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How many disk drives do you need for RAID 10?

What is the minimum number of disk drives you can have in a RAID 10 array? I have read you must have at least four, but our server admin said it is HP's default, and he can do it on just two drives. This is on a Window Server 2003 with a total of four 72 gigabyte (GB) drives in the server and 11 36 GB drives external.

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The minimum number of disk drives needed for RAID 10? This depends on the storage array vendor's firmware. RAID 10 configurations can be accomplished by mirroring a stripe set, or striping a mirror set. When you stripe a mirror set (my preferred method due to resiliency), you first create two mirror sets and then create a stripe set from the two mirrors (minimum four drives), when you mirror a stripe set, you first create two stripe sets (usually of at least three drives each) and then mirror them to another stripe set (total of six drives).

I have not personally heard of creating a RAID 10 set from two drives, since two drives are the minimum for a simple mirror.

More on raid 10 minimum drives: 

Double drive failures in a RAID 10 configuration

RAID 10: Two great RAIDs that go great together



This was first published in January 2006

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