Softraid: Is it ok to use?

I’m RAID shopping and I know some of y’all like the OWC thunderbays. But I’m a little worried about using a software controlled RAID. Anybody have any bad experiences using it with Flame? I’ll mainly be using for archiving and backup but I might cache on it in a pinch. Probably RAID 5 config.

My one datapoint is, “it’s fine” I have two, I use one as my cache drive and one as my server/archive drive. Both are raid 5 and I have no complaints. I’ve delivered shots for multiple movies and run a few commercials through them.

I had a few issues with the drives themselves being mad if they were in the same thunderbolt 2 port and suddenly unmounting (the mac trashcan has six thurnberbolt 2 ports, but each one is, like “paired” with another one.) I know this because I had some issues. The Softraid tech support was good.

and for what it’s worth, the sudden unmounting did not wreck flame.


I have 2 of the Thunderbay 6s.

Cheaper by the terabyte than Pegasus
Enclosures can be BYOD

Softraid disk certifications of drives before you add them to your volume will take days
Softraid rebuilds of a disk take days.

Things to think about
Buy 2 extra drives and certify them after you certify the active disks in your enclosure so if you lose a disk you don’t have to wait for the certification before you start rebuilding.

There’s a definite sweet spot for drive size / drive cost / rebuilt times. For example, I’m into 8TB disks because cost per TB is low and also they take about 52 hours to certify/rebuild if I’m not mistaken. 14TB drives would likely take 3-4 days, possibly 5.

For my budget I was able to get 2, which I have mirrored, and each one is RAID 5. So I sleep just fine.


Ah, that’s interesting. Is the certification still a thing if you buy it with the drives from OWC?

I believe the drives they ship with the enclosures come pre-certified.

The certification is, if memory serves me right, where each block of the drive gets written to three times and checked back so that soft raid has confidence in the physical disk.

If you notice for example on the flex eight they say that all drives ship within 72 hours come pre-: “burned in.”

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The days long rebuild was a deal killer for me. Seriously. I lost about 36 hours when I was trying to deliver. Back to Pegasus FTW.

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I swear last time I tested it I could use the machine during the rebuild.

Not always Randy.

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My vote is to stick with hardware raid. I had a few issues many years ago with SW raid and swore never again.

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RAID must be connected to computer by a hardware RAID controller. Software based RAID should not be used.

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That is interesting but has anyone actually been audited over this stuff? I have supplied shots for Netflix shows from my home system direct to production and nobody ever asked me what kind of storage I was using. And I’ve worked at many supposedly MPAA security-complaint places that basically treated it like a joke. (except for the one place that made me sit through a powerpoint that included a little cartoon of a guy sitting in jail saying “I leaked”). Has anyone ever been dinged for not using the right kind of RAID?


That’s ridiculous.

Tea should be stirred in a clockwise direction. Payments should be made within 30 days. The 15 should be a lift of the 30.


I was curious to see they specified that. I haven’t done any work for Netflix, but I thought the information might be of interest.

I use Softraid to certify disks and have things like the ThunderBlade and ThunderBay. All have worked well so far, but I have backups & spare disks for when the expected will eventually happen…

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I feel like posting in this thread too much is gonna make my drives die, but I just delivered so it would be an ideal time for them to shit out.

w/r/t Netflix, if only they had such specific mandates on “compelling storytelling” and “character progression” as they did on camera sensors and raid arrays. I do not understand that company. But I pay them $18/month to be blinded by HDR grades, so there’s that.


So, I did decide to try out Thunderbay/SoftRAID and digging through the setup details, I think I know why there’s a disagreement here about whether you can use the disk while it’s rebuilding. If you right-click on a RAID volume in SoftRAID, one of the menu items is “Optimize for…” with a bunch of different options, one of which is Digital Video. There’s no explanation for what this means but I found this on OWC’s support forums :

Setting Optimize for Video/audio ensures that a rebuild will not affect editing or video capture, as rebuild priority is paused while there is user activity.

So, I’m guessing @SamE that enabling this (strangely hidden) setting would have made your life easier when you had troubles.

I used that, but still had a failure that required the volume be offline during rebuild for over a day. That was in 2019.

Dang. Oh well. Hopefully that won’t happen to me. :grimacing: