trim Support – Many SSDs support the TRIM command which allows the drive to efficiently handle garbage collection. However, many hardware RAID controllers do not properly pass along TRIM commands to the SSDs. This can result in the SSDs losing performance over time.[1]

Wear Leveling – SSDs use wear leveling techniques to distribute writes across all the flash blocks. However, configuring SSDs in a RAID 1 or RAID 5 array can interfere with effective wear leveling since the writes get mirrored or striped in a predictable manner.[2]

RAID 0 with SSDs

RAID 0 stripes data across multiple drives without parity or mirroring. When used with SSDs, RAID 0 combines the capacity of multiple SSDs and can improve performance through increased parallelism (Source:

The main benefits of using RAID 0 with SSDs are increased read/write speeds and combined storage capacity. By striping data across multiple SSDs, RAID 0 can provide performance gains over a single SSD. Some benchmarks show RAID 0 SSD arrays achieving up to double the read/write speeds of a single SSD (Source:

However, RAID 0 comes with some drawbacks. There is no parity or mirroring, so the failure of any one drive will result in total data loss. SSDs already have fast access times, so the gains from RAID 0 may not be substantial in all workloads. There is also overhead from splitting/reassembling data stripes across drives.

Overall, RAID 0 SSD arrays can provide increased performance and capacity compared to a single SSD, but at the cost of decreased fault tolerance. It can be useful for applications like gaming and media editing that need high speeds and capacity, but backups are essential to protect against drive failure (Source:

RAID 1 with SSDs

RAID 1, also known as disk mirroring, involves duplicating data identically across multiple drives. With SSDs in a RAID 1 array, all data is copied to both SSDs to create a mirrored set. This provides redundancy in case one of the drives fails. The array will continue operating using the surviving SSD.

Some of the pros of using SSDs in a RAID 1 array include:

  • Increased read performance since data can be read from both drives simultaneously
  • Automatic rebuilding of the array if one drive fails, providing fault tolerance
  • Ability to replace a failed drive without downtime

However, there are also some downsides:

  • No increased write performance, as data must be written to both drives
  • Higher cost since you need two SSDs instead of one
  • Potentially lower lifespan for the SSDs since twice as many writes occur

Overall, RAID 1 can provide valuable data protection for important data, but at the cost of buying a second SSD. The read performance gains are minimal compared to a single SSD. For most consumer uses, a regular SSD backup may be more cost-effective than RAID 1 with SSDs.

RAID 5 with SSDs

RAID 5 is a popular RAID level that provides a balance of storage capacity, performance, and fault tolerance. It uses distributed parity, meaning the parity information is distributed across all the drives. This allows RAID 5 to withstand the loss of 1 drive without data loss.

With RAID 5, data is striped across the drives, similar to RAID 0, providing performance improvements. But it also dedicates the equivalent of 1 drive’s capacity for parity information. For example, in a 3 drive RAID 5 array, you get the total capacity of 2 drives for data storage.

Using RAID 5 with SSDs provides the performance boost of striping, while also gaining the fault tolerance. However, there are some cons to consider:

  • RAID 5 can have slower write speeds due to the parity calculations.
  • If a drive fails, the array is in a degraded state as it rebuilds, increasing risk of data loss if another drive fails.
  • SSDs have a limited number of write cycles. The increased writes of RAID 5 can shorten SSD lifespan.

Overall, RAID 5 provides a good middle-ground for SSD storage, balancing capacity, speed, and redundancy. But the write penalty and rebuild times are drawbacks to weigh. RAID 10 may be preferable for pure performance with SSDs.



RAID 10 with SSDs

RAID 10, also known as stripe of mirrors, involves striping data across pairs of mirrored drives. This provides both improved read performance through striping as well as fault tolerance through mirroring.

The pros of using RAID 10 with SSDs include:

  • Very high read speeds since data can be read in parallel from multiple drives.
  • Very high write speeds as writes are distributed across drives.
  • High fault tolerance as data is mirrored.
  • Ability to withstand multiple drive failures as long as no mirror loses both drives.

The cons of using RAID 10 with SSDs include:

  • Higher cost since it requires at least 4 drives.
  • 50% storage efficiency as half the total space is used for mirroring.
  • Performance degradation during rebuilds after a drive failure.
  • Total failure if both drives in a mirror fail.

Overall, RAID 10 provides excellent performance and good fault tolerance for SSDs, albeit at a higher cost. It is commonly used for applications requiring high throughput like database servers or virtualization.


When it comes to RAIDing SSDs, here are some best practices to follow:

Use RAID 1+0 (also known as RAID 10) for the best performance and redundancy. With RAID 10, data is mirrored and striped across multiple drives, providing fast read/writes along with fault tolerance (Jordan). RAID 5 can also work well for SSDs, though rebuild times may be slower.

Avoid RAID 5 write hole issue by using a battery-backed write cache. The write hole occurs when a drive fails during a RAID 5 write operation, which can lead to data corruption (Spiceworks).

Use enterprise-grade SSDs designed for 24/7 operation and RAID environments. Consumer SSDs may not be rated for heavy workloads.

Monitor SSD health and workload. Replace aging drives before failures occur.

Enable TRIM on SSDs to maintain performance over time. TRIM frees up unused blocks on the SSD.

Use a dedicated hardware RAID controller for best performance and manageability.


In summary, RAIDing SATA SSDs is certainly possible but comes with some unique caveats. The super-fast speeds of SSDs can reveal limitations in traditional RAID setups designed for slower HDDs. While RAID 0 can provide a performance boost, the risk of data loss is quite high. RAID 1 remains a solid option for redundancy. RAID 5 and 10 are more viable for SSDs in enterprise environments than home use. Ultimately, SATA SSDs have progressed so much that RAID is less critical for consumer storage needs.

The key takeaways are:

  • RAID 0 can boost SSD performance but has high failure risk
  • RAID 1 is reasonably safe and cost-effective for home SSD redundancy
  • RAID 5 and 10 have limitations with SSDs in most home setups
  • Modern SSD reliability reduces the need for complex RAID
  • Weigh the pros and cons for your specific use case if considering RAID for SATA SSDs