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Raid 5 vs. Raid 10: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 17, 2023
RAID 5 uses striping with parity for fault tolerance, while RAID 10 combines mirroring and striping for redundancy and performance.

Key Differences

RAID 5 and RAID 10 are both methods of storing data across multiple hard drives, but they function differently in terms of redundancy and performance. RAID 5 utilizes striping, where data is spread across all drives, combined with parity information to provide fault tolerance. This means that if one drive fails, the data can still be recovered using the remaining drives and the parity information. On the other hand, RAID 10 employs a combination of mirroring (RAID 1) and striping (RAID 0). It mirrors data on one set of drives and stripes that mirrored data across another set.
In terms of performance, RAID 5 often provides better read speeds due to its striping mechanism but can suffer in write speeds because of the need to calculate and write parity data. RAID 10, on the contrary, offers superior read and write speeds due to its combination of mirroring and striping. This is especially true for write-intensive operations.
From a data protection standpoint, RAID 5 can tolerate a single drive failure without data loss. When a drive fails, the system will run in a degraded mode until the faulty drive is replaced and rebuilt. RAID 10, with its mirroring feature, can tolerate multiple drive failures, as long as the failed drives are not from the same mirrored pair.
When considering capacity, RAID 5 tends to be more efficient than RAID 10. In RAID 5, the storage capacity of one drive is used for parity, allowing the rest for data storage. In RAID 10, half the total drive capacity is utilized for mirroring, making it less space-efficient.

Comparison Chart

Data Protection

Single drive failure tolerance.
Multiple drives if not from mirrored pair.


Good read, slower writes.
Superior read and write speeds.

Storage Efficiency

Loses one drive's capacity to parity.
50% capacity due to mirroring.


Striping with parity.
Mirroring combined with striping.

Recovery from Failure

Uses parity for recovery.
Uses mirrored data for recovery.

Raid 5 and Raid 10 Definitions

Raid 5

A storage configuration using striping with parity.
The company chose RAID 5 for a balance between performance and data protection.

Raid 10

Combines the principles of RAID 0 (striping) and RAID 1 (mirroring).
RAID 10 was the best choice for their database server due to its speed and redundancy.

Raid 5

Allows data recovery from a single drive failure.
With RAID 5, even after a disk malfunction, no data was lost.

Raid 10

Known for both performance and data protection.
For critical operations, they shifted to RAID 10 for its blend of speed and safety.

Raid 5

Requires a minimum of three drives.
They added a third drive to their system to configure RAID 5.

Raid 10

Uses half of the total storage capacity for mirroring.
With 8TB of drives in RAID 10, they had 4TB usable storage.

Raid 5

Uses one drive's capacity for parity information.
In their four-drive setup with RAID 5, they effectively had the storage of three drives.

Raid 10

Provides fault tolerance from up to half the drives failing (if not from the same mirrored pair).
Even with two drive failures, RAID 10 ensured the data remained intact.

Raid 5

Provides increased read performance through striping.
RAID 5 is popular for its enhanced read speeds in many applications.

Raid 10

Requires a minimum of four drives.
They needed two more drives to upgrade their system to RAID 10.


What does RAID 5 stand for?

RAID stands for "Redundant Array of Independent Disks." RAID 5 is a specific configuration that uses disk striping with parity.

What is the storage efficiency of RAID 5?

RAID 5's efficiency is (N-1)/N, where N is the number of drives. For 3 drives, it's 2/3 or 66.7%.

Is RAID 5 suitable for high-performance needs?

RAID 5 is generally good for read-heavy tasks but can lag in write-heavy environments due to the parity calculations.

What is the main disadvantage of RAID 5?

The main disadvantage is the write penalty due to parity calculations.

How does RAID 5 achieve fault tolerance?

RAID 5 uses parity information, which is distributed across all the drives. If one drive fails, data can be rebuilt using the parity information.

How many drives are required for RAID 5?

A minimum of three drives is needed for RAID 5.

Is RAID 10 more expensive than RAID 5 in terms of storage cost?

Yes, since RAID 10 uses half of its capacity for mirroring, it can be considered more costly in terms of storage efficiency.

How many drives can fail in RAID 5 before data is lost?

Only one drive can fail in RAID 5 without data loss.

Is RAID 5 recommended for large drives?

RAID 5 can pose risks with very large drives due to the lengthy rebuild times, increasing the window for potential second drive failures.

How does RAID 5 handle write operations?

Writes in RAID 5 can be slower due to the need to update parity information.

How does RAID 10 achieve fault tolerance?

RAID 10 uses mirroring, so each set of data is stored on two drives. If one drive fails, its mirror still holds the data.

What is RAID 10's storage efficiency?

RAID 10's efficiency is 50%, as half of the storage is used for mirroring.

How many drives can fail in RAID 10 before data is lost?

In the worst-case scenario, two drives can fail (if they are mirrors of each other). However, if the right drives fail, up to half could potentially fail without data loss.

Does RAID 5 offer data striping?

Yes, RAID 5 uses data striping across the drives.

Does RAID 10 use parity?

No, RAID 10 doesn't use parity. It relies on mirroring for redundancy.

What is a major advantage of RAID 10 over RAID 5?

RAID 10 generally offers better write performance and faster rebuild times than RAID 5.

How many drives are required for RAID 10?

A minimum of four drives is needed for RAID 10.

Is RAID 10 good for performance?

Yes, RAID 10 offers excellent performance for both reads and writes due to striping and the lack of parity calculations.

What does RAID 10 stand for?

RAID 10, also known as RAID 1+0, is a combination of RAID 1 (mirroring) and RAID 0 (striping).

Is RAID 10 suitable for critical data?

Yes, RAID 10 is often recommended for applications that require high availability and performance.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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