What Is RAID 10 (RAID 1+0) | Explained 2024

example of raid 10

Efficient storage is the need of today. The internet adds hundreds of terabytes of new data daily, with servers bearing most of the burden. Therefore, we not only need an alternative to simple storage but to make it more accessible with lower hardware specifications. A Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) has helped alleviate the issue but choosing the most beneficial configuration is tough. Throughout this piece, you’ll learn all about what is RAID 10, why it is so popular, how does RAID 10 work and whether your system is fit for a RAID 10 configuration.

Part 1. What Is RAID 10?

RAID 10 is a nested RAID type that combines RAID 1 and RAID 0, thus its name. Many professionals prefer writing it as RAID 1+0. The array first stripes the data into blocks (RAID 0) and then creates a mirror image for it in separate drives (RAID 1). Remember that it is not the same as RAID 0+1 that works in reverse, first creating the mirror image for the data and then striping it down into blocks.

RAID 10 performance is exceptional as the system can read and write data much faster, thanks to conveniently organized data blocks. The address of each block makes them more accessible, reducing the stress on the processor and RAM. Because each block has a mirror image stored on another drive, the failure of one drive doesn’t cause a system crash. Still, RAID 10 has lower failure tolerance than other configurations, like RAID 5 and RAID 6.

what is raid 10

Performance of RAID 10

RAID 10 performance is quite impressive for a simplistic array that doesn’t require a lot of hardware.

Fault Tolerance: With RAID 10, you can withstand a single disk failure without interrupting the service.
Reading Speed: The striped data blocks make it easier for the system to locate the desired information. Thus, with RAID 10, you get reading speeds that multiply per the array’s total number of drives.
Writing Speed: Considering the fault tolerance, RAID 10 has an excellent writing performance. While the mirrored data might slow it down a bit, it still presents remarkable speeds that scale with the number of drives in the system.
Redundancy: Since there is no parity, the mirrored data is readily accessible from another drive. The location is random, although all disks in the array share the same data structure. Even the block size remains the same.
Space Efficiency: RAID 10 only renders 50% of the total storage space usable because it requires the same area for the data as its mirror image. So, it would be best to have at least 100% overhead when establishing a server with RAID 10 configuration.

Applications of RAID 10

Due to its high I/O performance and uninterrupted access in most faults, the RAID 10 configuration is ideal for the below-mentioned applications.

  • Web hosting
  • Multiplayer gaming servers
  • Email services
  • Analytics
  • Media streaming

Benefits of RAID 10

If you know how does RAID 10 work, you can observe the advantages it brings to any deployment. Some of the most notable ones include:

  • RAID 10 has exceptional read/write performance with some fault tolerance. The speed multiplies with each active drive on the system.
  • The mirror image of the data blocks is readily available on another drive, so you can instantly switch to it if the first drive fails. Many IT professionals program the array, so the switch happens automatically without user input.
  • RAID 10 doesn’t require a high-end rig to operate and maintain. You can easily set up a server without spending much on RAM chips and processors.
  • For what it offers, RAID 10 is easier to configure than other RAID configurations. You can easily apply it to a new server within a few minutes, as you’ll learn later in this guide.

Disadvantages of RAID 10

The high I/O performance alongside the fault tolerance for RAID 10 doesn’t come without its tradeoffs. Before applying a RAID 10 array to your server, you should consider its disadvantages, too.

  • RAID 10 limits the effective storage efficiency to 50% since you need equal space for a striped data block and its mirror image. The configuration is not suitable for a large-scale persistent server.
  • It is hard to detect any faults in the drive since the drive failure makes it difficult to isolate specific blocks. In most cases, you have to go with either complete formatting or drive replacement.
  • RAID 10 possesses limited storage redundancy. Extensive drive failure may force the administrators to shut down the servers for repairs.

Part 2. How Does RAID 10 Work?

While people often denote it as RAID 1+0, the order of data storage takes place in reverse. First, the data is striped into blocks (RAID 0) and assigned an address for easier access in the future. Before the system stores it in a drive, it first creates a mirror image with a separate address (RAID 1) and stores it in another.

how does raid 10 work

In regular usage, the system calls the original data block when an information query is generated. The read/write speed is relatively high as all drives remain active. If the array experiences a failure, you can switch to any of the mirror data sets without requiring a system shutdown. The data block is identical, which doesn’t let the end user know the difference.

Part 3. How to Configure RAID 10?

Due to its combination of two of the most straightforward RAID setups, you can configure RAID 10 for your server with a few simple steps. In terms of hardware, you need at least four disks or partitions. Furthermore, the RAM and processor requirements aren’t too sophisticated, either.

Since most servers use Linux, we’ll focus on how to configure a RAID 10 array for the same.

  1. Verify that all the disks are ready using the following command.

# ls -l /dev | grep sd

verify all disks
  1. Check whether all the drives are free of any previous RAID configurations using the command below.

# mdadm --examine /dev/sd[b-e]

You can change ‘sd[b-e]’ with appropriate drive names as per your server.

  1. Next, you need a partition for each drive. Use the ‘fdisk’ command as follows.

# fdisk /dev/sdb

# fdisk /dev/sdc

# fdisk /dev/sdd

# fdisk /dev/sde

The process of creating a new partition is the same for each disk. Press the N key and assign it a number. Once you’re done, press ‘p’ to print the partition and ‘w’ to write any changes.

press n key button
  1. After you’ve created the partitions, it’s time to make a RAID device. It requires the mdadm RAID management tool, which you can install using the following command.

# yum install mdadm

  1. With the RAID management tool installed, you can now create a RAID device and assign it the RAID 10 configuration.

# mdadm --create /dev/md0 --level=10 --raid devices=4 /dev/sd[b-e]1

You can verify the RAID device using the ‘cat’ command.

# cat /proc/mdstat

verify the raid device
  1. Now, you need to verify the status of the active RAID 10 array. Use the following command for the same.

# mdadm --detail /dev/md0

It should show the array as active and re-syncing.

  1. You can now create a file system for the array. Here, we’re using ext4, but you can also use ntfs or fat32, as per your requirements.

# mkfs.ext4 /dev/md0

create a file
  1. Mount the file system on the array using the following command.

# mkdir /mnt/raid10

# mount /dev/md0 /mnt/raid10

# ls -l /mnt/raid10

  1. Next, you need to add some text files and edit them to see if the drive is working properly.
  2. Upon confirmation, you can use automounting through the ‘/etc/fstab’ file.

# vim /etc/fstab

It shall mount the files automatically without you designating the appropriate drive. You can verify it by utilizing the command mentioned below.

# mount -av

mount av
  1. RAID doesn’t have a default config file. You need to save the configuration manually using the following command.

# mdadm --detail --scan --verbose >> /etc/mdadm.conf

And that’s it! You can now add and edit files to your server with a RAID 10 configuration. You can edit the settings of the RAID controller using the ‘/dev/md0’ identifier.

What Happens When RAID 10 Configuration Fails?

RAID 10 only offers limited protection against disk failures. If the damage is too extensive, you may need third-party RAID data recovery software such as Wondershare Recoverit to pick up the pieces. It works with most operating systems and doesn’t require any coding.

recoverit datat recovery

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Follow the 3 steps below to recover deleted or lost data from RAID 10 drives with Recoverit:

Step1Choose the RAID 10 Drive

Launch Recoverit RAID 10 recovery software and choose the RAID 10 hard drive for which you wish to recover the data under the Hard Drives and Locations tab.

choose raid 10 drive
Step2Scan the Selected Drive

After choosing the location, Recoverit will start an all-round scan and display the files found on the disk or site.

scan the selected drive
Step3Preview and Recover

You can browse through all the recoverable files during and after the scanning. Use the Preview button to check if it's your desired file. Finally, click on the Recover button to retrieve the correct files.

preview and recover
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Comparing RAID 10 to Other RAID Levels

Now that you know what is RAID 10, it is time to compare it with some other RAID configurations. You can check out the links below for the same.

RAID 5 vs RAID 10

RAID 10 vs RAID 01

RAID 10 vs RAID 50

RAID 10 vs RAID 6


Yes, as RAID 0 only stripes the data and stores it in the form of data blocks, whereas RAID 10 needs to create an exact copy as well. Although, you should note that RAID 0 has no fault tolerance.

RAID 10 minimum drives requirement is four. The maximum you can go is 144.

If you need exceptional input/output performance with some semblance of fault tolerance, then RAID 10 is perfectly worth it. However, it is not ideal for large-scale servers that need to maintain an expansive database securely.

The most significant disadvantage of RAID 10 is its space efficiency. Because it copies a backup of every data block, the configuration only makes 50% of the space usable. That is the reason why large-scale servers usually don’t use it.

Hot spares can help you increase the tolerance of your RAID 10 array substantially. Typically, you should have a hot spare if you have more than 30 drives operating with RAID 10.


And that concludes this guide on what RAID 10 is and how RAID 10 works. We hope you learned to improve your server configurations in the future. Have any queries for us? Let us know in the comments below.